The Real Thiel (with Max Chafkin)

Just days before the Republican Convention in 2016, 150 Tech executives and investors published a stinging open letter condemning the man the party was about to nominate for President. Donald Trump’s candidacy the tech moguls wrote was fueled by “anger, bigotry, fear of new ideas, and a fundamental belief that American is weak and in decline.” 

That was undoubtedly the view that most of the big players in Silicon Valley. But there was one who had a decidedly contrary view. Peter Thiel was the billionaire co-founder of PayPal and Palantir. And was the first outside investor in Facebook giving him instant entree and more than a little clout with the company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg. And Thiel had gone all in for Trump. Speaking at the convention, donating more than one million dollars to a Trump Super PAC. And later serving on his transition team as he sought to place figures who share his unorthodox views of the world in high places in the US Government. 

How much influence did Thiel have during the Trump era? And how much power does he yield today in the insular world of Silicon Valley. Max Chafkin, author of the new book about Thiel called The Contrarian: Peter Thiel and Silicon Valley's Pursuit of Power, joins to discuss. 


  • Max Chafkin (@chafkin), Features Editor/Writer @BW, Author of The Contrarian


  • Michael Isikoff (@Isikoff), Chief Investigative Correspondent, Yahoo News
  • Daniel Klaidman (@dklaidman), Editor in Chief, Yahoo News
  • Victoria Bassetti (@VBass), fellow, Brennan Center for Justice (contributing co-host)



  • Obtain The Contrarian - Here.
  • Yahoo News' David Knowles original piece on critics latest blasting of Facebook - Here.
  • Time Magazine's Who's Afraid of Peter Thiel? - Here.

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