• The Obstacle Is the Way

  • The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph
  • By: Ryan Holiday
  • Narrated by: Ryan Holiday
  • Length: 6 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 06-05-14
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Tim Ferriss
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (839 ratings)

Regular price: £18.79

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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.

©2014 Ryan Holiday (P)2014 Tim Ferriss

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic read

Ryan Holiday's work is so humbling. You can listen to this over and over again the book has infinite potential.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Stop complaining and get on with it!

Would you listen to The Obstacle Is the Way again? Why?

This is great book. Although as others have said narrators should take a day off if they have a cold. I have listened to it 4 or 5 times.

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

In a nutshell this book reminded me of a cross between Mastery by Robert Green and a modern version of Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I always enjoy listening to books that have mini biographies of people turning their situations around. Its always reassuring to know that other peoples lives don’t always go to plan as well. People who have had significantly worse days than mine have stuck with it and got through to the other side – often with fame and fortune for their trouble.

Any additional comments?

I found nothing new in the book but I find that I often need reminding that it’s not that bad and I should just get on with it.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

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see a problem as a blessing

a must read, if you are not familiar with stoicism then read this and if you are then in the intent to emphasise; read this. the book basically preaches that bad things are going to happen, accept it, see it as an opportunity to grow and a lesson to learn from because nothing that happens to you is more than you can bare.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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A Gentle Introduction to Modern Stoicism

I think it is one very good book, bringing the ancient stoic thinking to the modern day in a very entertaining manner. Easy to read or listen, and if doing the latter one, I encourage to listen to the interview with Tim Ferris by the end. In the beginning I saw it as a cheap way to add an hour of content to the book, but the interview serves as a nice summary and way of introduction to the author, with multiple golden nuggets hidden in the casual conversation.

All and all, a book I will keep for its simplicity and usefulness in the cultivation of the self.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Inspiring

A great introduction to some great thinkers and ways of thinking when life gets you in a pinch; and everyday situations for those those aspiring to success and the everyman alike.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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insightful, inspiring well written/read by author

Loved this.
Listening for second time so far.
Would thoroughly recommend.
Have bought recommended reading now too.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Brilliant!

This book will change the way you approach your life. Mandatory reading for all humans.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Good but repetitive

A good message but written in a way that's a bit repetitive. Much of the argument for this philosophy seems to be pure assertion.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Incredible

This book really was right place in the right time for me. It has really peaked my interest in stoicism

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • m
  • 18-05-17

If the obstacle is blocking your way....

and you can get see the light, then be the light! Thoroughly inspiring and interesting discourse on stoicism and positive living.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jason DeFillippo
  • 08-05-14

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.

174 of 184 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 23-10-14

This book will change the way you think

Where does The Obstacle Is the Way rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I have read the kindle version and listened to the Audible version several times. The ideas are timeless and empowering. I find myself recalling the book throughout the day. I have also found myself trying to relay the lessons and concepts to my own daughters.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Marcus Aurelius

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

Focusing exclusively on what is in our control magnifies our power. Every ounce of energy directed at things we can’t actually influence is wasted, self-indulgent & self-destructive.

34 of 36 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • TL
  • 08-08-17

The narrator ruined the book.

I think this is an example on how a narrator can take away a lot in a book.
Even when the narrator is the author, you may think that the performance would be more "natural" but many times it just feels like he is reading an extract that he doen't enjoy, monotonous and sometimes "lifeless" I would ask someone else to read the book and republish it.

57 of 62 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • DJ Hill
  • 29-09-14

good book but i could hardly stand to listen to it

Where does The Obstacle Is the Way rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

i like the short chapters, makes it easy to listen to a short bit on your way to work. Plus, i could never listen for long (see below)

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Here is an idea: if you have a raging sinus infection, or just a clogged nose that will not allow you to speak normally, and you are supposed to narrate a book that day, CALL IN SICK! Don't make your poor listener suffer through your disgusting snotty nose - all I wanted to do was give this guy a tissue. Nasty!

139 of 154 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Chip Franks
  • 25-07-14

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.

34 of 37 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • ANDRÉ
  • 26-06-14

A good listen

Some minutes within the story I thought I was reading a Robert Greene's book, because there were many great characters from the past, with the same paced rhythm. In the end Ryan Holiday explains that Robert Greene is his mentor and it all made sense.
Overall, it is a good book. I don't think it is practical one, but the author says it is.
I didn't give it a five star because the last hour and a half it is a podcast between the author and Tim Ferris, the author of 4 hour workweek.
I am eager to listen to Ryan Holiday next book.

36 of 40 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Magdalena
  • 30-04-16

Goes over and over the same material

What did you like best about The Obstacle Is the Way? What did you like least?

I felt like the book could have been done and dusted in 2 or 3 chapters. There wasn't much new content, it was the same stuff over and over. Maybe I'm just jaded because I've already read a lot of books with this sort of content.

If you’ve listened to books by Ryan Holiday before, how does this one compare?

I really enjoyed "Trust Me, I'm Lying". It was engaging because I suspected what was going on in new media but this book really laid it bare. I think the difference is that instead of re-presenting other peoples ideas the author was giving insight into something he knew inside and out.

What didn’t you like about Ryan Holiday’s performance?

His voice was nasal because I think he had a cold or a blocked nose. This was pretty hard to listen to.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Patrick
  • 25-10-14

We have become soft and weak minded

What did you love best about The Obstacle Is the Way?

The author, Ryan Holiday, surmises that many people give up too easy when faced with obstacles. With the emergence of technology and other advancements we have become soft and lazy. Many of the things we use to make our lives better have made us weak. We have lost our way and a lot of us are unable to generate fortitude to achieve our goals. According to Holiday,. "Great times are great softeners. Abundance can be its own obstacle." We have become easily stopped in the face of conflict and are becoming more unhappy.

Holiday puts forth an approach for a generation that has too much and is stuck. It's more of an approach that gives the reader a new perspective for thriving amid chaos and dealing with everyday challenges. Holiday does not propose a recipe, a prescription or list of things to do. It's much more than that. It's more of an inquiry. Holiday invites the reader to reflect on the obstacles that are holding us back, making us unhappy and unfulfilled as humans. Holiday challenges us to reflect on how we discern our current set of problems. As we do so, we are able to understand the truth of our situation and separate out our our false preconceptions. As this occurs, we are able to see our obstacles with new eyes. We are able to change our relationship to our challenges and relate to them powerfully and viewing them as opportunities.

Throughout the text the Holiday does a great job of sharing the collective wisdom of some of our greatest thinkers. It is not a treatise on their work. As Holiday introduces a distinction of a legendary philosopher, he also cites a real life case study of an individual who transformed their situation. Who changed their relationship to their situation and transformed it. He uses incidents of current day people as well as historical figures.

I also purchased the hard copy of this book. It is on my desk and will serve as reference book. I also plan to give it as a holiday gift to my family, friends and co-workers.

35 of 40 people found this review helpful

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  • M.J.
  • 15-01-15

Save your credit

What disappointed you about The Obstacle Is the Way?

It's flimsy. I found myself wondering how long it would be if you took out the words, "The Obstacle Is the Way," which were repeated like a chorus in between loose anecdotes. Not my favorite.

Also, that was a nasty cold he had for the first two hours.

44 of 51 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • reader2012
  • 22-05-14

Don't narrate your book if you have a cold

Where does The Obstacle Is the Way rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Controlling of emotion isn't a new topic. It's been talked about since human civilization amongst different schools of philosophies and religions. Yet this book still managed to be interesting and insightful.

What did you like best about this story?

References of real people and stories

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

Not having a code when reading.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Nope, I learned to control my emotion :P

Any additional comments?

Great book, will recommend to friends.

29 of 34 people found this review helpful