Ego Is The Enemy by Ryan Holiday Notes & Summary

Ego Is the Enemy: Holiday, Ryan: 9781591847816: Amazon.com: Books

Link (Amazon)

Captivating. Filled with incredible stories that will both inspire you and make you realize how insignificant you really are. Helpful reading for anyone wanting to achieve greatness. Holiday’s prose is legendary.

Part I – Aspire

  • So often we start a journey but never see it to the end. Ego is the reason why. We build ourselves up with fantastical stories, pretend we have it figured out. But don’t fall in love with the idea, refine it.
  • Talent is only the starting point… are you going to make the most of it?
  • “Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know.” –Lao Tzu 
    • How to weigh this with being a professional writer… where it is your job to speak? I’m not sure, but would like to ask this question to Ryan Holiday
  • Talking is easy, silence is strength (particularly early in a journey.)
    • Shut up until you have something to say
  • Impressing people is utterly different from being truly impressive.
  • What is your purpose? What are you here to do?
    • If your purpose is larger than yourself then everything becomes easier and harder
  • Frank Shamrock (mixed martial artist) system – Plus, minus, and equal. Every fighter, to become great, has to be able to learn from someone, teach someone, and compete equally against someone.
  • “It is impossible to learn that which one thinks one already knows.” You cannot get better if you’re convinced you’re the best.
  • Passion is about “I.” Purpose is about something outside yourself or greater than yourself.
  • Advice for first job: Make other people look good and you will do well.
    • Bill Belichick’s first job was for the Baltimore Colts analyzing game film without any pay.
  • Fundamental realities when you’re just starting out: 1) You’re not nearly as good or as important as you think you are, 2) You have an attitude that needs to be readjusted, 3) Most of what you think you know or most of what you learned in books or in school is out of date or wrong
  • Greatness comes from grunt work. Make a concerted effort to trade short term gratification for longer term payoff
  • Inaction leads to no results. 
  • When you feel pride, you can ask yourself, “What am I missing that a more humble person would see?”
  • “You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do.” –Henry Ford
  • A young Bill Clinton began a notecard system that included names and phone numbers of people he met for when he entered politics (this is the work no one sees, most people will never know about, but what actually got him to the White House!)
  • “When you are not practicing, remember, someone somewhere is practicing, and when you meet him he will win.” –Bill Bradley
  • Every time you sit down to work, remind yourself you are delaying gratification by doing this

Part II – Success

  • “Without virtue and training, it is hard to bear the results of good fortune suitably.” –Aristotle
    • Could this be why great empires always seem to fall from within?
  • “Every man I meet is my master in some point, and in that I learn of him.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Always be a student. If you’re not still learning, you’re already dying.
  • Great companies have never tried to “change the world.” Apple didn’t try to change the world. Google didn’t try to change the world. YouTube didn’t try to change the world. They all did.
  • Are you saying yes when you could be saying no? Are you wasting precious life doing things we don’t like, to prove ourselves to people we don’t respect, and to get things we don’t want?
  • If you don’t know how much you need, the default easily becomes “more.”
    • For example, Gary V knew his number was $100k
  • Benjamin Franklin wrote an angry letter but never sent it. Writing it out is often cathartic enough.
  • On managing yourself: First, set the top level goals for your organization and your life. Then produce results and only results.
  • On the immensity of nature: Sympatheia – a connectedness to the cosmos
    • Nature provides a connection to your soul
  • Every goal aims to make one happy and fulfilled, some lead you down a place of egotism though (seeking fame)

Part III – Failure

  • The road to success goes down the path of failure (Bill Walsh)
  • Alive time or dead time?
    • Make use of what’s around you. Don’t let stubbornness make a bad situation worse.
  • “Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of.” –John Wooden
  • You can’t let externals determine whether something was worth it or not. The work is enough.
  • Great people hold themselves to a standard that exceeds what society might consider to be objective success.
  • Attempting to destroy something out of hate or ego often ensures it will be preserved and disseminated forever
    • For example, when people on Facebook would say “delete that photo,” their comment would draw attention to the photo
  • Training is like sweeping the floor. Just because we’ve done it once, doesn’t mean we’re done. It doesn’t mean the floor is clean forever. Every day dust comes back. Every day we must sweep. (Daniele Bolelli)
  • Any fool can learn from experience. The trick is to learn from other people’s experiences. (Bismark)

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