Ego Is the Enemy

Ego Is the Enemy

“While the history books are filled with tales of obsessive, visionary geniuses who remade the world in their image with sheer, almost irrational force, I’ve found that history is also made by individuals who fought their egos at every turn, who eschewed the spotlight, and who put their higher goals above their desire for recognition.” –from the PrologueMany of us insist t...

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Title:Ego Is the Enemy
Author:Ryan Holiday
Rating:
ISBN:1591847818
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:226 pages

Ego Is the Enemy Reviews

  • João Fernandes
    Apr 22, 2016

    Everybody who knows me knows that I am a big fan of Ryan’s work. But when I read that his new book was about ego I got a bit fearful for him. I’ve read many, many books that approach this same theme and 90% of them fail miserably at addressing it. Not only this is one hell of a complex theme, this is also a very vague and elusive subject. I feared that Ryan would fail for the first time in his career as an author.

    But in the first few pages I was proved wrong. Thank God, I thought, this guy is ev

    Everybody who knows me knows that I am a big fan of Ryan’s work. But when I read that his new book was about ego I got a bit fearful for him. I’ve read many, many books that approach this same theme and 90% of them fail miserably at addressing it. Not only this is one hell of a complex theme, this is also a very vague and elusive subject. I feared that Ryan would fail for the first time in his career as an author.

    But in the first few pages I was proved wrong. Thank God, I thought, this guy is even a better writer than I knew he was. I don’t say this very often but I was impressed by the clarity and simplicity that Ryan addressed such a mind twisting subject. Ego is the Enemy is perhaps the most straight forward book on the subject and a truly humbling lesson on how to live a sober, stoic life. If in his previous book , Ryan addressed many of the stoic philosophies and how those can be applied to our daily lives, in The Ego is The Enemy the reader can only be left in humble contemplation and to question his own life.

    While reading it I felt a certain ego resistance to deny and not read it to the end. I knew that the book purpose was this and that the small but precise hits to the ego were addressing issues that I had forgotten or simply put on the side.

    I was reminded once again to not fall in the trap of doing too much, too passionately, too soon and to not use that as an excuse to burn myself out and cope with frustration. Passion can be a dangerous element and here is where the sobriety of a student’s life come into play: it is all work, it is all an end on itself and the rewards are the path, not on some outer goal or reward.

    Fruit of Ryan’s own study of Stoic philosophy there are also great pieces on the principle of Amor Fati, loving your own fate: 1) The disruptive moments are there for a reason, more likely than not you are unconsciously asking for those, you are behaving in a way that is not healthy or you are leading your life in a way that is not good for you, sometimes only when you hit rock bottom you become truly capable of achieve what you truly desire.

    2) The fact that you are not one little special brighter star. You are basically like everybody else, you are not entitled to anything and you need to remind yourself that we are all nothing more than interstellar dust. Yes, you are part of something way bigger than you, you are part of a universe that doesn’t really care about your little problems. Want to feel this: contemplate the ocean, meditate in a silence and listen to all the sounds around you, walk in nature for hours, look directly to the eyes of an animal and see your face reflected on it, watch this video of Andromeda Galaxy or witness true beauty. You will feel part of the All. Freud called this the oceanic feeling.

    And lastly Ryan presents us with the most important lesson of all: Always love. Love your work, love your family, love your pet, love yourself, love everything that you don’t consider as yourself, love your enemies, love the failures, the good moments and the bad moments, love everything, love all, always love.

    If you would like to put your ego in check, this book is for you. Pre-Order It like I did.

    This review is part of a complete article on "The Ego Is The Enemy", which was published here:

  • Lucas Carlson
    Jun 02, 2016

    This book is absolutely full of amazing anecdotes loosely tied together in three sections: Aspire, Success, and Failure. If you are looking for inspiration to get you through a pit of despair, and can't stand empty platitudes, this book is for you. This will go on my shelf to re-read for sure.

  • Lusius
    Jun 03, 2016

    “While the history books are filled with tales of obsessive, visionary geniuses who remade the world in their image with sheer, almost irrational force, I’ve found that history is also made by individuals who fought their egos at every turn, who eschewed the spotlight, and who put their higher goals above their desire for recognition.” – from the Prologue

    Many of us insist the main impediment to a full, successful life is the outside world. In fact, the most common enemy lies within: our ego. Ear

    “While the history books are filled with tales of obsessive, visionary geniuses who remade the world in their image with sheer, almost irrational force, I’ve found that history is also made by individuals who fought their egos at every turn, who eschewed the spotlight, and who put their higher goals above their desire for recognition.” – from the Prologue

    Many of us insist the main impediment to a full, successful life is the outside world. In fact, the most common enemy lies within: our ego. Early in our careers, it impedes learning and the cultivation of talent. With success, it can blind us to our faults and sow future problems. In failure, it magnifies each blow and makes recovery more difficult. At every stage, ego holds us back.

    The Ego is the Enemy draws on a vast array of stories and examples, from literature to philosophy to history. We meet fascinating figures like Howard Hughes, Katharine Graham, Bill Belichick, and Eleanor Roosevelt, all of whom reached the highest levels of power and success by conquering their own egos. Their strategies and tactics can be ours as well.

    But why should we bother fighting ego in an era that glorifies social media, reality TV, and other forms of shameless self-promotion? Armed with the lessons in this book, as Holiday writes, “you will be less invested in the story you tell about your own specialness, and as a result, you will be liberated to accomplish the world-changing work you’ve set out to achieve.”

  • Quinn Cottrell
    Jun 12, 2016

    I really liked Ryan's previous book, 'The Obstacle Is The Way". This book was so bad I couldn't even finish reading it.

    Instead of insightful, pragmatic advice it felt

    more like the petulant rant of a frustrated writer. The tight connections between the historical examples and each chapters point that were so well done in the first book, were lacking. It seemed to me that Mr Holiday was projecting ego or a lack of ego onto many of the characters just to make a point.

    Don't bother buying this book

    I really liked Ryan's previous book, 'The Obstacle Is The Way". This book was so bad I couldn't even finish reading it.

    Instead of insightful, pragmatic advice it felt

    more like the petulant rant of a frustrated writer. The tight connections between the historical examples and each chapters point that were so well done in the first book, were lacking. It seemed to me that Mr Holiday was projecting ego or a lack of ego onto many of the characters just to make a point.

    Don't bother buying this book.

  • Josh Steimle
    Jun 26, 2016

    I don't have any tattoos and never will, but I can easily understand why Ryan Holiday has "Ego is the Enemy" tattooed on one forearm, and the title of his last book "The Obstacle is the Way" tattooed on the other. Words mean things, and when certain words are committed to memory and are repeated in certain types of situations they change behavior, and thereby can change the course of a life. If you read a book and don't remember anything about it, its effects are muted. Ryan has made sure the le

    I don't have any tattoos and never will, but I can easily understand why Ryan Holiday has "Ego is the Enemy" tattooed on one forearm, and the title of his last book "The Obstacle is the Way" tattooed on the other. Words mean things, and when certain words are committed to memory and are repeated in certain types of situations they change behavior, and thereby can change the course of a life. If you read a book and don't remember anything about it, its effects are muted. Ryan has made sure the lessons he's learned writing these books won't be forgotten, and I'm doing my best to "tattoo" these words onto my brain, because those words, along with the context of the books backing them up, is benefitting my life.

    Perhaps this book is especially appealing to me because I'm a Mormon, and we Mormons are constantly admonished by our leaders to beware of pride (see

    ). Reading Ryan's book was a bit like listening to a talk at my church, albeit without so many spiritual references, instead referencing statements by stoics and other philosophers, although one thing Ryan and Ezra Taft Benson both have in common is that they both quoted C.S. Lewis.

    Ego is the enemy because when you think you know everything, you can't learn. If you can't learn, you can't improve and you're stuck where you are, or in the language of the Bible, you're damned. Damnation is little more than a lack of progression, and the only thing that keeps us from progression is ego, or pride. We might think other people keep us from progressing, but Ryan shows how some of the greatest thinkers progressed the most while in the most debilitating circumstances, like Viktor Frankyl whose famous ideas expressed in his book Man's Search for Meaning were developed while he was being starved and tortured in a Nazi concentration camp.

    Yes, ego is the enemy, and this book is a good start to arm yourself for the battle.

  • Simon Eskildsen
    Jun 29, 2016

    Ego Is The Enemy starts off with a strong testament: The type of people who tend to succeed early, tend to be the same kind of people who are in danger of ego taking the predominant voice in their actions. As your body of accomplishments grow, your ego may follow, installing itself in you as an arrogance. Arrogance is often confused with power and self-confidence, both by the person, and by people around them. Ego is a soothing voice. It's comforting. Pursuing great work, in arts, business or sp

    Ego Is The Enemy starts off with a strong testament: The type of people who tend to succeed early, tend to be the same kind of people who are in danger of ego taking the predominant voice in their actions. As your body of accomplishments grow, your ego may follow, installing itself in you as an arrogance. Arrogance is often confused with power and self-confidence, both by the person, and by people around them. Ego is a soothing voice. It's comforting. Pursuing great work, in arts, business or sports is a terrifying endeavor. Ego will justify not doing so, reminding us of our past great accomplishments. Replacing our uncertainty with self-absorption. It will tell us exactly what we want to hear, when we want to hear it. This is extremely dangerous. Instead of sitting with our heads down, and getting work done, the ego will lead us in the direction of the work that is more public. More easily recognized. It will take all the short term leaps it can.

    But what does ego know? The ego was built by accomplishments that predated the strong ego. It doesn't know anything about accomplishing success. Instead, it provides us with a great recipe for how to ruin it. Ego is what causes Kanye to go from the medium that built his ego, music, to fronts he's convinced he can succeed in. Fashion. Arguably one of the most competitive, chaotic industries in the world. Kanye is convinced he can succeed here, but he is not. He is letting his ego carry from one accomplishment, to the other. It is not the rational, heads-down, humble, self-aware self that is driving this, it's the ego. Talent, skill and confidence is not rare. Humility, diligence and self-awareness are.

    When let the ego subdue, you will fall into traps of accomplishment. Research shows that goal visualization is important, but at a certain point our brains start to confuse it with actual progress. When I read this, it terrified me, because I am working on a project that has high complexity, high risks and high uncertainty. I spend a lot of time talking with people, collecting information, but how much am I confusing the action of explaining my goal, talking with people, with actual progress? How do I know the difference between the two? Am I talking to them because I want to show them this great project I will do? Am I having the meeting for validation of the ego, or am I having it because I legitimately need information?

    Ego actively prevents us from getting better. We know about unknown-unknowns, we know about known unknowns, we know about known-knowns. What people often leave out, are the unknown-knowns. These are our assumptions. Our stereotypes. Our biases. This is our most dangerous vice. The ego completely ignores this. How will we turn anything upside down, if we cannot question our assumptions?

    Holiday describes the dangers of passion. There is a survival bias present in the world of passion, where we see all the successes that come from it, but not the order of magnitude of failures that lie behind each success. They are invisible. It doesn't surface when someone takes a loan in their house, maxes our their credit cards and uses all their SO's savings to chase an idea. It surfaces when that succeeds, but never when it fails. This is the other side of the medal of passion. The ego loves passion, because it's a blindfolding tool it can use.

    The book touches on the issue of money: by default, we will always want more. If we don't set ourselves a target, getting more is the easiest path forward. But money comes with significant downsides. You may accumulate habits on the hedonic treadmill that causes you to not rely on this money. This means you may have to say yes to things in the future that you don't actually want to do. You need targets and metrics, not constant accumulation of money, which usually follows from increasing accumulation of expectations from other people. At this point, you've said yes to money over your own freedom. Find poise, not pose.

    What is the ego? Holiday is not referring to the Freudian ego. He uses the term to describe the part of you that is always striving for recognition. The part of you that always has an excuse. The part of you that prevents you from getting done what you need to get done. It's not a power that corrupts, that would be too simple. Instead, it is a force that fragments. It closes options. It mesmerizes. It clouds your mind, and puts blindfolds on you. It decreases your perspective. It makes you see what you want to see. Ego is the default choice, because it's soothing. That is precisely why we must be cognizant of it, and counter-balance it. In every situation, ask yourself who is acting. Is it you, your goals, your vision, your long-term accomplishments, and your confidence? Or is it your ego?

    Ego is the enemy. That is a sentence I'll repeat to myself after reading this book. This is an extremely important book that I believe I read at the right time. I'm extremely grateful for this book, which is only something that happens every 20-40 books I read.

  • Ivan Goh
    Jul 06, 2016

    As a millennial myself, I see too many people around me drift by life wondering if there's any purpose to life. We are all delusional in a sense that we literally think the world should revolve around us. There a voice in our minds that scream out loud; "you deserve better!". We expect our bosses to pay us more, our spouses to love us more, our friends to be more generous to us, without us putting in the time and effort that is needed to build these kind of relationships.

    We change our jobs, our

    As a millennial myself, I see too many people around me drift by life wondering if there's any purpose to life. We are all delusional in a sense that we literally think the world should revolve around us. There a voice in our minds that scream out loud; "you deserve better!". We expect our bosses to pay us more, our spouses to love us more, our friends to be more generous to us, without us putting in the time and effort that is needed to build these kind of relationships.

    We change our jobs, our lovers, our friends as if we'll find the 'right' one. The next time round. We'll always be disappointed by the harsh reality. Reading Ryan's book help me deal with the existentialist crisis that I think I may be facing. In this book, I learnt 3 lessons that are the crystallised wisdoms from the stoics .

    We often think that successful people are like Aston Kutcher in the Movie, "Jobs", they are egoist manics that want to take control of everything. They are geniuses that have flashes of inspiration then work throughout the night, writing long stream-of-consciousness emails and putting pictures together as if they are making something. In reality, these people fail. Steve Jobs was fired from Apple for his erratic management style. The real people who are making things happen are people like Angela Merkel. She is plain, humble, polite to everybody (even to Putin). She makes Germany look good because she places her country's interest before her own.

    Success is defined very differently from the normal world in this book. It's not about the amount of money in your bank account, its not the clothes you wear, or the women that you have. Success is the peace of mind, knowing that you have given your best in advancing your purpose. Don't let the trappings of the commercial world get to you. When you achieve small progress, society lavishes praise and money on you, making you feel special. That is Ego taking control. Redefine success in your manner. You have a choice to do the right thing and should do the right thing even when you can get away not doing it. That is what true success looks like.

    It's often not enough to be passionate about something. Do you remember a time when you were extremely passionate about something, then losing interest in the end? That is what passion looks like. It is steam blowing out of a kettle. It blunts our ability to objectively assess things. Replace the hot and steamy passion with solid cold purpose. Like a cold stab of marble, we slowly carve it into what we want to be, revealing the beauty within. In life, we are often told that we have two choices, to be somebody or to do something. To do something means that you will often not get recognised. You will fail a lot of times and feel like giving up. That moment is when true character is formed. It's not about what you can get away with, but what you should and shouldn't do. These moments are training our character, and as what martial artist, Daniele Bolelli said, " training is like sweeping the floor...Everyday the dust comes back. Everyday we must sweep." When our character is formed then we can use it to sculpt the cold hard marble block into a beautiful statue.

    Commit to a greater purpose and lose the Ego. Hold yourself to a higher standard of character and performance. The obstacle will reveal the way.

  • Danielle
    Jul 19, 2016

    It was a struggle to make it through this book, which is a shame because this is a concept that I can really get behind.

    "Ego Is the Enemy" is a series of platitudes, sometimes actually useful, with varying relevance to the overall theme. Ryan Holiday uses "ego" as a substitute for human vice in general, which is probably why the book is so meandering and occasionally preachy. The whole thing seemed like a pep talk he is giving himself in the mirror. I gave it two stars for the inclusion of inte

    It was a struggle to make it through this book, which is a shame because this is a concept that I can really get behind.

    "Ego Is the Enemy" is a series of platitudes, sometimes actually useful, with varying relevance to the overall theme. Ryan Holiday uses "ego" as a substitute for human vice in general, which is probably why the book is so meandering and occasionally preachy. The whole thing seemed like a pep talk he is giving himself in the mirror. I gave it two stars for the inclusion of interesting historical anecdotes.

    There are many other books on this subject. Don't buy this one.

  • Vance
    Jul 20, 2016

    Ego can certainly be your enemy. It's important to remain humble while being confident in your daily activities.

    I heard the author discuss the book on EconTalk and I thought I would enjoy it. However, it's more of a self-help book than one where you can really learn new ways to worry less about your ego and find new avenues to grow as a person.

    I was looking more for the latter which is why I gave it two stars, though you might like it.

  • Mohammad
    Jan 24, 2017

    غرور دشمن ماست. منظور از غرور اینجا باور به اهمیت بیش از حد خومونه، همون بچه ی شرور و تخسی که در وجود هر آدمی هست و تمایل داره همیشه حرف خودش باشه هرچند به ضرر و هزینه بقیه تموم بشه. خیلی وقتها غرور باعث می شه تا در موقعیت های مختلف تصمیم هایی بگیریم و یا رفتاری انجام بدیم که در نهایت به ضرر ماست و باعث شکست و ناراحتی و دردسر ما می شه.

    برای توضیح این موضوع کتاب به سه قسمت تقسیم شده: شروع کار، موفقیت و شکست.

    توی بخش اول که بیشتر به تصمیم گیری و هدف گذاری، اعتماد به نفس و موارد مشابه پرداخته، غرور

    غرور دشمن ماست. منظور از غرور اینجا باور به اهمیت بیش از حد خومونه، همون بچه ی شرور و تخسی که در وجود هر آدمی هست و تمایل داره همیشه حرف خودش باشه هرچند به ضرر و هزینه بقیه تموم بشه. خیلی وقتها غرور باعث می شه تا در موقعیت های مختلف تصمیم هایی بگیریم و یا رفتاری انجام بدیم که در نهایت به ضرر ماست و باعث شکست و ناراحتی و دردسر ما می شه.

    برای توضیح این موضوع کتاب به سه قسمت تقسیم شده: شروع کار، موفقیت و شکست.

    توی بخش اول که بیشتر به تصمیم گیری و هدف گذاری، اعتماد به نفس و موارد مشابه پرداخته، غرور رو عامل خیلی از رفتارهای نامناسب می دونه. مثلا اعتماد به نفس کاذب اول راه بیشتر بر مبنای غرور بنا شده تا موفقیت های پیشین و شایستگی ها. اما مهم تر از اعتماد به نفس توانایی فرد توی ارزیابی خودش از توانایی ها و مهارت خودشه. باید بدونه کجاها خوبه و کجاها جای پیشرفت داره. اگه نه دیر یا زود زندگی بهش نشون می ده. که خوب معمولا دردناک و هزینه بره. یا مثلا اینکه فکر کنی همه چیز رو می دونی، یا خیلی باهوشی و نیازی به نظر دیگران نداری. یا اینکه اهداف بیخود مثل تشویق و تمجید بقیه جای کار اصلی مورد نظرت رو بگیره. یا اینکه انجام بعضی از کارهای ضروری برای به دست آوردن دانش و تجربه رو دون شان خودمون بدونیم. و خیلی چیزهای دیگه.

    توی بخش دوم تاثیر غرور بعد از رسیدن به موفقیت رو بررسی می کنه. اینجا ما به موفقیت رسیدیم و خیلی وقت ها این موضوع باعث می شه تا یادگیری رو متوقف کنیم، یا به بقیه گوش بدیم، یا فکر کنیم چون موفق شدیم غیرقابل شکست هم شدیم. یا خیلی فوق العاده ایم و از بقیه برتریم و خاصیم. برای جلوگیری از این اتفاق بهتره همیشه مثل یک دانشجو و آموزنده این مسیر باقی بمونیم. متوقع نشیم و فروتن باقی بمونیم.

    بخش سوم هم مشکلاتی که غرور برای پذیرفتن و درس گرفتن و گذر از شکست ایجاد می کنه رو بیان می کنه. و تلاش کرده براش راه حل هم بده. شکست خوردن توی زندگی قطعیه. ما ناگزیر از شکست خوردن ایم. دیر یا زود. هیچ کس توی همه زمینه ها و همیشه موفق نمی شه. اهداف تغییر می کنن، شرایط تغییر می کنه، ما تغییر می کنیم. شکست پیش میاد. منتها اینکه چطور با این شکست رو به رو بشیم مهمه. یامون باشه که وظیفه ما تلاشه، نتیجه از عهده ما خارجه. هر چی که باشه. خودمون رو با بقیه مقایسه نکنیم. اهدافی رو دنبال کنیم که برای خودمون مهمه نه چیزهایی که جامعه و دوستان و رسانه ها از ما انتظار دارن یا تبلیغ می کنن.

    ـــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــ

    خوب بود.

    ولی فکر می کنم بعضی جاها زیاده روی کرده بود. گاهی کمی غرور و خودخواهی لازمه. گاهی غرور باعث می شه استانداردهای ذهنی خودمون رو بالاتر ببریم و بیشتر تلاش کنیم. بعضی جاها می تونه بهمون اعتماد به نفس بده. می تونه باعث بشه بعضی از بدی های ناچیزی که در حق ما می شه رو نادیده بگیریم. باعث می شه پای ارزش ها و باورهامون بایستیم. درسته ممکنه اشتباه کنیم، اما همیشه که اشتباه نمی کنیم. نباید غرور رو از بین برد. اما باید حواسمون باشه ما رو تسخیر نکنه. ما رو به بردگی نگیره، گمراهمون نکنه و یا سد راهمون نشه.