My ego was the enemy, a review of Ego is the Enemy

I thought I was better than Ryan Holiday.

I thought I was better than Ryan Holiday.

I read his book, Trust me I’m Lying, and came away with a few tips and general feeling that he was probably a jerk and not someone that I would want to work with or for.

I looked him up on Google, read scathing reviews and that further made up my mind, Ryan was a cocky guy who got lucky and wrote a book about it pretending to know what he was talking about.

“A victim of the narrative fallacy” I would say to myself while sipping my brandy wearing my suede penny loafers, “a real douchebag”.

Every time Ryan would quote some philosopher or boast about how much he read, I would dislike him more and more, “what a boasting jerk this guy is, pshht, I don’t care how much you read Ryan, I read a lot too!”

I meditate you see, I have right thought and practice right action. I have been meditating for 8 years, everyday, I am better than this guy who put some porn stars in some clothing ads and sold some american made leggings, “what a jerk”, I would think.

Then a funny thing happened.

I finished the book and decided to read it again.

Then I told some friends about this “jerk / boasting asshole”’s book and even bought a few of them a copy. Even though I knew I was better than Ryan, I decided to help him out by buying more of his stupid books.

Then last week, while exploring my audible recommendations I saw this really cool looking title, “Ego is the enemy”.

Oh man that’s a genius title and it’s so true, the ego is the enemy, you see I have been meditating for 8 years so I know these things. I should read this book because I probably could have written it!

Wait a fucking second… Ryan Holiday wrote this book?

The same jerk that taught me how to scam reporters into giving me a backlink? That jerk? What the fuck does he know about Ego, you see I mediate everyday, if anything, I should have written a book called “Ego is the enemy”, you know what, I am going to buy it and start reading it, and I bet you it sucks so much that I will put it down and it will confirm that Ryan Holiday is just a lucky, boasting, self absorbed jerk.

“on my left forearm I tattooed the words, the obstacle is the way, and on my right forearm I have ego is the enemy …’

OMG, who does this guy think he is, I knew this book was going to suck.

… 10 minutes later …

Damn, he’s right.

… 20 minutes later …

Holy crap, I think like that sometimes.

… 3 hours later …

Sherman is my fucking hero.

… 1 hour later …

Wow, Ryan is eloquent AF.

… 2 hours later …

I bet you he’s been meditating for at least 9 years…


I thought I was better than Ryan Holiday, and I was very wrong.

Having just finished Ego is the Enemy and giving myself a few days to collect my thoughts for this review, I can honestly say that it’s the only book in recent memory that really made me question a lot of my thinking. The book is a light that lets you hold up your thought patterns and beliefs to and see if they survive. The book is important and should be required reading for any entrepreneur, wantrepreneur or ambitious person.

Ryan speaks from experience and mixes it with a healthy, non-preachy set of tools aimed to expose the ego for what it is and show you that there is always another way. The examples he uses from history add a depth that I wasn’t expecting. Especially in the contrast between General Sherman and General Grant. One driven by ego chased fame and fortune and lost it all, the other, retired in near obscurity, happy as a clam. Which path would you take?

Sherman was a genius, humble AF and died in obscurity.

Grant became president, had 2 terrible terms, started a hedge fund, lost most of his fortune and died in agony.

You would say Sherman right? The one who no one really remembers but died happy as a clam. I agree, I would pick the same.

But you are probably living your life more like Grant!

So if you want to be Sherman, do the hard work, the daily hard work, of selfless, egoless choices that will lead you down that path. Give someone else the credit, try not speaking in a meeting, don’t correct someone who is wrong, do the work without any expectation of reward, do the right thing when no one is looking.

Ego is the enemy reminds me of a great quote from The Matrix ( yes, I am quoting the Matrix, and yes I know the same people did Jupiter Ascending, but I challenge you to give that movie another look, it’s a great flick)

There is a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path.

I know the path, Ryan has walked the path.

My ego almost didn’t let me give this book a chance, it deserves more than a chance. It deserves a read and a re-read.

Thank you Ryan for writing such a practical and important book… jerk ;)