Canadian's Reviews > The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph

The Obstacle Is the Way by Ryan Holiday
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did not like it
bookshelves: did-not-finish

This is a trite, flippant book that does a great disservice to the deep philosophy of the stoics. Replete with references to tycoons and millionaires, it is largely self-help in perky, upbeat, you-can-do-it, rah-rah language. The essential premise of stoicism--that sometimes the only choice you have when you are faced with a dire situation is the attitude or philosophy of acceptance that you can bring to it--has been warped into "there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Just because Hamlet makes this statement, it doesn't mean that Shakespeare was a moral relativist, or that he was advocating that we should be. The hard things that happen in the world do not occur for our own personal growth and "journeys".

Ryan Holiday is apparently known for another popular work (which some have found a bit chilling) Trust Me, I'm Lying. I didn't trust Holiday for a minute here with his Tony Robbins-like exhortations and his superficial glossing over in chipper staccato prose of life's real hardships and injustices. One's attitude and perception do need to be wrestled with in times of great pain and hardship, but such events don't occur to make us better people.

I do not recommend this formulaic piece of self-help schlock. Avoid it!
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
May 5, 2017 – Shelved
May 5, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by Hilary (new)

Hilary Sounds awful!


Canadian I was looking for a good introductory text about stoicism. This was among the worst of self-help books I've encountered. Very disappointing, and really, Hilary, "trite" is the right word.


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