Caprese Chicken

The dish hails from the little island off the coast of Naples. Some say it  appeared in the 20th century to appease the palates of vacationing royalty. Some also say it was a patriotic creation, with the colorful ingredients carefully arranged on the plate in homage to the Italian flag. Most commonly seen as an appetizer, in Italy.

Caprese Chicken is meant to showcase the absolute best ingredients Italy has to offer.  Truly a taste of Italy!

  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds broccoli, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Roma tomato, sliced
2 sprigs basil, leaves thinly chopped
  • 4 slices fresh mozzarella
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Slice the chicken breasts in half and then season and tenderize with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • Whisk together balsamic vinegar, mustard, brown sugar and olive oil.
  • Toss half with the broccoli and spread out onto a sheet pan.
  • Sprinkle with salt and roast for 25 minutes, shaking midway.
  • Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.
  • Brush with some oil and then grill chicken on both sides for about 2 minutes.
  • Transfer chicken to the oven and cook for another 8 to 10 minutes.
  • In the last 2 minutes of cooking, add a slice of mozzarella to each chicken breast.
  • When chicken is done, top cheese with a basil leaf and tomato slice. Drizzle with rest of the sauce, and enjoy.


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10 Signs You’re Way More Intelligent Than You Realize

If you’ve ever thought to yourself: “Hey I’m like a smart person”. You just might be smarter than you think.

I’d like to thank for this amazing video.

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9567054 Go ahead you know you want to..

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Serves: 4


  • 4 tablespoons reduced fat butter (or Ghee)
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice (or juice of half a lemon)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 Salmon Fillets
  • Sea salt
  • Lemon wedges (to serve)


  1. Preheat your oven to grill/broil settings on medium-high heat.
  2. Place butter in an oven-proof pan/skillet (or a normal frying pan if you don’t have one).
  3. Cook over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally for about 3 minutes, or until the butter begins to change color.
  4. Add the honey and lemon juice; stir well to combine and allow to simmer for a further 2 minutes to combine all of the flavors together.
  5. Add the garlic and cook for an extra minute or so until the garlic is fragrant. )

    (By this stage, the butter will have an almost nutty fragrance and turned a golden brown.

  6. Remove half of the browned butter from the pan (liquid only) and reserve for later.
  7. Add the salmon steaks over the butter in the pan; sear each fillet (skin-side down if there’s any skin) for 2-3 minutes or until golden.
  8. Flip each fillet; transfer the pan to your oven (or keep frying them in your frying pan until cooked to your liking) to grill/broil for a further 6-8 minute.
  9. To serve, season with salt to taste; drizzle with the reserved brown butter sauce. Serve with steamed vegetables; over rice or with a salad.

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The 4 keys to finding ambition


We’re told we should just be happy with what we have… but there’s a difference between being happy and being satisfied. I’m happy. But I’m still hungry.

Ambition is GOOD.

If you want to live a Rich Life, you must be ambitious. In fact, not only is ambition OK, it’s required for living a Rich Life.

If someone hasn’t achieved success or reached their potential, others love to say that “they just don’t want it enough.” If only they truly cared, they say, they would obviously rise to the top, just like other people did.

Now, sometimes that’s true. I wrote a blog post on laziness because it really does hold people back. But often times, the issue isn’t a lack of ambition: It’s a lack of direction. We don’t know where to start to become ambitious.

Let me share how I think about ambition. This clip is from my Success Triggers course. Watch this — I think it’ll challenge your views:

Now, let’s break down the 4 keys to ambition:

Ambition key #1: Create the environment for ambition

Are you surrounding yourself with positive people? People who not only support what you do, but who also have ambition to improve themselves?

For a lot of us, we don’t have anyone like this at all.

When I was growing up, I didn’t know anyone who was interested in self-development. As I got older, I started to meet people who would read self-help books, who didn’t think it was weird to be improving their finances, career, health, or relationships.

Finding like-minded people changed everything.

Do you have those people? If not, brainstorm a list of 3 places you might find people with ambition. Here’s a few ideas to get you started:

  • In an online forum around a topic you’re interested in
  • In an online course or community
  • At an offline class or seminar
  • At the gym
  • At an online or offline meetup in your industry

ACTION STEP: In the next 14 days, I challenge you to do two things:

1. Connect with ONE ambitious person. Join one of the communities mentioned above and connect with one ambitious person. You’ll find it’s much easier than you think.

2. Read ONE book about ambition. Pick something that will help you become more ambitious. It could be:

  • An inspirational book
  • A tactical book
  • A profile or biography of a successful person

(Not sure where to start? Pick up one of these.)

Ambition key #2: Set big, specific goals

I have hundreds of readers email me each week with their goals. They’ll say something like, “I have this web app. It has 1,000 users and by the end of the year I want to have 1,300 users.”

I’ll respond: “That’s it? Your entire goal is to go from 1,000 free users, to 1,300!?”

The fact of the matter is so many of us set these very tepid goals because we’re afraid of committing to something bigger. What if we fail?

A top performer thinks bigger.

Knowing how to set effective goals means you can actually afford to be ambitious. So instead of saying, “I’m going to run on the treadmill for 18 minutes,” trying saying, “You know what? I’m going to do it for 45.”

Succeeding isn’t easy. If it were, everyone would be successful. But just because something is hard doesn’t mean it also has to be confusing.

No matter what your goal is, someone has achieved it and laid out a step-by-step roadmap covering the major steps.

This is critical. Success can’t be an abstraction — it needs to be a PROCESS.

I sat down with my friend Noah Kagan, who is the master at setting and achieving goals. Watch the counterintuitive way he sets his goals:

ACTION STEP: Watch the short clip above and then decide: What is your ONE goal? Write it down and add one step you can take today to achieve it.

Ambition key #3: Prepare for naysayers

Have you noticed that when you try to improve yourself, you get lots of weird reactions?

When I was in my early 20s, I wanted to dress better. One of my friends knew all about fashion, and I finally listened to her advice and went shopping with her. She was amazing — I’ve never forgotten how she taught me all these things in one trip:

  • “Don’t even look at the price tag until you know if you like it” (You only want to get a few key pieces, so focus on loving something first, then think about price)
  • “Wow, that looks AWESOME!” (I was nervous about trying on anything different, but her enthusiasm made me feel better)
  • “No, you don’t have to match your shoes with your belt” (Know the rules, but the very best break them all the time — on purpose)

Here’s the weird part: The first time I hung out with my friends wearing my new clothes, they looked at me like I was an alien. Any guy who’s ever worn something different around his friends will know the reactions I got. “Dude, where are you going?” “Are you gay?” “What is that, a cardigan?”

It took me a long time to get comfortable with that reaction — and that’s just clothes. Now I can wear a bow tie or a leather coat with crazy sneakers, and I love it. also rock a grass skirt.

Imagine trying to do something that’s even more “weird.” Starting a business. Reading different books.

In theory, all our friends and family want to support us trying new things. But when it comes down to it, how come so many people want us to be the same?

You have to remember why people argue with you when you start to become more ambitious. For most people, it reflects on them that they are not being as ambitious as you are.

ACTION STEP: Take your one goal from the previous action step. What’s the ONE area where the people around you might not be supportive? Specifically, what would they say?

For example…

  • If you change your diet: “Why are you eating like a bird? You should enjoy life”
  • If you decide to find a better job: “You should just feel lucky you have a job in this economy”
  • If you tell them you’re reading online self-development: “That sounds like a scam. Why would you read that?”

(By the way, if you’re your own worst critic, you can include yourself here!)

Then predict what the skeptics and naysayers — perhaps including yourself — will say so when they do, you know how to handle it.

Be specific. Include exactly how you could handle their skepticism.

Ambition key #4: Stay motivated over time

Motivation is always fleeting. So how can we make changes for the long term? How can we continue being ambitious when we don’t “feel like it”?

Instead of looking for a long-term fix in the form of “motivation,” you can make systematic behavior changes that you can sustain. I talk about the exact steps to take to stay motivated in my free videoHow to Stay Motivated Over Time.

Just enter your information below, and you’ll get instant access to this 6-minute video to learn the right and wrong way to use motivation to fuel your ambitions.

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11 Mistakes Standing Between You and Your First Million


Entrepreneur and Connector

JULY 27, 2016

I’ve been a millionaire three separate times in my life. The first time I saw $1,000,000 in my bank account, I almost fainted. Even though I knew it was hitting my account, it still caught me off guard.

Becoming a millionaire isn’t as far-fetched as you would believe. With dedication, patience, and focus, becoming a millionaire is completely obtainable. If I can do it, anyone can.

The hardest part? Actually reaching your first million. After that, everything else falls in place. But why is it so difficult to reach your first million? I find that most people are pretty close, but hold themselves back with the following mentalities:

1. You’re not thinking the right way.

As Napoleon Hill discovered in his landmark 1937 book “Think and Grow Rich,” wealthy individuals think differently than the average person. After interviewing 1,200 of the wealthiest individuals in the world, self-made millionaire Steve Siebold agrees with Hill’s findings. They include:

The rich believe poverty is the root of all evil.

Selfish can be a virtue.
They have an action mentality.
The rich acquire specific knowledge.
They dream about the future.
They follow their passion.
The rich enjoy challenges.
They use other people’s money.
Millionaires focus on earning, not saving.
They know when to take risks.

In short, if you want to become a millionaire, start changing the way you think about money and success.

2. Being too concerned about perfection.

Here’s one of the most important and valuable lessons I’ve learned in life — nothing is perfect. The sooner you accept that, the sooner you can move forward, instead of being stuck in a place.

If you’re starting a business, the more time you spend perfecting your product or service, the more time your competitors have to tap into your market and take away potential customers. Don’t hesitate to experiment. Get to market as soon as you can. You can always work out the kinks later while you’re still making a profit.

3. Spending everything you make.

You just received a fat six-figure check. It’s tempting to go out and buy a luxury car. The thing is, wealthy people know how to live below their means, as opposed to spending everything that they just made. Many wealthy people, like Warren Buffett, live in modest homes and drive practical cars.

4. Setting unrealistic expectations.

While the wealthy definitely dream big, they also set realistic expectations. They’re well aware that they’re not going to become millionaires overnight. It takes a lot of hard work and patience to achieve their goals.

As any marathon runner will tell you, you can’t expect to run 26 miles without the proper training and conditioning. Review the progress you’ve already made and where you’re headed.

5. Following others blindly.

It can be incredibly beneficial to seek mentors or read words of wisdom from those who have struck it rich. The thing is, what worked for them may not work for you. For example, launching a company like Apple or Microsoft may not work today. So, following how Jobs and Gates became successful step-by-step isn’t going to help your subscription-based cleaning service

Understand what works for you and your business and how you can be successful in that industry.

6. Relying too much on plastic.

Credit cards can be useful if you need to build your credit or invest in your business — as long as you’re smart with how you use them. It’s incredibly easy to get yourself into credit card debt. That means that instead of making wise investments or putting money into your business, you’re busy paying off your credit card bills with those high interest rates.

7. Plan for the long run.

The wealthy have a knack for always looking and planning for the future. They know where they want to go and what it will take for them to achieve success. This allows them to anticipate any obstacles and have a plan in place to handle those challenges.

If you are starting a new business venture, you need to have a long-term plan that addresses how to attract and retain clients and customers and outlines how you’re different from the competition.

8. Spending time with the wrong people.

The rich don’t waste their time by associating with the wrong crowd. I’m talking about the naysayers and negative people who keep telling you that you can’t achieve your dreams, or the people who are using your success to their advantage.

Instead, the rich spend time with like-minded people who are driven, passionate and are thinking about how amazing their future is going to be. They are always building their brand.

9. Doing everything yourself.

Despite wearing multiple hats and being a jack-of-all trades, it’s impossible to do everything on your own. Let’s say that you just launched a startup. You need to hire talented individuals who enhance your strengths and pick-up the slack in your weaker areas.

Learn how to outsource and delegate the tasks that you’re not familiar with or aren’t as strong in. This is one the secrets that entrepreneurs rarely tell you, but it’s essential if you want your business to grow.

10. Not being in the right place at the right time.

Whether it’s making an investment or starting a business, timing and location is everything.

Take Ryan Graves, for example. He simply tweeted “hire me : )” to Travis Kalanick in 2010. Graves became Uber’s first employee, then the company’s head of global operations. He’s estimated to have $1.4 billion in equity.

Instead of daydreaming, seize the opportunities that are right in front of you.

11. You don’t believe in yourself.

What’s the biggest thing holding you back from becoming successful? It’s probably the fact that you don’t believe in yourself. Instead of second-guessing every move you make, trust your gut and go with your intuition instead of waiting for insights from those around you.

As Dale Carnegie once said, “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

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The mechanics of subtle discrimination: measuring ‘microaggresson’

Many people don’t even realize that they are discriminating based on race or gender. And they won’t believe that their unconscious actions have consequences until they see scientific evidence. Here it is.

Author: Tom Stafford

The country in which I live has laws forbidding discrimination on the grounds of ethnicity, religion, sexuality or sex. We’ve come a long way since the days when the reverse was true – when homosexuality was illegal, for instance, or when women were barred from voting. But this doesn’t mean that prejudice is over, of course. Nowadays we need to be as concerned about subtle strains of prejudice as the kind of loud-mouthed racism and sexism that makes us ashamed of the past.

Subtle prejudice is the domain of unjustified assumptions, dog-whistles, and plain failure to make the effort to include people who are different from ourselves, or who don’t fit our expectations. One word for the expressions of subtle prejudice is ‘microaggressions’. These are things such as repeating a thoughtless stereotype, or too readily dismissing someone’s viewpoint – actions that may seem unworthy of comment, but can nevertheless marginalise an individual.

The people perpetrating these microaggressions may be completely unaware that they hold a prejudiced view. Psychologists distinguish between our explicit attitudes – which are the beliefs and feelings we’ll admit to – and our implicit attitudes – which are our beliefs and feelings which are revealed by our actions. So, for example, you might say that you are not a sexist, you might even say that you are anti-sexist, but if you interrupt women more than men in meetings you would be displaying a sexist implicit attitude – one which is very different from that non-sexist explicit attitude you profess.

‘Culture of victimhood’

The thing about subtle prejudice is that it is by definition subtle – lots of small differences in how people are treated, small asides, little jibes, ambiguous differences in how we treat one person compared to another. This makes it hard to measure, and hard to address, and – for some people – hard to take seriously.

This is the sceptical line of thought: when people complain about being treated differently in small ways they are being overly sensitive, trying to lay claim to a culture of victimhood. Small differences are just that – small. They don’t have large influences on life outcomes and aren’t where we should focus our attention.

Now you will have your own intuitions about that view, but my interest is in how you could test the idea that a thousand small cuts do add up. A classic experiment on the way race affects our interactions shows not only the myriad ways in which race can affect how we treat people, but shows in a clever way that even the most privileged of us would suffer if we were all subjected to subtle discrimination.

In the early 1970s, a team led by Carl Word at Princeton University recruited white students for an experiment they were told was about assessing the quality of job candidates. Unbeknown to them, the experiment was really about how they treated the supposed job candidates, and whether this was different based on whether they were white or black.

Despite believing their task was to find the best candidate, the white recruits treated candidates differently based on their race – sitting further away from them, and displaying fewer signs of engagement such as making eye-contact or leaning in during the conversation. Follow-up work more recently has shown that this is still true and that these nonverbal signs of friendliness weren’t related to their explicit attitudes, so operate independently from the participants’ avowed beliefs about race and racism.

So far the Princeton experiment probably doesn’t tell anyone who has been treated differently because of their race anything they didn’t know from painful experience. The black candidates in this experiment were treated less well than the white candidates, not just in the nonverbal signals the interviewers gave off, but they were given 25% less time during the interviews on average as well. This alone would be an injustice, but how big a disadvantage is it to be treated like this?


Word’s second experiment gives us a handle on this. After collecting these measurements of nonverbal behaviour the research team recruited some new volunteers and trained them to react in the manner of the original experimental subjects. That is, they were trained to treat interview candidates as the original participants had treated white candidates: making eye contact, smiling, sitting closer, allowing them to speak for longer. And they were also trained to produce the treatment the black candidates received: less eye contact, fewer smiles and so on. All candidates were to be treated politely and fairly, with only the nonverbal cues varying.

Next, the researchers recruited more white Princeton undergraduates to play the role of job candidates, and they were randomly assigned to be nonverbally treated like the white candidates in the first experiment, or like the black candidates.

The results allow us to see the self-fulfilling prophecy of discrimination. The candidates who received the “black” nonverbal signals delivered a worse interview performance, as rated by independent judges. They made far more speech errors, in the form of hesitations, stutters, mistakes and incomplete sentences, and they chose to sit further away from the interviewer following a mid-interview interruption which caused them to retake their chairs.

It isn’t hard to see that in a winner-takes-all situation like a job interview, such differences could be enough to lose you a job opportunity. What’s remarkable is that the participants’ performance had been harmed by nonverbal differences of the kind that many of us might produce without intending or realising. Furthermore, the effect was seen in students from Princeton University, one of the world’s elite universities. If even a white, privileged elite suffers under this treatment we might expect even larger effects for people who don’t walk into high-pressure situations with those advantages.

Experiments like these don’t offer the whole truth about discrimination. Problems like racism are patterned by so much more than individual attitudes, and often supported by explicit prejudice as well as subtle prejudice. Racism will affect candidates before, during and after job interviews in many more ways than I’ve described. What this work does show is one way in which, even with good intentions, people’s reactions to minority groups can have powerful effects. Small differences can add up.


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Lawsuit Accuses Hormel Of Using Meaningless ‘Natural’ Label On Deli Mea

June 30, 2016By

When you see a label that says “natural” on your meat, you might make some assumptions about what’s in it. Doesn’t that label mean meat that doesn’t have preservatives or artificial colors, that comes from animals raised without growth-promoting hormones or antibiotics? Well, no, it doesn’t necessarily mean that, and a recent lawsuit from the Animal Legal Defense Fund calls Hormel out on its labeling.

Yes, that’s the same Hormel that owns organic meat brand Applegate Farms, but this lawsuit is about Hormel’s own trendy Natural Choice line of lunch meats. The suit, filed by animal rights group the Animal Legal Defense Fund, asks why the line is marketed as having the features customers expect in “natural” products, but contains plant-derived preservatives and comes from the same meat supply as Hormel’s other products.


“Contrary to Hormel’s branding campaign,” the ALDF explained in a press release explaining the lawsuit, “meats the company advertises as ‘natural’ actually [come] from animals raised in the worst factory farms that employ additives, hormones and antibiotics, and contain ingredients that constitute artificial preservatives.”

Like what? The group claims that the pacakging claims meats are free of nitrates and nitrites, common processed meat preservatives, but that Hormel uses celery juice powder, a product that sounds natural, but is just a rich source of nitrate. Another natural-sounding additive, cherry powder, combines with the nitrate to form sodium nitrate. They didn’t add any nitrates or nitrites, though!


The lawsuit especially focuses on the company’s pork products, since the ALDF recently posted undercover videos from a Hormel plant. The group claims that pigs that become Hormel’s Natural Choice bacon come from the same supply as Hormel’s regular bacon, and that these pigs are treated with growth-promoting hormones and sub-therapeutic but growth-promoting doses of antibiotics.

The group alleges that Hormel is breaking District of Columbia consumer protection law, and filed their suit in Washington.

What’s ‘All Natural’ Meat? Hormel is About to Find Out [Bloomberg]


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Serves: 4


Steaks of your choice ( used beef sirloin tip), 1 inch thicksteak seasoning ( used Montreal Steak Spice, but simple salt and pepper will also do) 1 tablespoon vegetable oilSalad
 6 cups arugula
 6 oz (1 cup) raspberries
 6 oz (1 cup) blueberries
 1 cup strawberries, sliced ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled ¼ cup slivered almonds
 Balsamic Vinaigrette ¼ cup balsamic vinegar ¼ cup olive oil 3 teaspoons sugar ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
 salt and pepper.
 Heat oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Wait until the oil is very hot, it will be shimmering.
 Add the steak to the pan, do not touch it. Cook for 5 minutes, flip, and cook for another 3 minutes.
 Transfer the steak to a plate and allow to rest for 5 minutes before cutting into strips Salad
 While the steak rests, combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl.
 Shake together all vinaigrette ingredients in a small shaker, then pour over the salad and toss to coat evenly.
 To Serve
 Divide the salad into 4 bowls, and top with steak.

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Burger King Unleashes “Mac n’ Cheetos,” Which Is Exactly What It Sounds Like

If you’ve ever looked at a plate of glowing, orange-ish mac and cheese and thought, “Hey, this looks a bit like a Cheeto… they should put mac and cheese inside of huge Cheetos… where’s my shoe?” then Burger King has apparently been reading your mind, announcing the test of, what else, “Mac n’ Cheetos.”

Burger King debuted the concoction on Wednesday, describing it as a portable snack mashup as a “dangerously cheesy re-imagination” that combines creamy mac n’ cheese covered with crispy Cheetos flavor.

The unholy fast food combination — which looks like a typical Cheeto only stuffed with macaroni noodles and a cheese sauce — will be available at unspecified participating Burger King restaurants for a limited time starting June 27, and will be sold in orders of five pieces for $2.49.

Mac N Cheetos Box

Burger King says the new snack item is for anyone who “wished they could eat warm mac n’ cheese like they do a bag of chips.” Totally appealing, no?

This, of course, isn’t the first time we’ve seen companies combine traditional meals with popular chip flavors.

In fact, Burger King’s new creation brings back memories of that time we tried 7-Eleven’s Doritos-cheese stick hybrid: the Doritos Loaded.

While the convenience store took the snack on the road to more locations after about four months of testing, our own (unscientific) experience with the item was described as a “place where Doritos and cheese sticks go to die.”

Perhaps we have Taco Bell to blame for the chip-snack-cheese mashup. The company kicked off the chip-flavored trend with the cheesy nacho-flavored Doritos Locos Taco back in 2011, and its other iterations, the Cool Ranch andFiery Doritos tacos.

Taco Bell obviously wasn’t done with its love affair of chips, either, as the company began testing a Cheetos filled Crunchwrap slider in Canada earlier this year.

Here Are  The Votes!

I’d eat that 62.48%  


Meh 10.98%  


Vomit 26.54%  


Trust Me I’m Lying — Book Summary

Trust Me I’m Lying — Book Summary

Ryan Holiday works as the Director of Marketing at American Apparel. While working at American Apparel is his day job, he also advises many bestselling authors and multi-platinum musicians, people like Tucker Max and Robert Greene, in the art of media manipulation.

Holiday has written a new book titled Trust Me I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator. The book is split into two sections, the first about how Ryan exploits the media—blogs in particular—to get press and the second, a more detailed view of these exploitations and his change of heart in using these tactics.

For a basic understanding of how Holiday exploits the media, think of a chain where each link represents a media outlet. At the top are BBC and CNN and the bottom are bloggers for local websites. Ryan starts at the bottom with the bloggers who will do little fact-checking and once the story has run there, he calls the next media outlet up the chain. In a process he calls “iterative journalism” each subsequent contact assumes that since it’s run on the other sites it must be true and verified, so they also run the story without fact-checking. Using this process he’s able to create a lot of buzz, even in national publications, for his clients.

An example of this type of exploitation was when Holiday was promoting a movie for Tucker Max. Ryan went in the middle of the night to vandalize a billboard advertising the moving—that Ryan and Tucker paid for—to make it look like someone was angry about the movie’s release. Ryan took pictures of his own vandalism and sent them to a local blogger using a fake email. The blogger ran the story and Holiday started his process of moving the story up the chain until it was on national TV.

Don’t assume this type of manipulation only works with people like Tucker Max. The same scam works whether the end goal is to sell books or to get donations for a charity. In one case Holiday advised a charity to create a video exaggerating the elements of the charities work. An article was then written for a small blog in Brooklyn with the video embedded. A little while later the Huffington Post picked up the article and an email was sent to a CBS reporter in Los Angeles who ran it on TV using clips from the video.

The underlying problem—the reason the media is so easily manipulated—is the news-blog business model. Since blogs make their money from advertisements and ads are bought on an impression basis, blog owners are only concerned with page views.

Revenue = Advertising x Traffic

“Publishers and Advertisers can’t differentiate between the types of impressions an ad does on a site. So long as the page loads and the ads are seen, both sides are fulfilling their purpose. A click is a click.” “Knowing this, blogs do everything they can to increase [traffic]. Every decision a publisher makes is ruled by one dictum: traffic by any means.”

Holiday goes through a series of tactics describing how he accomplished his PR and media storms.

Tactic #1: Bloggers Are Poor; Help Pay Their Bills

Ryan talks in this first tactic about how hard it is for bloggers to make any real money and knowing this, uses it against them. Business Insider, run by Henry Blodget, says “[a]n employee making $60,000 a year needs to produce 1.8 million page views a month, every month, or they’re out.” And since 1.8 million pageviews is really, really hard, these bloggers are all too willing to take freebies.

You can see the exploitative loopholes here, I’m sure. So how do bloggers make any real money—a livable wage? The easiest way is to build a name for themselves and sell that name. “Once a blogger builds a personal brand—through scoops of controversy or major stories—they can expect a cushy job at a magazine or start-up desperate for the credibility and buzz that these attributes offer.”

Ryan then goes through a few examples of people who’ve done exactly this, a CNET blogger who got a job at Google or the Wonkette editor who got jobs at, MSNBC, and Playboy. Holiday then suggests that if you want these journalists to write about you, you need to get to them before they’re famous. “For my part, I’ve lost track of the bloggers whose names I have helped make by giving them big stories (favorable and to my liking) and watched transition into bigger gigs at magazines, newspapers, and editorships at major blogs. In fact, the other day I was driving in Los Angeles and noticed a billboard on La Cienega Boulevard with nothing but a large face on it: the face of a video blogger who I’d started giving free clothes to back when his videos did a few thousand views apiece. Now his videos do millions of views, and he has a show on HBO. If you invest early in a blogger, you can buy your influence very cheaply.”

Tactic #2: Tell Them What They Want to Hear

This tactic can best be summed with this: The Deliberate Leak.

Once during a lawsuit I needed to get some information into the public discussion of it, so I dashed off a fake internal memo, printed it out, scanned it, and sent the file to a bunch of blogs as if I were an employee leaking a “memo we’d just gotten from our boss.” The same bloggers who were uninterested in the facts when I informed them directly gladly put up EXCLUSIVE! and LEAKED! posts about it. They could tell my side of the story because I told it to them in words they wanted to hear. More people saw it than ever would have had I issued an “official statement.”

Holiday then goes on to talk about how Press Releases can be used word-for-word in articles written on news blogs and how Wikipedia can be used to exaggerate the truth and then, once a blogger writes about it, citation added to create a “new truth.”

Tactic #3: Give Them What Spreads, Not What’s Good

In this tactic Holiday talks, mostly, about two sets of Detroit photographs. One of decaying, abandoned buildings—iconic buildings like the United Arts Theater and Michigan Central Station—and the other of foreclosed houses and their haggard residents. The set of photos without people spread while the set with people and animals didn’t and Ryan spends the chapter talking about why this happened and how it can be used by media manipulators to get their messages to spread.

Tactic #4: Help Them Trick Their Readers

In this chapter, Ryan talks about how, in the hunt for page views, blog owners will go to great lengths to get their articles clicks and even greater lengths to get comments. “The best way to get online coverage is to tee a blogger up with a story that will obviously generate comments (or votes, or shares, or whatever). This impossible maze of page views [generated in the sign-up process] is so lucrative that bloggers can’t help but try to lure readers into it.

Building on what he talked about in the last chapter with getting people emotionally evolved enough to bump page views, he had this to say about getting his articles noticed by journalists.

When I want Gawker or other blogs to write about my clients I intentionally exploit their ambivalence about deceiving people. If I am giving them an official comment on behalf of a client, I leave room for them to speculate by not fully addressing the issue. If I am creating the story as a fake tipster, I ask a lot of rhetorical questions: Could [some preposterous misreading of the situation] be what’s going on? Do you think that [juicy scandal] is what they’re hiding?

Tactic #5: Sell Them Something They Can Sell (Exploit The One-Off Problem)

According to Holiday, he got a lot of inspiration for the tactics he uses “by reading books like The Harder They FallandAll the King’s Men, which are about press agents and media fixers for powerful politicians and criminals of many years ago.” Along with these books, he took case studies of the Yellow Press of the mid-to-late 1800’s. “You want to know how to con bloggers today? Look at media hoaxes from before your grandparents were born. The same things will play. They may even play better now.”

Online publishers know “[p]eople don’t read one blog[,] [t]hey read a constant assortment of many blogs, and so there is little incentive to build trust.” Holiday knows that publishers know this, so when he sends his tips or “leaks,” he makes sure to include some type of sensationalism, extremism, sex, scandal or hatred and plays on the one-off nature of how news is read online.

Tactic #6: Make It All About The Headline

For Media that lives and dies by clicks it all comes down to the headline. It’s what catches the attention of the public—yelled by a newsboy or seen on a search engine.

Since you’re reading this review on a blog it should be no surprise to you that headlines are important online. It’s unlikely you found this on Google News, but let’s use that platform as an example. Google News displays twenty or so news stories. You may read one article, or you may read five, but it’s unlikely you’ll read them all, so each one vies for your attention.

The thing to keep in mind is, when pitching an idea, article or “leak,” you need to keep in mind the potential to make a good headline. Although the headline doesn’t need to be a complete representation of what’s inside the article because “[o]utside of the subscription model, headlines are not intended to represent the contents of articles but to sell them—to win the fight for attention…”

Tactic #7: Kill’em With Pageview Kindness

If you want your brand to continue to get coverage with a blog, you’ll need to prove you can deliver page views. “Once your story has gotten coverage, one of the best ways to turn yourself into a favorite and regular subject is to make it clear your story is a reliable traffic draw. If you’re a brand, then post the story to your company Twitter and Facebook accounts and put it on your website. This inflates the stats in your favor and encourages more coverage down the road.”

If you don’t have much of a Twitter following, or you don’t want to publish the article to your audience, you can create your own buzz. “Blogs are so afraid of silence that the flimsiest of evidence can confirm they’re on the right track. You can provide this by leaving fake comments to articles about you or your company from blocked IP addresses—good and bad to make it clear that there is a hot debate. Send fake emails to the reporter, positive and negative. This rare kind of feedback cements the impression that you or your company make for high-valence material, and the blog should be covering you.”

And failing any of this, you can just buy the traffic. “At the penny-per-click rates of StumbleUpon and Outbrain, one hundred dollars means a rush of one thousand people or more—illusory confirmations to the blogger that you are newsworthy. The stat counters on these sites make no distinctions between fake and real views, nor does anyone care enough to dig deep into the sources of traffic.”

Tactic #8: Use the Technology Against Itself

Tactic 8 is rather bazaar—or perhaps I don’t understand it. The chapter talks about how the shorter the article the better it is likely to do online. That online, people aren’t willing to read more than about 800 words—about three pages.

Holiday talks about how the constant requirement to publish also keeps the articles short because “no one wants to be the fool who wasted his or her time working on something nobody read.” And since posts are on the front page for only a few minutes at most news blogs, bloggers keep the word count down. Although I fail to see how Holiday uses this against the bloggers.

Tactic #9: Just Make Stuff Up (Everyone Else is Doing It)

In this chapter Holiday talks about how to get your mole-hill to be seen as a mountain. “Give a blogger an illusionary twenty-minute head start over other media sources, and they’ll write whatever you want[…]” What you want published doesn’t have to be big, relevant or even true but by manufacturing urgency, blogs will publish anything you want.

And if you’re having trouble getting bloggers to bite, you might try craigslist:

A writer for the Mediabistro blog 10,000 Wordsonce advised new bloggers that they could find good material by scanning community bulletin boards on craigslist for “what people are complaining about these days.” I’m not a sociologist, but I’m pretty sure that doesn’t qualify as representative news. Considering that anyone can post anything on craigslist, this gives me a pretty good idea of how to create some fake local news. If they don’t mind seeing what isn’t there, I’m happy to help.

Book Two

I stopped watching news TV and reading newspapers and news-magazines around 2006. When people ask me about it, I say that most of the “news” isn’t applicable to me and it’s not actionable—meaning I can’t do anything with the information. On top of that, 95% or more of what is written is negative and I feel much happier since removing it from my daily routine.

If you think this is crazy-talk and feel you need to stay informed, the second half of the book is filled with case studies and examples of people manipulating the media to promote their business or themselves. It shows how most of the news is fabricated or, at least, embellished to get page views on blogs and how big news outlets get their stories from these online publishers.

If you’re looking for some new ways to promote your business, I wouldn’t follow Holiday’s actions in this book strictly—as he talks at length about how these tactics can come back to bit you. But you can learn from his tactics and alter them to fit your business—and hopefully alter them to be more ethical.

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