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224 pages, Kindle Edition
First published May 1, 2014
No one is saying you can't take a minute to think, Dammit, this sucks. By all means, vent. Exhale. Take stock. Just don't take too long. Because you have to get back to work. Because each obstacle we overcome makes us stronger for the next one.This wouldn't be especially egregious if it weren't the whole book, but it is. That's it, folks. There's no point at which it transcends to advice that will move your life forward. Flip to any page; if it isn't an anecdote about how some famous person got famous by exhibiting a given virtue, it's just more of this run-on about how you have to find the way in which your obstacle is the way. There are no specifics about how exactly one is supposed to tackle "obstacles," which is a ludicrously broad concept, just droplets raining down from the Platonic form of Cant. Rather than actionable instructions, these platitudes are vast like the oceans. They run into each other, have no discernible borders, and are so huge as to be unwieldy, so unwieldy as to be pointless. The only real linkage here is the classical Stoic advice to maintain equanimity. This could have been conveyed in a much more powerful way. Like by the Stoics, for example. (He admits as much in the intro.)
No. No excuses. No exceptions. No way around it: It's on you.
One can trace the thread of [Stoicism] from those days in the decline and fall of the Roman Empire to the creative outpouring of the Renaissance to the breakthroughs of the Enlightenment. It's seen starkly in the pioneer spirit of the American West, the perseverance of the Union cause during the Civil War, and in the bustle of the Industrial Revolution. It appeared again in the bravery of the leaders of the civil rights movement and stood tall in the prison camps of Vietnam. And today it surges in the DNA of the entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley.No word on whether the Native Americans just got out-stoic'd by the "pioneer spirit." The next time you'll read such a vacuous, half-lidded recitation of Western History, it'll be when your sixth-grader is preparing a report he didn't research enough. I have a feeling that's the case here.
“Think progress, not perfection.”
“After all, the brain is a muscle like any other active tissue. It can be built up and toned through the right exercises. Over time, their muscle memory grew to the point that they could intuitively respond to every situation. Especially obstacles.”
“The obstacle in the path becomes the path. Never forget, within every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our condition.”