Top 10 Most Powerful Lessons From Ryan Holiday Ego Is The Enemy

Here is a book review of the book Ego is the Enemy written by Ryan Holiday. I included in this blog 10 of the most powerful lessons from the book as well as its inspiring quotes.

Top 10 Most Powerful Lessons From Ryan Holiday's Ego Is The Enemy

Ego is the Enemy.

It’s a powerful statement.

It constantly reminds me that egotism and pride caused the downfall of countless great men and women in the past.

I came across this book and got immediately interested.

I read this book for these reasons:

  • I struggled with pride.
  • The Bible talks a lot about pride and got curious about what this book could also say about the topic.
  • I read a lot of good reviews of this book. It has 4.6 out of 5-star ratings on Amazon from more than 1,700 customers.

After reading the book, I have realized how dangerous pride is.

It made me see how pride lurks within me.

I mean, I consider myself to be pretty humble until I read this book.

It shows you how much ego and pride remain in me.

And I’m confident it will also do the same thing in you.

So, in this article, what I want to do is share with you the lessons I learned from the book, Ego is the Enemy.

These lessons will help you as well to improve yourself in this area of life and live humbly under the grace of God.

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Disclaimer: please note that while this book is a good read, I don’t agree to everything mentioned on this book. You may read my core beliefs here.

Lesson no. 1: Your worst enemy lives in you

It is easy to be alert against the enemies outside, but not the enemies inside.

In the book, you will read:

“Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, your worst enemy already lives inside you: your ego.”

It is true that all of us, with no exemption, harbors a certain level of pride and ego.

Pride pops up in success and failures.

We don’t even notice it.

That’s how subtle pride can be.

Since pride is in us, it is either we feed it or starve it.

How you deal with your pride makes the big difference.

Lesson no. 2: Manage your pride

Here’s the thing:

For many of us, pride is too difficult to eliminate completely in our lives.

I would even say, it is impossible to get rid of pride.

As soon as you think you have banished it away from your system, it will again show its ugly head.

An alternate solution is to manage your pride.

The book, Ego is the Enemy tells us:

Your ego is not some power you’re forced to satiate at every turn. It can be managed. It can be directed.

Managing your pride means not allowing it to get the best of you.

As soon as you feel you are becoming egoistic, boastful, and proud – you can tell yourself to stop.

Instead of directing people’s attention to you, choose to direct attention to others.

Lesson no. 3: Pride tells you to talk, humility tells you to listen

God created two ears and one mouth.

So, we listen twice as much as we talk.

A prideful person wants to do all the talking.

He wants to talk about how great he is.

You see a lot of pride-filled people on social media.

People talk more often about themselves.

It is rare for you to see the reality behind those selfies.

It is rare for you to read the struggles and challenges people face.

Ego encourages you to lift yourself and base your worth on nothing or false worth.

On the other hand, humility tells you how important it is to listen to people.

Interrupting others isn’t just rude, but it is telling them that their ideas don’t matter.

You only matter.

Proud people talk more.

Humble people talk less.

Lesson no. 4: Become a student

Ego tells you not to listen to anyone.

As a result, you stop learning.

You stop growing.

When you become a student, you lay aside your pride.

You admit to yourself that you don’t know everything – that there are more to know than what you already know.

Ego and pride prevent you from learning new things.

So, if you want to keep on learning, learn to be humble first.

That’s how you become great.

Never stop learning.

Never stop being a student.

You might also be interested in reading, “Why You Should Read Ego is the Enemy.”

Lesson no. 5: Help people become great

Ego focuses on self.

Humility focuses on others.

If you want to become great, you need to help other people become great.

That’s just how the universal law works.

Make people great and eventually, greatness will find its way to you.

Look at others.

Find a way to make them look good.

Provide support so they can reach their highest potential.

Imagine, if you look for ways of how you can help every person you meet.

I’m not saying you overstretch yourself.

My point is that you focus more on others than yourself.

The effect will be profound – not just in them, but in you.

At the end of the day, you learn a lot of things.

You learn how to solve various problems.

You develop yourself in the process.

And that’s the path to greatness.

Lesson no. 6: Don’t be afraid to take the low position

Ego craves for recognition, power, and position.

Ego seeks validation from other people.

Ego drives you to make certain decisions just to please others, causing a lot of problems along the way.

However, if you know that ego is your enemy, you don’t want to follow whatever it dictates.

Instead, do what other people refuse to do simply because they think they are too important to do it themselves.

Pick up the trash.

Clean the room.

Distribute food.

Open the door for others.

These small acts of kindness and servitude don’t lead to humiliation.

They lead to greatness instead.

When you do what people don’t want to do, you will eventually get the job.

You will eventually get the respect of others.

You will eventually get the position you wanted.

Instead of chasing the approval of others, start by taking the low position.

Ryan wrote in this book:

Greatness comes from humble beginnings; it comes from grunt work. It means you’re the least important person in the room—until you change that with results.

Lesson no. 7: Don’t look down on people

You need to show a janitor the same respect as you give to a CEO.

Looking down on people will prevent you from seeing what’s above you.

If you’re going to look down on people, only do it when you’re trying to reach down to help them.

Every person’s worth is not based on their wealth, position, and job.

They are based on God’s view of them.

God values everyone.

He is a Father to the poor as much as to the rich.

If God does not play favoritism, then why should we?

Everyone is worth our attention, love, and care.

Don’t be selective.

Remember, Yahshua or Jesus Christ died for all of us.

He didn’t die for a select few.

Lesson no. 8: Ego sways us from our ultimate goal

Pride tells us that we deserve better.

It tells us to get what others have because we are better than them.

Because of our need for recognition, we do a lot of things that are not originally part of the initial plan.

In the book we read:

That’s how it seems to go: we’re never happy with what we have, we want what others have too. We want to have more than everyone else. We start out knowing what is important to us, but once we’ve achieved it, we lose sight of our priorities. Ego sways us, and can ruin us.

We abandon our God-given purpose to chase the wrong things in life.

Because we are hungry for the validation and respect of other people, we commit to things that are unnecessary.

As followers of Christ, we have one ultimate goal in life – that is to be part of God’s future Kingdom.

All other goals are secondary compared to that goal.

We are aiming for not just physical reward, but spiritual reward.

Because of pride, we might lose sight of our spiritual goals and settle for short-term rewards that can easily fade away.

As soon as the applause of people is gone, we try new things again just to keep them clapping.

The vicious cycle continues until we lose our energy and time – until we lose our salvation.

Don’t let ego dictate which goal you need to accomplish.

Stick to your God-given goal.

Lesson no. 9: Ego kills what we love

Whether it is in our career or relationship, ego has its harsh way of killing what we love.

When we put ourselves first and not considering other people’s feelings and needs, there’s a good chance that you will lose them.

Ego is there to tell us that we are the best and so we deserve the best.

We won’t settle for less.

We rather sacrifice relationships just to get what we want.

In the end, you will lose what you already have and sadly, as well as the people you love.

Lesson no. 10: Ego is the wicked sister of success and failure

Whether we succeed or fail, ego is always there.

Even if we are only aspiring and dreaming, ego is still there.

Ego is everywhere.

Thus, it is not difficult to see why ego is present in both the most successful and unsuccessful people.

When you succeed, don’t give in to the temptation of feeling important.

It is natural to celebrate your success and feel good about yourself.

However, keep your feet on the ground.

Don’t think that you are better than others just because you have succeeded.

When you fail, don’t feel like you have been cheated or you have been sabotaged.

Ego looks for someone to blame when things go wrong.

Don’t go down to that dirty path.

Own up the responsibility.

Endure and work harder to achieve your goal.

Don’t let ego get in the way.

Read to read the book, “Ego is the Enemy” by Ryan Holiday? If yes, grab your copy here.

Book recommendation

I want to say, the book is a great read.

Of course, it isn’t a perfect book.

In my opinion, it has some flaws.

Sometimes, the author uses curse words as well.

Nevertheless, it is up to you to filter the good and bad ideas from the book.

Most importantly, use the Bible as your ultimate authority.

Here are the good points of the book:

  • Easy to read
  • Brought a lot of great points to ponder upon
  • Successfully convinced readers to avoid being egoistic
  • Successfully identified ego is indeed an enemy
  • Use stories to illustrate points
  • Quoted the Bible once in a while and brought up Christian values in the book

Here are the bad points of the book:

  • Stories can be too long and may bore some readers
  • Great points could have been condensed and explained right on the point

So, there you have it, friends.

Again, I would recommend this book and would give it a 4.5 out of 5 stars.

It’s an incredible book.

It has a lot of fantastic insights.

If you are struggling with pride or you want to become a better person, this book is for you.

Remember the importance of overcoming pride.

Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before a fall.
Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly,
Than to divide the spoil with the proud (Proverbs 16:18-19).

Best quotes from the book Ego is the Enemy

To end this blog, let me just share with you some of the best quotes I read from the book of Ryan Holiday, Ego is the Enemy.

I’ve found that if you go looking you’ll find that history is also made by individuals who fought their egos at every turn, who eschewed the spotlight, and who put their higher goals above their desire for recognition.

Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, your worst enemy already lives inside you: your ego.

When we remove ego, we’re left with what is real. What replaces ego is humility, yes—but rock-hard humility and confidence.

Appearances are deceiving. Having authority is not the same as being an authority. Having the right and being right are not the same either.

Make other people look good and you will do well.

Greatness comes from humble beginnings; it comes from grunt work. It means you’re the least important person in the room—until you change that with results.

Be lesser. Do more. Imagine if for every person you met, you thought of some way to help them, something you could do for them?

Those who have subdued their ego understand that it doesn’t degrade you when others treat you poorly; it degrades them.

Pride blunts the very instrument we need to own in order to succeed: our mind. Our ability to learn, to adapt, to be flexible, to build relationships, all of this is dulled by pride.

For ego is a wicked sister of success.

It is not enough only to be a student at the beginning. It is a position that one has to assume for life. Learn from everyone and everything.

This is especially true with money. If you don’t know how much you need, the default easily becomes more.

Do your work. Do it well. Then “let go and let God.

Ego kills what we love.

When you take ego out of the equation, other people’s opinions and external markers won’t matter as much. That’s more difficult, but ultimately a formula for resilience.

When you take ego out of the equation, other people’s opinions and external markers won’t matter as much. That’s more difficult, but ultimately a formula for resilience.

There’s a quote from Bismarck that says, in effect, any fool can learn from experience. The trick is to learn from other people’s experience.

PS. If you want to read the book and buy a copy on Amazon, please use my affiliate link. It won’t cost you anything, but it will help maintain this website. Thank you!

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