In that post I make it seem shocking that Ryan would reply to me. But, I’m a fraud. It’s actually not difficult at all.
Before you read any further keep this in mind: ADVICE IS NOT THE ANSWER it won’t help you.
When you bother your idols for advice only a few things happen.
1. Once you start you can’t stop (it’s crack).
2. You’ll get information overload and decision fatigue.
3. You’ll piss off and annoy the people you admire.
In J.D. Salinger’s novel, The Catcher in the Rye. Holden Caulfield says this,
“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.”
Holden is spot on. This never happens. J.D. Salinger was a known recluse in his own right. So, seriously leave your idols alone.
But if you insist, here’s how you can get in touch with almost anyone.
Just follow these two rules before you even think about flooding the inbox of every author you know.
Rule One: You’re already wasting their time. So if you must reach out to those more important than yourself have good questions.
Don’t ask anything that you could’ve found out using google for an hour. Don’t ask questions they’re not suited to answer. And, don’t ask them more than three questions in any given exchange.
Rule Two: This trick doesn’t work for everyone. Tim Ferriss has written at length about his hatred of Email. If Salinger was still alive he wouldn’t be refreshing his inbox to answer your questions. Pick your battles.
Now that you’ve got it narrowed down to a few candidates you’d like to pester, there’s one simple trick to get a response out of them.
Are you ready?
Sign up for their email lists. It’s dead simple.
When I emailed Ryan Holiday it was right after I saw a tweet about his email list. I signed up for it, he sent out the generic welcome message, and I’ve been bugging him ever since.
He’s not the only one either, which leads me to my next suggestion.
If you’re going to ask a busy person for their advice. If you must dig at them for pearls of wisdom. Do them a favor and act on their advice.
Recently I received my income taxes and couldn’t decide what to do with the sudden extra cash. I wanted to be smart about it so I immediately tracked down an expert. I saw that they had an email list, and pinged them for advice.
I emailed Ramit Sethi, author of I Will Teach You to be Rich.
Me: “Hey, Ramit. I just got my income taxes in and I’m wondering- what’s the best thing to do with 1000 dollars?”Ramit: “Read my book pls.”
I deserved that answer. I broke rule one. I messaged a money guru before ever reading his book.
I immediately purchased his book on iBooks for about ten bucks. After the first hundred or so pages I decided to pay off a big chunk of my student loans.
There. Now you know how to aggravate high profile celebrities in a matter of minutes. It’s more effective than twitter and as addictive as street drugs.
Sorry guys. I’m an addict.
If you LOVED this post please share it. If you didn’t absolutely love it- tell me why.