Summary of Trust Me, I’m Lying

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Trust Me, I’m Lying book summary

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable
  • Eye Opening


Media strategist Ryan Holiday’s book is an eye-opening account of the shortcomings of online journalism. Holiday shows how he got free publicity for his clients by feeding bloggers’ insatiable hunger for new content. He provided fake stories, stage-managed controversy and orchestrated leaks. You can pull this off easily, he says, because few bloggers have the time or incentive to check facts or verify sources. Once you get your story on one blog, other hungry bloggers will pick it up and it can spread to traditional media. Holiday warns that these practices create hazards for marketers. Blogs have the power to ruin reputations, tarnish brands, scuttle stock prices and incite violence. Holiday offers a frightening insider’s portrait of a new era of yellow journalism. getAbstract recommends his analysis as survival reading for journalists, blog readers, bloggers, marketers and PR professionals.

About the Author

Ryan Holiday is the best-selling author of The Obstacle Is the Way, Ego Is the Enemy and other books about marketing, culture and the human condition. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared everywhere from the Columbia Journalism Review to Fast Company. His company, Brass Check, has advised companies such as Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as Grammy award-winning musicians and some of the biggest authors in the world. Holiday lives in Austin, Texas.


Manipulating the Media

The fast-paced, high-pressure world of online journalism is a ripe target for anyone seeking free publicity. To make money, blogs must consistently generate a high number of page views, and to do that, they must constantly post new content. Blog writers perpetually forage for story ideas on other blogs, in comment sections, on Twitter, and in press releases and tips that publicists send them. Their top priority is finding stories that inspire clicks. Truth and accuracy are secondary. Once you learn what kind of items bloggers regard as clickbait, feeding them story ideas that benefit your venture or cause is easy.

The World of Blogs

The term “blog” encompasses a wide range of online publications, including small operations that focus on local news or special interests; sites that use multiple writers, like Huffington Post; and the online presence of legacy media such as Newsweek or CBS.

Blogs make money by selling advertising “impressions.” They host ads on their pages, and bill advertisers according to the number of users who view the page. It doesn’t matter if the users read the article – when they click the ...

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