The Most Important Book on Your Shelf

If there was ever a book to keep for ongoing reference on your bookshelf—whether your shelf is digital or wood—The Obstacle Is the Way is it. Ryan Holiday’s new book is about a philosophy called Stoicism. In case that’s off-putting to you (well, of course it is), there’s a better reason to read it. If you face something hard—a job crisis, a parenting sorrow, a painful breakup or even just a malaise—this book offers a way to transcend, to accept the hardship then turn it to your advantage. If you prefer to feel sorry for yourself, you really needn’t read this book. But if you want to do better, to feel better, this book will help you have the backbone to do so.  At least it did for me.

A bonus: The stories used to back up points are about fascinating characters, from Athenian orator Demosthenes to aviator Amelia Earhart to baseball pitcher Tommy John to German general Rommel. It’s a compelling, if random, history lesson.

Postscript: Do you like to read? It’s easy to get stuck in a book rut, reading more and more of the same. Ryan Holiday shares his intense reading life in a free monthly email to anyone interested (as 15,000 people are, including me). His recommendations are usually quite far from what I normally read, and those outliers have turned out to be some of the most stimulating books I’ve come across. Here’s where to get more info and subscribe.

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