With patience and resources,” Mr. A would come to say often on his weekly calls with Peter, “we can do almost anything.” Tolstoy had a motto for Field Marshal Mikhail Kutuzov in War and Peace—“ Patience and Time.” “There is nothing stronger than those two,” he said, “. . . they will do it all.” In 1812 and in real life, Kutuzov gave Napoleon an abject lesson in the truth of that during a long Russian winter. The target, Nick Denton, is not a patient man. Most entrepreneurs aren’t. Most powerful people are not. One of his editors would say of Denton’s approach to stories, “Nick is very much of the mind that you do it now. And the emphasis is to get it out there and be correct as you can, but don’t let that stand in the way of getting the story out there.” Editorially, Nick Denton wanted to be first—which is a form of power in itself. But this isn’t how Thiel thinks. He would say his favorite chess player was José Raúl Capablanca, and remind himself of the man’s famous dictum: To begin you must study the end. You don’t want to be the first to act, you want to be the last man standing. History is littered with examples of those who acted rashly in pursuit of their goals, who plunged ahead without much in the way of a plan, and suffered as a result. One could argue that the bigger of Nixon’s two blunders wasn’t his attacks on the Democratic Party but the decision to go after Katharine Graham and the media, and yet both decisions were the product of a fundamental lack of patience and discipline. Or consider the late head of Fox News, Roger Ailes, who responded to a series of Gawker articles and attacks by allegedly hiring private detectives to follow the reporters around. Not only did he find nothing of practical value, but these heavy-handed tactics came back to embarrass and discredit him at his most vulnerable moment. In fact, two weeks after the news of this disturbing conspiracy broke, he would be dead. How ought one do it then?
Ryan Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue)