Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday | Book Summary and Review


Perennial Seller is a book about constructing creative works that last. Works that continue to sell 20 or even 50 years after they are initially released. These are the movies, books, or artworks that have entered the public consciousness.

The book talks about the creative process, how to polish your work, and how to market it to the masses.

This is the second book I’ve read by Ryan Holiday. His approach to teaching ideas is the same in both books.

Holiday is not an idea creator. He is an idea aggregator. Almost every paragraph is a reference to someone else’s quote or story.  He packages and polishes the ideas into easy-to-digest pieces, and the writing flows well from chapter to chapter. But around 2/3rds of the way through the book, the format felt tiring.
My Kindle says I highlighted 86 passages from Perennial Seller. A lot of them are great ideas. The book, especially the first couple of chapters, left me with a lot to think about. I don’t think this book itself will live up to the standard of a perennial seller. But it offers some intriguing insight into the creative process.

You can purchase Perennial Seller from Amazon here.

Favorite Ideas from Perennial Seller

  • “People claim to want to do something that matters, yet they measure themselves against things that don’t, and track their progress not in years but in microseconds. They want to make something timeless, but they focus instead of immediate payoffs and instant gratification.”
  • “We’re all selling ideas. Whatever the form, the process is the same. And if we get really good at it and we think about it the right way, our idea can sell forever, an infinite number of times.”
  • “Neistat was expressing a truth every creator learns, one that is all the more essential in an online world where things can be shared with the click of a button: Ideas are cheap. Anyone can have one. There are millions of notebooks and Evernote folders packed with ideas, floating out there in the digital ether or languishing on dusty bookshelves. The difference between a great work and an idea for a great work is all the sweat, time, effort, and agony that go into engaging that idea and turning it into something real. That difference is not trivial. If great work were easy to produce, a lot more people would do it.”
  • “Lots of people,” as the poet and artist Austin Kleon puts it, “want to be the noun without doing the verb.” To make something great, what’s required is need. As in, I need to do this. I have to. I can’t not.

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