Summary of Ego Is the Enemy

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Rating

8 Overall

9 Applicability

7 Innovation

8 Style


Recommendation

Best-selling author Ryan Holiday recommends that people stop jabbering, forget their narratives, restrain their passions, learn from everything they do, accept failure and never stop working. He offers anecdotes about professional athletes, politicians and business leaders who learned hard lessons about the dangers of ego as well as tales of quiet workers who made enormous differences and remained unknown. Holiday’s conversational style reads like getting advice from a good friend. His chapters are short and easy to understand, though some entries cover similar topics. The partial bibliography directs readers to an extensive reading list on Holiday’s website. getAbstract recommends his alternative approach to people with an interest in self-improvement, not self-aggrandizement. He believes that the best way to move ahead is keep learning and to tame your ego – and he shows you how.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why ego does not help you succeed and
  • What strategies you can use to avoid the trappings of ego.
 

About the Author

Ryan Holiday is the former director of marketing at American Apparel and a best-selling author. He wrote The Obstacle Is The Way, Growth Hacker Marketing, and Trust Me, I’m Lying and co-wrote The Daily Stoic with Stephen Hanselman.

 

Summary

What Is Ego?

Anyone with ambition has ego. People who marshal their skills to meet their goals have ego. Artists, athletes, scientists and entrepreneurs achieve their objectives by harnessing the focus and desire to create and discover. But, too often, ego drives these activities. Ego is necessary for getting ahead. But “an unhealthy belief” in how important you are has the opposite impact and blocks your progress.

Ego encourages lazy, self-congratulatory fantasizing. Defined as “self-centered ambition,” ego undermines the connection with others and the engagement that both allow success to grow. To assess your strengths accurately, embrace a blend of confidence and humility. Recognize that ego offers the comfort of self-satisfaction, but it’s self-absorbed and can blind you to opportunity.

Aspiring to Greatness

Greatness is often a quiet act. The late US Air Force fighter pilot and strategist John Boyd helped revolutionize modern warfare across the US armed forces, but the general public doesn’t know of him. To emphasize the difference between working for recognition and working to get something accomplished, he asked the soldiers he commanded if...


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    Scott Silbaugh 1 year ago
    Best book I've read in a LONG time.
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    Loretta Spurling 2 years ago
    Please consider adding the audio for this title. Thanks
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    Joseph MAKOROU 2 years ago
    good lesson
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    Julie Teachout-collins 2 years ago
    This was a very helpful summary. I will use this to outline in my upcoming Manager P2 1:1 to discuss my 2017 IDP goals.