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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 223-224

Ego is the Enemy

BA (Hons) English, Hindu College, Delhi University, New Delhi, India

Date of Submission01-Nov-2019
Date of Acceptance10-Nov-2019
Date of Web Publication20-Dec-2019

Correspondence Address:
Udbhav Seth
BA (Hons) English, Hindu College, Delhi University, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jpcs.jpcs_63_19

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How to cite this article:
Seth U. Ego is the Enemy. J Pract Cardiovasc Sci 2019;5:223-4

How to cite this URL:
Seth U. Ego is the Enemy. J Pract Cardiovasc Sci [serial online] 2019 [cited 2023 Mar 28];5:223-4. Available from: https://www.j-pcs.org/text.asp?2019/5/3/223/273748

Author : Ryan Holiday

Genre : Business and Economics, Nonfiction, motivational essays

Publisher : Penguin, Portfolio

Release Date : June 14, 2016

Pages : 256

Rs : 335

OCLC : 922156056

ISBN : 978-1-59184-781-6

Dewey Decimal : 158.1

LC Class : BJ1474.H635 2016

Country : United States

Language : English

Subject : Leadership, personal development, business management, ambition

Media type : Print (hardcover), ebook


The trick to bring down tyrants.

It'll come bounding out of nowhere, small, slow, invisible, and stealthy. It'll slither up your legs, your knees, crawl into your insides, and infest your pulse. It'll cozy in gently and call into your brain and knock a stranger. A stranger who quickly becomes a friend.

This friend will come calling often, first a cup of tea, then dinner, and soon your bedroom. You find its presence comforting, soothing even. It whispers words of comfort when you most need them, it props you up when you sway with fear, it bashes outsiders who shine exposing light on you, it cries fear, security, strength, courage, resilience, pain, insecurity, and anger – all in one go.

Its name, ego.

This is the subject of Ryan Holiday's incisive novel based on true events, Ego is the Enemy.

But, don't be deceived by the seemingly obvious, oh-yet-another! title of a book that on the surface promises nothing more than your average self-help book whose lessons will leave a lasting impact on you once you finish it for the entire duration of 1 day. The introduction, just the brutally honest self-effacing introduction by the author determined not to leave out the gritty gory bits in the retelling of his own life (a flaw that he openly acknowledges plagues the autobiographies of many greats throughout history) convinces you that maybe what this man is talking about may be the thick of the cream…

Maybe this one is not trying to get you somewhere, but trying to get himself somewhere he's at peace with.

And that can be infinitely more inspiring than any advice someone shells out.

Ryan Holiday doesn't claim to be an all-in-one omniscient preacher. He admits that his knowledge will never surpass the collective wisdom of generations of thinkers and philosophers and historians who've spent a lifetime observing and transcribing the world around them as they see it – so he says that he'll merely attempt to collate a lot of those lessons, all of which have helped lift him up at certain points of his life, and present them to you in this book in an applicative way, so you know how to employ them when need be. Such a hands-on personalized approach is truly what sets this book apart in the self-help market, in my opinion.

The book is divided into three neat sections – aspiration, success, and failure. Right there, those three words are a succinct summation of pretty much every endeavor ever and just from the contents' page, highlight that this man knows what he's talking about. He talks about ego as the downfall of great business tycoons, towering scientific figures, and infamous artists at the peak of their creative prowess and how all of them probably thought that's a vice that'll never afflict them.

In simple lines, he cuts through the muddle to hit the core of your being.

To slap some truth into it.

Because the truth is that we don't all need to be egotistical maniacs afflicted with narcissism and ceaseless self-love to be suffer from the disease of egoism. That's the primary argument Holiday makes. We don't need to be an extreme that few people are because even the little egos we exercise everyday, which we put up as self-defense mechanisms to brush away the insecurities that the world shoots at us, are more than enough to do destructive harm in the long run.

A vice that several warn against, that's a staple of biopics and biographies surrounding great men and women accomplished in some field or the other – it's almost like a trope narrative, when someone rises from humble beginnings to achieve great fame only to crash down because of the heavy tentacles of ego from which they must slowly rise back up to their erstwhile humble state.

But, what these stories often ignore is the true on-ground grittiness of it. Just because they conquered their demons once, doesn't mean they won't fall prey to them again. That's the sad reality that sanitized and sweetened industrial storytelling doesn't want to reveal. But, Holiday doesn't shy away from this.

He will tell you that ego is not a demon to be conquered or a vice to be defeated and put to bed once and forever. He will tell you that arrogance, self-indulgence, confidence, and insulation are all little gnats, scuttling around inside you forever and ever, and all you can really do is wack them away as frequently and strongly as you can.

As he claims, all these bugs come with ambition – it's a necessary evil that won't ever be done away with. You can't reach for more without being confident in your abilities – but being a little too confident is what's going to pull you back down.

And Holiday does his best to prepare you to raise yourself despite the weight, and if you fall, to help you stand back up and get going again.

This book can't really be sold further without hero-worshipping the author – something that goes very well against the entire philosophy of this novel, so I'll stop now and let you try it out for yourself.

You won't regret it.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


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