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I’m personally not a big fan how this book is structured: instead of giving a framework the book tries to convey stoicism by telling stories. These stories however seem to be cherry picked to drive the narrative of the book. For example: two stories of Steve Jobs are mentioned who, if you read the biography or saw any documentation about Mr. Jobs, was an excellent entrepreneur/business man but lacked virtue.
Another example is Rubin Carter: the author compresses his story to the point where it seems like he was a „one man army“ and got out of prison by reading books and sheer will power. Reading more into the story, he had massiv support and even Bob Dylan contributed a song for him which brought his case to the national attention.
Additionally, these stories and the explanations of the author introduce conflicting values, for example: in one chapter about being aggressive and push forward, the author states: „But let’s ask an honest question: Could you be doing more? You probably could - there’s always more. At minimum, you could be trying harder“
… which is contradicted later with … „There’s no need to sweat this or feel rushed.“
Finally, there is very little written about failure. There is a small chapter which is called „prepare for none of it to work“ and some sentences about failure are sprinkled across the chapters. The stories does not support failure, because each anecdotal story at the end „wins“ or at least the outcome is „be perseverant and you will reach your goal“. There is even the quote in the book „It’s okay to be discouraged. It’s not okay to quit.“
At the end of the book I had the feeling, that scam companies like Theranos where created with this mindset: it can be done, know you enemies, use their flanks, use their weaknesses, be aggressive, work harder, do the right thing at the right time (which you defined for yourself), don’t accept a no, push through it … and most important: never quit.
If you still reading this review, I would like to recommend you
The Art and Power of Acceptance: Your Guide to Inner Peace
. It has an identical topic (dealing with obstacles in life) but what I like about it: - It gives you a framework - It also work with anecdotal stories, but the stories are there to support and learn the framework - The author offers instructions like breathing exercises to support the framework - For me personally the stories where more relatable and „down to earth“ - The author does not shy away from failure
Guidance on thriving regardless of what's going on. This book is going to be a must give to anyone I know. I like to buy books and give them out when I believe there's an essential message that can make life better for everyone and anyon. This book is one of them. Easy to read. Not preachy. Practical and well written.This book is like an operating system for a human being in the world. It expresses ideas clearly and guides the individual easily to bettering their experience. The world isn't fair. Life can be overwhelming. Living can be a struggle. This book doesn't sugarcoat reality but it offers tools that help navigate reality. Yes there are other books on stoicism, but this book is so easy to read, never boring, and clarifies the message for practical and immediate application for everyone and anyone. Will it change your experience of life? Maybe. Can you change your experience of life? Absolutely.
I just finished reading this book. I will be reading it again and again, I can tell. The message is so positive and beautifully realistic. This book isn't based on that false positivism that doesn't help you deal with life's many tsunamis. I have recommended it to my best friends. It really gives you a sense of resilience, courage and moving forward. My only critical comment is that it would be so much more inspiring for women to read more stories of women living courageous lives too. Hopefully, this book will see future new editions and that point can be balanced out better.
I had a blast going through this book. It’s very easy to read and gets the point across clearly.
Some might say that there isn’t much material here, or the stories that are shared are very high level without going into detail, but what I loved about this book was that it provides a general guideline for building a life framework. With multiple examples given for a few topics, you’ll probably find one that resonates with you, thereby allowing you to incorporate the suggestions into your life a bit more smoothly.
I like Ryan’s writing style and I’m curious to see what else he has in store.
Ryan Holiday is a good writer with a lot of compelling points in this book. I generally enjoyed reading it.
I do think there's a significant mistake made, over and over, which is his tiring usages of poor examples to illustrate points. Some of the people referenced for making the obstacle their way are arguably morally and ethically bad examples, and not people we should admire or emulate wholesale. This isn't considered at all in the book, even when the truth has implications pertaining directly to the book's subject.
Similarly, many logical fallacies occur throughout the book, to such a distracting degree that I had to make the decision to finish the book despite that, and to interpret Ryan's words based on intention rather than actual meaning. There are many points which seem driven by appeals to popularity or seemingly narrative-driven "truths".
Although I appreciate philosophy a lot - especially stoic philosophy - I feel as though Ryan has fallen short here and not really done justice to the philosophy. It feels very digestible and accessible, but perhaps for the wrong reasons.
Despite that, I think the driving message is clear: The obstacle is the way. Maybe his way of explaining why that's true doesn't jive with me, but I believe it's a good message to put out there, and the book is still well written.
-To be very honest with you, I used to have a very scattered mindset.
-I used to be the type of guy who had a million different opinions on subjects. Now, I've traded useless opinions for this mindset. Now I have become an extremely Objective person, by taking this philosophy to heart.
-That is all you need to know. Read the preview. Get it.
Libro stupendo e scritto benissimo. L'autore ha un modo di comunicare mai banale, pur passando il messaggio in modo molto efficace. Ho ritrovato il popolo di scrittori e filosofi greci e latini che animava la mia vita e le mie riflessioni di liceale. I viaggi che si fanno a volte ti portano lontano, per poi farti tornare verso le origini. "The Obstacle is the way" è una guida molto pratica, di grande ispirazione, e veramente motivante ad approfondire il pensiero stoico leggendolo direttamente dagli autori originali. Bellissimo.
If you're too busy to be reading about biographies and books on stoicism, then this will be a delight for you. Ryan Holiday does all the painstaking research with connecting stoicism to different biographies and presenting the information in an extremely practical way. Reading this book, you will come away with so much knowledge on using stoic principles. There is a reason why this book is popular with athletes across different professional league-google The Obstacle Is The Way and Patriots-and you will see that this book will be helpful for whatever your pursuit is.
However, I do recommend you read all the stoic books available to truly understand and integrate the stoic principles in your life. But if you're not interested, then Ryan Holiday's books will be perfect for you.
Check out my YouTube channel @The Philosophical Tyrant
Ryan Holiday provides a framework on how to approach obstacles. Instead of bulldozing our way through an obstacle, he encourages us to think creatively in approaching an obstacle whether by “going sideways, moving backwards or standing still.” You learn about stoicism in plain language and bite-size chapters. One of the first ideas presented in the book is concentrating on things you have control over and worry less about the things you have no control over. If this idea resonates with you, then the rest of the book will resonate with you as well. I found that as I was reading the book, it brought to mind the times that we are currently living in (COVID-19) and how we can personally overcome obstacles. I loved the ideas that were presented in “The Obstacle Is the Way” and after reading the book, I’ve concluded that I must be a Stoic at heart. I highly recommend this book!