Book Review #11

Posted by Leslie Lau on

Photo by Glen Noble on Unsplash

Guess what team? It's book review time again!

A little bit of a shift from my regular reviews this month, and likely going forward.

I've been drawn towards reading books which don't strictly align with the three pillars of wellbeing, but are still deeply enriching and powerful, nonetheless!

I hope that my reviews will continue to be insightful and of interest for you too!

So without further delay, welcome to Book Review #11!

The titles reviewed this month are:

"Ego is the Enemy" by Ryan Holiday

"You can’t learn if you think you already know. You will not find the answers if you’re too conceited and self-assured to ask the questions. You cannot get better if you’re convinced you are the best." - Ryan Holiday

Ryan Holiday is one of my favourite modern writers (I reviewed another great title from Ryan, 'The Obstacle is the Way' in Book Review #7), and has been one of the main influences into the introduction and adoption of stoic philosophy into my own life.

In 'Ego is the Enemy', Ryan brings to our attention the internal, mind-made presence, the voice of fear, pride, expectation, doubt, judgement, that with which we identify, the source of our persistent internal battles, the mask we wear on a daily basis - the ego.

Using some great historical examples and ancient philosophical references, Ryan expertly applies a very practical lens to the discourse, from identifying the ego, how it hinders us throughout our day to day, and how we can quell it's seemingly dominant stature in modern life.

I should read this book if...

This is a great read for anyone who is seeking a heightened sense of self-awareness, who is wanting to develop self, wanting a taste of ancient stoic philosophy or simply looking for ways to better navigate the complexities of modern life. An insightful and easy read, beautifully written and presented.


"Own the Day, Own your Life" by Aubrey Marcus

"The warrior has the courage to go into the darkness where poems live. The poet has the courage to share what is found." - Aubrey Marcus

I picked up this book because I've been a listener of the Aubrey Marcus Podcast for a while, so as a follower of Aubrey, I naturally wanted to read this book.

I'd like to give my summary on the book is two parts - first, the content. This book is a manual for holistic human optimisation. As stated on the cover, Aubrey guides you through practices to optimise every aspect of your day, from waking to sleeping, and everything in-between. The premise being, if you focus on optimising your life day-by-day, you will eventually optimise your entire life.

The content is great - he covers each daily aspect at a high-level and offers enough scientific explanation and backing where required, and he does this is a very casual discussion-type manner. If you're one who has already delved into the world of self-development and personal optimisation, some of the concepts and practices won't be new to you. What he does well here is bring it all together in an easy-to-understand, practical, and jovial manner; like a good friend giving you some great advice! It's a perfect guide for those who've yet to scratch their personal-development itch.

Secondly, the delivery. My favourite aspect of this book wasn't necessarily the content itself but rather, where the message was delivered from. As mentioned, I listen to Aubrey's podcast and simply love that he is a genuine, honest human being. Reading this book reaffirmed for me, with his no-nonsense real-talk approach and genuine empathy for humanity really shone through for me. He talks about every aspect as-a-matter-of-factly, saying it how he believes it, not how people necessarily want to hear it. This for me, I really appreciate and love in people, as I am very much of the same approach. He just seems like a dude you just want to be friends with!

I should read this book if...

As I briefly touched on, if you've had an itch to explore optimising your own life and your personal development, this book is a great way to start. I'm not normally an advocate for any particular book, but in this instance, if this is you, if you've got that itch, get this book and read it! The genuine desire to create a better world shines through, and it starts with each day of each human being.


"The Happiness Advantage" by Shawn Achor

"Happiness is not the belief that we don't need to change; it's the realisation that we can." - Shawn Achor

Shawn Achor is one of the leading voices in positive psychology today and co-founder of GoodThinkInc., a platform for connecting happiness and real life through education and scientifically-backed research.

'The Happiness Advantage' isn't simply a book telling us to live the motto "don't worry, be happy!". It is so much more than this.

The book centres around 7 principles, the first of which is actually around positive thinking, but this is also backed by scientific research rather than positive vibes. The remaining 6 principles offer, again, scientifically-backed methods in order to get to and maintain a greater level of happiness and fulfilment in everything that you do, whether it be work, family life, etc.

In summary, these principles talk to

  • The concept of control and focusing attention on things within your control and accepting what is not
  • Your life is experienced through what your mind is focused on, whether positive or negative
  • Flipping your perception on failures and seeing them as another 'rung' on your growth ladder, rather than something to be fearful of
  • Starting your focus small and working your way to a wider span once you've mastered what you were initially focusing on
  • Making smarter decisions by taking a step back and assessing things with logic and rational rather than reacting immediately
  • The importance of community and social support on your way to a happier life

I should read this book if...

A really great introductory read and insight into the scientific world of positive psychology. If you've ever wondered if positive thinking and good vibes really works or if it's just a bunch of hoodoo, please read this to gain a more objective and practical application of the topic!




Any questions or comments regarding the books I've reviewed this month? Any book suggestions on what I should read and review next? Just want to say hi? Please feel free to get in touch through email or by leaving a comment below!


Strive to live, live to strive.


Book cover images courtesy of


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