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Ego Is the Enemy

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  30,430 ratings  ·  2,114 reviews
“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
Hardcover, 226 pages
Published June 14th 2016 by Portfolio
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Ryan Holiday An author signs their work. It's how they are held accountable for what they've created. The only time one shouldn't is if there are real safety conce…moreAn author signs their work. It's how they are held accountable for what they've created. The only time one shouldn't is if there are real safety concerns preventing them from properly doing so. I stand behind my work. (I answer the question in some depth on Brian Koppelman's podcast, The Moment, btw)(less)
Raghu Hudli Most certainly. As they say hindsight is 20/20. The book is replete with examples of how ego has hurt people and how humility has helped them. The exa…moreMost certainly. As they say hindsight is 20/20. The book is replete with examples of how ego has hurt people and how humility has helped them. The examples in the book come from all walks of life. Their analyses helps understand how to confront ego. The book is also logically divided into different sections - Aspire, Success, and Failure which gives one a strategy to overcome ego.

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Average rating 4.16  · 
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 ·  30,430 ratings  ·  2,114 reviews

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João Fernandes
Apr 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Ivan Goh
Jul 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Quinn Cottrell
Jun 12, 2016 rated it did not like it
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
Jul 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
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
Avolyn Fisher
Sep 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
Some may say ego is the voice that tells you that your thoughts are book worthy, that millions of readers are dying to hear what you have to say. That your opinion is so important it should be published and sold in stores.

I fell in love with the introduction to this book. I buzzed with excitement and wholehearted agreement. I blazed through it, I couldn’t agree more with what Holiday was saying.

Then the book began and it was almost an instant struggle to read. Perhaps I didn’t like this book be
Emma Sea
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: auckland-library
2019: 3 stars. I liked it more this time. Now onto Stillness is Key.

2017: 2 stars: I'm entirely unsure why this is getting such glowing reviews. It's fine. It's a perfectly good book. My rating reflects me going in after all the hype, expecting new insights, and finding none. Is the idea of embracing humility and beginner's mind really so refreshing?
Lucas Carlson
Jun 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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.
Josh Steimle
Jun 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Simon Eskildsen
Jun 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reread
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 ...more
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Do you feel 'your work' is better than others when there is evidence to the contrary ?
Do you think grunt work is for 'small people' and you should always be the one producing 'big ideas' ?
Do you often chalk out grand future plans in your mind without paying due respect to the present ?
Do you tell yourself stories to cover up your faults so that your ego is not hurt ?
Are you passionate to the extent that its a crime to expect anything less than perfection ?
Do you believe you are a 'know all' and
Jun 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
“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
Aug 20, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: philosophy
An endless humblebrag, this is every 'just so' story of success put in a pile and shaped into a self-portrait.

Narcissism wearing a philosophical hat.
Mark Wickens
Feb 09, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Identifying an enemy is supposed to be the first step toward defeating it. But Ryan Holiday doesn't define his enemy in any fundamental way, nor do we learn the principle behind its alleged dangers. Instead, the author throws every mistaken, delusional, pathological, and immoral motivation into a grab bag and calls that the ego. We learn only by example, through a series of biographical vignettes, that people who are narcissistic, vainglorious, and self-absorbed come to miserable ends, while suc ...more
Alex Gluchowski
Hugely important messages, very poor arguments. Having read I was rather disappointed. If you have that humble mindset, the book is just a reminder. If you don't yet, barely will it convince you.

Read the Sivers' summary instead.
Jul 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
I had trouble reading this book. I quit a couple times, thinking that there was something fraudulent about the book, but I couldn't put my finger on it.

After finishing the book and reading a little about the author, I had a sense that it carried the enthusiastic voice of a fundamentalist preacher, a salesman, or a college football coach at halftime. First of all, he never defines the word "ego," which makes the fundamental interpretation of the book subject to an enormous variety of subjective d
Jul 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
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.
Alex Linschoten
Jun 19, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in stoic philosophy or who read Holiday's last book
Recommended to Alex by: Aaron Wolfson
Maybe 3.5. I'm always left a little disappointed by Ryan Holiday's books. The promise is huge but the payoff is less than expected. Nevertheless, there was a lot in this book that I found useful, even just as a reminder. Not all of this book will be relevant or useful to you, and I felt at points that this was a book that Holiday felt he needed to write for himself; he has said as much in recent interviews. If you liked his last book, The Obstacle is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversit ...more
Matthew Welch
I kept rolling my eyes while listening to this book. The historical anecdotes are interesting but too often it felt like the author was projecting his own opinion on why people did certain things and their thought process. Most of the principles the author is trying to convey are fine but basically boil down to "Work hard and don't get too big for your britches." I think an alternate title of the book could have been "Success through Subserviency".
Laura Leaney
Sep 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
An excellent reminder that none of us is the center of the universe. A little humility will not make us a doormat but it just might allow us a more powerful future. There's quotable inspiration on every page.
Ahmed Zaki
Dec 30, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was gifted this book by a friend. Though not a fan of the self-improvement genre, this book came strongly recommended, thus, encouraged by the raving reviews, I decided to bite the bullet and give it a try.

In a book which allegedly addresses egocentricity, I could not but see the irony with its prelude in which the author talks in length about his achievements! In any case, he proceeds to guarantee an insightful read, merged with insightful historical subtext and a tinge of mythology. Perhaps
Greg Seguin
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. It's a good complement to Marcus Aurelius' Meditations, giving a modern backdrop to the same Stoic ideas. Also particularly liked the Aspire, Succeed, Fail framework the book follows.

My biggest critique is that Holiday writes this as a book for everyman, but it would be more correct to say that the lessons are targeted to the reader who is at risk due to ego - competitive, high-achieving, perfectionist types who self-promote and aggrandize achievement. This is not a
Michael Britt
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
"And that’s what is so insidious about talk. Anyone can talk about himself or herself. Even a child knows how to gossip and chatter. Most people are decent at hype and sales. So what is scarce and rare? Silence. The ability to deliberately keep yourself out of the conversation and subsist without its validation. Silence is the respite of the confident and the strong.”
Matthew Ting
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
This reads like a bunch of loosely related fortune cookies sequenced one after another. If you've read the title, you've read the book... can read Derek Sivers' summary, which is far more appropriate a length given the underlying substance of the book.
Laura Noggle
*Every time you sit down to work, remind yourself: I am delaying gratification by doing this. I am passing the marshmallow test. I am earning what my ambition burns for. I am making an investment in myself instead of in my ego.*

Review to come ... after I write the two articles that are due. 😅
David Yu
Oct 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: psychology
Few interesting points: dividing life into moments of success, aspirations, and failures and how ego affects us in all three categories.

Ego is often attached to expectations, how we deserve things and recognition, what we should strive for is to be detached from the outcomes, where the effort is enough and the process is what is important.

But a lot of things were very repetitive and did not seem entirely tied to ego, but anything that seemed bad seemed to be an issue with ego.

I agree ego is of
Mai Anh
Apr 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Stay humble because ego is the enemy
Keshav Bhatt
Aug 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Having read Holiday's previous books, I was excited to read this after seeing the reviews and recommendations from people I admire, and it didn't disappoint.

Ego is something we all know about and are aware of but this book allowed me to study and reflect on my own much deeper. As someone who makes YouTube videos and gets a small measure of public attention, it was an important read and definitely made me aware of some pitfalls to watch out for on my journey.

Most of the messaging around us is a
Dave Applegate
Aug 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Holiday does a stellar job explaining what ego is and why it interferes with success & happiness in an easy to understand and actionable way. I started working on my internal dialogue, how I think of myself and others after reading this book. ...more
Andriy Bas
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book!
I realized how much I made EGO-driven decisions in my life.
I wish I had found this book earlier.

Short plot:

To whatever you aspire, EGO is the enemy!

Our culture values almost try to make us dependent on validation, entitled, and ruled by our emotions.
For a generation, parents and teachers have focused on building up everyone’s self-esteem. From there, the themes of our gurus and public figures have been almost exclusively aimed at inspiring, encouraging, and assuring that we
Christine  Trabo ✨
May 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: personal-growth
4/4.5 stars!! this book is one immersive experience and indeed a helpful one, it incorporates and analyses real life situations which is simply a superb idea. only will be extremely difficult to follow all the guidances or even most of them. I’ll just have to work on myself and come back to this whenever in need.
“when you are not practicing, remember, someone somewhere is practicing, and when you meet him he will win.”
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Ego......sounds useful 2 35 May 08, 2018 05:42AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Please fix page count, thanks 2 17 Aug 24, 2016 10:05PM  

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Ryan Holiday is media strategist for notorious clients like Tucker Max and Dov Charney. After dropping out of college at 19 to apprentice under the strategist Robert Greene, he went on to advise many bestselling authors and multi-platinum musicians. He is the Director of Marketing at American Apparel, where his work in advertising was internationally known. His strategies are used as case studies ...more

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“Your potential, the absolute best you’re capable of—that’s the metric to measure yourself against. Your standards are. Winning is not enough. People can get lucky and win. People can be assholes and win. Anyone can win. But not everyone is the best possible version of themselves.” 139 likes
“Impressing people is utterly different from being truly impressive.” 86 likes
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