motivational | May 17, 2016

First Look: Ryan Holiday’s New Book, Ego Is the Enemy

In The Obstacle Is the Way, media strategist Ryan Holiday taught us how to turn impediment into advantage. But what if our greatest obstacle isn’t so obvious—and not even external? In his new book Ego Is the Enemy (June 14), Holiday shows us that ego—in success, masking our shortcomings, and in failure, amplifying our losses—is the real hurdle at work. Mastering one’s ego, Holiday argues, may be the key to high performance. True-life examples of those who have risen above their own egos—Jackie Robinson, Katharine Graham, George Marshall, and even Bill Belichick—populate the pages, and Holiday unravels their world-winning tactics with clarity and poise.

Obstacle and Ego are two sides of the same coin. As Holiday explains it: “If The Obstacle Is the Way was a philosophical approach to dealing with the difficulties we face in life, Ego Is the Enemy is a philosophical exploration of difficulties we create for ourselves in life.” But what are these difficulties? In our formative years, he says, ego stands in the way of learning and growth. When we succeed, our ego inflates. When we fail, our ego nosedives, and we’re devastated. By pinpointing our self-image and our personal desires, Holiday says, and systematically disarming them, we create our strongest self, and thus, our strongest product.

The book also delves into Holiday’s own experience, and the effects of ego therein—whether in his personal life or with the companies he’s helped grow. Already, Ego Is the Enemy is piling up praise: “This is a book I want every athlete, aspiring leader, entrepreneur, thinker, and doer to read. Ryan Holiday is one of the most promising young writers of his generation,” says George Raveling, Hall of Fame basketball coach. And Mark Ecko, founder of Ecko Unltd and Complex, says, “Read this book before [ego] wrecks you or the projects and people you love. Consider it as urgently as you do a proper workout regimen and eating right. Ryan’s insights are priceless.”

As a strategist, Holiday has influenced media giants such as YouTube, Twitter, and Google. He’s the former Director of Marketing at American Apparel and the author of four books on marketing, growth hacking, and media manipulation. His keynotes are eye-opening, confessional, and shockingly real studies of the new school of media—how it works, where it falters, and what your company can do to skip the line.

Until the much-anticipated release of Ego Is the Enemy, here’s the description from the publisher, Penguin Random House:

Many of us insist the main impediment to a full, successful life is the outside world. In fact, the most common enemy lies within: our ego. Early in our careers, it impedes learning and the cultivation of talent. With success, it can blind us to our faults and sow future problems. In failure, it magnifies each blow and makes recovery more difficult. At every stage, ego holds us back. 
Ego Is the Enemy draws on a vast array of stories and examples, from literature to philosophy to his­tory. We meet fascinating figures such as George Marshall, Jackie Robinson, Katharine Graham, Bill Belichick, and Eleanor Roosevelt, who all reached the highest levels of power and success by con­quering their own egos. Their strategies and tactics can be ours as well. 
In an era that glorifies social media, reality TV, and other forms of shameless self-promotion, the battle against ego must be fought on many fronts. Armed with the lessons in this book, as Holiday writes, “you will be less invested in the story you tell about your own specialness, and as a result, you will be liberated to accomplish the world-changing work you’ve set out to achieve."

To hear Ryan Holiday speak on personal motivation, growth hacking, or media manipulation, contact The Lavin Agency, his exclusive speakers bureau.

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