What Nobody Tells You About Finding Mentors

Ryan Holiday
9 min readFeb 17, 2018

After getting a million earnest but confused emails about it, I thought I had the perfect idea for a course or program I could teach. Since I’ve had success with it in my own life, I thought, why not teach teach people how to find mentors, how to successfully apprentice under one to learn a skill or craft and then, ideally, how to return the favor to other people down the line.

Of course, I ran the idea by a friend who is much more successful than me and has an enormous business coaching people about finance, negotiation and stuff like that. He pointed out the obvious flaw in my concept: “Ryan,” he said, “you’re picking a market who by definition can’t really afford to pay for it. You should just give the stuff away for free.”

He’s right. So below are some thoughts on mentorships–why its the future of learning, the surest path to success and skills, how to find the right one, how to keep it and how to make the most of it.

Before I get into it, I want to thank all the people who have mentored me (they know who they are), but they taught me how to think, taught me how to create my first book, got me my other book deals, walked me through my jobs, helped me when I messed up, showed me how to be a man and generally gave me tons of their valuable time when I asked for it. I hope I’ve made it worth their while.


Because you were lied to. School is important, don’t get me wrong. But it’s also become a massive shell game. The class of 2013 graduated with an average of $35,000 in student loan debt. And yet…the majority of college graduates have to move back in with their parents. Underemployment for grads is nearly 20%. College grads working minimum wage jobs is up 70% in the last decade. In other words, you paid all that money and now it turns out that you’re not even qualified to start in the field you’re supposedly credentialed for.

On top of that, what about all the people who want to do things in fields that didn’t exist a few years ago? Where exactly were you supposed to pick up those skills?

In other words, school didn’t teach you the shit you actually need (and this is true even if you’re a doctor). If you’re lucky, you learned how to learn. That will help you because now your education is…



Ryan Holiday

Bestselling author of ‘Conspiracy,’ ‘Ego is the Enemy’ & ‘The Obstacle Is The Way’ http://amzn.to/24qKRWR