Book Review: The Obstacle Is The Way

The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday

Overall Rating: 7.8/10

This book was short, barely over 200 pages. Although brevity does not inherently equate to a good read, many amazing books are long, the author was not unnecessarily repetitive and provided a good sprinkling of examples as well.

The basic premise of the book is around the philosophy/mindset of ancient leaders known as objectivism.

In 170 AD Marcus Aurelius wrote a formula for thriving not just in spite of whatever happens but because of it: “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”

Failure shows us the way by showing us what isn’t the way.

The author states that many of us lack a method and framework to understand and appreciate obstacles in our life.

The method he provides when facing obstacles is to:
Be objective
Control emotions – be even keel
See good
Steady nerves
Ignore what disturbs or limits others
Place things in perspective
Focus on what can be controlled

Later in the book he further summarizes this method down to 1) See 2) Act correctly 3) Endure & accept the world as it is.

Focusing exclusively on what is in your power magnifies and enhances it.

He made a good distinction between approaching obstacles with a “This is not so bad” mindset, which I’ve used before to ignoring vital red flags, versus a “I can make this good” mindset.

His point about perspective was also eye opening. You can read what I wrote about it previously.

“Bad companies are destroyed in crisis. Good companies survive them. Great companies are improved by them.”

– Andy Grover, former CEO of Intel.

Trapped is a position, not a fate.

To take advantage of opportunities in your life is something anyone can do, and yet still fall short of greatness. A differentiator is to learn how to press forward when everyone else sees disaster.

The obstacle is the way.

Photo by Nadine Shaabana on Unsplash.

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