Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday – My Six Lessons and Takeaways

PerennialSellerBookCoverI humbly submit that longevity has been the aim of my work…How to make something last whether it’s for a few months more than the average or for a century—has been my lifelong fascination.
Ryan Holiday: Perennial Seller

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This is the order:
First, quality
Then the marketing…

That’s the simple message found in the really useful new book by Ryan Holiday, Perennial Seller: The Art of Making and Marketing Work that Lasts. I presented my synopsis of this book at the September 1 First Friday book Synopsis.

So, this is a book that reminds us to first have a genuinely quality offering, and then, and only then, to market that exceptional offering (whether it is a book, or a restaurant, or any product, service, event… any endeavor!).

Here’s how I summarized the book:

Making something that lasts; that people want, people “use,” year after year.
A “perennial” seller. This is a noble quest.
It starts with making something that people want, and need, and love…
First do that, then go to work to spread the word.
This book starts at the right beginning point, then it provides the steps to follow.
It’s not easy…but it is doable.

There are many reasons to recommend this book. Mr. Holiday is a clear thinker; and writer. And, he pounds into us the need to think clearly about our own work.

Here is his “formula.” One should finish these sentences about his/her own work (book, product, service, project):

This is a _______________ that does ___________ for ___________ because _______________________________. This helps people __________.

I gave three reasons why this book is worth your time:

#1 – This book provides the order: first you create/make/produce; then, and only then, do you market.
#2 – This book states in the strongest possible way how to start – create something great!
#3 – This book will inspire you to do better work.

When I go through a book making my many (hundreds) of highlights, there are always so many to choose from. But for this book, though there are many really good highlights, I have a clear favorite:

Ian Fleming once wrote to his publisher, “I bet your other authors don’t work as hard for you as I do.” He was right. 


Perennial Seller offers plenty of practical, actionable advice, like – build your own mailing list (either or both physical mail and/or e-mail); build it yourself; it is, it has to be, “YOUR” mailing list. He has advice about finding ways to get covered by traditional media; and strong advice about pricing:

The question, then, is: What is the right price to create a perennial seller? This is going to be controversial, but my answer is: as cheap as possible without damaging the perception of your product. 


(He writes of the smart move by Raymond Chandler, putting his books in inexpensive, paperback formats).

And here are my six lessons and takeaways from the book:

#1 – To create a perennial seller, identify and study true perennial sellers. Figure out what made them/makes them perennial sellers.
#2 – To create a perennial seller, start with the quality of your work. Make it great. And, keep making it great.
#3 – To create a perennial seller, get an editor; a good editor; the right, honest, candid editor.
#4 – To create a perennial seller, spreading the word falls on you. You can’t outsource this. Create first; then spread the word.
#5 – To create a perennial seller, think about what you can give away, and how you can sell it for less. This will really help.
#6 – To create a perennial seller, be patient, and keep at it — over the (very) long-haul.

If you can’t tell, I think this is a book worth reading. Confession time: I’m a Ryan Holiday fan. I read most days the daily reading in his book The Daily Stoic, and I am an attentive reader of his e-mails which he sends out to his carefully cultivated list.

So, yes, I recommend Perennial Seller, regardless of what kind of product/service/endeavor you offer to others. I think you’ll be glad to learn from this book.

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My synopsis, with the audio recording of my presentation, along with my multi-page comprehensive synopsis handout, will be available soon at the “Buy Synopses” tab at the top of this page.

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