Today it's National Independent Bookstore Day and the culminations of the craziest year of my life...because my wife and I began the process of opening a bookstore in January 2020, which we basically put most of our savings into. By March, it was sort of like that Arrested Development Meme: "I've made a huge mistake."

Anyway, we got through it and now The Painted Porch is now open on Main Street in historic Bastrop, Texas. I'd love to recommend any books, or answer questions for anyone who has had this same insane dream. I love books, they're not just what I do (my name is Ryan Holiday) but what I think about all the time. So it's pretty awesome to be able to sell them in this 140 year old building that's survived fires and pandemics (including the 1918 on), wars and god knows what else...mostly I just think bookstores make the world better.

Also here's a Texas Monthly piece about our crazy journey:


edit: proof

Update: 14 hours in, I am about to fall asleep, but I'll keep answering for a bit longer and pick up again in the morning. Please follow us on Instagram or come visit the store. I also do monthly book recommendations at

Update: Back answering...

Comments: 297 • Responses: 62  • Date: 

Sirnando138367 karma

As “an” author, does it kill you knowing your title has an error?

ryan_holiday234 karma

Goddamnit yes it does. Why doesn't reddit let you edit titles?

somebuddysbuddy72 karma

I love bookstores, but I do almost all my reading on ebooks. I feel bad perusing and never buying anything, but I also feel silly going in and buying paper books I’m not going to read.

Any advice on how to support local bookstores? And are there any book genres that you think lend themselves better to print even for someone who likes ebooks?

ryan_holiday97 karma

Buy books you've liked in digital in physical for friends. I don't think there is a better price/impact ratio as far as gifts go than books. They're cheap...but they mean something to people.

Me, personally, I only read physical books because I like to take notes and use them when writing. But I also think the daily read genre is really great and works best in physical. For instance, on my desk I have Tolstoy's A Calendar of Wisdom and I pick it up and read the daily entry each morning. I did a leatherbound edition of my book The Daily Stoic that people seem to like.

mrbear12020 karma

I loved your book Ego is the Enemy, and I had no idea you are from/live in Bastrop! I’m from Houston and make the drive to Austin monthly, I’m totally stopping in to buy a book or two!

ryan_holiday6 karma

Please do!

Plus_Web_225450 karma

Are bookstores still viable with the internet and e books?

ryan_holiday172 karma

FOR SURE. Are they the cheapest place to buy books? No. But people want stuff to do on a Saturday morning, while they wait for a brunch table. People want a place they can take their kids to run around (we have a tree fort inside). People want to browse for books, there's something about discovering in a bookstore that can't be replicated online. And people like supporting stuff in their town.

I'm not going to pretend I don't buy stuff from Amazon. As an author they've been great to me--and remain so. But there is something special that draws me to Book People in Austin or the Strand in NYC or Book Soup in LA. Have you ever been to The Last Bookstore in Downtown LA? It's incredible.

marishtar11 karma

How dare you leave Powell's off that list.

ryan_holiday6 karma

I've given a talk at Powell's--amazing store.

LoveAbundantly134 karma

Totally agree. Speaking of awesome bookstores, I loved Amazon's bookstore in Manhattan across from the Empire State Building. I could spend hours in there.

ryan_holiday2 karma

Amazon, not surprisingly, did a great job with their stores. I gave a talk at Amazon NYC before the pandemic which was cool and I used to go stop in at the one in the Domain here in Austin. They have a cool locals section too.

copperholic2 karma

Hey! My buggy whips are selling like hotcakes.

ryan_holiday6 karma

The Lindy Effect is worth looking up. I feel pretty good about books not going anywhere--in face sales are up across the industry. It's surprising but also not surprising.

IrrelevantLeprechaun-18 karma

I look forward to the /r/pics post a year from now where OP takes a photo of their storefront because they had to shut down due to low sales.

ryan_holiday8 karma

Appreciate the support!

thebroteinshake41 karma

I have been somewhat (very) seriously considering starting a little bookstore of my own. Books and reading are my passions and I’m hoping to find a way to make it into my profession. Any advice, suggestions, thoughts, tips, or warnings about opening up a shop?

ryan_holiday43 karma

Build an audience first, I think. Part of the reason I felt comfortable doing this shop is that I have a long relationship with an audience that I recommend books to. I wasn't starting at zero, if that makes sense. This is the same advice I give authors and brands. You need to have a group of people who you speak to--you can't expect your location or your name or the fact that you exist do the heavily lifting ("If you build it they will come.") I think Kevin Kelly's 1,000 True Fans article is a must read for anyone thinking of starting a biz.

sebentertainment26 karma

Three things you'd tell your 20-year old self?

Congrats on the bookstore! (Love your books)

ryan_holiday40 karma

Relax (nothing is important as you think).

Getting married sooner.

Keep reading, it compounds.

2651418 karma

You think getting married sooner than later is better?

ryan_holiday27 karma

In my specific case, I wish we'd been married earlier--I dunno what we were waiting for.

TheOneCommenter9 karma

Honest question, what would it have changed? Isn’t married life identical to not-married life if you’re already together with that person?

ryan_holiday5 karma

I think anyone who gets married feels that it changes something. It's commitment on a different level. It's a life step, I guess. It made me better in a lot of ways so doing it earlier only would have helped me get to where I am personally earlier. I'd probably have kids earlier if I could do it again too. Again, not a big regret or anything, but young people are doing these things later and later and when I did get around to doing them, one of the things that hit me was just: This is great, why did I wait?

raisedar25 karma

Advise on how to read “faster”. Every time I read I feel I need to understand every single word the author wrote (because they wrote it for a reason haha) and that slows me down a lot.

Also, how do you smart-highlight for future notes and your notecard system? Specially with your books I want to highlight everything! Everything in the pages is interesting and relevant!

ryan_holiday127 karma

My personal view is that speed reading is a giant hoax. Not only is it a hoax, but even if it wasn't, it's self-defeating. I know of no way to read faster other than to read a lot and therefore have more background information that allows you to get the "gist" of something quickly. Besides, I always tell people, why would you want to be finished with reading faster? Nobody tries to have sex faster. Or eat faster. Reading is a pleasure. It's one of the few places left in the world that doesn't barrage you with ads or noise, one of the few things not corrupted by clickbait or virality. It's a place for stillness and reflection and learning. Don't rush through it. Do it right. Treat yourself. Soak it in. Take it at the pace that feels right.

childfromthefuture22 karma

Uh I have a question! Why do most questions in this thread come from virtually unused accounts that have close to 0 karma?

IrrelevantLeprechaun20 karma

And why do all the questions seem like they're EXACTLY what OP wanted asked? Or are conveniently specific, or that EVERY question seems to come from someone who is conveniently "in love" with his work?

/r/IAmA honestly just feels astroturfed to Hell these days, where every post just has alt accounts conveniently asking perfect questions.

ryan_holiday-1 karma

My friend, your last comment is you complaining about a post in r/boobs (fittingly, a complaint). I'm not sure probing user histories is the trend you want to start.

Best_Ryze_NA-1 karma

Dude and one of the burner accounts has only 5 comments, each from a few years ago asking for a business venture idea and later a logo. I am willing to BET if we tracked down the r/slavelabour user who made a logo for this anon user it would match the dudes bookstore logo. What a sketchy fucking way to market yourself.

PaulBlartFleshMall0 karma

It's not sketchy at all, OP just doesn't have the resources to make it look natural.

Reddit is already astroturfed to shit and back. I'm not gonna blame some indie bookstore owner for trying to roll with the punches and promote his own stuff while bigger corps do it every fucking day on every other sub.

ryan_holiday3 karma

Seriously wtf are you people talking about?

EverydayEverynight0110 karma

Hi there, what are your profit margins? I always think that book stores are suffering due to things like libraries, the internet, etc. Do bookstores in general have a decent profit margin?

ryan_holiday27 karma

The profit margin on the book itself is decent--typically bookstores by from the publisher or a distributor for roughly 50% of MSRP. The problem is all the other expenses. Fortunately, I have a double use of the space (I needed an office for another business and for my writing) so I am able to mitigate the biggest impediment to profitability for a bookstore, which would be rent or mortgage. I don't necessarily see libraries or online as competition. We are next door to a vinyl record shop--the owner likes to say, "I don't sell records. I sell the experience of looking for records." I think bookstores are the same.

EverydayEverynight018 karma

Hi there thanks for the answer! I hear that you can just go to a bookstore and just read the books on the shelf. Doesn't that greatly hurt potential revenue?

ryan_holiday3 karma

No more than those same people not coming in. I suppose if they were somehow damaging the books it might be a problem but the purpose of a store is to browse.

We_Are_Vigilant_3 karma

Does the store actually make enough revenue to stay afloat without the rent/mortgage cost being subsidized by it also being your office?

ryan_holiday9 karma

We rent out half the space to a vinyl record shop and then I have an office in the back. So far, I have not gone broke.

Darwinmate9 karma

It is bizarre to see a PR and marketing professional write such basic books on philosophy and life. Do you think book writing is all about marketing and less about the content?

Also are you astroturfing in this AMA?

Is this more publicity stunt than an actual AMA?

ryan_holiday11 karma

It's weird. I discovered Stoicism before I started in marketing. I wrote about Stoicism before I wrote about marketing. But then I had this career and my first book was about marketing (even though the first deal I got offered was for a philosophy book) so to most people who'd never heard of me, it seemed like a a strange turn, but it me it was more like coming home. And I would certainly reject your claim that my books are basic or that it was all about marketing and not content. One does not write about an obscure school of ancient philosophy for the cash, I assure you. I'd have been better off keeping my day job.

In any case, I have much better things to do than astroturf this AMA. I wrote a book about "conspiracies" and media manipulation so I admit, such things do happen, but I'm not sure such a thing would be worth the work involved.

maxgauth848 karma

What are you doing differently with your bookstore that you hope will make it unique?

ryan_holiday44 karma

So the average bookstore, even small ones, carry between 10,000 and 15,000 titles. This is totally insane in my opinion and ignores the place that bookstores fill in the market these days. It's also super expensive. Most of those books that bookstores carry will never sell (and even if they do, the 3-4 copies per year they move, barely pay for the shelf space.) When I go into a bookstore, I'm not usually after a very specific book--if I am, I've probably already bought it online. I go into bookstores to browse and discover.

So with our shop, we decided to only carry books that we've personally read and LOVE. For the last ten years, I've had a reading newsletter that recommends books so I have a good sense of which ones really wow people too. We only carry about 500 books and they're all face out on the shelf. It's easy to find them, they catch your eye, and if someone asks, I can not only be like "Yeah that's a good one" but I can tell you everything about it.

Maybe this is a crazy strategy but so far it's worked

Also we have a 22 foot fireplace made out of 2,000 books that weighs 4,000lbs.

IrrelevantLeprechaun8 karma

So what you're saying is you don't want most people shopping there and have no long term business plan.

ryan_holiday14 karma


BrahmTheImpaler5 karma

I worked at Borders back in the day, and its business plan was basically to carry a single copy of as many books as possible, and multiples of the new and most popular titles. Needless to say, Borders went out of business and I think this has a lot to do with why. His strategy is likely based on lots of research, and I'm sure he knows quite a lot from being an author himself. I think it's a solid idea that's sure to do well, based on the fact that (as he stated above) he wants the store to be a place where folks can browse. He's totally right, too, in that people will buy books online if they're looking for something specific.

ryan_holiday14 karma

This is correct. The big box stores carried huge lists of titles, which was great until Amazon came along and had unlimited titles. It's silly to compete there. But there are lots of things bookstores can offer...and by the way, to the other commenter, it's perfectly possible to have a nice little business that contributes to a community in a positive way and that be the end of it. If I was trying to get rich, there are many other things I would try first.

maxgauth843 karma

When I travel to a new city, I love to explore local book stores. Will definitely come visit when It is possible travel safely and responsibly to Texas. Best of success with this new adventure!

ryan_holiday1 karma

See you then!

sam_witch8 karma

I currently work at a corporate bookstore and it's become my dream to open my own bookstore someday. I'm 26 working retail with no business degree, so the prospect of owning my own business seems like a pipe dream. Do you have any advice? I think the financial planning makes it seem so unrealistic and I doubt I'll learn much working for a corporate chain.

ryan_holiday10 karma

At 26, it would have seemed like a complete pipe dream to me too, so don't be too hard on yourself. Three years ago it would have been impossible too. I'd focus on acquiring all the different pieces of experience and relationships you'll need. The capital is--in a very privileged sense, I understand--the easiest part. There is more money looking for good investments out there than good investments looking for money. The rare thing are people worth investing in, ideas/concepts/plans that have a real chance of success. Lay the groundwork and when you're ready, I'm confident you'll be able to hustle up what you need.

Omeads7 karma

I'm a bookseller and have always had an interest in how each bookstore curates its shelves. Corporate bookstores can be expansive and cater to trends but Independents might choose to focus on specific areas or niches.

How do you and The Painted Porch curate what's on its shelves? Are there any books or types of books you would be opposed to selling?

ryan_holiday8 karma

Oh, what kind of shop?

It's been interesting watching my own books, which have sold well online and at B&N, not get much indie placement. I think less than 1% of my sales are at indie, but at the indies I am carried at, I move units. There is a certain snootiness in publishing that I've always found obnoxious and counterproductive--as if reading is only for some people, or only some authors worth reading. There is also a really annoying focus on frontlist titles over great books just a few years old. So my bias is much more towards books that I know really deliver as opposed to what other people think of them or how trendy they are in the moment.

allkindnerd7 karma

Favourite adaptation of a book to another form of media? (Movies, TV etc.)

ryan_holiday26 karma

We're in Texas, so I'll take the easy answer here: Friday Night Lights is not just a decent movie and a great TV show. It's also an amazing book based on a real town. And then if you're ready for the story to take a real, real weird turn, read this GQ story about the author.

The book I'd most like to see turned into something is by another Texas, SC Gwynne, whose book Empire of the Summer Moon is unbelievable (about a white woman kidnapped by the Comanches whose son becomes their last and most daring chief)

stbrosephsky7 karma

Are you planning on having authors over for live events/interviews with an audience once the pandemic is over? As an author, how do you think the future of the book tour/promo will look like?

ryan_holiday20 karma

As someone who did a 'virtual' book launch in the fall for Lives of the Stoics, I have to say, it was pretty wonderful not to have to go anywhere. But yes, I do hope to have events. It's all going to depend on the vaccine rollout and the pandemic but I'm optimistic. It's sad, the governor here in Texas is 'pro-business' which he has taken to mean just allowing businesses to open and lifting mask orders and letting us fend for ourselves. Of course, if people really wanted to support small businesses and the economy, they'd all work together to kick COVID-19s ass, get this thing over with and then businesses could thrive. Instead, people just want to pretend it's not happening and hope it magically goes away on its own.

supermunchkin0013 karma

Were you required to file a business plan with a bank or some other entity before opening up a bookstore? Why did you open up a bookstore? Is this instead, a tax scam or a drug front?

minpinerd3 karma

I don't understand how any bookstores make a profit anymore. Seems impossible to me.

I buy maybe 1 - 2 physical books a year and always order from amazon. Haven't been in a bookstore in years, but the last time I was in one the prices were not remotely competitive with online sellers (which makes sense).

So I guess...rude question (but you did say AMA) and I know it's still early but do you actually think this will make any money or is this purely a labor of love / community service type of thing that you can afford to support?

ryan_holiday4 karma

For some people, reading is not a big part of their life. For other people, it is. I don't do magic or play fantasy games, but I understand why those stores exist. It's certainly not a way to get rich, but it does work.

innerkidmusic3 karma

What do you think about reading multiple books at once?

ryan_holiday8 karma

I usually find that it results in me reading less, or only half following all the books. I think a better way to do it is to be really engaged and immersed in the books you're reading. That means being ruthless with the books you pick up. If they suck, stop. Nobody thinks it's wrong when a coach pulls an athlete out of the game or a team cuts them for not performing. Being an author is a job--a hard one. But if we don't deliver, it's not the reader's fault. It's our fault.

Life is too short to soldier through crappy books.

V4FoSho3 karma

Hi Ryan,

First I just want to say thank you for what you do. I have read Ego is the Enemy and Stillness is the Key, and I have learned and grown a lot because of your books. My question (which may be one you’ve answered several times before) is have you ever been burned out on self-improvement, and if so how did you handle it?

Thanks again, and best of luck on your new venture. If I ever find myself in Texas I’ll be sure to check it out.

ryan_holiday6 karma

Epictetus loved to quote Socrates:

“Just as one person delights in improving his farm, and another his horse, so I delight in attending to my own improvement day by day.”

Does that mean you aggressively and relentlessly interrogate and hammer yourself? Nah. It just means you try to do a little bit each day.

Info_Broker_2 karma

Is there any masonic influence in your logo?

ryan_holiday2 karma

Not that I know of, but I think the designer did a great job.

ferdtergusone2 karma

Hey Ryan, thanks for doing this. I’ve been following dailystoic for a bit now and have seen quite a bit of growth around it. What’s your future plans for it?

ryan_holiday10 karma

This is my fifth year writing the daily email for I think it's the second year of the podcast version. I mainly just want to keep doing it. It's made me a better writer, for sure. It's also very humbling to think that the 300,000 or so people who get it each morning likely constitute the largest community of Stoics ever in history.

I did start another one called which I also love doing.

ven0msnak31 karma

Did you have a business coach? And if not, why not? If so, what was the best piece of advice they gave you? Or, helped you with something you would never have thought of yourself?

ryan_holiday2 karma

I don't have a coach but when I am starting a project I ask for lots of advice. I asked Allison Hill, who owns Vromans and Book Soup. I got a bunch of great insights from the folks at Parnassus Books (which is owned by Ann Patchet. I talked to authors I know like Tim Ferriss, James Clear, Mark Manson, and my agent Steven Hanselman was previously a publisher and before that a bookseller. I also did a lot of research on my last book tour.

I mostly talked to Tim Ferriss because I thought he'd talk me out of it, but he said something really interesting: He said to think of it as an experiment. Try it for two years. Don't over-invest in it, try not to make too many permanent decisions, and go into it telling yourself you're just doing it for two years. If you hate it, if it doesn't work, you'll have an off ramp. If it does work and you love it, you can keep going. I think the generally applies to life too.

ven0msnak31 karma

Very interesting! And just out of curiosity... Were these people available at first or did you have to go through a "gate keeper" of sorts? And when you did ask them, how fast was their reply to your queries?

Also, one last question (my apologies) did you end up getting connected with them on a daily basis or did you go about it in small bursts? How would you recommend approaching someone who is already where you want to be?

ryan_holiday2 karma

Sorry, yes most of them I knew. But I think people assume people are harder to get ahold of then they actually are. You don't always hear back but sometimes you do. So go for it--email, social, dm's whatever. One piece of advice: Keep your requests short and to the point. And never ask "Can I ask you a question?" That's wasting your shot.

grizzh1 karma

I’m surprised that you’re unhappy with the government’s decision to give you the opportunity to safely operate your business (rather than do a blanket shutdown across a huge area with many different kinds of businesses). What would you have preferred from them?

Congrats on the new venture! I hope it’s a big success. The owners of the closest used bookstore to me retired in 2019. Nobody bought them out so I got a ton of stuff on clearance, but I wish they were still around.

ryan_holiday15 karma

It should not be on businesses to have to make public health decisions. The overwhelming consensus is that masks reduce the spread of the virus--yet everyday we have to deal with crazy people who want to come in without one because Texas washed its hands of any responsibility to its citizens...just as they did in the storm we had in February. You can't be pro-business and then neglect basic infrastructure preparedness...because that failure costs businesses like mine lots and lots of money (no power + frozen temps = burst pipes all across the state.) You also can't be pro-business and let a deadly virus kill tens of thousands of your citizens and make it impossible for reasonable people to safely go about their business.

TennisTwin1 karma

Is it near the Bastrop Buccees?

Is it IN the Bastrop Buccees?

In either case, good luck bookseller man!

ryan_holiday3 karma

I wish! We are about 1 mile from Buccees.

SpaceGeneralAmerica1 karma

Hey, any good publishing companies for a horror author who hasn't gotten published yet?

ryan_holiday3 karma

Start by writing online. When you have an audience, then you control your own destiny--whether you self-publish or traditionally publish. It's all about your platform.

DistroyerOfWorlds1 karma

I do have a question about book recommendations, I love reading alot of spy action books and murder mysteries such as alex cross, but I do want to expand my horizons. What's a good entry book to branch out? Thanks for doing this AmA :)

ryan_holiday1 karma

Have you ever read any Raymond Chandler? He is the OG.

thebestdavy1 karma

That's an oddly specific dream - would you have ever considered opening a bookstore in the event a pandemic hadn't occurred? Or were you just that confident/hopeful that one would?

ryan_holiday13 karma

No my fantasy was very specific, in fact, it had to be a coronavirus too. Influenza wouldn't have done it for me.

Ahmad_thewheel1 karma

Hi Ryan what fiction books most helped changed or boost your understanding of your self and the world?

ryan_holiday1 karma

What Makes Sammy Run and The Moviegoer--two favorites in the store too

raisedar1 karma

What book with a lot of short stories would you recommend (not for kids) ?

ryan_holiday4 karma

Ambrose Bierce, Civil War Stories. His ghost stories are great too. He was a real cynic (wrote The Devil's Dictionary) and would fit in on Reddit for sure.

universl1 karma

Hey Ryan, I'm a long term subscriber to your reading list newsletter, which I look forward to every month.

Is the selection of your books in the store based on your own personal tastes, or did you decide to go for a broader selection?

For instance I don't think I've ever seen a pulp thriller novel recommended in the newsletter, but I think those are pretty popular.

ryan_holiday2 karma

It's a broader selection for sure, with my wife's taste balancing my own. There are definitely books we could carry that I know would sell, but that's not really the concept. It's books that we know are amazing. Sometimes less is more.

maxgauth841 karma

Would you be interested in reproducing with other philosophy schools your approach of making stoicism more accessible?

ryan_holiday2 karma

I have enough on my plate as it is!

WorldTravelBucket1 karma

Are you excited for this next chapter of your life?

ryan_holiday1 karma

It's sort of weird because it's been a chapter of my life for nearly a year, I just haven't been able to tell anyone about it. So I have sort of adjusted to it. But yes, very excited now that customers are coming and people are starting to hear about it.

willdamron1 karma

Hey Ryan! I love your books! I've read Obstacle, Ego, and Stillness... looking forward to reading Lives of the Stoics and some of your marketing books as well! I'm personally getting into writing a little bit now and I'm finding it to be incredibly gratifying.

I'm curious though, which book of yours was most rewarding for you to write? And do you have a favorite book that you'd recommend for someone who's starting to get into writing like myself?

ryan_holiday11 karma

I am most proud of my book Conspiracy, about Peter Thiel and the destruction of Gawker. It was the hardest to write, the most outside my comfort zone, and the only one that ever made me think (a lot ) "What if this book earns you some powerful enemies?" I think I read like 20,000 pages of legal documents for it. I also go to spend time with Nick Denton and Thiel, both fascinating, strange figures.

I don't think it'd be the one I'd recommend the most, but it's the one I grew the most for writing.

Brailledit1 karma

I haven't read a book in years. When I did, I was a huge Dean Koontz fan. Any suggestions?

ryan_holiday3 karma

The Tiger by John Vallaint

Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson

Both true. Both incredible.

Vegskipxx1 karma

HI Ryan, what are your thoughts on people who spend all day browsing a bookstore only to end up not buying anything? Has that been an issue at your store in any way?

ryan_holiday6 karma

There are worse things for people to be doing with their time. We don't mind--the only issue right now is that it's sort of safer and better for everyone to dip in and dip out if you do have to go in doors. But yes, when the pandemic is over, people should come spend as much time as they like, browsing, reading, thinking whatever. We have a little coffee shop too so, we welcome it.

secureID24241 karma

How many synthetic shares of GameStop exist?

ryan_holiday3 karma

A lot?

_The_Room1 karma

Would you rather fight a horse sized duck or 100 duck sized horses? And do you have any books giving celebrities thoughts on that question?

ryan_holiday2 karma

What are my weapons?

ankanel1 karma

How did you start writing, and what can we do to start writing?

ryan_holiday2 karma

From The Golden Key:

"Then the Old Man of the Earth stooped over the floor of the cave, raised a huge stone from it, and left it leaning. It disclosed a great hole that went plumb-down.
"That is the way," he said.
"But there are no stairs."
"You must throw yourself in. There is no other way."

Neo_Basil1 karma

What advice do you have for aspiring authors? I have stories I want to write. I just don't know what to do with them.

ryan_holiday2 karma

I remember a clip I saw of Sarah Silverman. She was talking about writers asking for career advice. “I want to be a writer,” they would say. Her response wasn't to encourage them or tell them how great they are or to ask to see their work. She doesn't say, “You can do it!” or “How can I help?” She just says “Well, write! Writers write. You don’t wait to get hired on something to write.”

There will be lots of things to do with your stories once they exist. But they have to exist first. You can't edit words that don't exist. You can't get noticed with stories that don't exist. You can't publish work that doesn't exist.

ihasdeerfeet1 karma

What's a book?

ryan_holiday2 karma

A shockingly impressive and durable piece of technology, as it turns out!

fallenhope11 karma

Do you ever get compared to will arnett?

ryan_holiday3 karma

Usually Jerry Seinfeld but I'll take both

DAIMOND5451 karma

I always wondered this: How mnay books from your bookstore have you actualy read? How do you choose new ones to sell? Do you just go through some of the popularbooks?

ryan_holiday3 karma

95%? The only ones I haven't read are some of the young adult novels, some of the scifi stuff and a few novels my wife likes.

detourism0 karma

Hey Ryan,

Big fan of your writing - particularly Ego is the Enemy. I even sent my grandmother The Obstacle is the Way when quarantine started.

I'm trying to write more frequently. I'lll jot down thoughts, quotes, and ideas on notecards but haven't been able to create a consistent habit or daily practice yet. Do you have any tips?

Also, what motivated your family's decision to live on a ranch in Texas?

ryan_holiday3 karma

It doesn't have to be a daily habit--it just have to be something you do regularly! I usually do my stuff in batches. Some thoughts on the ranch

pete570 karma

Congrats Ryan, big fan of your work, hope to visit the store one day soon. Really enjoy the Marcus Aurelius book with my son as well as the Warrior kid ones, any recommendations for reading with my 6 year old daughter? Will def go through those but anything else?

ryan_holiday4 karma

Every night we read Allie Essiri's A Poem for Every Night of the Year, which I really like. My Side of the Mountain is great too. I just read Bonnie Tsui's Sarah and the Big Wave which your daughter might like.

maxgauth840 karma

Will you be announcing new book projects soon?

ryan_holiday2 karma

Yes, here's my next book which I wrote upstairs in the shop while we were closed the last year.

royaltenenbaumw-chez0 karma

Hey Ryan, thanks for the work you do. My question is about mentors and role models. Reading your books, it's clear who some of your influences are. At the same time, there's nothing you write that doesn't feel like Ryan Holiday wrote it. How do you strike that balance between following your role models without letting that take over your own voice/perspective/etc?

ryan_holiday5 karma

A favorite book of mine (and popular in the store) is Steal Like an Artist. You borrow, of course, but the key is that no one has the same combination of influences as you. So it creates a unique equation. I am very influenced by Robert Greene, of course, but also the Stoics, also Orison Swett Marden and Samuel Smiles and a million other writers. So it feels like me, because I'm the only person to combine my interests in my way. I guess what I am saying is that it's all about an diversity of interests.

Fluid_Campaign_3688-3 karma

Most independent book stores are just purveyors of Democrats propaganda, correct? Never walked in to one that wasn't. Why is that?

ryan_holiday6 karma

You sound like a really smart person who reads a lot of books from a variety of viewpoints. Great to hear from you.