Blog 2019 05 30 The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday

The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday

The Obstacle Is The Way is the third book of Ryan Holiday and maybe the one with the biggest impact so far: a stoic life guide.

Its title is so evident. I found it an entertaining book to read, but it might be enough to go back to a quiet corner of your room and think about what its title means.

If we encounter problems in your life (and we all do) there is no point in complaining about them. It makes no sense to cry over our issues. We have to accept them and find a way to turn those issues around. Our obstacles show you the way.

This previous paragraph is nothing more than just a vague philosophy, but the book itself is a bit longer than 200 pages, organized into three parts. It provides practical examples of how to think about adversities that happen to us.

In coding, so often we consider only the happy path and forget about the unhappy one. It’s quite the same in life. Ryan Holiday - offering stoic virtues - tries to help with the unhappy path.

The book is organized around three pillars: perception, action and will. Although one cannot neglect the other two, I think the first pillar hides the key to success.


“There is no good or bad to the practising Stoic. There is only perception.” That is something in your control. It depends on your emotional reactions about how you perceive things. Are you devastated or do you see an opportunity? Are you outraged or you just let it go? Is it up to you or you have nothing to do with it?

Any of these can be a burning question and the answers can show where you will end up in your life. If you can control your perception and emotions, you did more than half of the job. The road will appear and even if it’s bumpy, you just have to push through it.

The first part will help you give the right answers and the next two will give you the means to follow on the uncovered path and the strength to start it over if in any case, the path happens to be a dead end.

The Obstacle Is The Way is a great read for those who look for a practical life guide, for those who want to learn about stoicism, but in a practical, not too lengthy way. I think I’ll reread it more than once.

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