Lessons from Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday

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Books / Tuesday

Nothing to update, let’s just get on with today’s post.


A perennial seller is something that sells for decades, and possibly centuries. This is something that shines more as it ages. The initial profits may not be great, but the lifetime value is huge. If your goal is short term, a perennial seller is not what you need to create. This is something timeless – The Bible, War and Peace, Gone with the Wind, The Godfather trilogy. Let’s dive into things that I got out of the book:

Make a product that people love

Without it, everything else is irrelevant. It should appeal to someone.

There’s no secret sauce for this. It’s just hard work over years honing your skills and then deploying them towards making a great product.

A boy has to hustle his book

The second lesson is this: marketing and positioning your product is your job. It’s too easy to just say that your art is so great that it will eventually find an audience. It is your job to communicate why your product matters.

Why? Because in the words of John Maynard Keynes, “The market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent.”

How? Answer the following questions Holiday lays out:

  • Who this is for
  • Who this is not for
  • Why it is special
  • Why will it do for them
  • Why anyone should care

And then communicate these using all marketing tools available to you.

Perennial Relationships

This is not something that Holiday talks about, but I think I see this idea of a perennial seller being applicable to more than just products. It applies to relationships. In the words of Drake:

I’m tired of hearin’ about who you checkin’ for now
Just give it time, we’ll see who’s still around a decade from now

The golden rule here is: Don’t have a relationship (personal or professional) with someone right now if you won’t have a relationship with them a decade from now.

I’ve fallen into the trap of “networking”. Reading this book catalyzed something I had come across before – having a long-term perspective when about relationships is the only way to have deep, fulfilling ones.

Having moved around countless times around, I’ve come to realize that most of your relationships are circumstantial – the we’re-in-the-same-class type. We should look for lifelong people who we would like to hang out regardless of the context.


Thanks for reading today’s post. I’ll be back tomorrow with a post from one of my oldest friends. Excited to share his summer experience with everyone!

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Lessons from Conspiracy by Ryan Holiday – A Summer of Learning

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