VICTORY BOOK CLUB, Vol. I: Conquering the Self

At VICTORIOUS ACADEMY, we believe all training is important, including that of mind. When we are not building strength, speed, and stamina of body through physical regiments, we employ habits to sharpen brain and polish soul. One of our favourite mental exercises is reading and reflecting on good literature.

Our new Victory Book Club Series, to be published quarterly, focuses on nonfiction works. While fiction is fine for entertainment, and can often contain important lessons and morals, nonfiction material is more objective and universal in its ability to possess powers which help the reader.

The VICTORIOUS ACADEMY lifestyle emphasizes three areas of being: Training, Thinking, and Living. We believe that critical thinking and philosophy are as important as anything we do in the gym or for leisure. In this inaugural edition, our theme is Living. Below are three books that teach us how to move forward in life with confidence. Find in their pages a more powerful version of yourself.

The Obstacle is the Way

This compact work by Ryan Holiday of The Daily Stoic fame encapsulates one of the most important lessons taught by the ancient Stoicism philosophy: that our actions can be impeded, but not our intentions or dispositions. An obstacle in the way becomes the way.

Holiday, through storied Stoics like the great Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, explains why obstacles are an inevitable component of life, as well as how to deal with them in the proper manner. With help from other examples, such as the infamously wealthy John Rockefeller and profoundly prolific Ulysses Grant, Holiday paints a world that is far from perfect—but also gives us the map to navigate such chaos with grace and dignity.

The Obstacle is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph offers a succinct guide to tackling adversity and provides an entry-level glimpse into the brilliance of Stoicism, the Academy’s preferred philosophy.

Mastery

According to author Robert Greene, everyone carries within the potential to be a Master.

Following up his international bestseller 48 Laws of Power, Pulitzer Prize-winning Greene addresses the patterns of mastering subjects and skills observed by the great examples of history. Mastery is a compendium that emphasizes key points in powerful detail—such as the importance of repetition and resilience when one is working toward something exceptional and rewarding. The crucial aspects of mastering both trade and self are laid out with past and present examples.

A notably denser pick than the others in this post, Mastery is, but absolutely worth delving into. Many lessons are to be learned along the pathway to mastering your field; for some advantage, let this book instruct you on some of them early.

How to Fail at Everything and Still WiN

You can expect Scott Adams, famous cartoonist behind the longstanding comic strip Dilbert, to weave humour into his writing, even if the Pointy-Haired Boss is nowhere to be seen. Such is the case for How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of My Life Story, whose humour starts with the book title and continues throughout.

This humour makes the book highly readable, which is good, because the content itself is valuable. In How to Fail, Adams shares the game plan he’s followed since his teenage years: invite failure in, embrace it, then pick its pocket. For example, he favours “personal energy” over passion, emphasizes skill-stacking, and encourages systems over goals—all with the intention of preparing one to move forward and laterally but never again backward.