Book Notes #014 - The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday.

Rating: 4/5 ⭐️ (Good)

“The impediment of action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” - Marcus Aurelius.

Book Review

  • Main Ideas - Good.

  • Stories & Examples - Okay.

  • Engagement - Good.

The Book in 10 Seconds.

“There have been countless lessons (and books) about achieving success, but no one ever taught us how to overcome failure." This book will share with you the collective wisdom on overcoming obstacles from which Cicero called, the only "real philosophers"– the ancient Stoics.

"This book will teach you how to get unstuck, unfucked and unleashed... How to steal good fortune from misfortune." To turn trials into triumphs, failures into lessons and obstacles into opportunities."

Topics: Non-fiction: philosophy, history and personal development.

The Key Takeaways


"Obstacles are not only to be expected but embraced."

We all have unique obstacles but our reactions to those obstacles are the same.

  • Fear.

  • Frustration.

  • Confusion.

  • Depression.

  • Anger.

  • Helplessness.

"We are dissatisfied with our jobs, our relationships, and our place in the world. We're trying to get somewhere, but something stands in our way. So we do nothing."

We blame others and we tell ourselves that we are a failure. We say that our goals are impossible to reach and are not worth pursuing.

We get stuck and the best way to fix this challenge is to change our attitudes. Specifically, our attitude towards our problems.

The stoics were particularly good at this skill, They were able to use obstacles as fuel by turning a bad situation into an opportunity to practice virtues and build character.

"The obstacle in the path becomes the path. Never forget, within every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our condition."


"There is no good or bad without us, there is only perception. There is the event itself and the story we tell ourselves about what it means."

Our perceptions can either make us or break us, they can become a source of strength or a source of weakness. It's not the obstacles that matter, it is the way we choose to see them.

That's what influences how we decide to act or react.

  • Be objective.

  • Control your e