Like slowing down to watch as you drive by a highway accident or being sucked into an extended viewing of “fail” videos during your lunch break, reading Ryan Holiday’s Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator won’t make you feel good about the world, but once you start reading it is very hard to turn away. The book scandalizes the new media culture by illustrating how the incessant need for fresh new content to feed millions of blogs, the mindless chasing of “pageviews” that is drives bloggers to publish first and verify (or not) later, and an utter lack of anything resembling journalistic integrity allows Holiday, and presumably many others like him, to easily manipulate the media for fun and profit. The first half of the book is basically a how-to guide for new media manipulation as Holiday recounts the ethically corrupt behavior that helped him push Fratire author Tucker Max to the top of bestseller lists and create an almost perpetual buzz around the company American Apparel that has translated into millions of dollars in profit. Most of the exploits that Holiday writes of are completely verifiable, he names names and gives dates, and he does give lip service to having regrets about his actions. But it is hard to feel anything but contempt for Holiday as he uses the second half of the book to indict the world of fast news and our meme-a-minute craving culture, yet continues to exploit and work in the very culture he condemns. Going so far as to push his book into the media spotlight using the very techniques that he "confesses" to in the book. It's a very confusing world we live in. But questioning Mr. Holiday’s motives is very silly when he tells you he is lying in the title, yet I did find this book utterly fascinating and would recommend it to anyone interested in media and the influence of popular culture on the new journalism.
Trust Me, I'm Lying