The Obstacle is the Way is a great book - I quite like the way Ryan Holiday collected different stories and used them to portray how we can leverage three different skills (perception, action and will) to help us advance through obstacles we face in our daily lives. I like how direct he is, how actionable his advice is and this book is very hands-on. The book works very much like a manual or a companion and this is one of those books that should be revisited again and again and again.
Many things that were written in this book made a lot of sense to me but one of the things Ryan mentions in this book was especially important: taking the "I" out of the equation is fundamental to look at events in a different, less emotional, perspective. It helps to remember that events don't happen to a specific person: life is random, it doesn't pick specific individuals to destroy or to harass. Therefore, the question "why me?" doesn't really make sense. For me, it is liberating to practice that approach to obstacles. Setbacks don't happen specifically to me, they just happen and I have no control over them. What I can control, though, is what I do about them and in which way I react to them.
I very much want to buy an edition just for me so that I can mark all the passages that spoke to me and so that I can revisit the book whenever I need.
Having already read about stoicism I did not learn as much as I would have done otherwise.
However there is a really great chapter about how to get over the sense of shock and “why me” you get when something lousy happens in life.
On the plus side, the book doesn’t ramble on and sticks to the point. It’s a great read for anyone new to philosophy.
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