The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph
‘Our perceptions can be a source of strength or of great weakness.’ @RyanHoliday
Ryan Holiday born on June 16, 1987. He is an American author, marketer, and entrepreneur. Ryan is a media strategist, the Director of Marketing for American Apparel and a media columnist and editor.
The Holiday began his professional career after dropping out of college at the age of 19. Ryan attended University of California, Riverside, there he learned political science and creative writing. He worked with Tucker Max, who is one of the controversial fratire authors.
Holiday served as Director of Marketing for American Apparel and as an adviser to founder Dov Charney. In 2014 he left the company. He has been culpable for a number of media controversies and wrote extensively on the topics like media manipulation.
His first book, Trust Me I’m Lying—which the Financial Times called an “astonishing, disturbing book”—was the bestseller and is taught in colleges around the world. Ryan has also written Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer of The Future of PR, Marketing, & Advertising and It is now being published in 16 different languages.
The Obstacle Is the Way
The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph is the third book by author Ryan Holiday and was published in 2014.
The Obstacle Is The Way revolves around three disciplines:
Every section uses historical anecdotes and figures from politics, commerce, sports, and history including Theodore Roosevelt, Demosthenes, John D Rockefeller, Amelia Earhart, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Ulysses S. Grant, Barack Obama, Steve Jobs, among others.
It is basically based on the Roman philosophy of Stoicism. We all can get benefits from the Stoic emphasis on pragmatic decision-making, flexibility in the face of conditions which are changing, and looking the world as it really is. Business people at any level will find Obstacle helpful.
Philosophy does not promise to secure anything external for man, otherwise it would be admitting something that lies beyond its proper subject-matter. For as the material of the carpenter is wood, and that of statuary bronze, so the subject-matter of the art of living is each person’s own life.
— Epictetus, Discourses 1.15.2, Robin Hard revised translation
What Stoicism Isn’t
In popular English usage, “stoic” has taken on the meaning of being without emotion, or even passive. Holiday explains that while the Stoic philosophy does indeed discourage pointless displays of potentially distracting emotion, it is, in fact, action and results-oriented. Rather than passively enduring suffering, a true Stoic evaluates the situation in a realistic and pragmatic way, then attempts to solve the problem.
When faced with an obstacle, many people might quit, or spend energy complaining about it. Leaders and innovators find a way around, over, or through the obstacle, often achieving greater success than they would have otherwise.
Sometimes obstacles can be made to defeat themselves. In his quest to change India, Gandhi had no power and the ruling hierarchy had immense power. So, he deliberately violated a minor law prohibiting collecting salt from the sea, knowing that an attempt to bring the might of the state down on him to enforce that law would make the rulers look ridiculous.
The Obstacle Is The Way is an inspiring read for anyone faced with adversity – and who isn’t?
Most of us aren’t faced with the kind of obstacles faced by Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, or George Patton. But, reading their stories puts our everyday challenges in perspective and makes them seem surmountable.
If Perception and Action were the disciplines of the mind and the body, then Will is the discipline of the heart and the soul.
What Stoicism Is
The ancient Greek philosophy of enduring pain or adversity with perseverance and resilience. Stoics emphasis on the things that they can control and lets go of everything else, and turn every new obstacle into an opportunity to be better, stronger, wider. As Marcus Aurelius put it nearly 2000 years ago: “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”
Ryan Holiday shows us how some of the most successful people in history have enforced stoicism to overcome difficult or even impossible situations. Their embrace of these principles ultimately mattered more than their natural intelligence, talents, or luck.
If you’re feeling frustrated, demoralized, or stuck in a rut, this book can help you turn your problems into your vast advantages. And along the way, this will inspire you with dozens of true stories of the greats from every age and era.
Its 100,000 copies has been sold since its release and been translated into 17 languages.
What makes this relatively short book so engaging is that it is packed with stories. Every brief chapter focuses on a principle, usually explained with at least one example of a leader who employed that principle to overcome adversity.
The Obstacle is the Way has become a cult classic, which is loved by men and women all around the world who apply its wisdom to become more successful at whatever they do.
We are stuck, stymied, frustrated. 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 conditions, they found the astounding triumphs we all seek.
These men and women were not exceptionally brilliant, favored, or gifted. Their achievements 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. If you spend a few hours with The Obstacle is The Way, you may save years of future problems.
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