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The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph | [Ryan Holiday]

The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph

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.
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Publisher's Summary

"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.

©2014 Ryan Holiday (P)2014 Tim Ferriss

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (1126 )
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4.2 (984 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Jason DeFillippo 05-08-14
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    "Great book I wish I had 25 years ago"

    This is an amazing book that sums up a lot of Stoicism with relatable stories and useful information. It's very akin to Robert Greene's books which makes sense since Ryan interned for him for a time. All of the stories are fantastic and the tips are all actionable and usable in everyday life while being entertaining to boot.

    I generally hate author reads and this is not great but also not too bad. I listened at 1.25x which tightens up the performance without losing too much in the way of inflections.

    A very annoying part of this audiobook though is that an hour and a half is an episode of the Tim Ferriss podcast that you can get on iTunes. That makes the book come in at roughly 4.5 hours if you don't want to listen to or have already heard that interview. I just wish that was in the description of the book.

    54 of 55 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patrick 10-25-14
    Patrick 10-25-14
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    "We have become soft and weak minded"
    What did you love best about The Obstacle Is the Way?

    The author, Ryan Holiday, surmises that many people give up too easy when faced with obstacles. With the emergence of technology and other advancements we have become soft and lazy. Many of the things we use to make our lives better have made us weak. We have lost our way and a lot of us are unable to generate fortitude to achieve our goals. According to Holiday,. "Great times are great softeners. Abundance can be its own obstacle." We have become easily stopped in the face of conflict and are becoming more unhappy.

    Holiday puts forth an approach for a generation that has too much and is stuck. It's more of an approach that gives the reader a new perspective for thriving amid chaos and dealing with everyday challenges. Holiday does not propose a recipe, a prescription or list of things to do. It's much more than that. It's more of an inquiry. Holiday invites the reader to reflect on the obstacles that are holding us back, making us unhappy and unfulfilled as humans. Holiday challenges us to reflect on how we discern our current set of problems. As we do so, we are able to understand the truth of our situation and separate out our our false preconceptions. As this occurs, we are able to see our obstacles with new eyes. We are able to change our relationship to our challenges and relate to them powerfully and viewing them as opportunities.

    Throughout the text the Holiday does a great job of sharing the collective wisdom of some of our greatest thinkers. It is not a treatise on their work. As Holiday introduces a distinction of a legendary philosopher, he also cites a real life case study of an individual who transformed their situation. Who changed their relationship to their situation and transformed it. He uses incidents of current day people as well as historical figures.

    I also purchased the hard copy of this book. It is on my desk and will serve as reference book. I also plan to give it as a holiday gift to my family, friends and co-workers.


    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DJ Hill 09-29-14
    DJ Hill 09-29-14 Member Since 2014
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    "good book but i could hardly stand to listen to it"
    Where does The Obstacle Is the Way rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    i like the short chapters, makes it easy to listen to a short bit on your way to work. Plus, i could never listen for long (see below)


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Here is an idea: if you have a raging sinus infection, or just a clogged nose that will not allow you to speak normally, and you are supposed to narrate a book that day, CALL IN SICK! Don't make your poor listener suffer through your disgusting snotty nose - all I wanted to do was give this guy a tissue. Nasty!


    31 of 33 people found this review helpful
  •  
    André ORLANDO, FL, United States 06-26-14
    André ORLANDO, FL, United States 06-26-14 Member Since 2011

    I love AUDIBLE! I never get mad at traffic jams and can listen to many different books, despite of my short time.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A good listen"

    Some minutes within the story I thought I was reading a Robert Greene's book, because there were many great characters from the past, with the same paced rhythm. In the end Ryan Holiday explains that Robert Greene is his mentor and it all made sense.
    Overall, it is a good book. I don't think it is practical one, but the author says it is.
    I didn't give it a five star because the last hour and a half it is a podcast between the author and Tim Ferris, the author of 4 hour workweek.
    I am eager to listen to Ryan Holiday next book.

    14 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    powerreviews 05-31-14
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    "A Great Package"
    Any additional comments?

    The Obstacle Is the Way was my introduction to Ryan Holiday. It's a wonderful primer on stoicism, as practiced by an impressive array of individuals prominent in various historical eras. This may seem an odd source for motivation, but I found myself plowing through the material practically without stopping. It is fresh and encouraging. Ryan's writing is approachable and succinct, and makes for easy listening. I enjoyed his narration, since I'm always partial to hearing the author's presentation rather than that of a narrator. Some might consider his performance to be somewhat dispassionate. I don't know. It works for me. The bonus material at the end of the book is valuable as well. Hang on and listen to the interview with Ryan for some great insights.

    13 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mari 01-15-15
    Mari 01-15-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Save your credit"
    What disappointed you about The Obstacle Is the Way?

    It's flimsy. I found myself wondering how long it would be if you took out the words, "The Obstacle Is the Way," which were repeated like a chorus in between loose anecdotes. Not my favorite.

    Also, that was a nasty cold he had for the first two hours.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David 10-28-14
    David 10-28-14
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    "I tried to like this book, but was disappointed"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    No. This audiobook was a disappointment. I purchased this due to Tim Ferriss's recommendation, but I got very little out of it. Lots of platitude, not much "meat". It's a book that pulls from other written sources, but draws little from relatable real-life experience.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The least interesting were the anecdotes and quotes from Marcus Aurelius -- I felt these were used as "ancient sources of wisdom", and seemed like a crutch.


    How could the performance have been better?

    The narrator had a cold for a good part of the book, which seemed very unprofessional. I'd encourage the publisher to re-record these parts.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 10-23-14 Member Since 2012
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    "This book will change the way you think"
    Where does The Obstacle Is the Way rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I have read the kindle version and listened to the Audible version several times. The ideas are timeless and empowering. I find myself recalling the book throughout the day. I have also found myself trying to relay the lessons and concepts to my own daughters.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Marcus Aurelius


    What’s an idea from the book that you will remember?

    Focusing exclusively on what is in our control magnifies our power. Every ounce of energy directed at things we can’t actually influence is wasted, self-indulgent & self-destructive.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alessandro Fadini New York, USA 07-22-14
    Alessandro Fadini New York, USA 07-22-14 Member Since 2013
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    "A mountain of stereotypes without a thread"
    What disappointed you about The Obstacle Is the Way?

    In the preface, the author steals 30 minutes of your time to tell you what the book IS NOT.
    According to him, the book is not just a collection of quotes and old sayings and stereotypes.
    In fact, you will discover that you wasted your time twice because that is exactly what the book is, a salad of random quotes served with a dressing with a hint of badly regurgitated concepts from stoic philosophy. Do not worry: if you do not know what stoicism is, the author will not explain it, but rather give you a few pseudo-stoic quotes - or non quotes from celebrities than in the mind of the writer represent stoic philosophy.

    Horrible!
    It's the first audible book that I regret.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Ryan Holiday again?

    No.


    What didn’t you like about Ryan Holiday’s performance?

    I am not picky with voices, but he seems to have recorded this with a stuffy nose or a cold of some sort


    What character would you cut from The Obstacle Is the Way?

    The author.


    39 of 48 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dave Palmdale CA 10-14-14
    Dave Palmdale CA 10-14-14

    Always loved reading books. Now listening to more and more audio books as I can do it in the car, or on my phone. Really loving them.

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    "Good book, not my favorite narrator"
    If you could sum up The Obstacle Is the Way in three words, what would they be?

    Decent content, difficult to listen to.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Obstacle Is the Way?

    Some parts were fine, but too much of the time the narration took away from the message. Sounds like he has a cold, and not enough emotion in his voice, relatively flat read. Should have hired a pro narrator.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Ryan Holiday’s performances?

    Not likely, unless there's a different narrator.


    What’s an idea from the book that you will remember?

    Relatable stories with real people and situations.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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  • D. Berry
    York, UK
    6/11/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A good read, but slightly not what I was expecting"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    No, I think once you get toward the end of the book the theme gets a little repetitive and there is no need to complete it.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    If the philosophy was rooted with some actual philosophy this would have made the theory more enjoyable


    Which character – as performed by Ryan Holiday – was your favourite?

    Not applicable


    Was The Obstacle Is the Way worth the listening time?

    In my opinion no, I would have preferred something based on more evidence.


    Any additional comments?

    The book was delivered brilliantly, Ryan was a great performer. Unfortunately in my opinion the book didn't reach my expectations - I believe toward the end the book was entirely repeating the same material and wasted some of my time.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Miller
    Dublin
    12/24/14
    Overall
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    "highly enjoyable"

    highly enjoyable. I'm driving and have to put in at least twenty words. new line have to add more words.

    3 of 19 people found this review helpful

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