Ego is the Enemy: The Fight to Master Out Our Greatest Opponent

Ego is the Enemy_bookcover_300x371Author(s): Ryan Holiday

Published: 2016

Report Published: 23rd August 2016

Quake Magnitude: 3.0

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Field Survey

Ego is the Enemy is a tough one to read for various reasons. Firstly, and most obviously, the subject matter is not just uncomfortable but difficult to come to terms with, if my denials and fervent conversations with those closest to me are anything to go by (I had to check how good/bad my ego was – not bad but definitely room for improvement). The second reason why readers may stumble through it has more to do with overall structure and syntax. It gets a bit choppy at times and certainly confused towards the middle of the book, as Holiday sacrifices clarity for unnecessary content, too dense to really chew on. Sometimes, it reads like an imitation of Proverbs and I feel that if Ryan just gave himself and the reader a little bit of headspace, this book could have obtained the excellence of The Obstacle is the Way.

One thing that I did find especially disconcerting, about Holiday’s fourth book, is the fact that his mantra is that no one should have an ego, when without it he could never have written this book or enjoyed fame. I guess it is difficult to stomach advice from a man in his position. This doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t have written it, but I question his credibility in the same way I do when developed countries tell Latin Americans not to cut their trees down, for the sake of the planet, when they do so to keep up with those who already have. Maybe, it just comes better from Pope Francis or José Mujica.

That said, Ego is the Enemy is worth a read, if only to separate oneself from the arrogance and blind sightedness (which Holiday takes to mean ego) that moves us away from what some may term human goodness and others may refer to as God. Furthermore, if one can wrestle with the chaos all too present in the “success” section and the over-emphasis on US-based examples, there is a lot of food for thought.

So who should read it? Well, those QUAKE Books Agents among us who want to make sure they don’t sabotage their own success on route to owning their own business or entering public office, where it is all too easy to grow a big ego. I also recommend it for those willing to work on their humility and personal, as opposed to professional, growth. In all cases, for reasons I mention above, I feel the greatest learning will come from reading this book with a group of friends or in a book club, to break down the colossal volume of useful information into more manageable bite size chunks.


“The question to ask, when you feel pride is this: What am I missing right now that a more humble person might see?”

“To get where we want to go isn’t about brilliance, but continual effort. While that’s not a terribly sexy idea, it should be an encouraging one.”

“Our choices are a reflection of our character.”

QUAKE Moments

I wasn’t shocked by the book’s content or even my ego-fed denials! I guess in the process of getting married, developing as a person and reviewing books, for you my fellow Agents, has steadily cultivated a greater awareness as to the need and benefit of staying on top of an inflated ego by being humble and asking for feedback I don’t want to hear! So for me personally, Ego is the Enemy registered a timely reminder, a tremor, rather than a bookquake.


I am not sure there will be any for me, although I am sure many of you will experience change. How about you Agents? Anyone register anything out there?

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