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Ego Is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday

Why this is an important book

When I first read this book a few years ago, I thought it was okay. So, I rated it three stars on Goodreads. Not great, just okay.

For some reason, I decided to pick it up again recently and had a completely different experience. I found it truly amazing, and this time I gave it five stars on Goodreads. What had happened in the period between as the book was the same?

When I first picked it up, I had just started being serious about my life and had no accomplishments under my belt yet. I had just started on the lifelong journey of becoming a better person.

When I picked it up again this year, I had published a book myself, built a business, and completed a degree in the meantime. The difference was that I had become prone to the issues with having an ego myself and had to wrestle with it. We all have to grapple with our egos constantly, especially if we are hardworking and motivated.

When we accomplish something, it is easy to become complacent or, at the very least, become a bit prone to delusions about our importance. This doesn’t just apply to some of us, but to all of us.

This book will help you wrestle with your ego when building a better life for yourself. It is motivated, upward-moving people who are serious with their lives who are the most prone to experience the damaging effects ego can have.

What is having a big ego? It is a misunderstanding of one’s importance and an inflated view of self. A big ego basically distorts our worldview, so we can’t see something clearly anymore.

We have heard that some of the greatest icons of all time have had massive egos. Many successful people develop egos after they become successful. In the process of becoming successful, they are typically humble.

A great example of this is Kanye West, who arguably has a massive ego. He was very humble in the periods he built his career, though.

We often associate success with inflated egos, but this is often a byproduct of success that hinders further growth and sometimes blows up successful people.

“Pride comes before a fall”. This old saying sums this up excellently.

Social media and ego

With social media, egos are bloated with an excessive superficial focus. We need something to counterbalance this.

Narcissism is not a stable trait, but our environment influences it massively. The talkers rule and humble people aren’t visible on social media.

Spending more time on social media predicts higher levels of narcissism. [1]

We are becoming more self-absorbed, and social media is a driving force behind this. For example, the like feature, comment section, and share feature have incentivized this behavior.

We humans respond to incentives since we realize what is rewarded in a context and adjust our behavior to reap the rewards.On social media, narcissism and self-absorption are incentivized.

Empathy is on the decline. [2] We are becoming more preoccupied with ourselves at the cost of others.

We need to be careful with digital media use and be conscious of our egos in other domains of life.

The world doesn’t owe us anything. We need to focus on building something before we can expect anything. It is only by being humble and putting our heads down that we can do great work.

So why should you read this book?

At the end of the day, Ego is the Enemy is a book that can help you avoid doing irreversible damage to your own life and those around you.

It will help you realize that the fault might lie with you and not the person you might feel inclined to yell at when something goes wrong. It is really easy to snap and demand the respect you think that you deserve. Sometimes, this is the right thing to do. Often, it is not.

This book will simply make you become a better person. Having a balanced ego will make you more capable of going where you want in life, and it will be easier to meet great people along the way and maintain great relationships with them.


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