Ego is the Enemy Book Summary [Sketchnote]

Sometime last year I was caught in a conflict at work. I thought I was right and my manager was wrong. My justification was rooted in the training I had completed and the other project successes that had come as a result.

I believed I knew what I was doing, while my manager had to be in the wrong. Worse still, she was wasn’t even letting me finish what I had started by was taking over and making extreme changes. Changes which completely ignored all the work and research I had done before that.

The conflict intensified for several days until I decided that I had best just go along with what she wanted and move on to something new.

As soon as that happened, I realised I had been a fool.

Suddenly, I saw things from her perspective. I realised what she was trying to do. We started co-operating. Within a couple of days, it was done and the project was a massive success.

Perhaps my original idea was better than hers (probably not) but even if it was, my ego had prevented us from working together or doing anything good.

On the train home after the project launch, I ordered up a copy of Ryan Holiday’s book Ego is the Enemy.

I had reflected and realised that not only had ego stopped me from doing my best work on this project, it was also the cause of most of the issues I had noticed at work.

If you are looking at this review, I hope you have had a similar epiphany of the dangers of your ego: it will make it a far easier process to change and absorb the points that follow.

But if you haven’t, I hope this Ego is the Enemy book summary will still benefit you.

About Ego is the Enemy

Ego is the enemy came out in 2016 and is the second of Ryan Holiday’s books inspired by stoicism. The first being the Obstacle is the Way and the third is Stillness is the Key. Like the other two books, it is divided into three sections.

  • Aspire
  • Success
  • Failure
    Which follows the likely path a person faces in life. They aspire to something, they have some success, they suffer some failure, and the cycle possibly repeats.

Ego is the Enemy Book Summary Sketchnote

a sketchnote wth ego is the enemy book summary

Ego is different, yet the same.

Although ego is an challenge in every part, the way it appears and affects those around us is different. Along the whole path we need to remain level-headed, objective, studious, and living by our own standards. These are characters that help avoid falling into ego’s negative paths.


When we start out, in a new endeavor or as those entering into the adult world, we are ill prepared for some aspect of our life. We need to keep our ego in check to develop the skills, and put in the right work in the right areas to advance.


Even if we take the right first steps, success can feed our ego and send us down dark paths. We need to stay true to the path that brought us success in the first place, while being ready to abandon what worked yesterday to take advantage of what will work tomorrow.


At some point we will fail. It may be in small ways, or significant ways. Our ego can lead us to blame those around us, preventing us from doing anything positive and instead growing in bitterness and passivity.
We can do everything right and still be rejected and fail. The only response is to stay true to our virtues and ignore the lure of our egos.

Ego is the Enemy Conclusion

We need to keep our ego in check and focus on our core values. It isn’t easy and there is no guaranteed reward, but we can be certain that letting our ego rule will ruin our lives.

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