• The Obstacle Is the Way

  • The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph
  • By: Ryan Holiday
  • Narrated by: Ryan Holiday
  • Length: 6 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 06-05-2014
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Tim Ferriss
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (713 ratings)

Regular price: $29.22

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Publisher's Summary

"The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way." (Marcus Aurelius)

We are stuck, stymied, frustrated. But it needn't be this way. There is a formula for success that's been followed by the icons of history - from John D. Rockefeller to Amelia Earhart to Ulysses S. Grant to Steve Jobs - a formula that let them turn obstacles into opportunities. Faced with impossible situations, they found the astounding triumphs we all seek.

These men and women were not exceptionally brilliant, lucky, or gifted. Their success came from timeless philosophical principles laid down by a Roman emperor who struggled to articulate a method for excellence in any and all situations.

This book reveals that formula for the first time - and shows us how we can turn our own adversity into advantage.

©2014 Ryan Holiday (P)2014 Tim Ferriss

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Alex.D
  • Gold Coast, Australia
  • 02-09-2015

Fantastic book

Highly consistent and on topic, the whole book felt like 1 chapter which I enjoyed. It also sparked my interest in the people discussed through out the book. This is one of those books that will leave you on a trail of exploring deeper.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great content, narrator needs coaching

I found this a really valuable introduction to stoic philosophy, and importantly relates it to everyday life. Thanks to this I’m going to check out Marcus Aurelius and Seneca next. I congratulate Ryan Holiday on narrating his own books, however (and I’m reluctant to point this out as he has confessed to being self conscious about his own voice) his voice sounds rather dull and flat and for part of the recording it even sounds like he has rather bad nasal congestion. Perhaps with his next reading he could consult a voice coach to work on his delivery sounding more bright and engaging. However I always like it when an author reads their own work.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • richard
  • Christchurch,New Zealand
  • 18-11-2016

Hit the Mark

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes I would - it is a great book

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Obstacle Is the Way?

It makes us realise that the challenge is the way we grow - and if we change what we think about the challenge - we can grow more

What about Ryan Holiday’s performance did you like?

the historical perspective and the use of real life examples

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Several

Any additional comments?

I have already recommended to several of my friends , who, like me are searching for ways to keep growing

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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This one is a life changer.

The Obstacle is the Way completely flips business problems 180 degrees.

It's so popular to right now to say "you can't succeed until you fail", "fail bigger and grow faster" and all that. You tend to accept it and dismiss it...

This book helps you to see it from a vast historical perspective... It makes it more real somehow... more valid.

Ryan Holiday might not have been the best choice to narrate the book, but overall he did a great job getting the message across.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Affirming reading.

I will read this book over & over throughout my life, it is so well written for someone starting out in philosophy.

In a word. Excellent.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Tough but true

This book highlights that once you can accept your obstacle, you are then able to springboard off that obstacle and realise your capacity.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ben
  • 10-02-2017

Blown away!

Blown away, amazing how relatable all the stories are and Ryan has a way off motivating you, occasionally with humour, to make practical changes to your perception to help transform scenarios into what you want them to be.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ben
  • 13-03-2015

Empowering

I feel empowered and excited to embrace challenges that 'won't kill me, will make me stronger'

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Become the calm within the storm

This book gives you 20% strategy and 80% psychology to deal with obstacles.. It changed my perspective of the obstacles using stoicism philosophy principles.
If you want to smile when other people cower, it offers real tools.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Do it anyway

Ryan Holiday has gifted us with many insightful tools lessons and teachings to take on. Another genius of our time, there's opportunity everywhere , and always a way

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  • Jason DeFillippo
  • 08-05-2014

Great book I wish I had 25 years ago

This is an amazing book that sums up a lot of Stoicism with relatable stories and useful information. It's very akin to Robert Greene's books which makes sense since Ryan interned for him for a time. All of the stories are fantastic and the tips are all actionable and usable in everyday life while being entertaining to boot.

I generally hate author reads and this is not great but also not too bad. I listened at 1.25x which tightens up the performance without losing too much in the way of inflections.

A very annoying part of this audiobook though is that an hour and a half is an episode of the Tim Ferriss podcast that you can get on iTunes. That makes the book come in at roughly 4.5 hours if you don't want to listen to or have already heard that interview. I just wish that was in the description of the book.

174 of 184 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 23-10-2014

This book will change the way you think

Where does The Obstacle Is the Way rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I have read the kindle version and listened to the Audible version several times. The ideas are timeless and empowering. I find myself recalling the book throughout the day. I have also found myself trying to relay the lessons and concepts to my own daughters.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Marcus Aurelius

What’s an idea from the book that you will remember?

Focusing exclusively on what is in our control magnifies our power. Every ounce of energy directed at things we can’t actually influence is wasted, self-indulgent & self-destructive.

34 of 36 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • TL
  • 08-08-2017

The narrator ruined the book.

I think this is an example on how a narrator can take away a lot in a book.
Even when the narrator is the author, you may think that the performance would be more "natural" but many times it just feels like he is reading an extract that he doen't enjoy, monotonous and sometimes "lifeless" I would ask someone else to read the book and republish it.

56 of 61 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Chip Franks
  • 25-07-2014

Spectacular "Operating System" for Your Life

Would you consider the audio edition of The Obstacle Is the Way to be better than the print version?

I prefer audio versions of the books for the most part, because I love listening to them in the Jeep and using the time to learn. However, the material in this book is so good, I had to go out and get the print version, as well--because I found myself constantly saying, "Ooh, that's a great thought...I need to write that down," while I was driving!

What other book might you compare The Obstacle Is the Way to and why?

Seneca's Letters from a Stoic...Stoic philosophy, pretty straight forward.
Marcus Aurelius' Meditations...ditto.
James Altucher Choose Yourself...Both give great, concrete ways to make your life better by changing your thinking.

What about Ryan Holiday’s performance did you like?

I love Ryan, and this book is fantastic--but I didn't give five stars because the reading was a bit dry. I really enjoy the author's reading their own works, but more inflection, varied timing and such would be appreciated. Still, I loved it.

What’s an idea from the book that you will remember?

Wow. Where do I begin? I'll start with one of the principles at the end--looking death in its face and realizing that we are mortal, and using that knowledge to light a fire under us to do something great in this life.

Any additional comments?

If you're reading this review, and you haven't gotten this book--do it. It's a great way of thinking, and it's one of the "quake moment" books that can truly have a great effect on you.

34 of 37 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • DJ Hill
  • 29-09-2014

good book but i could hardly stand to listen to it

Where does The Obstacle Is the Way rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

i like the short chapters, makes it easy to listen to a short bit on your way to work. Plus, i could never listen for long (see below)

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Here is an idea: if you have a raging sinus infection, or just a clogged nose that will not allow you to speak normally, and you are supposed to narrate a book that day, CALL IN SICK! Don't make your poor listener suffer through your disgusting snotty nose - all I wanted to do was give this guy a tissue. Nasty!

138 of 153 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • ANDRÉ
  • 26-06-2014

A good listen

Some minutes within the story I thought I was reading a Robert Greene's book, because there were many great characters from the past, with the same paced rhythm. In the end Ryan Holiday explains that Robert Greene is his mentor and it all made sense.
Overall, it is a good book. I don't think it is practical one, but the author says it is.
I didn't give it a five star because the last hour and a half it is a podcast between the author and Tim Ferris, the author of 4 hour workweek.
I am eager to listen to Ryan Holiday next book.

36 of 40 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Magdalena
  • 30-04-2016

Goes over and over the same material

What did you like best about The Obstacle Is the Way? What did you like least?

I felt like the book could have been done and dusted in 2 or 3 chapters. There wasn't much new content, it was the same stuff over and over. Maybe I'm just jaded because I've already read a lot of books with this sort of content.

If you’ve listened to books by Ryan Holiday before, how does this one compare?

I really enjoyed "Trust Me, I'm Lying". It was engaging because I suspected what was going on in new media but this book really laid it bare. I think the difference is that instead of re-presenting other peoples ideas the author was giving insight into something he knew inside and out.

What didn’t you like about Ryan Holiday’s performance?

His voice was nasal because I think he had a cold or a blocked nose. This was pretty hard to listen to.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Patrick
  • 25-10-2014

We have become soft and weak minded

What did you love best about The Obstacle Is the Way?

The author, Ryan Holiday, surmises that many people give up too easy when faced with obstacles. With the emergence of technology and other advancements we have become soft and lazy. Many of the things we use to make our lives better have made us weak. We have lost our way and a lot of us are unable to generate fortitude to achieve our goals. According to Holiday,. "Great times are great softeners. Abundance can be its own obstacle." We have become easily stopped in the face of conflict and are becoming more unhappy.

Holiday puts forth an approach for a generation that has too much and is stuck. It's more of an approach that gives the reader a new perspective for thriving amid chaos and dealing with everyday challenges. Holiday does not propose a recipe, a prescription or list of things to do. It's much more than that. It's more of an inquiry. Holiday invites the reader to reflect on the obstacles that are holding us back, making us unhappy and unfulfilled as humans. Holiday challenges us to reflect on how we discern our current set of problems. As we do so, we are able to understand the truth of our situation and separate out our our false preconceptions. As this occurs, we are able to see our obstacles with new eyes. We are able to change our relationship to our challenges and relate to them powerfully and viewing them as opportunities.

Throughout the text the Holiday does a great job of sharing the collective wisdom of some of our greatest thinkers. It is not a treatise on their work. As Holiday introduces a distinction of a legendary philosopher, he also cites a real life case study of an individual who transformed their situation. Who changed their relationship to their situation and transformed it. He uses incidents of current day people as well as historical figures.

I also purchased the hard copy of this book. It is on my desk and will serve as reference book. I also plan to give it as a holiday gift to my family, friends and co-workers.

35 of 40 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • M.J.
  • 15-01-2015

Save your credit

What disappointed you about The Obstacle Is the Way?

It's flimsy. I found myself wondering how long it would be if you took out the words, "The Obstacle Is the Way," which were repeated like a chorus in between loose anecdotes. Not my favorite.

Also, that was a nasty cold he had for the first two hours.

44 of 51 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • reader2012
  • 22-05-2014

Don't narrate your book if you have a cold

Where does The Obstacle Is the Way rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Controlling of emotion isn't a new topic. It's been talked about since human civilization amongst different schools of philosophies and religions. Yet this book still managed to be interesting and insightful.

What did you like best about this story?

References of real people and stories

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

Not having a code when reading.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Nope, I learned to control my emotion :P

Any additional comments?

Great book, will recommend to friends.

28 of 33 people found this review helpful