2 min read

The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday

A book review by Brad Revell of the book “The Obstacle is the Way” authored by Ryan Holiday. This book on stoicism rates a 9/10 based off Brad’s review.
The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday

My Rating of “The Obstacle is the Way” by Ryan Holiday: 9 / 10

Ryan Holiday continues to churn out books centred around Stoicism. In this particular book one of the key tenants is that stoics realise that we will always encounter obstacles. Obstacles are part of life and therefore what stands in our way must become the way.

The book is broken down into three areas: Perception, Action and Will. Holiday structures the book nicely with smaller chapters that revolve around each key themes. Each chapter typically refers to a stoic example and story along with the lesson on how we can take heed within our own lives. It was nice to reflect on my journey as a person and where I can perhaps focus a little more when it comes to stoicism.

My life over the past two years has been extremely challenging; this is the same for many others. I have been reflecting a lot when reading this book. I’ve thought about many of the emotional, mental and physical obstacles that have been in my way. For example:

  • I’m writing this in another country waiting to see a family member who has had a significant health obstacle. Due to COVID-19 I cannot get into my home town due to quarantine restrictions and waiting for the border to open.
  • I’ve also had multiple niggling injuries of late that have impeded my success in the gym. I’ve had injuries all my life - it is a part of my life and I just need to adjust and continue to move forward
  • I’m also now working remotely which adds some mental stress. Yet I have all the technology and flexibility from my organisation to do what needs to be done.

As you can read, I’m reframing the perception of these issues so that the obstacle becomes the way forward. It is a different way of focusing because my parents aren’t getting any older, COVID-19 is not going away in the short-term and my injuries will come and go for the rest of my life. I’ve developed the will to keep going and know the action will drive me forward.

Three key takeaways from the book:

  1. The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.
  2. There is no bad or good without us, there is only perception. There is the event itself and the story we tell ourselves about what it means.
  3. Stay moving, always.