The Ryan Holiday Reading Recommendation Email

“Can you recommend any books?”

My library September 2013. Austin, Texas.

My library September 2013. Austin, Texas.

After being asked this question a thousand times, I put together a private email list of book recommendations. Each month, I send one email with 5 to 10 amazing books that I read, reviewed and think you’ll like. The email is simple and quick and that’s why its grown to become the sensation its become since 2008. Each book has a one sentence review along with connections to similar or related books and a thought or two on why I felt the book is important. PLUS, when you sign up I’ll immediately send you five all-time favorite recommendations, along with resources I’ve created to help you read to lead or even write your own book.

Since I first started the Reading List Email in 2008, people often asked why I linked to Amazon in instead of indie bookstores. For a long time, I told them to hang on…because my dream was always to open my own shop. Well, in 2021, I did just that. You can read this Texas Monthly piece I wrote about the insane journey it was to start a small town bookstore during the middle of a pandemic. Our store The Painted Porch is now open on Main St in Bastrop, Texas and doing great. The obstacle was more than the way—it’s been an incredibly rewarding (although deeply challenging) experience. Just as the goal with the Reading List Email was that I wanted to celebrate other people’s works, The Painted Porch has become an extension of the idea of celebrating other people’s work.

  • Since 2009, I’ve recommended close to 3,000 books I’ve personally read (around 250 a year).

  • At the end of each year I do a recap of the best books I’ve readthatyear. (You can check out the best of lists I did in 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011.)

  • The email list has over 250,000 loyal subscribers.

  • Readers include Big Six book editors, authors, students, entrepreneurs, NFL coaches, celebrities, book store owners, executives, and everyone in between.

  • It’s the secret weapon for anyone looking to read to lead and improve themselves.


Ryan Holiday Bookshelf

Because of what I do for a living (writing bestselling books, owning a bookstore, working with bestselling authors, marketing and advising a handful of high profile clients), I’m always stumbling on interesting books that I am in a unique position to share. This has meant everything from books 80 years out of print, review galley’s of future bestsellers, the Classics, and more. You can get a sense what’s to come on my list of Books to Base Your Life On. Enter your email address below to these unique recommendations every month via email.