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The Obstacle Is the Way

The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph

by Ryan Holiday

"The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way." (Marcus Aurelius)

We are stuck, stymied, frustrated. But it needn't be this way. There is a formula for success that's been followed by the icons of history - from John D. Rockefeller to Amelia Earhart to Ulysses S. Grant to Steve Jobs - a formula that let them turn obstacles into opportunities. Faced with impossible situations, they found the astounding triumphs we all seek.

These men and women were not exceptionally brilliant, lucky, or gifted. Their success came from timeless philosophical principles laid down by a Roman emperor who struggled to articulate a method for excellence in any and all situations.

This book reveals that formula for the first time - and shows us how we can turn our own adversity into advantage.

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Recommendations: 3

Categories: Business & CareersPhilosophy

Reading time: 34 hours


Rana el Kaliouby
CEO & Co-Founder of Affectiva

I’ve recently been gifting — I must have given this book to at least three or four people because I recently read it — The Obstacle is the Way. This idea that we all run into obstacles and we have a choice, we can just call it the end of the road or we just find a way to work through it or around it or on top of it or whatever. That’s just like really resonating with me right now. I’ve been gifting the book, even though I think the book’s a few years old now.

Christopher Sommer
Gymnastics Coach

One I’m enjoying right now, and I’m just getting into it, is The Obstacle is the Way.

George Raveling
Sports Marketing Director

The books that I’ve given away the most lately are Ryan [Holiday]’s two books, Obstacles and Ego is the Enemy. I give Ryan’s books away a lot. One thing that I like about Ryan’s book is it’s easier to carry because it’s smaller. I can get a little bag, and I can put 12 of them in there.