Ryan Holiday Quotes

  1. My parents disagreed sharply with me over the decision to leave school.
  2. As I discovered in my media manipulations, the information that finds us online – what spreads – is the worst kind. It raised itself above the din not through its value, importance, or accuracy but through the opposite: through slickness, titillation, and polarity.
  3. Like most reasonable people, it saddens me when I see Americans celebrating a heritage they don’t understand.
  4. Growth hackers are typically computer engineers that build great marketing ideas into the product during the development process.
  5. Self-imposed discipline with a bent towards results rather than ‘creative’ and sustainability spending is unfortunately not the norm in the marketing industry.
  6. We want things to go perfectly, so we naturally tell ourselves that we’ll get started once the conditions are right or once we have our bearings, when, really, it would be better to focus on making do with how things actually are.
  7. The primary occupational hazard of blogging is this: it’s easier when you yourself take on some of the traits of insanity. It’s a job that requires the doer to be selfish, self-absorbed, and superficial.
  8. As tough an idea as it often is to stomach, the best way to thrive in a world that requires grunt work is to stop seeing it as grunt work.
  9. The problem with a lot of marketing advice is that the examples they use are not exactly typical. It’s hard for businesses, particularly smaller businesses, to relate to the bold innovations of companies like Apple or Tesla.
  10. Work hard, take it seriously, embrace your ambition. And when you’re not doing that, do something – whatever it happens to be – that taps into the part of you that makes you forget about all the rest of it.
  11. Growth hackers don’t tolerate waste.
  12. When work impedes on sleep, poor planning is to blame – not superior will power.
  13. The essential idea of Stoicism in my interpretation is, you don’t control the world around you, you control how you respond. At 19, that’s very empowering.
  14. Ego is certainly there in many of the greatest and most dizzying tales of success – but it’s there in some of the greatest stories of failure and self-implosion as well.
  15. Take pride in your work. But it is not all there is.
  16. Philosophy is not just about talking or lecturing or even reading long, dense books. In fact, it is something men and women of action use – and have used throughout history – to solve their problems and achieve their greatest triumphs. Not in the classroom but on the battlefield, in the forum, and at court.
  17. Even people who despise ego and aspire to humility, who plan to be humble once they are successful, are worried that actually enacting those beliefs would sentence them to a life of obscurity or weakness or failure.
  18. If you run a business that isn’t cutting edge or doesn’t naturally stick out of the crowd, it’s your job to be different and get attention.
  19. Reddit is like any democratic form of government – unless carefully guarded by its leaders and members, its trusts and privileges can be and often are abused.
  20. When I lived in Louisiana, ‘Django Unchained’ was shot at my neighbor’s house. They shot a Sly Stallone movie in my gym.
  21. Public relations and marketing are something companies do to move product. It is not meaningful. It is not cool. Yet because it is cheap, easy, and lucrative to cover, blogs want to convince you that it is.
  22. Bloggers are lazy and greedy.
  23. The media, when it’s functioning properly, protects the public against marketers and their ceaseless attempts to trick people into buying things.
  24. When I dropped out of school at 19 to start my first job in Hollywood, I didn’t know anything, and I had no idea where I’d end up. Thankfully, I was attached to some smart and forgiving people who let me learn under them.
  25. If you need to fudge the facts a little bit to make your narrative work, there is nothing anyone can do to stop you.
  26. Anyone who faults Romney or Obama or any public figure for demanding quote approval is missing the point. The journalists were no abused weaklings here. They made a bargain for access to these newsworthy figures that they thought was in their favor – they’re only complaining because they got caught.
  27. Writing the perfect paper is a lot like a military operation. It takes discipline, foresight, research, strategy, and, if done right, ends in total victory.
  28. The best kind of marketing messages are the ones that don’t seem like marketing messages. Because it means that the viewers’ defenses are down.
  29. We often learn the hard way that our world is ruled by external factors. We don’t always get what is rightfully ours, even if we’ve earned it.
  30. Perfectionism rarely begets perfection, or satisfaction – only disappointment.
  31. Growth-hacking is about scalability – ideally, you want your marketing efforts to bring in users, which then bring in more users.
  32. No matter how commonplace or dull your first job’s duties seem, chances are you can find something to do that others don’t want to and make it your own.
  33. There has to be something about your business that gets you excited. Otherwise, you probably wouldn’t have spent your precious – irreplaceable – time on it.
  34. It’s your job to find a release and an outlet for the stress and the feelings. Never forget: the crazy stays at home.
  35. In June 2007, I finished up school for the year. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was done with college forever. By the end of the summer, I had dropped out and would not return.
  36. Don’t move to New York. Find your own city and your way.
  37. If the media is a farce, why should you be the only one stuck with rules and restrictions?
  38. My advice to young people would be this: Don’t move to New York. It is not where you will find yourself.
  39. Virality, at its core, is asking someone to spend their social capital recommending or linking or posting about you for free.
  40. In every job and position, there are valuable lessons to be learned. Even in a nasty, abusive, toxic workplace, you’re being taught precisely how not to run an organization.
  41. I took the ‘Seinfeld’ tour of New York once – and if I think about it too hard, my brain explodes.
  42. The news is notoriously inaccurate, and our memory of it is even worse.
  43. You know what’s better than building things up in your imagination? Building things up in real life.
  44. Every job carries occupational hazards.
  45. Watching well-meaning authors follow in the footsteps of someone going in the wrong direction breaks my heart.
  46. Dr. Drew Pinsky changed my life.
  47. Online journalism has always had a sourcing problem. From using unverified ‘anonymous tips’ to repeating whatever rumor or speculation people are chattering about, the general ethic is, ‘We’ll publish just about anything.’
  48. Growth hacking is the future of marketing. It has to be.
  49. Our facts aren’t fact; they are opinions dressed up like facts. Our opinions aren’t opinions; they are emotions that feel like opinions. Our information isn’t information; it’s just hastily assembled symbols.
  50. What people often forget is that for the parties involved, the media game is a vicious contest.
  51. I love books. Probably too much for my own good.
  52. Everyone faces adversity.
  53. It angers me to see armed defenders at the bottom of Lost Cause statues, adding a renewed threat of violence to icons that are themselves part of an ideology of violence and intimidation.
  54. If it comes as a constant surprise each and every time something unexpected occurs, you’re not only going to be miserable whenever you attempt something big, you’re going to have a much harder time accepting it and moving on to attempts two, three, and four.
  55. Understanding how the media actually works is critical. Because editors depend on ignorance and media illiteracy to ply their trade. The fact that many readers expect fact checking, editorial oversight, and ethics actually makes it easier for the media to be lazy.
  56. Stoicism – and philosophy – are not the domains of idle professors. They are the succor of the successful and the men and women of action.
  57. If you ask most smart or successful people where they learned their craft, they will not talk to you about their time in school. It’s always a mentor, a particularly transformative job, or a period of experimentation or trial and error.
  58. My neighbors don’t care that I’m an author. It’s inherently ego-inhibiting.
  59. Being criticized in the media is a good problem to have – most of the time. It means you’re doing something that is at least interesting or cool or crazy enough to be noticed. It might not always feel good, but it’s usually better than the alternative of obscurity.
  60. I don’t play videogames and generally think that online activism is a giant waste of time.
  61. In Los Angeles and other cities, being around immigrants is inspiring. They are touching the American Dream and reminding you how much you take it for granted.
  62. Like pretty much every other ambitious person, I always figured I’d eventually move to New York. It is, at this point, half-dream and half-obligation for people trying to do big things. It’s the American Dream inside the American Dream.
  63. One of the ironies of being with someone you really love for a long time is becoming completely incapable of handling stressful or difficult things by yourself.
  64. Do I regret how my life turned out? Of course not – not for a single second.
  65. As someone responsible for my own fair share of marketing stunts, I am suspicious and cynical – I’ll disclose that right up front.
  66. We need to separate marketing messages from content. We need to enforce a clear line between ‘editorial’ and ‘advertising.’
  67. The idea that only the swaggering, all-knowing, and ruthlessly ambitious succeed is a lie. One that has discouraged so many people with so much potential – and worse, encouraged many more to crash and burn.
  68. The reality is that the economic situation for millennials is not a good one.
  69. Pretty much everyone’s career starts the same way: with grunt work. Not just the cliched fetching of coffee, but other lowly tasks: taking notes in meetings, preparing paperwork, scheduling, intensive research – even flat-out doing our bosses’ work for them.
  70. Every media appearance is a learning experience about the media outlet and their journalists and their feelings about you, so treat it as such.
  71. People love stories; they use stories to make sense of the world.
  72. I know how hard authors work on their books and how far out of their element many are when it comes to doing the sales and marketing. So when I see someone doing it wrong and giving bad advice, I do my best to help – even when they’re not my clients.
  73. The process for finding, creating, and consuming information has fundamentally changed with the advent of the web and the rise of blogging.
  74. Leveraging community intelligence and making connections is a key component to being a growth hacker.
  75. Brands are essentially forbidden from saying or associating themselves with the Olympics – something that has been commonly owned by Western Civilization since the Greeks – unless they hand over piles of cash to the Games.
  76. Growth hacking isn’t some proprietary technical process shrouded in secrecy. In fact, it has grown and developed in the course of very public conversations. There are no trade secrets to guard.
  77. Here’s the thing I’ve learned about ideas: It’s your job to have them.
  78. The risks of speaking extemporaneously are apparent the first time you wing it and promptly put your foot in your mouth.
  79. Growth hacking is a mindset, and those who have it will reap incredible gains.
  80. I have a pet goat.
  81. You can’t believe your own marketing.
  82. The greats – they protect their sleep because it’s where the best work comes from. They say no to things. They turn in when they hit their limits. They don’t let the creep of sleep deprivation undermine their judgment.
  83. The news as entertainment is the real danger, because the truth or accuracy of what it is reporting becomes irrelevant.
  84. Virality is not an accident. It is engineered. And that’s why growth hackers beat traditional marketers.
  85. Times change. Context changes. Just because something is old and a ‘part of our history’ shouldn’t mean we are forced to honor it forever.
  86. If you’re shameless enough, you can sell anything.
  87. Everyone needs to start doing interviews over email. Whether you’re a journalist or a spokesperson speaking to the media, you’re better off communicating questions, statements, or inquiries via email.
  88. We all have goals: We want to matter. We want to be important. We want to have freedom and power to pursue our creative work. We want respect from our peers and recognition for our accomplishments. Not out of vanity or selfishness, but of an earnest desire to fulfill our personal potential.
  89. We only have so much energy for our work, for our relationships, for ourselves. A smart person understands this and guards it carefully. Meanwhile, idiots focus on marginal productivity hacks and gains while they leak out energy each passing day.
  90. I made a lot of money and had a great time playing with the words that make up the news. I exploited the laziness behind the news and people’s reading habits.
  91. I wholeheartedly agree that many media ‘standards’ can feel disingenuous or, in fact, be a cover for less-than-honest behavior.
  92. As authors, we’re all trying to fight against obscurity and outside distractions, but it’s a tough battle.
  93. In 2007, I went to work in Beverly Hills as an intern at The Collective, a talent management agency. I’d been scouted for the job because of a blog I’d started in college and because the blogger-turned-author I worked for, Tucker Max, was producing a project with the company.
  94. Let’s be clear: there was no golden age of journalism. The media has always been bad. And instead of improving, it spent a lot of time and energy making up its own myth.
  95. What I’ve found in my research is that realism and self-honesty are the antidote to ego, hubris, and delusion.
  96. In my experience, marketing is best when it proves the product it is supporting.
  97. Life is hard, but we make it much harder.
  98. Because we make ourselves deaf to feedback, because we overestimate our abilities, because we become consumed with ourselves, we end up subjecting ourselves not just to the inevitable stumbles or difficulties of life but catastrophic, painful failures.
  99. Stoicism is a philosophy designed for the masses, and if it has to be simplified a bit to reach the masses, so be it.

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