Book Review 145: Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday

It has always fascinated me on what makes art sells over the long term.  Whether Star Wars from Film, Harry Potter from Books, Michael Jackson’s Thriller from Music, or Seinfeld from TV, it’s been interesting to see what makes the public connect with certain artistic works over the years. I have read plenty of internet articles about this topic, but it was great to read a full book about it.

Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday argues for timeless principles that have made creative works like Seinfeld and Star Wars last for several generations, a rock band like Iron Maiden have a sustainable music career and legacy despite not having their records played on the radio or top 40 hits, or an author like Stefan Zweig who cultivated a loyal support of readers throughout his career.

The book is divided into four sections: The Creative Process, Positioning, Marketing, and Platform.  Holiday provides examples in each section of the book revealing that long-term artistic success is not a matter of luck or being picked by the artistic gods as deemed worthy for perennial seller status.  Principles like “I’m meant to do this” or “This is my life’s work” during the creative process, getting proper feedback and finding the right genre in the positioning stage, understanding that you have to get out and sell it in the marketing stage, or finding the right audience and connecting with them on an ongoing basis in the platform stage.  These things combined give any work of art a chance at becoming a perennial seller.

Perennial Seller is an excellent book covering a topic that has long needed examination.  I have learned quite a bit from reading it and when you start highlighting a book after the first pages, you know that book is a keeper on your bookshelf.  I recommend Perennial Seller for all creative types who want to know more about how a work of art lasts in pop culture. It will be one of my favorite reads of 2018.


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