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.

The Author has divided Obstacles into Perception, Action, and Will. He has explained each with engaging and inspiring anecdotes. It’s a must-read, especially if one has much to handle and needs a 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. His other book, Ego is the Enemy, Stillness is the Key. Through his writing and lectures, Ryan promotes stoicism and a way of life through stoic philosophy. The Stoic philosophy was founded in the early 3rd century B.C.

About the Book

The book is about seeing an Obstacle in its proper proportion and using it as an opportunity to learn and grow from it rather than getting stuck in it. I have explained this process in three parts: Perception, Action, and Will.

Synopsis From All Three Sections


  • Accepting that there will always be Obstacles in our Way to Success or 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, yet we have complete control over how we interpret what happens around us and how we let it affect us. We decide what story to tell ourselves. Or whether we will tell one at all.
  • We must learn to keep our nerves and emotions in check to think well before responding instead of reacting. In our response is our power.
  • A good question to ponder when faced with a challenge and feeling bad about it is, “Does getting upset provide me with more options?”
  • There are a few more things that the Author suggests when faced with obstacles: practicing objectivity, altering our perspective, finding the opportunity in adversity, and preparing 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 actions guided by a clear head lead us to solutions. The Author suggests we must work 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 getting moving, practicing Persistence, seeing failure as a feature, doing what is right, channeling our energy well, and preparing for no action to work.
  • One Line: “The process is order; it keeps our perceptions in check and our actions 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 in a situation or suffer heavy financial and emotional loss, and whether we endure through such time depends on our willpower. This also needs to be developed so that we can look at such situations as learning humbling experiences and keep us sane. As they say, “This too shall pass.”
  • Many good examples are given in the book, giving one hope that he, too, can survive and overcome whatever is happening.
  • One Line: “Persistence is an action. Perseverance is a matter 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 a video of a few quotes from the book – I hope you like it. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel – Myread4change.


The book is full of real-life advice with so many stories to look up to. You will undoubtedly come out with a 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 benefit from it.

I hope these insights help you in some way. Do share your feedback/suggestions in the comments; if you have any questions, I will gladly respond.

May you turn all your Obstacles into opportunities.


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