Ego is the Enemy — by Ryan Holiday

Title: Ego is the Enemy
Ryan Holiday
Profile Books Ltd

“The pretense of knowledge is our most dangerous vice, because it prevents us from getting any better.” -Ryan Holiday

Our society romanticises ego, “This famous person, this influencer, this actor has it and because of it they are rich!” Well… it’s not that easy. Through stories and reflections, Ryan shows us the reality of our ego, how poisonous it can be and how it can destroy everything we work for.

Ryan divides his ego into three parts: Aspire, Success and Failure. In this book review, I will share my thoughts and key points from each of these, let’s begin.


“You’re not as good as you think. You don’t have it all figured out. Stay focused. Do better.” -Ryan Holiday

Society feeds this idea that we must seek gold and fame, and that we deserve it and must get it no matter what, this is completely wrong. Things can go well, things can go wrong, whatever happens, you must focus on your actions and follow virtue.

Another question Ryan poses is, are you doing things for good or bad reasons? Some people start with good intentions but then get rotten with time, they let ego take control of them and let it make their decisions.

What is the solution? Become (and stay) a student, stay open to learning and accept the fact that you do not know everything. Follow the canvas strategy, be grateful for every single opportunity and remember it is not about you, it is about the work and the people it will help.


“What matters to an active man is to do the right thing, whether the right thing comes to pass should not bother him.” -GOETHE

We all ask for success, but can you handle it? I believe we all get what we ask for, the issue is we do not know what to do with it. Not having anything is hard, but having everything is not easy either.

In,” Ego is the Enemy,” Ryan says not to let ego get to our heads when we start winning, we must remember that it is not about us. It’s about the work, we are not special, we are not “the chosen one,” so do not pretend it is all part of the plan, or that you want to change the world just like that.

Keep working, keep your identity small, keep a routine, be grateful and stay in “flow” with life.


“People learn from their failures. Seldom do they learn anything from success.” -Ryan Holiday

We all face problems, we all fail, that is why we need to control our ego so we can learn from our mistakes and go throughout life with meaning and purpose.

Even if you hit rock bottom, a place we might sometimes need to go that we all might hit. Being there for a time is fine, but staying there? No. What we do after is what is important. The path to wisdom or ignorance, your ego will decide, so you’ve got to learn how to control it.


“Those who have subdued their ego understand that it doesn’t degrade you when others treat you poorly; it degrades them.” -Ryan Holiday

Inside everyone there is a fight, north vs south, our light vs our shadow, our virtue vs our sense, it is a constant war that is defined with every action and step we take.

Now, after reading this book review and learning about your ego: What are you going to do? Will you let your ego control you? It is up to you. Get a copy of “Ego is The Enemy” from Amazon and let us know what you think about it in the comments below! Check out our review of Ryan Holiday’s Lives of The Stoics

Agustin Cardone

Agustin Cardone, from Argentina, currently lives in Ireland, and studies psychology in Mexico. He fell in love with sports when he started playing rugby at 14, soon becoming team captain. He now lifts weights and practices boxing as a way to release stress. He is highly interested in the relationship between body and mind, and is curious about how the brain works and why people do what they do. He would like to help people with addiction, depression, and personality disorders. He believes we all have a story to tell and that we should express it.

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