JG Notes: The Obstacle is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday

I struggled to write this post because I really wanted to say nothing but high praise and glowing remarks. However, I decided that I needed to be honest about my experience reading The Obstacle is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday. Holiday’s book is a good primer for anyone not familiar with Stoicism however, it reads a bit formulaic and theoretical. Most concepts presented were abstract and stayed that way. Let me explain. Holiday cites numerous examples from ancient Roman Stoics to celebrated and well-known 20th-century American heroes (most of whom we already know) who overcame what seem like insurmountable odds. Because I couldn’t relate to most of the examples (the author doesn’t mention many women nor people of color overcoming obstacles although I know many who have), the concepts didn’t translate into more concrete steps for me. But, perhaps that wasn’t the point. It was still helpful to read about the basic tenets of Stoicism. I’m also looking forward to digging into the philosophy references and learning more about Stoicism.

Overall, this is a book that will help you remember you are not alone in your journey. Others, too, have faced similar or worse conditions/obstacles than you may be experiencing right now. How we react to adversity will change the trajectory of our lives. The question to keep asking yourself is: how will you react? Do you choose growth? Or, do you choose anger, frustration, or, worse yet, succumbing to whatever adversity you are facing?