Trust Me, I’m Lying PDF [Book Short]

Today I’m introducing the weekly Actionable Book Short. Where my goal is to introduce you to key concepts of a book to shift your perspective on the world.

These shorts are in no way meant to replace actually reading the book, but hey, we don’t always have time to do so, so hopefully, this gives you the relevant essence of the material. If you find the material interesting, I highly recommend picking up a copy of the book on a site like Amazon.

Let’s jump right in.

The book today is Trust me I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator, written by Ryan Holiday.

In the new world of Fake News and Alternative Facts, at some point we need to step back and ask, how is this possible?

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This book is the blueprint.

As the billionaire philosopher Charlie Munger says, “Follow the incentives.” More so how does the news media machine make money? And by media machine, I’m talking about blogs, websites, cable and national news programs, and the like.

Follow the Money

Well, who pays them? Those who buy ads. If you want to sell more ads, you better have content that interesting enough to keep people watching for a long time.

That means these entities are incentivized to create news that gets the most views, rather than report on that which is most newsworthy.

Is it any wonder why we have 24/7 news all over the place? I mean seriously, is there that much shit going on all the time? At some point is it really “Breaking News” Wolf Blitzer?

I think not.

So what kind of blueprint would this book be without some tactics? Ryan introduces the concept of “climbing up the media ladder.” Say you have a story you want to get on a site such as Forbes, it’s not smart to go directly to an editor at Forbes and cold pitch your story.

It’s smarter to start lower on the food chain such as a small blog. They’re the lowest on the totem pole, which means they’re the hungriest for a tip or insight that will differentiate them from the masses.

World of the Blogs

Essentially, everyone behind a blog is a person…so stroke their egos. For example, you could email, 26-year-old Bob who running his semi-popular personal finance blog something like “Hey Bob, I was going to bring this story to (insert random competing financial blog), but I feel your readers would enjoy it more.” Then hope he picks it up.

If your story is good enough to get picked up by one or two Bobs out there, At some point, you can use them to pitch a medium size blog because you now have credibility and traction for your story.

From there keep going up the ladder. Bigger blogs like Huffington Post, Forbes, or Jezebel are constantly looking for new stories to put in front of readers to get more paid advertising money.

They take “social proof”, aka blogs posting your story or content as vetted material…so who did the vetting? Did Bob do the vetting? Maybe if you call copy and paste from your email to his site vetting…sub par at best.

So what happens if you have money and employees who can create their own small or medium size blogs and provide all the social proof necessary to feed to the big entities like ABC, NBC, Fox? I’ll let you ponder that.

So who is Ryan Holiday and how does he know his shit? He used to be the Director of Marketing for American Apparel and did this for a living. This book contains a bunch of stories of how he was able to plant stories for the benefit of that company for an essentially free press.

Lastly, I want to close this podcast with some kind of actionable nugget for you to chew on.

Actionable Nugget

Today’s is, how would your life improve if you only allowed yourself no more than 5 minutes of news consumption per day?

For me, I like it so much I stopped watching local and national news entirely and only allow myself a few minutes of Google News to see the top 5 stories of the day, then I’m done.

So yea, try it for a week and let me know.

If you enjoyed this podcast, please let me know by subscribing and reviewing it on iTunes. I’ll do my best to get one of these book shorts out each week and if you have any book recommendations, be sure to let me know on my site, FuckingRead.com/podcast.

Until next time, keep thinking.

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