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Obstacles WelcomeObstacles Welcome by Ralph De La Vega
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Full disclosure: the author of this book is an executive manager in the company that employees me. We've been taking "leadership workshops" at work and they mentioned this book as part of the workshop. I decided to check it out.

Summary: Obviously, as a business book, there's no plot. Well, not quite. There is a bit of plot in that de la Vega chronicles his career throughout the book. Keeping up with his different positions, projects, and goals provides a nice framework for him to impart the business advice he wants to impart. Mainly, it boils down to this: work hard, make sacrifices, get outside your comfort zone, and you will be happy with your advancements at work. It's pretty standard fare as far as this kind of advice goes, the thing that helps keep it engaging is how de la Vega interweaves his own personal story and passion throughout the book. I came away from the book feeling more like I had a conversation with de la Vega instead of simply reading a dry business book.

What I thought: Meh. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't outstanding. As I mentioned before, the advice was commonplace. There really wasn't anything new. The main thrust is reduced to the cliche "obstacles are opportunities." It's really about finding ways to overcome the obstacles, turn them into opportunities, and capitalize on them. When you strip away the fancy words, you're left with working hard and making sacrifices.

I'm glad I read the book, and I think it may have given me some inspiration to try things differently at work to help advance my career the way I want it to advance. There are no easy answers here, but good food for thought.

Here's some quotes from the book that I found interesting:

I was learning, at a much younger age than most people, the meaning of sacrifice . . . and the power of making sacrifices in the present for the sake of a better future.

No matter who you are, or what you do, there are going to be obstacles that you will need to face.

As you will understand by now, “opportunity” to me usually means a difficult situation that many people would think of as a problem and avoid if possible. Avoidance is a mistake.

When disaster hits, put your own people first. That’s the surest way to take care of your customers and get the business back up and running as fast as possible. In fact, I believe it’s the only way.

If you feel underutilized in your current situation, change it! If your boss has treated you in a way that cuts off exciting possibilities you want to pursue, find a new boss. That’s a tough message, I know. But when someone stands in the way of your dreams, drastic action may be called for to get past the obstacle.


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