• Book Cover
  • Pick up your sword and torch, brave soul… it's time to go adventuring.

    How to Fight a Hydra is an illuminating short story by Josh Kaufman, bestselling author of The Personal MBA and The First 20 Hours.

    #1 bestseller in Modern Philosophy on Amazon.com
    Amazon Kindle Top 100 Bestseller (Self-Help)

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Somewhere in the depths of your mind, a monster of a project is lurking.

How to Fight a Hydra is a story about summoning the courage to face the beast, fight the good fight, & persist long enough in your efforts to secure a lasting victory.

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Thoughts from early readers…

How to Fight a Hydra is about overcoming uncertainty, risk, and fear of the unknown. Readers from all walks of life have found it useful and thought-provoking:

  • “Originally I expected the title to be just a metaphor – I was delighted to learn that the book is, in fact, a short guide to fighting a Hydra. Using metaphor makes it much easier to have a clear view of reality. The way Josh tells the story is great: it starts with a picture of a world not quite like your own – but very much parallel – and then slowly the two worlds merge. By the time you put the book down, a feeling of possibility is unavoidable.”

    Joey Cofone, CEO of Baron Fig, baronfig.com

  • “From start to finish, How to Fight A Hydra felt like my brain on loudspeaker. This book is a map for venturing, risking, and living how I know I must. It's not easy, but I'll take the risk. The reward is finding out WHO I AM. I just took one of the biggest risks I've ever taken in my work; this book came at the perfect time. I'm ready to quest: to find the Hydra and defeat anything that gets in the way... even if it's me.”

    Ishita Gupta, ishitagupta.com

  • “As I read How to Fight a Hydra, I immediately thought of my journey as an entrepreneur. There were so many moments that mirrored the adventure of building my own business. This book is like The War of Art and Rules for a Knight tossed into a blender and combined to create a beautiful and insightful story about the quest any adventurer faces.”

    James Clear, author of Atomic Habits and writer at jamesclear.com

  • “I devoured How to Fight a Hydra in one non-stop sitting and think of it often. We all have callings to do what is hard. Some are big and scary, like starting a new business. Some are small and scary, like following up with a prospect we don’t know well. Our brains bias towards the downside and focus on what can go wrong. If we listen to that, we’ll never begin. How to Fight a Hydra is my rallying cry to remember this. When I’m scared of something, I have to pay attention to it. Then, I have to begin.”

    Mo Bunnell, author of The Snowball System: How to Win More Business and Turn Clients Into Raving Fans

  • How to Fight a Hydra is a reminder of what it means to live a meaningful life. Too many of us get paralyzed when confronted with our own Hydras and retreat into the comfort of what everyone else is doing. And while the challenges are different for all of us, the approach of tilting the odds in our favor remains the same: intelligent preparation and an adaptive approach. The nuance is that the popular wisdom of facing your fears – even with the odds in your favor – doesn't guarantee success. However, refusing to face them ensures you haven't fully explored what it means to live a meaningful life.”

    Shane Parrish, founder of Farnam Street, fs.blog

  • “I just dove headfirst into an ambitious art project, and I didn't know anything about what I was doing. It was one of the hardest projects of my life because I was learning so much from the very beginning, and took so many wrong turns. After reading How to Fight a Hydra, I went back and journaled every decision and mistake I remember making. It’s easy to get discouraged about things that ‘don’t come naturally’ to me, and this book helped me remember that I have experienced this situation before, and that I can rise to the challenge.”

    Christian Genco, independent software developer, gen.co

  • How to Fight a Hydra is an excellent book for students going through their doctoral process – particularly those in the dissertation phase. I’m giving a copy to each of my advisees – this book is a perfect fit for their doctoral adventure.”

    Dr. David A. McKelfresh, Executive Director of Assessment and Research and Co-Director of the Higher Education Leadership Doctoral Program, Colorado State University

  • How to Fight a Hydra awakens the warrior in you, so you can fully tackle whatever you have on your plate. It’s far too easy to just think about what you want to do, and your mind makes you feel as though you are halfway done when, in reality, you are still at the starting line. Contemplation helps, but it never finishes things: only action does.”

    Vincent Touquet

  • “I love what Josh was able to unlock with this metaphor. I saw a lot of parallels to the experiences that Amy Hoy and I witness our entrepreneurship students go through, and why many people never get started at all. I’m impressed by how much was packed into this, from many fields of study that I care about and have personally used for my own work. Finding each one was like a little treasure hunt of its own.”

    Alex Hillman, founder of Indy Hall, co-creator of the 30x500 entrepreneurship course, 30x500.com

  • “No matter how much I grow in my career, I always have to wrestle with what my lizard brain is telling me. That I don’t deserve something or I don’t want to push myself or I’m unsure what’s going to happen after I release something or take on a new client or do anything new in my business. As I’m writing this, I’m on the final edit of my 5th book before it goes to the printer. I have been working on it for five years, and I am petrified. I’m terrified about what people will think of it – of me – after it’s launched. I’m terrified of what I’ll become after it’s launched. I’m on the final head of the Hydra, and I have no idea what kind of treasure is going to be behind it – if there is anything at all. The fear never goes away, and you constantly have to manage it. How to Fight a Hydra is great for shedding light on this essential topic and giving you the sense that you are not alone in your struggles.”

    Nick Disabato, founder of Draft, draft.nu

  • “I was a tenured faculty member with a funded research program and a steady stream of PhD students when my Hydra made its appearance: a senior role in university administration. Was I really ready to take on a multi-faceted, complex position for which I had no experience and no training? Did I want that level of responsibility? After days of confusion and discussion with my family, I decided to take the position, face my fears, and confront the beast: the academic complex of a major U.S. research university. I fought this Hydra for almost 10 years, and I look back on this term as one of the most productive of my career. But, after 10 years, I was ready for new challenges. Should I pursue the University President positions asking me to apply? Should I seek a position in business? It wasn’t easy to walk away from the allure of status and greater responsibility, but after considering what I wanted for myself and my family, that’s the path I chose. I returned to the faculty, created an undergraduate honors program, and helped develop a software company in my 70s – the most rewarding accomplishments of my career. The story of How to Fight a Hydra, in many ways, mirrors my experience.”

    Dr. Norman R. Baker, Professor and Provost Emeritus of the University of Cincinnati, Founding Director of the Carl H. Linder Honors-PLUS program, Chairman of the Board and President of Integral Analytics, Inc.