Book review: Ego is the enemy by Ryan Holiday

27 avril 2021
Marie Croes
  • 🏆 This book has changed my view on the world, a must read!

    ⛷️ I still remember very well the day that I started reading this book. It was in the French Alps in March 2017.

    ⚡ My first reaction was: why didn’t I read this book 10 years earlier?

    It would have made my life much easier. Since then, I have re-read it several times. It is one of the books that is permanently on my bedside table.

    Ryan Holiday has helped me to understand the behavior of people around me, and, to be honest, also my own behavior. In this remarkable book, he describes how our ego can block our success.

    My five take aways from this book are:

    ✏️ Our ego combined with our ambitions can lead to (very) destructive behavior
    ✏️ Our ego can even destroy the success we have already achieved
    ✏️ You can find success only when you are able to control your egotistical impulses
    ✏️ Aim to do something, rather than be someone
    ✏️ A good way to keep your ego under control is to surround you with people whom you can learn from

Struggles of a manager

Managers are

  • new in this role


    • lack self-confidence
    • don’t know how to go from being a colleague to being a boss
    • need to loosen up on the command & control leadership style
    • must let go of the (technical) expert status
    • cannot give or accept constructive feedback
    • feel pressure to perform as manager
    • have difficulty building relationships
    • want to be liked by everyone or want to be the ‘bad boss’
    • play the hero
  • are struggling


    • stay too involved in operations
    • have trouble prioritizing
    • cannot delegate
    • fear conflict situations
    • disconnect from the team
    • deal with flawed strategic thinking
    • do not relate to higher management
    • lack clear communication skills
    • remain not self-aware
    • avoid difficult conversations
    • miss political antennas
    • ...
  • capable of more


    • need mental preparation as successor
    • need to be able to lead big changes ahead
    • need to learn to be emotionally resilient and in control
    • need to learn to make big decisions fast without all the information
    • must become persuasive presenters
    • need to learn how to cultivate their own personal brand
    • need to learn how to lead by example
    • manage by trust, not by fear
    • need to overly develop empathy
    • ...
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