The instant Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and international bestseller
“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 history is also made by individuals who fought their egos at every turn, who eschewed the spotlight, and who put their higher goals above their desire for recognition.” —from the prologue
Many of us insist the main impediment to a full, successful life is the outside world. In fact, the most common enemy lies within: our ego. Early in our careers, it impedes learning and the cultivation of talent. With success, it can blind us to our faults and sow future problems. In failure, it magnifies each blow and makes recovery more difficult. At every stage, ego holds us back.
Ego Is the Enemy draws on a vast array of stories and examples, from literature to philosophy to history. We meet fascinating figures such as George Marshall, Jackie Robinson, Katharine Graham, Bill Belichick, and Eleanor Roosevelt, who all reached the highest levels of power and success by conquering their own egos. Their strategies and tactics can be ours as well.
In an era that glorifies social media, reality TV, and other forms of shameless self-promotion, the battle against ego must be fought on many fronts. Armed with the lessons in this book, as Holiday writes, “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 is one of his generation’s finest thinkers, and this book is his best yet.”
Steven Pressfield, author of the
New York Times bestseller
The War of Art
“Whether you’re starting out or starting over, you’ll find something to steal here.”
Austin Kleon, author of the
New York Times bestseller
Steal Like An Artist
"This is a book I want every athlete, aspiring leader, entrepreneur, thinker and doer to read. Ryan Holiday is one of the most promising young writers of his generation."
George Raveling, Hall of Fame Basketball coach, Nike’s Director of International Basketball
"I see the toxic vanity of ego at play every day and it never ceases to amaze me how often it wrecks promising creative endeavors. Read this book before it wrecks you or the projects and people you love. Consider it as urgently as you do a proper workout regimen and eating right. Ryan’s insights are priceless."
Marc Ecko, founder of Ecko Unltd and Complex
"I don''t have many rules in life, but one I never break is: If Ryan Holiday writes a book, I read it as soon as I can get my hands on it."
Brian Koppelman, screenwriter and director,
Rounders, Ocean’s Thirteen and
“In his new book Ryan Holiday attacks the greatest obstacle to mastery and true success in life—our insatiable ego. In an inspiring yet practical way, he teaches us how to manage and tame this beast within us so that we can focus on what really matters—producing the best work possible.”
Robert Greene, author of the #1
New York Times bestseller
“We’re often told that to achieve success, we need confidence. With refreshing candor, Ryan Holiday challenges that assumption, highlighting how we can earn confidence by pursuing something bigger than our own success.”
Adam Grant, author of the
New York Times bestsellers
Give and Take
“Once again Ryan Holiday has laid down the gauntlet for readers willing to challenge themselves with the tough questions of our time. Every reader will find truths that are pertinent to each of our lives. Ego can be the enemy if we are unarmed with the cautionary insights of history, scripture, and philosophy. As was said to St. Augustine more than a thousand years ago, ''pick it up and read''; for to not do so is to allow the enemy to bring despair.”
Dr. Drew Pinsky, host of HLN’s “Dr. Drew On Call” and “Love Line”
"Ryan Holiday reminds us that the real success is in the journey and learning process.”
Lori Lindsey, former U.S. Women’s National Team soccer player
“I would like to rip out every page and use them as wallpaper so I could be reminded constantly of the humility and work it takes to truly succeed. In the margins of my copy, I have scrawled the same message over and over—''pre-Gold.'' Reading this inspiring book brought back me back to the humility and work ethic it took to win the Olympics.”
Chandra Crawford, Olympic Gold Medalist
"What a valuable book for those in positions of authority! It has made me a better judge."
The Honorable Frederic Block, United States District Judge and author of
“It''s rare that I finish a book then immediately reread it, this time with a yellow marker in hand…I can''t recommend this book highly enough.”
—Kevin Rose, entrepreneur and technology investor
"In an age when self-promotion and celebrity are glorified to the hilt and ''hero'' gets overused, Ryan Holiday''s book is a reminder that the biggest impediment to achievement is often ourselves. Holiday retells stories of the famous and not so famous that will both inspire you and stop you in your tracks. This is a book to savor by reading it in increments so the power of the examples sinks in, leaving time for healthy reflection. If the rat race of modern life has you feeling burned out,
Ego is the Enemy just might help you view philosophy as anything but a relic of the ancient Greeks."
Edith Chapin, executive editor at NPR News
"Removing the ego is a daily struggle but it feels a little easier after reading this."
Martellus Bennett, NFL Tight End, Super Bowl Champion
Ryan Holiday is one of the world''s foremost thinkers and writers on ancient philosophy and its place in everyday life. He is a sought-after speaker, strategist, and the author of many bestselling books including The Obstacle Is the Way; Ego Is the Enemy; The Daily Stoic; and the #1 New York Times bestseller Stillness Is the Key. His books have been translated into over 30 languages and read by over two million people worldwide. He lives outside Austin, Texas, with his family.
It’s wrecked the career of promising young geniuses.
It’s evaporated great fortunes and run companies into the ground.
It’s made adversity unbearable and turned struggle into shame.
It derails ambition, turns success into poison, and makes failure the most bitter taste of all.
Its name? Ego.
Ego is the enemy—of what you want to achieve, of what you have, and what you’re struggling to overcome.
It’s an internal opponent warned against by every great philosopher, in our most lasting stories and countless works of art, in every culture, in every age.
In the pages of this book, we fight to destroy it before it destroys us.