The Obstacle Is the Way

  • by Ryan Holiday
  • Narrated by Ryan Holiday
  • 6 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

"The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way." (Marcus Aurelius)
We are stuck, stymied, frustrated. But it needn't be this way. There is a formula for success that's been followed by the icons of history - from John D. Rockefeller to Amelia Earhart to Ulysses S. Grant to Steve Jobs - a formula that let them turn obstacles into opportunities. Faced with impossible situations, they found the astounding triumphs we all seek.
These men and women were not exceptionally brilliant, lucky, or gifted. Their success came from timeless philosophical principles laid down by a Roman emperor who struggled to articulate a method for excellence in any and all situations.
This book reveals that formula for the first time - and shows us how we can turn our own adversity into advantage.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Great book I wish I had 25 years ago

This is an amazing book that sums up a lot of Stoicism with relatable stories and useful information. It's very akin to Robert Greene's books which makes sense since Ryan interned for him for a time. All of the stories are fantastic and the tips are all actionable and usable in everyday life while being entertaining to boot.

I generally hate author reads and this is not great but also not too bad. I listened at 1.25x which tightens up the performance without losing too much in the way of inflections.

A very annoying part of this audiobook though is that an hour and a half is an episode of the Tim Ferriss podcast that you can get on iTunes. That makes the book come in at roughly 4.5 hours if you don't want to listen to or have already heard that interview. I just wish that was in the description of the book.
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- Jason DeFillippo

Spectacular "Operating System" for Your Life

Would you consider the audio edition of The Obstacle Is the Way to be better than the print version?

I prefer audio versions of the books for the most part, because I love listening to them in the Jeep and using the time to learn. However, the material in this book is so good, I had to go out and get the print version, as well--because I found myself constantly saying, "Ooh, that's a great thought...I need to write that down," while I was driving!


What other book might you compare The Obstacle Is the Way to and why?

Seneca's Letters from a Stoic...Stoic philosophy, pretty straight forward.
Marcus Aurelius' Meditations...ditto.
James Altucher Choose Yourself...Both give great, concrete ways to make your life better by changing your thinking.


What about Ryan Holiday’s performance did you like?

I love Ryan, and this book is fantastic--but I didn't give five stars because the reading was a bit dry. I really enjoy the author's reading their own works, but more inflection, varied timing and such would be appreciated. Still, I loved it.


What’s an idea from the book that you will remember?

Wow. Where do I begin? I'll start with one of the principles at the end--looking death in its face and realizing that we are mortal, and using that knowledge to light a fire under us to do something great in this life.


Any additional comments?

If you're reading this review, and you haven't gotten this book--do it. It's a great way of thinking, and it's one of the "quake moment" books that can truly have a great effect on you.

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- Chip Franks

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-06-2014
  • Publisher: Tim Ferriss