The Obstacle is the Way (Book Review)
“Obstacles are actually opportunities to test ourselves, to try new things, and, ultimately, to triumph”. – Ryan Holiday
Lessons learnt: Only by overcoming obstacles you can advance. Take action and practice willpower.
Throughout all of our life, we are faced with obstacles, with things that stand in our way to success. Sometimes it’s a boss that doesn’t recognise your talents. At other times it is a competitor that has more sales than you do. Or at other times it is an actual obstacle in your way, preventing you from going to that place you wanted to visit. In The Obstacle is the Way Ryan Holiday takes us on a journey to not only overcome obstacles but to see them as the way forward. An obstacle is therefore not in the way, but is the way…
Obstacles through a different lens
Many people hate public speaking, for many people it is the most terrifying thing to do. At the same time, public speaking allows to you express your ideas to a broad audience, influence people and stand out. Both statements are true, but only if you change your perspective to think about the second part (and not the first), will the presentation become easier to give.
In The Obstacle if the Way we are introduced to many stories of obstacles like the one above. Ryan Holiday provides three main lessons through which he empowers you to use obstacles to your advantage:
- Change your perception
- Take action
- Practice willpower
The Stoic Businessman
In 30 small chapters you are given actionable advice on implementing an ancient, but very much present, philosophy. This is the philosophy of the Stoics, Marcus Aurelius being the most famous one. The book provides you with the tools to; see things from different perspectives, decide when to be persistent, and how to anticipate for the future. These are of course only but a few examples of the lessons from the book.
“The best men are not those who have waited for chances but those who have taken them; besieged chance, conquered the chance, and made chance the servitor”. – E.H. Chapin
On the crossroads between a gimmick and an extensive examination of a philosophy, Ryan Holiday has found the perfect balance to convey his personal beliefs The lessons are accessible to anyone, hardened stoic or newcomer to philosophy. The stories never bore and even intertwine between chapters. If I were to summarize this book into three words it would be: perception, action, willpower.
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