“While the history books are filled with tales of obsessive, visionary geniuses who remade the world in their image with sheer, almost irrational force, I’ve found that if you go looking you’ll find that history is also made by individuals who fought their egos at every turn, who eschewed the spotlight, and who put their highest goals above their desire for recognition. Engaging with and retelling these stories has been my method of learning and absorbing them. …
It’s always nice to be made to feel special or empowered or inspired. But that’s not the main aim of this book. Instead, I have tried to arrange these pages so that you might end in the same place I did when I finished writing it: that is, you will think less of yourself. I hope you will be less invested in the story you tell about your own specialness, and as a result, you will be liberated to accomplish the world-changing work you’ve set out to achieve.”
~ Ryan Holiday from The Ego Is the Enemy
Meet the enemy: Your ego.
Our guide, Ryan Holiday, wrote one of my favorite books of 2015: The Obstacle Is the Way.
Ego Is the Enemy is now one of my favorite books of 2016. It’s fantastic.
As with The Obstacle, Ryan writes in an incredibly compelling, simple, smart style—integrating ancient wisdom with modern stories to bring the wisdom home. It’s captivating. I read it in essentially one sitting—with my AM trip to the park with Emerson as an intermission. :)
The whole conversation around ego can be a complicated one. We’ll explore it more in the first Big Idea. But, if you have any ambition at all, you’ve likely noticed that you have a bit of an ego that goes with it. (Hah. :)
Ryan shows us how our ego rears its head during the three (repeating) critical phases of our lives: Aspire + Success + Failure. And, of course, he shows us how to mitigate its effects by employing the proper virtues at the proper time. (Get the book here.)
My copy of the book is (literally) nearly all marked up. It’s packed with Big Ideas and I’m excited to share some of my favorites so let’s jump straight in!
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