Review: Holiday’s The Obstacle Is the Way

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

Ryan Holiday

When I first heard of Ryan Holiday, and his mini-stoicism inspired empire, I figured he was probably an asshole. It was all a bit too Silicon Valley bro-y for me (and I’m someone with a deep interest in stoicism and ancient though in general). But then I heard some interview with him, and was struck by his thoughtfulness and poise, and I began to change my mind. He has something to say.

This book is, at heart, a self-help book. But you know what else is a self-help book? Aurelius’s meditations. This isn’t as poetic as the Mediations, or as brilliant, but it’s still a thoughtful short read on the benefits of viewing the world through the lens of stoic philosophy. Meaning, through a lens, not of avoiding pain, or of silencing our emotions, but of valuing perseverance, and of focusing on that which we can control.

I don’t know that I learned much that was new from this book, but I did appreciate the reminder, and take inspiration from Holidays clear examples and advice on how to live a life of perseverance and reflection.

Recommended for the enthusiast.

Ryan Holiday

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