How to Fight a Hydra

Narrated by: Josh Kaufman
Length: 1 hr and 26 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (490 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A survival manual for ambitious ADVENTURERS

You have a Hydra: a grand, ambitious project you’ve always wanted to tackle. It feels overwhelming, unconquerable. Chop off one of a Hydra’s heads, and two more grow in its place.

How will you ever defeat such a terrifying monstrosity - and live to tell the tale? 

In this illuminating fable, productivity expert Josh Kaufman explores the uncertainty and fear inherent in facing down any ambitious challenge, from starting a new business to completing a work of art.

The risks involved can never be eliminated, but they can be understood, anticipated, and mitigated. Armed with an adventurer's insights into tackling unknown and fearsome challenges, you can tame a project of epic proportions. 

How to Fight a Hydra is an essential handbook for artists, creative professionals, and entrepreneurs tired of ignoring the call to adventure. 

So prepare for battle, brave soul. Draw your sword. Light your torch. 

In the darkness ahead, your Hydra awaits.  

©2018 Worldly Wisdom Ventures LLC (P)2018 Worldly Wisdom Ventures LLC

Critic Reviews

"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)

"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)

"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)

What listeners say about How to Fight a Hydra

Average Customer Ratings
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A memorable listen

I really enjoyed this short story as a way of communicating important steps to overcome that big project you may have lurking inside your head.
Archetypal stories like this have a tendency to stick more than just bullet points of what you should do to overcome something.

So a pleasant surprise of a book that dropped out of nowhere

Now of to fight that Hydra of my own

9 people found this helpful

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Totally Worth an Audible.com Credit

Sometimes we'll see a title that's shorter like this one and feel like we'd rather hold on to a credit. However, the story is the right length, it's performed like a movie, and the story is one you'll want to listen to a number of times. You can feel the innovative freedom he had as he wrote it and while he was on his way to another non-fiction book, this fictional account came out.

I think you'll find the lessons to be insightful and the story well articulated. He chose a journal of an adventurer as the framework and after listening I'm pretty sure you'll say, "That's a pretty good idea, let me put together a journal and start making progress on my goals." You always like to hear the narrator tell his own tale, and sometimes it works, other times it doesn't In this case, Josh's read is right on and the background sounds, the pages turning, the sounds of the forest, make it feel like a radio story.

In a sea of self-help books that tell you what to do, hearing a fictional account of what someone did allows you to use your mirror neurons and put yourself in the adventurer's boots. You'll face the hydra, pick up some valuable lessons, and have a much easier way to tell others how they might solve some of their most difficult challenges.

The only thing I wish I had was a torch so that once I solved a problem, it would be done with, once and for all.

8 people found this helpful

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The reason I read books

The real hydras are Josh Kaufman's books. Every time you finish reading one of his books, he tasks you with reading a bunch of other great books.

I'm still fighting "Personal MBA" hydra (97 book recommendations), "How to Fight a Hydra" gives another 7.

If I read one more book from Josh Kaufman, I'll have to get a bigger apartment just for my books.

6 people found this helpful

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Simple yet effective metaphor for perseverance!

Short and sweet! A good short story that expresses that which we often are aware of, but fail to follow thru with.

3 people found this helpful

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Really great fantasy based productivity metaphor

fantastic voice acting by the author and a wonderful concept. if you like fantasy books and struggle with getting things done, this book is for you.

2 people found this helpful

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Excellent use of metaphor

Great but simple storytelling device that makes this a very pleasurable and brief read. Entertaining without fluff into wisdom condensed. Doesn't get much better. Even great use of the audio format for extra "atmosphere".

2 people found this helpful

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  • Al
  • 04-28-20

Worth it!

I regularly read or listen to business and entrepreneurship content and have many books from this genre in my collection, but I have not re-read any of them as much as this one. It's honestly a great allegorical book on entrepreneurship. It's a great source of inspiration and is a length that makes it good for repeated listening whenever needed. It has, over numerous listenings, become my favourite and go-to listen when needing perspective or inspiration in entrepreneurial efforts. I highly recommend it.

1 person found this helpful

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Must be a mandatory read in high school

Excellent book that teaches how to set goals, face fears, and endure. This must be a mandatory read at high school, before kids set out on a real life path with challenges and successes after graduation.

1 person found this helpful

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Highly recommended

A beautifully crafted metaphor of taking on overwhelming projects. The audio and music are amazing!

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While the moral of the story was pleasurable..

The subsequent acknowledgments, handwringing and self promotion make it less pleasurable. Listen to the first half.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-17-18

On point!

I needed this, facing a hydra-like feeling of going into a PhD "adventure". I felt described over and over again. Thank you

1 person found this helpful

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  • Will
  • 01-22-20

How to fight a hydra

My business coach recommended I read this. I now see why. This is an incredible book that cut to the heart of my real challenges - myself.

I’ll listen again. Josh - thank you for this work.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-29-19

Fictional and good short read

This is a good book which is basically centered around metaphorical ambition and triumphs. I enjoyed it and an insight into both the messages and the author. I enjoyed it.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-07-19

perfect choice!!!!

i very rarely listen or read a full book!! but the way the author makes the book and the content of metaphors, it captures the eyes and mind of the reader to stand his ground (;.

this is my first ever book review and i can say that anyone who considers reading this shall be doing it instead!!!

Warm Regards,

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  • MR
  • 11-29-18

Short but sweet. Loved it

You get caught up in the tale quickly and is very relatable. Makes you rethink about the nature of large personal creative endeavours