I have often wondered the cost of ego in all walks of life, both corporate and personal. How many times ego steps in and prevents a company from making the best decision must be almost uncountable. Thus I was pleased to find Egonomics, a book that shows that ego can be both a force for good as well as bad.

This would be classified as a management book, but the lessons inside would be just as applicable to use at home as well as the boardroom. Egonomics starts by informing us that "over half of all businesspeople estimate ego costs their company 6 to 15 percent of annual revenue". This would obviously be the negative side of ego's costs, and the first half of the book deals with explaining the four warning signs that the negative effects of an ego are taking hold. I don't think that I would be giving much away by listing them, and so here they are:
  • Being comparative (and how being too competitive can actually detract from performance)
  • Being defensive
  • Showcasing brilliance (and how that even if you have the best idea, ego can easily turn others off of it)
  • Seeking acceptance
I found these sections very interesting, as I recalled instances in my own career where I have exhibited some of these traits; recognising this has made me more aware and determined to reel it in in the future.

Luckily for us, the authors have included the three principles to keep an ego healthy. These may sound like common sense at first, but they tend to be things that we ask for in other people but tend to ignore in ourselves. The three principles are humility, curiosity, and veracity.

I found this book to be a well-constructed, informative read, and will definitely try to adhere to its points. It will definitely be on my shelf when I am a manager, and I would imagine will be frequently referred to throughout the next couple of years.


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