Ryan Holiday

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Ryan Holiday
RyanHoliday (cropped).jpg
BornJune 16, 1987 (1987-06-16) (age 33)
Sacramento, California, U.S.
OccupationAuthor, marketer, entrepreneur
Alma materUniversity of California, Riverside
Notable worksTrust Me, I'm Lying (2012)
The Obstacle Is the Way (2014)
Ego Is the Enemy (2016)
The Daily Stoic (2016)
SpouseSamantha Hoover[1]

Ryan Holiday (born June 16, 1987) is an American marketer and author.[2] He is the former director of marketing for American Apparel and a media columnist and editor-at-large for the New York Observer.[3][4]


Early career[edit]

Holiday began his professional career after dropping out of college at the age of 19.[1] He briefly attended University of California, Riverside, where he studied political science and creative writing. He worked for Tucker Max, the controversial fratire author, to orchestrate a number of controversial media stunts including a boycott of Max's work as part of a movie launch.[5] Later, Holiday worked with Robert Greene, author of The 48 Laws of Power, on Greene's 2009 New York Times bestselling book, The 50th Law.[6] Holiday served as Director of Marketing for American Apparel and as an adviser to founder Dov Charney.[4][7] He left the company in October 2014.[1][8] He has been responsible for a number of media stunts, and has written extensively on the topic of media manipulation.[3][9]


Holiday is the author of several books and has written for Forbes, Fast Company, The Huffington Post, The Columbia Journalism Review, The Guardian, Thought Catalog, Medium.com and the New York Observer.[citation needed]

In July 2012, his first book Trust Me, I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator was released by Portfolio/Penguin.[10] The book tries to expose flaws in current online journalism system and catalogs the author's exploitation of them.[11] It debuted on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list.[12] His second book Growth Hacker Marketing was originally published in September 2013[13] by Portfolio/Penguin and then expanded into a print edition in 2014.[14] The book shows how traditional marketing efforts (billboards, press releases) are no longer the most effective, and why growth hacking is cheaper and more effective in today's market.[15] The book was named one of Inc. Magazine's top 10 marketing books of 2014.[16][17]

In February 2014, Holiday was named editor-at-large of the Business & Technology section at the New York Observer.[18]

Holiday's third book The Obstacle Is The Way, was published May 1, 2014, also by Portfolio/Penguin.[19] The book is based on the Stoic exercise of framing obstacles as opportunities.[19] The book has sold more than 230,000 copies and was read by the New England Patriots during their 2014 Super Bowl-winning season, as well as distributed through the locker room of the Seattle Seahawks in the following offseason.[20][21] The Obstacle Is the Way reached #1 on the Wall Street Journal Bestseller List in 2019, five years after its initial release.[22] Two-time NBA Champion Chris Bosh listed The Obstacle Is the Way as his favorite book and added that, when his head coach Erik Spoelstra gifted Miami Heat players copies of the book, Bosh had already read it twice.[23] During a press conference at the Masters in 2019, four-time major champion golfer Rory McIlroy said he read The Obstacle Is the Way as well as Holiday's following book, Ego Is the Enemy, leading up to the tournament.[24]

In 2016, he published two books. The first, Ego Is the Enemy, uses various historical figures as case studies to illustrate the perils of egotism.[25] The second, The Daily Stoic, is a daily devotional of Stoic meditations.[26] Both books went on to become bestsellers with Daily Stoic reaching #3 overall on the bestseller list.[27][28]

In 2018, he published Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue. It is about the lawsuit between Gawker Media and wrestler Hulk Hogan, as well as Peter Thiel's involvement in the dispute. It was favorably reviewed by William D. Cohan of the New York Times, who called the book, "one helluva page-turner."[29]

His latest book, Stillness Is the Key, was published in October 2019.[30] Stillness Is the Key argues for a balanced approach to life, of limiting the amount of "noise" and while mostly referencing stoicism, he also makes references to Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism as well as the Abrahamic religions.[25]


Holiday, through his books, articles and lectures, has been credited by the New York Times with the increasing popularity of stoicism.[20] He was also described as "leading the charge for stoicism,"[31] which has been noted for gaining traction among Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.[32][33]

See also[edit]


  • Stillness Is the Key. Portfolio. 2019. p. 288. ISBN 978-0525538585.
  • Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue. Portfolio. 2018. ISBN 978-0735217645.
  • The Daily Stoic Journal: 366 Days of Writing and Reflection on the Art of Living. Portfolio. 2017. ISBN 978-0525534396.
  • Perennial Seller: The Art of Making and Marketing Work that Lasts. Portfolio. 2017. ISBN 978-0143109013.
  • The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living. Portfolio. 2016. ISBN 978-0735211735.
  • Ego Is the Enemy. Portfolio. 2016. ISBN 978-1591847816.
  • The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph. Portfolio. 2014. ISBN 978-1591846352.
  • Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising. Portfolio. 2014. ISBN 978-1591847380.
  • Trust Me, I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator. Portfolio. 2012. ISBN 978-1591845539.


  1. ^ a b c Reclaiming Their Moment New York Times. By VINCENT M. MALLOZZI MARCH 1, 2015
  2. ^ Keen, Andrew (July 16, 2012). "Keen On… Ryan Holiday: Confessions Of A Media Manipulator". TechCrunch.
  3. ^ a b PR exec tells all about manipulating the media -- and spreading lies online New York PostBy LARRY GETLEN 7:08 AM, July 15, 2012
  4. ^ a b Will Dov Charney's Ouster Affect American Apparel's Marketing? We ask director of marketing Ryan Holiday Adweek.com
  5. ^ http://austinist.com/2012/04/05/tucker_maxs_publicist_is_really_goo.php
  6. ^ "PreneurCast078: Conversation with Ryan Holiday". Preneur Media. Archived from the original on 2013-04-19.
  7. ^ Knutsson, Robert. "Our hatred of sexism is the strategy itself". SvD.
  8. ^ American Apparel Names Female CEO to Replace Controversial Founder Dov Charney Adweek.com
  9. ^ Alfonsi, Sharyn (January 11, 2013). "Booming Business of Extreme Pranks: When Cashing in on Viral Videos Crosses the Line". ABC News 20/20.
  10. ^ Holiday, Ryan (2012). Trust Me, I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator. Portoflio Hardcover. ISBN 978-1591845539.
  11. ^ Holiday, Ryan (July 19, 2012). "Our gullible press". Columbia Journalism Review.
  12. ^ "Best-Selling Books, Week Ended July 22". Wall Street Journal. July 27, 2012.
  13. ^ https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18454317-growth-hacker-marketing
  14. ^ "What about GrowthHackers and Product Hunt?".
  15. ^ Scwabel, Dan. "Ryan Holiday: Why All Marketers Should Be Growth Hackers". Forbes.
  16. ^ Zetlin, Minda. "Want a Million Customers? Become a Growth Hacker". INC.
  17. ^ Top 10 Marketing Books of 2014 Inc.com
  18. ^ Horgan, Richard. "Ryan Holiday is Now Betabeat's Editor-at-Large". MediaBistro.
  19. ^ a b Obront, Zach. "Features: 'The Obstacle is the Way': Interview with Ryan Holiday". Exeter.
  20. ^ a b Alexandra Alter (December 6, 2016). "Ryan Holiday Sells Stoicism as a Life Hack, Without Apology". New York Times. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  21. ^ Bishop, Greg How a book on stoicism became wildly popular at every level of the NFL Sports Illustrated. December 10, 2015
  22. ^ Best-Selling Books Week Ended June 15. Washington Post. July 13, 2019
  23. ^ What NBA All-Star Chris Bosh Can’t Live Without New York Magazine. August 5, 2019
  24. ^ Best-selling book finds way onto PGA TOUR PGA Tour. August 5, 2019
  25. ^ a b Sean Illing (January 12, 2017). "Are you an egotist? Here's why the answer is probably yes". Vox. Retrieved January 26, 2017. Cite error: The named reference "Vox" was defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  26. ^ Michael Shammas (October 24, 2016). "Where Is Happiness? The Question Was Answered Two Millennia Ago". Huffington Post. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  27. ^ [ https://www.wsj.com/articles/best-selling-books-week-ended-jan-5-11547219368 Best-Selling Books Week Ended Jan. 5] Wall Street Journal. July 19, 2019
  28. ^ Best-Selling Books Week Ended Oct. 23 Wall Street Journal. January 26, 2017
  29. ^ William D. Cohan (February 27, 2018). "Bringing Down a Media Empire". New York Times Book Review. Retrieved March 8, 2018.
  30. ^ The On-Sale Calendar: October 2019 Publishers Weekly. July 13, 2019
  31. ^ "A 2,300-year-old philosophy is being re-branded to fix modern life". The Independent. 2016-12-07. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  32. ^ Kashmira Gander (December 8, 2016). "Stoicism 2.0: How the 2,300-year-old philosophy has been re-branded for modern life". The Independent. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  33. ^ Olivia Goldhill (December 17, 2016). "Silicon Valley tech workers are using an ancient philosophy designed for Greek slaves as a life hack". Quartz. Retrieved January 26, 2017.

External links[edit]