“Only you know the race you’re running. That is, unless your ego decides the only way you have value is if you’re better than, have more than, everyone everywhere. More urgently, each one of us has a unique potential and purpose; that means that we’re the only ones who can evaluate and set the terms of our lives.” – From the book.

As I age, I do resonate with the above quote and observe the only fight that I seem to be having is with myself. Be it in physical exercise, or the occasional technical stuff I get into or be it at writing.

However when I do look deep with or even do a cursory peek into my own self, I do have some kind of stumbling blocks and ‘Ego’ is one of them.

This is a book by Ryan Holiday which clearly elucidates about how ‘Ego’ plays a role in our aspirations, success and failures and how we can take concrete steps to overcome it.

On a side note, those who are into software engineering would remember one of the aspects of a great engineer was ‘Egoless Programming’ !!.

The author begins with a personal prologue on how miserable he was after achieving early success and presents a convincing case of turn around.

I remember a recent conversation with a close friend, who had chided me for not having the necessary pace required in a startup environment and my first response naturally was a overdose of self defense. However after the conversation, when I reflected, I could easily see my friend had a clear point and it was my ‘Ego’ defending me!

Author uses various examples from personal life, history, sports , business and other areas to highlight how ‘Ego’ is a silent killer. He also gives us clear ways to spot it , manage it and overcome it.

This book also has its favourable bias towards stoicism and personally I find myself leaning towards stoicism a lot more. I consider that funny as couple of decades back I was leaning towards Ayan Rand’s school of objectivism. Well, times change, people change and I am no different.

The book quotes Shakespeare’s Hamlet

” This above all: to thine own self be true,

And it must follow, as the night the day,

Thou canst not then be false to

any man.

Farewell. My blessing season this in thee!”

To thine own self be true –  May be I will get there someday and if you want to see whether you want to get there, this book would be of help.