The obstacle is the way

Ryan Holiday

The obstacle is the way



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We all find ourselves faced with obstacles of all kinds every day, but whatever happens to us, we always have a choice: to be blocked by the obstacle or to overcome it. With a simple change of attitude - rooted in Stoic philosophy - what seem like insurmountable obstacles, can become huge opportunities. This is how, over the centuries, the greatest leaders in history have overcome their difficulties, starting with the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius. Their success comes from a formula-based approach that turns obstacles into benefits: this book shows us how we, too, can apply it to our everyday lives. 

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Analysis and key concepts


Marcus Aurelius and stoic thinking: transforming adversity into advantage through perception, action and will


Seeing things objectively and controlling our emotions to apply discipline to our perception


Bold, creative, and persistent: the characteristics of effective action


Willpower, or what we have control over even when we lose everything else




Take-home message

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Many useful tips to:

  • Learn to transform obstacles into opportunity.
  • Take an objective view of the things that happen to us.
  • Be more focussed on the present moment.
  • React more boldly and creatively.
  • Learn from failure.

Ryan Holiday is a highly sought-after speaker and strategist and, author of bestsellers such as The Obstacle Is the Way, Ego Is the Enemy, Conspiracy, Trust me, I am Lying and other books about marketing, culture and the human condition. His works have been translated into more than thirty languages and have appeared all over, from the New York Times to Fast Company. Holiday is one of the main thinkers and writers of ancient philosophy and how to apply it in everyday life. He lives in Austin, Texas with his family.

Publishing house:

Profile Books