The Obstacle is the Way is a Stoical meditation on how to turn adversity into triumph.
Holiday (the author) is extremely well-read–in fact he has done research for Robert Greene’s books–and in this book, he does a great job covering a lot of historical ground while also distilling each section down into useful, actionable advice.
The book is broken down into a few thematic sections: PERCEPTION, ACTION, and WILL.
The perception section is about how our perceptions of the world around us affects our ability to succeed in it. Simply put, if our mind isn’t in the right place, our actions won’t be either. This section of the book addresses how to control our emotions, how to find opportunities in hardships, how to strip opposition of its power over us, and more.
The action section is obviously about taking action, but as the author says, it’s not just about doing stuff, but it’s about doing the right stuff. That is, how to find out what works, and how to turn it into a process that you can repeat over and over until you’ve achieved your goals.
Finally, the book finishes with the will section, which is about cultivating a resilience and flexibility that allows us to make it through tough times. This could be seen as a “darker” part of the book, but you can choose to see it another light (change your perception): it offers a realistic view of the way things are, not the way things as we wish they were. And this objectivity is crucial if we’re to make it through the inevitable rough patches that come with any endeavor.
This book is short, easy to ready, and full of practical insights. Give it a read. I think anyone, no matter their circumstances, can find value in at least some of the lessons contained within.