Found in 5 comments on Hacker News
The obstacle is the way ( is also a good one on the Stoic philosophy, could serve as in introduction to Meditations
Camille Fournier literally wrote the book on Engineering Management so when she speaks, I always listen [1]. Every technology leader will reach a point where there are just too many problems to solve and OPP is a great mental model for prioritization.

OPP is also a forcing function for leadership. It forces true leaders to step up and make the hard choices.

If you're faced with OPP, here are a few things I found useful in my career.

## Do Important Work for Important People

The best way to be successful in any organization is to do important work for important people. Important work for unimportant people will get you no where. Same is true for unimportant work for important people.

Take a look at your OPP and ask yourself:

* Is this work for someone important?

* Is this work important to that person?

Both answers should be yes, otherwise it's just OPP.

## Let Fires Burn

Once you decide the work is OPP, then you need the courage to say no. You must let that fire continue to burn without it distracting you. Masters of Scale has a good episode on this topic [2]. Easier said than done of course. I found Stoic practices to be very helpful here [3].

## Customer Obsession & Ownership

OPP should always be evaluated through the lens of the customer. Bottom line, the customer is always the most important person and they trump all. True leaders are obsessed about providing a better customer experience and they're willing to pay the price in order to do so.

If you have OPP that's important work for someone important, but it's not important to the customer, then you may just have to let that one burn too. And once you make that call, you have to own it. Always take responsibility for the decision and defend it on the customer's behalf.

I've found Amazon's leadership principles to be invaluable when making these type of tough decisions [4]. It's no coincidence that Customer Obsession and Ownership are #1 and #2.

[1] (Camille's link not mine)




rthomas6 · 2016-02-19 · Original thread
Have you looked into Stoicism? It's got a lot of the Buddhist elements of learning to accept the present while also focusing on achievement. I think of it in some ways as a Western-friendly mindfulness approach. A Guide to the Good Life [1] is a great book on the subject, and in the past has helped me be more effective in life, while also being happier. I've also heard good things about The Obstacle Is the Way [2].



jjbohn · 2014-11-10 · Original thread
Supposedly, The Obstacle is the Way is in the vein. I haven't read it yet; it's on my list this month though. Supposedly a fairly good read though. It's written by a big PR guy though so who knows.

hvass · 2014-03-19 · Original thread
For an intro to stoicism you should start with Seneca's letters and Marcus Aurelius' Meditations before you jump into Guide to the Good Life (which I do not recommend, despite Derek's praise of it)

Also, check out the upcoming book 'The Obstacle is the Way' by Ryan Holiday -

Fresh book recommendations delivered straight to your inbox every Thursday.