Perennial Seller: The Art of Making and Marketing Work That Lasts by Ryan Holiday

Summary
  1. This book will teach you how to make something which stands the test of time, something great, a masterpiece, how to present it in a compelling, way how to market it, and how to create a platform around it
Key Takeaways
  1. Most artists fail in creating something lasting because they never give themselves the chance. They don’t think they can or they don’t even think too much about it, the incentives are for short term quick fixes, every example and even advice and responses from fans may hurt their chances
  2. Perennial products, regardless of initial success, get more customers and sales over time. People return to them more than once and recommend them to others
  3. The power of perennial sellers is not only that they keep being watched heard or important somehow but that they also get stronger overtime. This is the Lindy Effect in action – the longer they are in the spotlight the longer you can expect them to be around
  4. No matter how much time you spend afterwards marketing your product, if you don’t create a great product from the start, it has zero chance of being a perennial seller
  5. The creator must need to create whatever it is. A burning desire where they can’t stop thinking about it. This intention is what drives great work. A truth and purpose for why this great work needs to exist. These are works that change people, change the world
  6. It often takes great sacrifice to do this. Of relationships, ‘fun’ time and things, short term gratification and more. However, this isn’t only necessary, it is rewarding as you know you have put all you have into it
  7. If you feel like you only have a short window to release something, you’re often worrying about the wrong thing or its not the type of work that will last. Ideas need time to marinate and evolve. Rushing into things destroys this process
  8. Find your itch and scratch it. Trying to be for everyone will likely make you for no one
  9. Being the only person doing something is often a better strategy then being the best at something
  10. Some good questions to ask to see if you’re on the right track is, “What sacred cows am I slaying?” and “what dominant players am I disrupting?” and “what people am I pissing off?”
  11. The best art divides an audience
  12. It is important to know your audience context genre and more in order to know which boundaries to push in which to leave
  13. Doing your best is all that matters. There is no benchmark. No competition
  14. It is crucial to go through a painful iteration process. You need unbiased outside advisors to critique you and give you feedback. This can take years but no first version is ever the best. Polish, test and retest
  15. One sentence, one paragraph, one page – helpful template to be able to succinctly describe what you’re aiming to do and achieve
  16. The best creatives know the critical variables the projects hinge on. They are steadfast on these and more flexible on others
  17. If you can’t be first in your category, create a new category where you can be first
  18. I am doing x for x because of x
  19. Taking the leap requires giving up all other missions or projects and devoting yourself wholly to creating a masterpiece
  20. Marketing is anything that gets and keeps customers
  21. The greats are humble and nervous about their work. The imposters tend to be overconfident
  22. Argues that giving away copies is often a great way to get started as obscurity equals death. Amazon has found the cheapest books sell the most and actually goes on to make more money than more expensive books. Lower the price up to the point where if it were lower it would hurt your brand or reputation. Essential to make the process as easy and frictionless and cheap as possible in order to get people to take a chance on you
  23. Getting influencers on board is important. Understand they are often hyper fans and doing something to help them look good in their field can help a lot. Johnny Carson made a lot of people’s stand up careers and he wanted to be seen as a taste leader here. Always put yourself in their shoes, send them more stuff than they know what to do with as they likely have influencer friends
  24. Advertising is so much more powerful when there is already an established audience and track record
  25. Critical to know a customers lifetime value and their cost per acquisition
  26. Doing something unexpected is almost always a better advertising play than going up dollar for dollar against professional ad agencies
  27. Humor and levity is probably more effective than manipulation or beating people over the head
  28. Your platform is more than social media. It is what you grow and nourish in order to help your creative work expand – reputation, context, friends, etc
  29. Good works compound on themselves, making it easier to sell and advertise each time you manage this
What I got out of it
  1. The power of intention once again. Understanding the time, sacrifice, patience, frustrations that every great work requires will help you get through and manage this process