People might not be familiar with the name Ryan Holiday…
… but most people would be very much aware of his work. Ryan has worked behind the scenes with bestselling authors Tucker Max, Robert Greene and Tim Ferriss, and most famously been the marketing director of American Apparel.
He’s now put all his exploits together into a fantastic book, Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator (which both Gawker and GalleyCat reported he got a $500K advance for).
What is a media manipulator? Well, as Ryan explained:
“If you don’t know, you should. Because media manipulation currently shapes everything you read, hear and watch online. Everything.
In the old days, we only had a few threats to fear when it came to media manipulation: the government propagandist and the hustling publicist. They were serious threats, but vigilance worked as a clear and simple defense. They were the exceptions rather than the rule—they exploited the fact that the media was trusted and reliable. Today, with our blog and web driven media cycle, nothing can escape exaggeration, distortion, fabrication and simplification.
I know this because I am a media manipulator. My job was to use the media to make people do or think things they otherwise would not. People like me are there, behind the curtain, pulling the puppet strings. But that is about to get harder: I’m spilling my secrets to you and turned my talents from exploiting media vulnerabilities to exposing them—for your benefit.
When the news is decided not by what is important but by what readers are clicking; when the cycle is so fast that the news cannot be anything else butconsistently and regularly incomplete; when dubious scandals scuttle election bids or knock billions from the market caps of publicly traded companies; when the news frequently covers itself in stories about ‘how the story unfolded’—media manipulation is the status quo.”
I was one of the lucky few to get a pre-release galley version of the book a few weeks back, which I couldn’t put down.
The book is part confessional, part how-to and part exposé on the current state of the media and how “easy + effective” it is to manipulate.
In our conversation, we cover a lot of ground, well beyond what’s inside the book:
- How important marketing is and why “it’s not about the product”
- The creative and writing process itself
- The importance of education and reading (Ryan reads about 3-4 books per week, and I’ve been on his reading list for about 2 or so years), and
- Why he invested time reading 50 Shades of Grey.
Listen live to the interview here, or enter your details below to download the conversation with Ryan, and also get access to the entire back-catalogue of interviews.