Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday

Rating: 5/10

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High-Level Thoughts

Better than Obstacle, it has some useful advice and good stories about how ego can lead to your downfall. It’s a tangent to stoic philosophy, so if you enjoy those concepts you’ll probably get something from this book.

But stoicism is so easy to read anyway that there's not much point in reading this when you could read the originals.

Summary Notes

Ego in this context is an unhealthy belief in our own abilities, our arrogance and self centered ambition.

The ability to accurately assess your skill is extremely valuable, and allowing your ego to inflate prevents you from having a realistic assessment of your abilities. Focusing on our talents and achievements blinds us to the work we still need to do.

You can’t learn anything if you think you already know it.

What am I not noticing that a more humble person might see? What am I avoiding or running from?

You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do. (Henry Ford)

Socrates’ wisdom lay in the fact that he knew next to nothing. Find ways to remind yourself of how little you know, read books on subjects you know nothing about, spend time with people who know much more than you.

“It’s hard to be anything but humble walking alone along a beach late at night with an endless black ocean crashing loudly against the ground next to you.”

““He who fears death will never do anything worthy of a living man,” Seneca once said. Alter that: He who will do anything to avoid failure will almost certainly do something worthy of a failure.”

“He explained that training was like sweeping the floor. Just because we’ve done it once, doesn’t mean the floor is clean forever. Every day the dust comes back. Every day we must sweep.”

Anyone can learn from experience, the trick is to learn from other people’s experiences.

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