What I’m Reading

December 12, 2008

Joan of Arc: Her Story by Régine Pernoud

Can We Do That?! Outrageous PR Stunts That Work–And Why Your Company Needs Them by Peter Shankman (good premise, the guy comes off as a bit of a tool)

The Beauty of the Beasts: Tales of Hollywood’s Wild Animal Stars by Ralph Helfer (continuing my disturbing obsession)

The Voyage Memoirs of Sir Francis Drake by Sir Francis Drake (not as cool as I hoped)

Grand Strategies in War and Peace by Paul Kennedy

The Rise and Fall of Athens: Nine Greek Lives by Plutarch (I liked Demosthenes a lot)

What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception by Scott McClellan (this book is a really good memoir of how culture and DNA ultimately dictate the choices of an organization. always have respect for someone who is able to disavow the past and say ‘i don’t want to be a part of this anymore’)

Also, I don’t care how much money these kids are making, all but like two of their sites suck. There’s nothing admirable about running scammy search arbitrage sites that we’d be skeeved out if an adult was doing and then bragging about how young you are.

Ryan Holiday

I'm a strategist for bestselling authors and billion dollar brands like American Apparel, Tucker Max and Robert Greene. My work has been used as case studies by Twitter, YouTube and Google and has been written about in AdAge, the New York Times, Gawker and Fast Company.

11 responses to What I’m Reading

  1. I’ve liked what I’ve found on Demosthenes a lot since I first heard the name in Enders Game. I can’t tell, do you think the 9 Greek lives book is a good read?

  2. Goddamn, I couldn’t make it all the way through that list of young entrepreneurs. I used to do something similar a few years ago, and for a few months my income was greater than my mom’s… but I pulled out when I realized how little value I was producing and how disgusted I was growing in myself for it.

    Now I’m a broke college student but much happier for it. It also helped break my interest in money.

    The list you posted here has a lot of interesting books, I’ll try to pick up a few of those.

  3. Whoa, are you implying that it would be sketchy for an adult to run a NeoPets fansite?

  4. Did you ever share your thoughts on why you wouldn’t buy an e-reader like the Sony one or Amazon Kindle?

    I know it goes against having the physical books around you with their post-it tabs and margin notes, but do you have any other issues with them?

  5. Completely agree on the “young entrepreneurs”. Reminds me of someone I know who set up 20 blogs and is filling them with spammy content on things like “real estate”, to make money on Google Ads. Okay, so you make a few hundred bucks a month (according to her). But what’s the point?

    Inc magazine’s October 2008 issue had a neat list of under-30 entrepreneurs, and not one “affiliate marketer” in the bunch. What do you think of these guys?: http://www.inc.com/magazine/20081001/cool-determined-amp-under-30.html

  6. All that money and none of them can hire somebody to take a decent picture for their websites.

  7. Regarding Scott McClelland’s “What Happened,” the author basically borrowed a riff from his dad, aka “speaking truth about power,” though from an insider’s perspective.

    Go to Amazon.com and punch in “Barr McClellan. Blood, Money & Power: How L.B.J. Killed J.F.K.”

    You’ll begin to see what I mean.

    I can’t say that either the son or the father are accurate in their observations, but scandal sells. Or at least it should. . .

  8. That’s a fair criticism, I’m sure, and I’ll read the book. However, I doubt you could find a single example in the book where Scott didn’t under-indict the Bush administration, so that clears him on the manufacturing scandal angle for now.

  9. Ryan, one more thing. I didn’t know that it was called “anteambulo.” But I’ve used that particular strategy twice with success, once to launch my career, and the second time in a muscial context.

    From a pragmatic perspective, it’s a good, useful strategy, but I’ve discovered to my own chagrin that it is difficult to make the transition from clearing someone else’s path to blazing one’s own.

    On a personal note, a friend turned me on to your blog a couple months ago. I really dig the reading recommendations. Very useful for this motivated autodidact. . .

  10. The thing is though, what is a better way to make that transition? You just have to work on never get spoiled.

    Tell your friend I said thank you.

  11. Ryan,

    Those young entrepreneurs are nobodies and will remain nobodies – anyone can understand that. But the real story is the site that “article” is hosted on is garbage, too. It looks to me like a bunch of guys put that together in an afternoon. Hell, the page layout doesn’t even render correctly in my browser, and the blog contributors look like they believe in the same kind of substanceless “entrepreneurship” as the people they’ve profiled. By giving that article a link, you’ve probably helped them a lot more than they really deserve.