Summary of The Obstacle Is the Way

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The Obstacle Is the Way book summary


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Through the ages, people have relied on the philosophy of Stoicism to conquer their difficulties. In addition to ancient Greeks and Romans, proponents included Frederick the Great, Michel de Montaigne, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Adam Smith and Theodore Roosevelt. Every year, former US president Bill Clinton studies the writing of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, a well-known Stoic philosopher. Former Chinese leader Wen Jiabao has read Marcus’s immortal Meditations “more than 100 times.” Media strategist Ryan Holiday explains how contemporary people can utilize some venerable Stoic principles to turn obstacles into advantages. His lively, clear prose brings these ancient ideas to modern life. getAbstract recommends his helpful guide to the Stoic path to leaders, entrepreneurs, and anyone facing significant challenges.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What Stoicism teaches,
  • Which great philosophers and leaders follow this school of thought,
  • Which three primary disciplines it embraces, and
  • How Stoicism can serve as an operating manual for life.

About the Author

Media strategist Ryan Holiday is the former marketing director at American Apparel. His ad campaigns garnered coverage in Advertising Age, The New York Times and Fast Company.



The Stoic Way
In 170 AD, Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote, “Our actions may be impeded…but there can be no impeding our intentions or dispositions. Because we can accommodate and adapt. The mind adapts and converts to its own purposes the obstacle to our acting.” He concluded, “The ...

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    Rickey Brown 3 years ago
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    Michele Garner 3 years ago
    I was not aware of the philosophy of Stoicism and what it meant. Always had the impression it meant that someone wasn't overly friendly...

    Good read and information. Have added to my favorites list and will refer to this often. May even read the entire book!

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