Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday

Ego is the enemy by Ryan holiday is a well-researched book. The bottom line of the book is that don’t allow ego to make you complacent and arrogant. A lot of historical stories are shared to showcase this.
The book consists of three parts. Part one is about Aspire and here Ryan argues that most of us don’t reach our destination. We think too much of ourselves and believe we have it figured it out but ultimately this leads to ego. You should see yourself with a little distance as detachment is the antidote for ego. You achieve this by thinking big but act and live small. Be action and education focused to curb the ego. Passion isn’t everything and Coach Wooden is sighted as an example of this. He wasn’t about speeches or inspiration and his philosophy was about being in control and never being “passion’s slave.” There is a mention about the canvas strategy which basically means find canvases of other people to paint on. Never pursue your own glory. Some ideas are come up with ideas to hand over to your boss, find what nobody else wants to do and do it.
Part two talks about success and Ryan argues that we stop listening, we stop learning, and we lose grasp on what matters. Instead sobriety, open-mindedness, organization and purpose are the great stabilizers. The case of Howard Hughes is sighted as someone who got the ego gets the better of him. He could have enjoyed life more without the ego. You should always see yourself as a student. I love this quote from the nine-time Grammy– and Pulitzer Prize– winning jazz musician Wynton Marsalis on the mind-set required in the lifelong study of music: “Humility engenders learning because it beats back the arrogance that puts blinders on. It leaves you open for truths to reveal themselves. You don’t stand in your own way. . . . Do you know how you can tell when someone is truly humble? I believe there’s one simple test: because they consistently observe and listen, the humble improve. They don’t assume, ‘I know the way.’”
Part three talks about failure and Ryan argues that we all face setbacks but ego makes it tougher to face those failures. Here the example of Katharine Graham is provided who overcame enormous setbacks to win in career and life. The main things that got her through these ordeals were a sense of mission and purpose. Humble and strong people overcome setbacks easier. There is something called alive time and dead time. Dead time is when people are passive and waiting and alive time is when people are learning and acting on every second. The real failure is when you abandon your principles.
The bottom line is to stay humble, always be learning and learn to overcome setbacks. Don’t let ego run you.
The views expressed here are my own and do not represent my organization.


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