An Independent peer review of Detox your ego: 7 steps to achieving freedom, happiness and success in your life by Steven Sylvester in the PsyPAG.
Review by Holly Walton, Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology. University College London.
PsyPAG is a national organisation for all psychology postgraduates based at UK institutions. Funded by the Research Board of the British Psychological Society,
This article aims to review Steven Sylvester’s book, entitled: Detox your Ego. Steven Sylvester is a Chartered Psychologist and a retired professional sportsman. The book review includes: a summary of the book, an introduction of the author, and my views on the strengths and weaknesses of the book. This book includes a description of the ‘Leadership without Ego’ model and proposes a number of steps through which readers can increase success. This book is an interesting read, especially for those interested in sport psychology or the psychology of winning. However, the model proposed may have been clearer if it was outlined in further detail.
IN THE BOOK Detox Your Ego, Steven Sylvester provides an interesting account of the ‘Leadership without Ego’ model and why the author thinks that it can help readers live a happier and more successful life.
Throughout the book Sylvester proposes that the key to leading a happier life is to do things for the good of those around us, rather than for our own purposes. The ‘Leadership without Ego’ model suggests that individuals must work through seven steps, which link to a person’s inner ego, outer ego or transfor- mational ego. The steps linked to the inner ego are whether people: listen to who they are trying to win for, smile at their errors and take time to consider what they avoid. The steps linked to the outer ego are whether people: make an effort to do what they say and feel and have fun. The steps linked to the transformational ego are whether people: give to others and know what their purpose is. The author suggests that all of the seven steps need to be fulfilled in order for a person to live a happy life. However, the author does not suggest whether people should attempt to move through each stage one at a time, or whether all of the stages should be worked on at once.
Steven Sylvester, author of the book, is a Chartered Psychologist and a retired professional cricketer. Throughout the book Sylvester draws upon his personal and profes- sional experience of winning and the pursuit of happiness and success to provide insight on how people can achieve success based on these seven steps.
In the book, Sylvester begins by discussing why ‘detoxing your ego’ is important, before outlining the ‘Leadership without Ego’ model. After this, each of the seven steps are clearly introduced, one chapter at a time, using case studies from the author’s career to example each step. Reflective questions are provided at each stage to help the reader think about the steps in relation to their life and also to think about how they can person- ally use these techniques to overcome their ego and think more selflessly. Furthermore, readers are encouraged to make their own ‘Awareness, Belief and Correction’ plans throughout the book.
Sylvester’s honest and personal insight into his own career and experience makes the book an enjoyable and appealing read. It also makes the book seem more than a ‘journey of self-discovery’. The author provides a variety of anecdotal evidence, ranging from sporting examples to busi- ness consultancy. The variety of case stories make the book relatable to all readers. The case stories bring the focus back to the key message of the book. They also help to provide clarity regarding how the author wants readers to respond to the steps. As a reader it is sometimes unclear how one can achieve the ‘ego’ free option and it is through the case stories that I felt provided insight into how I could apply the individual steps to succeed.
As a Psychology PhD student, I was naturally intrigued by the ‘Leadership without Ego’ model proposed by the author. However, upon completion of the book, I wanted the author to provide more informa- tion about the model. There was little infor- mation about how the model was developed, how the steps were selected, why the author believes the steps all link to ‘ego’, selfish- ness/selflessness and therefore success and happiness, and how the concepts outlined in the book can be measured. Although the author clearly explains what the ‘Leader- ship without ego’ model is, and provides convincing anecdotal evidence, I expected more thorough details of the model to be included.
Overall, the book was an interesting read and I would particularly recommend the book if you are interested in sport, and the psychology of winning. However, if readers are to fully understand and appreciate the ‘Leadership without ego’ model, I think that more information on the development and specifics of the model are needed.
Holly Walton PhD Student
Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology