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The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph Hardcover – May 1, 2014
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“The book on stoicism that’s taking the NFL by storm.”
“Follow these precepts and you will revolutionize your life. Read this book!”
—Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art and Gates of Fire
“A book for the bedside of every future—and current—leader in the world.”
—Robert Greene, author of The 48 Laws of Power and Mastery
“An absolute must-read.”
—Jimmy Soni, managing editor of Huffington Post, author of Rome’s Last Citizen
“First came Marcus Aurelius, then Frederick the Great . . . and now there’s you. This surprising book shows you how to craft a life of wonder by embracing obstacles and challenges.”
—Chris Guillebeau, author of The $100 Startup
"A very, very good book with lots of examples about people who had to overcome great obstacles to have success."
—Nick Saban, head football coach at the University of Alabama
“In this tight, engaging book, Ryan Holiday shines a bright, powerful light on the path to living and leading well. Read it, learn from it, and get cracking!”
—Nancy F. Koehn, historian and leadership expert, Harvard Business School
“My life has been beset with obstacles. It takes practice (and pain) to surmount them and achieve success. Ryan’s book is a how-to guide for just that.”
—James Altucher, investor and author of Choose Yourself
“Ryan Holiday has written a brilliant and engaging book, well beyond his years. . . . It is invaluable.”
—Honorable Frederic Block, Judge, U.S. District Court
“Even though I was familiar with the basis for this book — the ancient philosophy of stoicism: overcoming obstacles through the practice of wisdom, courage, self-control, and mindfulness — it felt like a revelation when I read it.”
—Allison K. Hill, Los Angeles Daily News
About the Author
RYAN HOLIDAY is a bestselling author and media strategist. After dropping out of college at nineteen to apprentice under Robert Greene, author of The 48 Laws of Power, he went on to advise many bestselling authors and multiplatinum musicians. He served as director of marketing at American Apparel for many years, where his campaigns have been used as case studies by Twitter, YouTube, and Google and written about in Ad Age, the New York Times, and Fast Company.
His first book, Trust Me I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator—which the Financial Times called an “astonishing, disturbing book”—was a debut bestseller and is now taught in colleges around the world. He is also the author of Growth Hacker Marketing, Ego is the Enemy and The Daily Stoic. He lives in Austin, Texas, and writes for Thought Catalog and the New York Observer.
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We might not be emperors, but the world is still constantly testing us. It asks: Are you worthy? Can you get past the things that inevitably fall in your way? Will you stand up and show us what you're made of?
Plenty of people have answered this question in the affirmative. And a rarer breed still has shown that they not only have what it takes, but they thrive and rally at every such challenge. That the challenge makes them better than if they'd never faced the adversity at all.
Now it's your turn to see if you're one of them, if you'll join their company.
This book shows you the way." ~ Ryan Holiday from The Obstacle Is the Way
Learning to turn our biggest challenges into our biggest opportunities is what this book is all about--"The timeless art of turning trials into triumph."
Marcus Aurelius tells: "The impediment to action advances the action. What stands in the way becomes the way." In short, the obstacle is the way.
Ryan Holiday is a brilliant writer (and guy) and this book is a *really* smart, lucid, compelling, inspiring manual on the art of living invincibly.
Ryan masterfully integrates ancient Stoic wisdom from Marcus Aurelius + Seneca + Epictetus and brings that wisdom to life via inspiring stories featuring everyone from John D. Rockefeller, Ulysses S. Grant and Theodore Roosevelt to Amelia Earhart and Steve Jobs.
My book is all marked up and peppered with "wow"s and "YES!"s. If you're enjoying this Note, I think you'll really dig it.
The book has three parts: Perception + Action + Will.
Some Big Ideas from this book:
1. Perception - Key #1: Think clearly.
2. Action - Key #2: Act correctly.
3. Will - Key #3: Accept + endure reality.
4. Panic Button - Don't hit it.
5. Post-Traumatic Growth - Is much better than PTSD.
To find 250+ more reviews visit http://bit.ly/BrianReviews
After the first half of the book, however, the author seems to devolve from it's main premise of embracing obstacles and turning them into triumph and happiness, to one of dealing with failure. I found this odd, because failure pretty much assumes you didn't apply the strategies for embracing and overcoming obstacles in the first place.
"Failure" and "obstacles" are not the same thing. Failure is an end result of not dealing properly with obstacles. So I was surprised the author didn't use the second half of the book to give example after example (even if they were hypothetical) of taking an obstacle, looking at it correctly, and using it to further one's goals. He instead chose to discuss dealing with failure, once again using examples from history, but this time, examples that I've read a hundred times in countless other "self-help" books.
For me, that's the book's only failing. Once the author laid the groundwork for the idea of embracing obstacles and using them to triumph over the vagaries of life and to achieve one's goals as well, he should have given lots of specific "how to" examples. The historical examples of people embracing the obstacles in front of them and triumphing over them were simply not enough, because there was not enough "how to" detail in them. It's one thing to instruct people to do something (i.e., "Go tackle that obstacle."), or to tell them other people have done the same thing (i.e., tackled seemingly insurmountable obstacles and turned them into success). But it's quite another thing altogether to help readers understand the "how to" (both mindset, and physical steps) behind successfully tackling obstacles and even using them to change the course of your life.
The end of the book discusses Stoicism and the Stoic writers and philosophers, which was extremely interesting to me, particularly in relation to the subject of the book. And to the author's credit, he provides a multitude of resources for those who want to look further into the ideas behind Stoicism, i.e., basically accepting the cards you're dealt and practicing virtues that allow you to triumph in spite of (and indeed, BECAUSE of) the obstacles in your path.
Overall, it's one of the better Kindle "self help" books I've read. I only wish the author would have eliminated the section on dealing with failure (already the subject of countless other books) and instead used that same space to better demonstrate the "how to" behind using the obstacles that confront you in life as keys to achieving success and even happiness. Would I recommend the book to others? Absolutely. Does it have a few shortcomings? Yes. And I'd hope the author will come out with a follow-up book to correct that slight deficiency.