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Ego Is the Enemy Hardcover – June 14, 2016
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“Ryan Holiday is one of his generation’s finest thinkers, and this book is his best yet.”
—Steven Pressfield, author of the New York Times bestseller The War of Art
“The comedian Bill Hicks said the world was tainted with fevered egos. In Ego Is The Enemy, Ryan Holiday writes us all a prescription: humility. This book is packed with stories and quotes that will help you get out of your own way. Whether you’re starting out or starting over, you’ll find something to steal here.”
—Austin Kleon, author of the New York Times bestseller Steal Like An Artist
"This is a book I want every athlete, aspiring leader, entrepreneur, thinker and doer to read. Ryan Holiday is one of the most promising young writers of his generation."
—George Raveling, Hall of Fame Basketball coach, Nike’s Director of International Basketball
"I see the toxic vanity of ego at play every day and it never ceases to amaze me how often it wrecks promising creative endeavors. Read this book before it wrecks you or the projects and people you love. Consider it as urgently as you do a proper workout regimen and eating right. Ryan’s insights are priceless."
—Marc Ecko, founder of Ecko Unltd and Complex
"I don't have many rules in life, but one I never break is: If Ryan Holiday writes a book, I read it as soon as I can get my hands on it."
—Brian Koppelman, screenwriter and director, Rounders, Ocean’s Thirteen and Billions
“In his new book Ryan Holiday attacks the greatest obstacle to mastery and true success in life—our insatiable ego. In an inspiring yet practical way, he teaches us how to manage and tame this beast within us so that we can focus on what really matters—producing the best work possible.”
—Robert Greene, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Mastery
“We’re often told that to achieve success, we need confidence. With refreshing candor, Ryan Holiday challenges that assumption, highlighting how we can earn confidence by pursuing something bigger than our own success.”
—Adam Grant, author of the New York Times bestsellers Originals and Give and Take
“Once again Ryan Holiday has laid down the gauntlet for readers willing to challenge themselves with the tough questions of our time. Every reader will find truths that are pertinent to each of our lives. Ego can be the enemy if we are unarmed with the cautionary insights of history, scripture, and philosophy. As was said to St. Augustine more than a thousand years ago, 'pick it up and read'; for to not do so is to allow the enemy to bring despair.”
—Dr. Drew Pinsky, host of HLN’s “Dr. Drew On Call” and “Love Line”
"In this day in age where everyone seeks instant gratification, the idea of success is skewed - many believing the road to their goals is a linear path. As a former professional athlete I can tell you that the road is anything but linear. In fact it is one that consists of twists, turns, and ups and downs—it requires you to put your head down and put in the work. Ryan Holiday hits the nail on the head with this book, reminding us that the real success is in the journey and learning process. I only wish I had this gem as a reference during my playing days.”
—Lori Lindsey, former U.S. Women’s National Team soccer player
“Philosophy has gotten a bad rap, but Ryan Holiday is restoring it to its rightful place in our lives. This book—packed with unforgettable stories, strategies, and lessons—is perfect for anyone who strives to do and accomplish. It's no exaggeration to say that, after finishing it, you'll never open your laptop and sit down to work the same way again.”
—Jimmy Soni, former managing editor of Huffington Post and author of Rome's Last Citizen
“I would like to rip out every page and use them as wallpaper so I could be reminded constantly of the humility and work it takes to truly succeed. In the margins of my copy, I have scrawled the same message over and over—'pre-Gold.' Reading this inspiring book brought back me back to the humility and work ethic it took to win the Olympics.”
—Chandra Crawford, Olympic Gold Medalist
"What a valuable book for those in positions of authority! It has made me a better judge."
—The Honorable Frederic Block, United States District Judge and author of Disrobed
“It's rare that I finish a book then immediately reread it, this time with a yellow marker in hand…I can't recommend this book highly enough.”
—Kevin Rose, entrepreneur and technology investor
"Forget yourself and focus on the work. Be humble and persistent. Value discipline and results, not passion and confidence. Be lesser, do more. This message is crucial, but the opposite of almost every other book. I wish everyone would read this. I need to re-read it each year. It's that important."
—Derek Sivers, author of Anything You Want
"In an age when self-promotion and celebrity are glorified to the hilt and 'hero' gets overused, Ryan Holiday's book is a reminder that the biggest impediment to achievement is often ourselves. Holiday retells stories of the famous and not so famous that will both inspire you and stop you in your tracks. This is a book to savor by reading it in increments so the power of the examples sinks in, leaving time for healthy reflection. If the rat race of modern life has you feeling burned out, Ego is the Enemy just might help you view philosophy as anything but a relic of the ancient Greeks."
—Edith Chapin, executive editor at NPR News
About the Author
RYAN HOLIDAY is a bestselling author and media strategist. He dropped out of college at nineteen to apprentice under Robert Greene, author of The 48 Laws of Power, and later served as the director of marketing for American Apparel. His company, Brass Check, has advised clients like Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as many prominent bestselling authors. Holiday has written several other books, including The Obstacle Is the Way, which has been translated into twenty languages and has a cult following among NFL coaches, world-class athletes, TV personalities, political leaders, and others around the world. He lives on a small ranch outside Austin, Texas. Visit www.RyanHoliday.net.
Top Customer Reviews
This is a spiritual dynamic albeit a secular and philosophical one in the hands of Ryan Holiday. He wants to “remind” us with “moral stories” to be our better selves, “our better impulses.”
A humanist, Holiday believes we can, as Aristotle said, smooth out the warped wood that is human nature. To smooth the wood, we must confront and defuse our ego. He defines the ego as “an unhealthy belief in your own importance.” He elaborates: “It’s that petulant child inside every person, the one that chooses getting his or her way over anything or anyone else. The need to be better than, more than, recognized for, far past any reasonable utility—that’s ego.” This ego “distorts reality,” and in fact disconnects us from reality (funny, as I read this book I thought of Walter White from Breaking Bad).
This taming of the ego, however, cannot be performed in a vacuum. We must at the same time, Holiday reminds us, find a purpose and find our dignity and self-respect. Purpose, meaning, dignity, self-respect, and endless curiosity are the antidotes to ego.
One of the most salient lessons I learned is that nurturing the ego is a form of death or as Holiday, quoting Robert Greene, refers to as “dead time.” In one of my favorite passages, we read: “According to Greene, there are two types of time in our lives: dead time, when people are passive and waiting, and alive time, when people are learning and acting and utilizing every second.Read more ›
Those familiar with Holiday’s last book, “The Obstacle is the Way,” will know exactly what practical philosophy means. Eschewing the commonly held view that philosophy is the province of academics in classrooms bloviating about abstract concepts, Holiday follows the Stoic tradition that puts philosophy firmly in the realm of everyday life. It’s about learning to deal with destructive emotions, unpredictable circumstances, self-interested people, and yes, ego, without succumbing to them. It’s philosophy as a way of achieving a better life.
In “Ego is the Enemy,” Holiday moves beyond the clinical definitions of ego and places the concept firmly in the realm of the practical. To be sure, the clinical and the practical in this case have some common ground. Modern psychologists define the ego as a critical part of identity construction, and further, an egotist as someone excessively focused on himself. Holiday defines ego along those lines: “an unhealthy belief in our own importance. Arrogance. Self-centered ambition…It’s when the notion of ourselves and the world grows so inflated that it begins to distort the reality that surrounds us.”
The idea that becoming untethered from reality is the primary symptom of an ego out of control is the thread that unites all three sections of this book.Read more ›
There are three main parts to the book: 1) Aspire, 2) Success, and 3) Failure. Holiday explains how the ego can ruin aspiration and success, and how it can get in the way of learning from failure. He also notes that these three things happen to everyone, so if we can subdue ego in and through them, it'll help make us grow. (As a side there is some cussing, so it's probably not for kids.)
I do agree with the basic premise of this book: a narcissist is his own greatest enemy. A big head means a big fall. I enjoyed many of the quotes Holiday used from various people throughout history. A few examples: "It is impossible to learn that which one thinks one already knows" (Epictetus). "When you are not practicing, remember, someone somewhere is practicing, and when you meet him he will win" (Bill Bradley). "People learn from their failures. Seldom do they learn anything from success" (Harold Geneen).
I also agreed with Holiday's points about always being a student, of not just talking, but doing, and realizing one is tiny in the big scheme of things. The reason I gave the book 3 stars (which means "average") was because there was quite a bit of repetition and similar statements. I found myself saying, "He's said this already," or "He could have said that in 1 page instead of 4." The repetition also made the book sort of run together, so even though there were 3 parts, they sounded similar.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Nothing particular or absolutely new in this self-help book, that mostly is a training to help us not becoming a spoiled, entitled, whining person, or, if it's too late, it should... Read morePublished 2 days ago by Gonza
This is the type of book that you keep visible and refer back to regularly. Ryan Holiday makes non fiction content a joy to read and has done an amazing job of helping us learn... Read morePublished 2 days ago by Tim Stewart
I would recommend this book to anyone. It's a great way to keep yourself in check against your ego and pride while having a realistic approach to life.Published 2 days ago by Alex Marra
A must read book! Important to have mind-set free of pride and fear ( the enemy).Published 4 days ago by Amazon Customer
This is an important read to refocus your life and ambitions. I will read this book more than once in my lifetime.Published 5 days ago by Carem
I was introduced to this book by my son's best friend father, Michael Kennedy. Both our children attended The Magellan International School, an IB (International Baccalaureate)... Read morePublished 5 days ago by William Teh
Honestly, one of the most phenomenal pieces of literature any single person could read for themselves. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Amazon Customer