Don't Fool Yourself

EconTalk Extra
by Amy Willis
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Ryan Holiday on Ego is the Ene... Angela Duckworth on Grit...

Do you think too much of yourself, or perhaps not enough? When does productive self-esteem become egotistical? How has the presence or absence of ego influenced world history? These were just some of the questions explored in this week's EconTalk episode as host Russ Roberts welcomed Ryan Holiday to talk about his new book, Ego is the Enemy.

Now we'd like to hear what you took away from this week's episode. Use the questions below to prompt discussion both here and offline. Let us know your thoughts...We love to hear from you.

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1. Holiday cautions people to beware the "narrative fallacy." What does this mean? What are some examples from your own life in which you've fallen prey to this fallacy?

2. Marcus Aurelius is mentioned several times throughout this week's episode. Specifically, Aurelius's advice to "Accept it without arrogance; let it go with indifference," is admired by both Roberts and Holiday. What strategies do they suggest for accomplishing this maxim, which they both admit is difficult. What would you suggest? Is this always good advice? Can you provide a counterexample?

3. What does Holiday mean when he says that power does more than just corrupt, it also reveals? Can you offer some other examples that illustrate this? Check out this 2006 EconTalk interview with Bruce Bueno de Mesquita for his take on this question.

4. What 's the best "self-help" book you've ever read, and why?

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CATEGORIES: Books (317) , Extras (157)

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COMMENTS (4 to date)
Elise writes:

I view our continued reworking of the problem of pride as evidence of our inability to solve it on our own. Philosophy and practice bring us close, but never quite succeed. The trouble is, as you discuss, what could be more egotistical than the notion that I can conquer my own ego? My approach, therefore, is acknowledge that reality is sacramental, that I am not its master, and that only an exterior grace can fully defeat my pride: I go to confession.

Jerm writes:

1) Michael Jordan chewed gum during the game. So when I was in high school, I was going to chew gum during the game, too. Problem is, I played water polo. My coach pulled me out of the game midway through the first quarter so I could spit it out.

The detail that I overlooked was that I played water polo.

4) "What Color is Your Parachute?" Job seeking advice that is as useful today as it was 40 years ago. Proof that most people just don't use "best practices" when looking for a job.

"The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" A crazy person uses housecleaning as a way to focus her neuroses. That being said, I really do think it's better to completely empty your bag at the end of the day.

Descartes writes:

I tried listening to this podcast twice in different sections. I could not finish because it seemed too sophomoric a subject and the author needed more adult/life experience. I think the same of Gladwell too.

Raul V writes:

During the show another podcaster was mentioned who is not afraid to say "I don't know". Who was that again?

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