I finally just finished reading Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday. He's one of my favorite writers, but I got way behind on his books (he now has 2 more new ones that I can't wait to read!).
I really enjoyed this book, and it was a refreshing reminder of all the ways our ego can cause us to screw up, even (or maybe especially) while we're "succeeding."
It was a short, pleasant read, and each chapter had a main, easily digestible lesson that was illustrated with stories of historical figures.
I'm a big fan of the way Ryan can distill so much information (books, quotes, history, movies, etc.) into concrete, actionable lessons. I had interviewed Ryan for Authors@Google a while ago for his previous book The Obstacle is the Way, which I also really enjoyed.
My biggest takeaways were around humility, "alive time vs. dead time," and maintaining focus on one's work (instead of others' opinions or external factors). My full notes on the book are below.
I first heard about Jocko from Tim Ferriss's podcast episode with him. I just finished reading his first book and really liked it: Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink.
In some ways it reminded me of No Easy Day by Mark Owen, which I had read a while ago, also about lessons learned by a Navy SEAL, though Jocko's is much more about the application of the lessons to leadership in general and business.
The book was well written and had lots of great examples of its ideas, both on the combat side and the business side. Many of his ideas resonated a lot with me: extreme ownership, admitting blame, and taking responsibility for everything that happens in your world/department/group, and how that attitude trickles down and up around you to affect everyone. I see counterexamples of this all the time, and I like Jocko's no-excuses approach to this.
The example from the intro really hit home with me: swapping the leaders of the best and worst performing teams in a competition completely reversed their performance. Leadership matters.
I also never knew there was so much process, paperwork, and PowerPoint in the military. And I see how that illustrates his idea of "leading up" the chain of command and how discipline around process creates freedom.
This was a really great book and very inspiring. I definitely look forward to checking out his other books.
My main notes and takeaways are below.