Ego Is the Enemy – Ryan Holiday

“Many people think that the main obstacle to a successful life is the outside world – adverse circumstances and other people. In fact, the greatest enemy is often in us: it is our ego.” – from the book The Ego is the enemy

Who is Ryan Holiday?

Ryan Holiday is a writer and a media strategist. When he was 19 years old, he dropped out of university to become the apprentice of Robert Greene, who is the author of The 48 Laws of Power. He had a successful marketing career in American Apparel and he also founded a creative agency called Brass Check, which advised clients like Google, Taser and Complex, and also many prominent best selling authors including Neil Strauss, Tony Robbins and Tim Ferriss. He is the author of seven books, for example The Obstacle Is the Way, Ego Is the Enemy, Stillness Is the Key, of which he sold over 2 million copies in 30 languages. He spends a lot of time on a ranch near Austin, Texas, where he writes and tends to cattle, donkeys and goats.

Ego Is the Enemy – the book

The book is divided into three parts (Aspire, Success, Failure) and consists of approximately 26 chapters. This work is not focused on describing ego in professional terms, it aims to present the consequences of ego on everyday events to the reader. Ryan Holiday describes ego using several famous figures, on which we can see if they tamed their ego, or if they let it control them. This book is great for readers that like to read books by chapters, as the chapters are neither long nor boring. Each chapter starts with a quotation that is related to the given theme. While reading, the reader realises many things and rethinks their behaviour and reactions to certain occurrences.

Ego je nepriateľ - Ryan Holiday
Ego Is the Enemy the book

 “And why should we be angry with the world? As if the world noticed.” – Euripides

What is ego?

The term ego (Latin for “I”) acts according to the reality principle and balances the impacts of the social component (Super-ego) and instinctual component (Id) of our personality. It is conscious and knowing and the result of its activity is our behaviour. It is the consciousness of oneself, of one’s identity, the differentiation of ourselves from our surroundings.

In modern psychology this term not only represents the perception of ego by Freud, but also an element that he defined as super-ego. It is a rational component that follows the principles of conscience, responsibility and social securities. The opponent is the still Id. If there is a fault in the development of a person (short-term and long-term), a dissociative identity disorder can follow (for example schizophrenia).

Freud’s term “ego” is not wholly identical with the general meaning of the word “I”, which describes a person’s singularity and difference to others.

In Ego-analysis (Rapport, Hartmann), as in an element of Neo-Freudianism, you can learn about ego functions, to which we include self-awareness, attention or thought processes.

5 manifestations of ego

  1. you do not take responsibility for your actions
  2. you keep comparing yourself to others
  3. you talk behind people’s backs
  4. you want to achieve or have everything immediately
  5. you experience temper tantrums

My review

The book really intrigued me and I have already recommended it to a few people around me. It is definitely worth reading and the reader realises many things in the process. Of course, only if they read the book calmly and not superficially. We should learn and enrich ourselves our whole lives and I really think that Ego Is the Enemy is really worth reading. Maybe it can help you live your life more peacefully when it helps you realise what you do wrong and why you are unhappy with your life. 


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