The Obstacle Is The Way Book Review I Ryan Holiday

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Book – The Obstacle is the Way (Review)

Author – Ryan Holiday

Genre – Self – Help

Published – 2014

The Obstacle Is the Way written by Ryan Holiday is of ruthless pragmatism and stories that illustrate relentless persistence.

Author has divided Obstacle in three parts – Perception, Action, and Will. He has explained each with engaging and inspiring anecdotes. It’s a must read specially if one is feeling he/she has a lot in a plate to deal with and needs different perspective.

About the Author

Ryan Holiday photo

Ryan holiday is an American marketer and Author. He is best known for his book The Obstacle is the way among his others book Ego is the enemy, Stillness is the key. Ryan through his writing and lectures promotes stoicism and way to life through stoic philosophy. The Stoic philosophy was founded in early 3rd century B.C.

About the Book

The book is about seeing at obstacle in its right proportion and using it as an opportunity to learn and grow from it rather than getting stuck in it. Explained this process in three parts Perception, Action, and Will.

Synopsis From All Three Sections


  • Accepting the fact that there will always be obstacle in our way to success or in daily life as quoted by Stoic Philosopher – Seneca. “Not to give in to adversity, not to trust prosperity, and always take full note of fortune’s habit of behaving just as she pleases.”
  • We may not control outside circumstances and yet we have full control how we interpret what happened around us and how we let it affect us. We decide what story to tell ourselves. Or whether we will tell one at all.
  • It is important that we learn to keep our nerves and emotions in check in order to think well before responding instead of reacting. In our response is our power.
  • Good question to ponder over when faced with challenge and feeling bad about it is “Does getting upset provide me with more options?”
  • Few more things that author suggest considering when faced with obstacle is practicing objectivity, altering our perspective, finding the opportunity in adversity, and then prepare to act.
  • Best Quote on Perception – “In life our first job is this, to divide and distinguish things into two categories: externals I cannot control, but the choices I make regarding them I do control. Where will I find good and bad? In me, in my choices.”- EPICTETUS


  • Acting on ideas to solve any problem is the start and our action which are guided by clear head leads us to solutions. As, Author suggests that we must be sure to act with deliberation, boldness and persistence. Action is the solution and the cure to our predicaments.
  • Action is explained well with many inspiring stories and practical advice like get moving, practicing persistence, seeing failure as feature, doing what is right, channeling our energy well and prepare for none of action to work.
  • One Line “The process is order; it keeps our perceptions in check and our action in sync.”
  • One quote “Persist and resist.” Persist in your efforts. Resist giving in to distraction, discouragement, or disorder.- EPICTETUS


  • Despite doing our best at times we still stay stuck for a time being in a situation or suffer heavy financial, emotional loss and whether we endure through such time depends on our will power. This also needs to be developed so that we can look at such situation as learning, humbling experience and keep us sane. As they say, “This too shall pass.”
  • Many good examples are given in the book, which gives one hope that he too can survive and overcome whatever is going on.
  • One Line “Persistence is an action. Perseverance is a mater of will. One is energy. The other, endurance.”
  • One Quote “We don’t control the barriers or the people who put them there. Bu we control ourselves- and that is sufficient.” in the book sums up Will well.

I have also created video of few quotes from the book – Hope you like it. Please do subscribe to my You tube channel – Myread4change


Book is full of real-life advice with so many stories to look up to. You will certainly come out with different/better perspective, able to act and stay much longer in the game than you ever thought. I highly recommend this book and am sure you will be benefited from it.

You may get free e-book copy here.

Hope these insights help you in some way. Do share your feedback/suggestions in comment or if you have any questions and I will gladly respond to them.

May you turn all your obstacle in to opportunity.


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