Ideas from the book Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday.


  1. Ask yourself: “Who do I want to be?” “What path will I take?”
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool.
  1. Believing in your greatness will kill your creativity.
  2. Silence is the respite of the confident and the strong.
  3. The greatest work and art comes from wrestling with the void, facing it instead of scrambling to make it go away.
  4. You have to chose either to be somebody or to do something.
A man is worked upon by what he works on.
Frederick Douglass
  1. What you choose to do with your time and what you choose to do for money works on you.
  2. Think about this the next time you face a choice: Do I need this? Or is it really about ego?

The power of being a student is not just that it is an extended period of instruction, it also places the ego and ambition in someone else’s hands. There is a sort of ego ceiling imposed—one knows that he is not better than the “master” he apprentices under. Not even close. You defer to them, you subsume yourself. You cannot fake or bullshit them. An education can’t be “hacked”; there are no shortcuts besides hacking it every single day. If you don’t, they drop you.

  1. Each fighter, to become great, he said, needs to have someone better that they can learn from, someone lesser who they can teach, and someone equal that they can challenge themselves against.

It is impossible to learn that which one thinks one already knows.

  1. You cannot get better if you’re convinced you are the best.

Passion typically masks a weakness. Its breathlessness and impetuousness and franticness are poor substitutes for discipline, for mastery, for strength and purpose and perseverance. The critical work that you want to do will require your deliberation and consideration. It’d be far better if you were intimidated by what lies ahead—humbled by its magnitude and determined to see it through regardless. Leave passion for the amateurs.

  1. 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.
  2. Imagine if for every person you met, you thought of some way to help them, something you could do for them?
  3. The canvas strategy is about helping yourself by helping others. The person who clears the path ultimately controls its direction, just as the canvas shapes the painting.
  4. It doesn’t degrade you when others treat you poorly; it degrades them.

A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.

  1. Pride blunts the very instrument we need to own in order to succeed: our mind.
  2. Ask yourself: “What am I missing right now that a more humble person might see?” “What am I avoiding, or running from, with my bluster, franticness, and embellishments?”

That on which you so pride yourself will be your ruin.

  1. Make your workmanship better than the material you work on.


  1. We must remain focused on the execution and on executing with excellence.
  2. We must shun the false crown and continue working on what got us here. Because that’s the only thing that will keep us here.

One of the symptoms of approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important.

  1. It’s beginning to think that we’re better, that we’re special, that our problems and experiences are so incredibly different from everyone else’s that no one could possibly understand.

Play for the name on the front of the jersey, and they’ll remember the name on the back.

Tony Adams

It requires a strong constitution to withstand repeated attacks of prosperity.

James Basford


  1. This moment is not your life. But it is a moment in your life.
  2. Anyone can win. But not everyone is the best possible version of themselves.
  3. Attempting to destroy something out of hate or ego often ensures that it will be preserved and disseminated forever.
  4. What do you dislike? Whose name fills you with revulsion and rage? Now ask: Have these strong feelings really helped you accomplish anything?
  5. Where has hatred and rage ever really gotten anyone?
I don’t like work — no man does — but I like what is in the work — the chance to find yourself.