October 05


What you could learn from ‘Ego is the Enemy’ by Ryan Holiday (2016, 217 pages)

How do you stay on a true course?  How do you deal with life’s successes and failure?  Philosophy has a few answers, and so does Ryan Holiday.

In ‘Ego is the Enemy’ Ryan charts the three phases in his life – before success, success and failure.  Ryan draws on his experience, the experience of other to make his main argument that ego prevents success when we are aspiring to it, ego reduces success when we have it, and ego prevents us learning from our failures.  Ryan analyses each of these three stages in more detail (see below) and uses a mixture of research and personal experience to make a compelling argument.

I enjoyed reading this book and learnt a lot from it.  Read this fantastic book if you want to find out how to prepare for success, manage your success once you achieve it, and learn from your mistakes when you fail.

  1. Aspire to success
    1. Talk, talk, talk – don’t talk about it, do it
    2. To be or to do – focus on action
    3. Become a student – you need to learn from each experience
    4. Follow the canvas strategy – clear the path for your leader, make life easier for them
    5. Restrain yourself – losing you cool in public looks dreadful
    6. Get out of your own head – be present and focus on what you are doing
    7. The danger of early pride – you will be more likely to be overconfident
    8. Work, work, work – just do it
  2. Sucess
    1. Always stay a student – you only improve if you learn
    2. don’t tell yourself a story – focus on the facts and don’t adapt them to your narrative
    3. What is important to you? -focus on what matters to you and not other people
    4. Entitlement, control and paranoia – manage these to get the best from others
    5. Managing yourself – you are the only person will/wants to do this
    6. Beware the disease of me – it is not about you
    7. Meditate on the immensity – get perspective, you are only small in the magnitude of the universe
    8. Maintain your sobriety – no one likes someone drunk on power
  3. Failure 
    1. Alive time or dead time? – spend your time on the most valuable thing
    2. Effort is not enough – timings and luck play their part
    3. Draw the line – do your best then let it be
    4. Maintain your own scorecard – set yourself some key non-performance goals
    5. Always love – hate will turn out badly