LIZZIE BOOK REVIEW 02: Ego is your Enemy by Ryan Holiday.

Welcome to the Lizzie Book Review for Ego is your Enemy by Ryan Holiday.

All Lizzie Book Reviews are a 3 minute read, and in this format:

  1. Why I Chose This Book.
  2. The Review (under 300 words)
  3. My scores for Creativity, Insight and Precision.
1. Why I Chose This Book.

I don’t have ego do I? Nobody wants to admit to the fact that they have an ego yet we all do. There is an arrogance attached to the word ego so many don’t want to admit that they have one. I was curious about what the content of the book would mean to people I work with and for myself.

QUOTE:  “The only relationship between work and chatter is that one kills the other” p28

2. The Review.

Ryan Holiday started to build a career and life feeding off his own ego. Disappointment or failure (depending on your stance). He tended and stroke it until events meant he had a pause. Through his own experience and research, he creates an easily digestible format that can support leaders, professionals’ coaches and mentors. Based on three familiar areas of people lives, aspiration, success and failure, Holiday delves into his own experience, theories and research and cleverly gets you hooked into where you might fit into the ego world. In some instances, he argues that ego can take you to places which are unhelpful. There are practical ideas that you can apply in all contexts.

Although some easily digestible content it is very much left to the reader to identify and then pull out the most useful pieces. To support you with this I have pulled out learnings and opportunities as to how Holiday suggests you manage your ego.

To simplify things James created 4 Laws for habits to create new ‘good’ behaviours:

1. Learn more – Holiday suggests you should talk less, observe and listen more. Build composed thoughts. Continuously reflect on heightened knowledge and understanding.

QUOTE: “The more difficult the task, the more uncertain the outcome, the more costly talk will be and the further we run from actual accountability” p27

2. Be guided by your purpose and principles – Don’t be swamped by the stubbornness of passion but be guided by your boundaries. Be clear as to whether you want be somebody or something (p31)

QUOTE: “So why do you do what you do?” p118

3. Give more – Amongst other things, Holiday describes the Shamrock theory. This is: give to the aspiring leaders, debate openly with your peers and listen to the best. Create opportunity for others as this will clear the path for you.

4. Mange your self – Its important you are the guide. You set the priorities, you think big and you trust. It’s about scaling for self and for others.

QUOTE: “when you take ego out of the equation, other people’s opinions and external markers won’t matter as much. That’s more difficult, but ultimately a formula for resilience” p198

5. Execute more – It about practice or as Holiday says practice, practice and practice. It’s not about your story.

QUOTE: “There is just work to be done and lessons to be learned, in all that is around us” p72

6. Own your scorecard – Tempted as we all are to compete with others, other businesses and teams. Stop yourself from doing this by setting your own scorecard.

QUOTE: “Why have so many leaders gone out into the wilderness?” To find perspective. “Silence the noise around them, they could finally hear the quiet voice they needed to listen to” p141

3. My scores for Creativity, Insight and Precision

CREATIVITY – How interesting and innovative was it?
Builds on the idea of working with the possible not the probable. It allows you to create a feeling that being yourself is possible without ego being intrusive to yourself or others.

INSIGHT – What will it teach you?
This is a book littered with reference points recent and old. You can apply a few of the ideas like are you wanting be something or somebody? It gives leaders and all the opportunity to keep their ego at bay with practical application.

PRECISION – How exactly can you apply what it teaches?
A potential helping hand. The book, if the content kept in the forefront of mind, can be a resource when applying in reality. The points that I have pulled out can be applied by all. Some will need to be dialled up in some contexts



QUOTE: “Humility engenders learning because it beats back the arrogance that puts blinders on. Do you know how you can tell when someone is truly humble? I believe there is one simple test: because they consistently observe and listen, the humble improve. They don’t assume I know the way” p104

“The more creative we are, the easier it is to lose the tread that guides us” p71

Additional book / video resources:
Google Talks – Ego is the Enemy

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