The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage

Ryan Holiday. Portfolio, $25.95 (202p) ISBN 978-1-59184-635-2
Holiday (Trust Me, I'm Lying), "media manipulator" and master of the dark art of marketing, returns with a collection of bite-sized, intensely written aphorisms and parables about learning how to see "through the negative, past its underside, and into its corollary: the positive." Starting with figures no less august than Marcus Aurelius and John D. Rockefeller, Holiday collects historical anecdotes from politics, commerce, sports, and history—as well as some light re-readings of classical philosophy—and loosely structures them around the three skills he sees as essential to succeeding in the face of adversity: perception, action, and will. These sections outline stories and limited strategies that will encourage readers to creatively redefine obstacles as opportunities, act with less fear of failure by better processing the emotion, and develop the "resilience" and "flexibility" necessary to soldier through difficult situations. Holiday's charismatic, if slightly Delphic, stories will be welcomed by readers of The 48 Laws of Power and similar works of advice, but frustrating to readers accustomed to more empirically sourced and pedagogically developed works on motivation and adversity. Still, Holiday's performance is commanding and optimistic, sure to inspire readers to take new perspective on their apparent obstacles. (May.)
Reviewed on: 03/10/2014
Release date: 05/01/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 229 pages - 978-1-78283-005-4
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