The Obstacle is the Way

The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way. -Marcus Aurelius

Ryan Holiday is an impressive young author. He’s in his mid-twenties and just published his third book, The Obstacle is the Way, which is a delightful, short, story-filled exploration of the value of embracing adversity. Ryan’s writing is influenced by the Stoics, and Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations is one of his favorite books also. (So, he must be cool, right?)

I’ve already given The Obstacle is the Way to a few young friends. It’s a quick read and filled with examples of great men and women who thrived in spite of, or, actually, because of the difficulties seemingly blocking their way.

Holiday, the author, has had an interesting career. He left college before graduating, but has continued his own education through some killer work experiences and a prolific consumption of books. My friend, Nick, recommended Holiday’s reading recommendation newsletter, and I’ve been impressed with the quality and quantity of his book suggestions.

This is a solid podcast interview with Ryan by Tim Ferriss. I listened to this while doing yard work recently and found Holiday to be just as engaging and thoughtful in conversation as he is in his writing. It’s a bit humbling to me that this guy who is almost half my age has accomplished so much and seems so wise already.

College students and others just getting started (and even old guys like me who are still trying to figure things out) will appreciate his take on building a meaningful and artful life.


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