November 25, 2014

“Trust Me I’m Lying” Will Make You Question Everything You Read

Trust Me I'm LyingTrust Me I’m Lying is an assault to the media and the very last thing you should do is read this book.  It’s a full-out insult to your intelligence.  Don’t let your kids read it, don’t let your dog chew it up.  Just DON’T!  In fact, we should have a book burning and use this book for tinder!

Do you want to keep reading?  If this grabbed your attention – then the answer is yes.  Here’s why.

You are Being Manipulated

From the time you open an email, read a blog post, check your twitter stream – your perceptions are being set; not by the information that you are reading, but by the machinations of information consumption pros on the back-end of everything you see, read and hear.

But you knew that.  What you may not have known is exactly how these media pros actually create your impressions.  Believe me, it has nothing to do with subliminal suggestion like we thought back in the 70’s and 80’s.  It has everything to do with knowing the technical and behavioral intricacies and human tendencies of processing information.

Interested?  You should be.  And Trust Me I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator will tell you everything you wanted to know and much of what you wish you didn’t.

Is Ryan Holiday a Reformed Master Media Manipulator?

Ryan Holiday (@RyanHoliday) is a media strategist for many clients and brands.  Some you may have heard of him and others may not.   And if you have heard of him – it’s because of his guerilla PR tactics that build buzz around books, movies and such that would have easily gone the way of the horse buggy were it not for Holiday.

Holiday dropped out of college at the age of 19 so that he could apprentice under Robert Green, author of The 48 Laws of Power.  Holiday is currently the director of marketing at American Apparel, where his work is internationally known.  His campaigns have been used as case studies by Twitter, YouTube and others.  In other words, Holiday is a true master media manipulator that will grab your attention and not let go – even though you want to turn away.

The Media Secrets Revealed In Trust Me I’m Lying Will Make You Sick

Like the proverbial train wreck, you’re going to start reading this book and then you’re going to want to stop.  And then you’re going to read some more because part of you wants to know – and then the other part of you doesn’t.  Holiday plays on this sick human compulsion to see and do exactly what you’ve been told NOT to do.  It’s brilliant.

I received a review copy of this book from the publisher and I have to say they played me but good.  I saw the cover art and the title and was immediately repulsed by the whole thing.  “I’m going to hate this book,” I thought. I’m an optimist at heart and I want to trust and believe in what I’m hearing and reading.  And to think that so many of my opinions have been pre-programmed and influenced by media channels that I want to trust – is just so disheartening.

And at the same time, it’s my job to know about these things.  I also believe in being realistic about “what’s so” inside of communications.  So I reluctantly started reading Trust Me I’m Lying.

Okay, Why Are You Telling Me This?

At first, I didn’t quite understand Holiday’s motivation.  Was he advocating media manipulation or is he trying to inform and educate consumers about how to consume information?  Maybe he’s trying to teach other marketers and communicators how to replicate what he’s done?  Judge for yourself from Holiday’s own words in the introduction:

“I no longer expect to be informed – not when manipulation is so easy for bloggers and marketers to profit from.  I can’t shake the constant suspicion that others are baiting, tricking or cheating me, just as I did to them.  Some of you, by the time you are done reading this book, will probably hate me for ruining it for you too…You may not want me to expose the people behind your favorite web sites as the imbeciles, charlatans and pompous frauds that they are.  But it is a world of many hustlers and you are the mark.  The con is to build a brand off the backs of others.  Your attention and your credibility are what’s stolen.”

Red Pill or Blue Pill – You Decide

As I was reading Trust Me I’m Lying, I couldn’t kick the pill Scene from the movie, The Matrix from my mind:

Morpheus to Neo: “You take the blue pill and the story ends. You wake in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill and you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember — all I am offering is the truth, nothing more.”

Neo takes the red pill and swallows it with a glass of water.

I Wonder Why…

As I mentioned to you earlier, I received this book as a review copy (like so many others) and after reading it, I’m curious now, about the more traditional stance that their marketing is taking.  I guess you can say that I’ve taken the red pill and I’ll be keeping my eyes and ears open for what happens next with Trust Me I’m Lying.

Read this book – and maybe I’ll see you in the media matrix.

3 Comments ▼

Ivana Taylor - Book Editor


Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is Book Editor for Small Business Trends and publisher of DIYMarketers , where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is the President of Third Force, Inc., a marketing firm that specializes in getting your ideal customer to choose you. Ivana is the book editor for Small Business Trends and co-author of the book "Excel for Marketing Managers."

3 Reactions

  1. While I’ll agree he’s a master of getting attention, I question that it’s purely for the brands he represents. He seems to seek and thrive on the personal attention. And given that his tactics are intended to manipulate, I refuse to support such ethics.

  2. Hi Robert – I have to tell you that I was completely conflicted around this book. And I agree with you completely. I’ve also had my eyes opened regarding how people are manipulating what we see and what we think. I’m starting to wonder if the unscrupulous acts of a few will put marketers in the humor spotlight along side lawyers.

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