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How to Fight a Hydra: Face Your Fears, Pursue Your Ambitions, and Become the Hero You Are Destined to Be
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How to Fight a Hydra: Face Your Fears, Pursue Your Ambitions, and Become the Hero You Are Destined to Be

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  976 ratings  ·  117 reviews
A survival manual for ambitious artists entrepreneurs ADVENTURERS

You have a Hydra: a grand, ambitious project you’ve always wanted to tackle. It feels overwhelming, unconquerable. Chop off one of a Hydra’s heads, and two more grow in its place.

How will you ever defeat such a terrifying monstrosity – and live to tell the tale?
In this illuminating fable, productivity
Kindle Edition, 127 pages
Published October 23rd 2018 by Worldly Wisdom Ventures LLC
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Average rating 4.17  · 
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 ·  976 ratings  ·  117 reviews

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Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The real hydras are Josh Kaufman's books. Every time you finish reading one of his books, he tasks you with reading a bunch of other great books.

I'm still fighting "Personal MBA" hydra (97 book recommendations), "How to Fight a Hydra" gives another 7.

If I read one more book from Josh Kaufman, I'll have to get a bigger apartment just for my books.
Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Nice and easily digestible.
My first thought upon seeing the title was that procrastination is the Hydra, but it wasn't just that.
A Hydra is what you'd have if you start thinking about ambitious, uncertain, and speculative projects as some kind of being instead of just an abstract challenge.
It strangely makes sense, and of course, it does. We, humans, understand things better in metaphors, just imagine living your life literally, it becomes unbearable. So taking the challenges we face outside of
Sandy Maguire
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A short and sweet book about the adventurer's lifestyle---about facing your fears and accomplishing great things. I read it in about half an hour, and it lands at exactly the right length. Invaluable advice for taking risks and achieving greatness.
Angela Magic Art
What an AMAZING book to complete my reading challenge with! This book is Phenomenal!! I have never in my life, felt more understood. This book just hit Sooooooo close to home for me because I am one of the "Adventurers", Entrepreneurs, and dream chasers this book is modeled after. I have read Josh Kaufman's other book; "The Personal MBA" and really really enjoyed that, I found it so helpful and supportive. So when I got an email that he had a new book out, I jumped on it! This book is a beautifu ...more
Mar 10, 2019 rated it did not like it
I don't understand why this has high ratings on Goodreads. The author successfully made a metaphor, but the writing quality is low. At the end of the 1st grade in elementary school, I wrote a very short book about killing a dragon. I still have it in storage. It's not good. I think if I had rewritten it in middle school, it would be of similar quality with this book. I'm not trying to be mean. I don't think the author is even interested in writing good fiction. He easily could have joined a writ ...more
Feb 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An excellent little book full of gems! The author takes our fear of the unknown, uncertainty, ambiguity, and resistance and embodies them into the form of a hydra and us as an adventurer. I enjoyed the metaphor and found myself highlighting little pieces of wisdom throughout the book.
Scott Wozniak
Jul 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
This very short book is fun to read, with deep thoughts buried in it. The story was much better than I expected. And there isn't a ton of explaining the big ideas embedded in the story. You get them pretty clearly from the story so he doesn't repeat them. It's not very tactical, it's just motivational. But it's good at being motivational.
Harish Sankar
Dec 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant 30 minute Read!

A beautiful metaphor for the complexities we face in real life, and the inner battles that we must win , to make progress!
Excellent! Highlighted more than half the book!
Pranjal Kumar Nandi
It was a great 1 hour reading. So many ideas are in such a small book. And they are expressed by a fantasy story. The story is used as a metaphor for delivering the ideas. It not that it's a different type of approach. Many authors use metaphor frequently for expressing ideas. But it's nicely oriented and neatly represented. I would prefer to call it a kind of book that gives you courage rather than motivation. Really a thought provoking one.
Sandhya Chandramohan
Jun 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Procrastination and anxiety are eternal human adversaries, that countless self-help/productivity books have been written on. Josh Kaufman gives physical form and names our greatest enemy as the hydra in this fable about conquering your fears and fulfilling your potential. Uncertainty, complexity, variability and ambiguity are hydras that every hero has to face in life. Every adventurer feels afraid, every adventurer needs to explore, every adventurer wants to quit at some point. But perseverance ...more
Tony Guerra
Nov 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It was such a well written book with divisions that made it easy to pick up and continue. It only took about an hour to read, but I was bookmarking throughout. I felt the lessons came fast and the story was authentic. While it's allegorical fiction, it's so well done that you lose yourself in the story. I highly recommend it.
Helge Reikerås
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
This a great and inspiring story for anyone trying to tackle anything that seems incredible hard or impossible. It's not always a good thing when authors want to read their own books imho, but in the case of Josh his voice is just great and is accompanied by sound effects and a background ambiance that makes this book a must for listening to as an audiobook.
Amanda Butler
A beautifully crafted metaphor for tackling real life projects. I highly recommend this.
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
A refreshing perspective on journeying through life, it reminds us of the struggles that accompanies journeying.
Ananda Nadya
May 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A great book about facing your fear told in very engaging story. A must read!
Nov 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Interesting Read

While reading I felt the philosophy of Bhagavad Gita in some places, in the end author mentioned it.
It's a wake up call for those who are afraid of performing their duty, thinking about result even before starting
Edirin Edewor
Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant read!

A friend recommended this book to me and told me that the writing style reminded him of Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist and I couldn't agree more. It was so engaging, I read it in one sitting and the lessons shared are very relevant today. I enjoyed the storytelling and the after-notes, and I look forward to reading more of Josh's works.
Aditya Modi
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant book. Its especially a good read if read at an appropriate time in ones career. I could relate with the book which made it an absolute pleasure read.
This entire book is a metaphor, and I love it!
ricardo is reading
Personal growth is a topic that has been in my mind for a good while now. (Essentially ever since I stepped deeper into full-blown adulthood by turning 30 about year ago and also watching every Queer Eye episode at least ten times.) And naturally books on the subject have turned out to be something of an interest, and I've been keeping an eye out for them.

The only problem is that I find most of these types of books — so called "self-help" books — to be mostly insufferable. I'm not very big on ge
Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: special
Short and sweet. I have the Kindle copy but listened to the whole thing on Audible (around 1 hour and 30 minutes) during several commutes in one day.

What it's about
The core part of the story is the main character's pursuit of the hydra. (The audiobook narrated that part in roughly 1 hour. The sound effects and silences added to the atmosphere of the performance.)

The story did a great job in turning the amorphous fear of a big undertaking into something as concrete as hunting a hydra.

How it work
Boni Aditya
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book stands as a testimonial to Josh kaufman s abilities and illustrates why he remains the best selling author time and again. The work is unique, in that it could be adopted to multiple disciples without any loss of clarity or relevance. Research, innovation, exploration, war, business, entrepreneurship, movie making... Anything could be metaphorically relevant to this context. Having seen the Ted talk given by the author about the first 20 hours as opposed the 10,000 hours required to ge ...more
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
For adults that usually read non-fiction books and articles about productivity, project management, procrastination, etc...this is a FUN read. A fantasy tale, just as the title says, about how to fight a hydra.

The author has taken concepts from several different theories and interwoven them in a “how to apply” meets “going on a quest”. If you enjoy fantasy stories, you’ll view this as a fun short story. If you enjoy productivity books, you’ll stop and probably say “Oh! That’s totally a ____ appr
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Halfway through the book, I admit that I was skeptical.

What the author does is craft an entertaining fantasy story about a man who sets out to slay a multi-headed Hydra (a metaphor for a really big undertaking you may be considering, but hesitant to start). Then he follows up the story with explanations and advice that make much more sense within the context of the fantasy story. The two together make up a relatively interesting read to give you attainable and independent thoughts on how you mig
Gilbert Stack
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a self-help book disguised as a fantasy novella. It’s not a gripping or exciting story, but it is interesting as the reader watches our young hero go through the entrepreneurial process in setting out to find and kill the mythical monster. It’s clever, but probably most so in that the author has found a way to bring his self-help philosophy to a whole new audience that probably would never have read a traditional self-help book. If you’ve got a child who likes fantasy, you might slip thi ...more
Terrence Cooper
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Oh man, this book is so helpful. The similarities that the man had to go through to become who he wanted to be in the story is just like everyone in life. It’s a process to become the person you want to be or to achieve a goal. You have to not only visualize it but you have to set your self up to make it become a reality. Although there will be some discouraging events that will probably make you think twice about it but you still have to keep pushing no matter what. This book taught me that qui ...more
Aug 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Written in the tradition of books like The Richest Man in Babylon and the War of Art, this book shows you how to apply what you already know. Using the monster from the Hercules myth the author shows how a decidedly different character can slay a Hydra.

In this tale there is a lot of useful tips on how to prepare for a big challenge. It shows what to do when things go wrong, and what to do when what you hear about a big project turns out not to be true. Very good for anyone who has already read t
Christian Jespersen
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Imagine if your science teachers could teach you about gravity, magnetism and sound waves, never mention typical sciance words. I am sure, you would enjoy the classes more and learn more. And that is exactly what Josh Kaufman does with his latest book.
He takes something abstract as pursuing a great goal and turn I to some I can see raki g place in my mind.
The book is very quick to read, but leaves your mind in a mode of wanting to continue your pursuit and quit leave your thoughts of surrender.
Maya Gopalakrishnan
Dec 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fighting the hydra!

I like Josh Kaufman's writing and approach so was expecting a good read, however two things are slightly disappointing.First the length of the book- it could have easily made a full length book on tackling complex and uncertain tasks. Having said that this book has pearls of wisdom densely packed. Second is I'm not sure if the fiction part is really a great idea as the author thinks though the point about metaphors in well taken. Maybe a second read will resolve some ambivalen
Nethra Ram
Jun 22, 2019 rated it did not like it
I think this is one of the most boring and pointless books I've ever read. It reminds me of the pointless horoscope pieces that appear in the newspaper. "Watch where you're going on the road" - that's not astrology. That's common sense. This book offers absolutely nothing new. No real life stories or examples or anything. Nothing about hydras you didn't know already. Face your fears. There. That's the book in a sentence for you. I am disappointed because this is the same guy who wrote about pick ...more
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Josh Kaufman is an independent business teacher, education activist, and author of The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business.

Josh's unique, multidisciplinary approach to business education has helped hundreds of thousands of readers around the world master foundational business concepts on their own terms, and his work has been featured in BusinessWeek, Fortune, and Fast Company, as well as by

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“Ending a chapter of your life on your own terms is a feat worthy of respect and admiration.” 4 likes
“Fear of the unknown will always be with you, no matter what you do. That’s comforting in a way: if there’s nothing you can do to change it, there’s no reason to let it stop you.” 3 likes
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