Instaread Summary of Ego Is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday
Four out of five stars
The fundamental topic of the book being described is an important one, namely “How much ego is the right amount?” Specifically for people that set out to accomplish great things. If a person has too little, then they lack the confidence and drive to pursue major achievements, but if they have too much, they can inflate their achievements beyond what is justified. In either case, their level of ego can be detrimental.
The summary opens with a definition of how the term “ego” is being used, “as a synonym for excessive self-regard, or egotism.” In other words, the emphasis is on the high side of the ego spectrum. If this assumption is kept in the forefront of the reading, then the summary will make sense, drop it for a moment and there are passages that will make questionable sense. For example, there is the following passage in the overview.
“Ego is universally dangerous, no matter whether a person is just starting an ambitious career ascent or has already conquered their industry.”
Without the implied “Excessive” as the first word, this sentence is of questionable validity.
The summary raises some questionable points that are not justified by the facts. For example, key takeaway 3 is
“The most creative thinkers are often the most plagued by egotism.”
As many publications and anecdotes have shown, many of the most creative thinkers are plagued by enormous self-doubt. At the height of their careers, many creative entertainers have suffered from a serious and sometimes dangerous lack of confidence in themselves.
From this summary, I concluded that the book by Holiday is of questionable value, because the point is to emphasize the dangerous nature of an over-inflated ego. However, the other side, which is not enough ego, is just as important, yet dismissed as of little consequence. The reality is that more people suffer from a lack of confidence than from an abundance. Yet, I thoroughly enjoyed the section on how social media is used by people to inflate their ego via the questionable value of feedback such as “likes.”
This book was made available for free for review purposes.