Book Reviews
Book Review of ‘The Obstacle Is the Way’

‘What stands in the way, becomes the way’—Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor


You cannot agree more with the way Ryan Holiday describes how we sometimes feel. “You could be too old, too scared, too poor, too stressed, no access, no backers, no confidence. Every obstacle is unique to each of us. But the responses are the same: Fear. Frustration. Confusion. Helplessness. Depression. Anger.” How can one come out of this state? 

There are a hundreds of self-help books. Do you need one more (The Obstacle Is the Way; Ryan Holiday; Penguin India; Rs399; 224 pages) especially one that draws from Stoicism, the ancient Greek philosophy which teaches the development of self-control and fortitude as a means of overcoming destructive emotions? Cleanthes, a Stoic philosopher, once said that a “Stoic of virtue would amend his will to suit the world.” He would remain, in the words of Epictetus, “Sick and yet happy, in peril and yet happy, dying and yet happy, in exile and happy, in disgrace and happy.” How can this be useful in dealing with obstacles, that too in the modern world? Holiday uses the tough philosophy of Stoicism as the basis of dealing with ‘you’re your troubles’; but makes it wholly engaging by using real-life stories. Each brief chapter focuses on a principle, usually illustrated with at least one example of a leader who employed that principle to overcome adversity. For instance, John D Rockfeller was cool-headed and self-disciplined. Demosthenes, the great Athenian orator, had a relentless drive to improve himself through action and practice. Abraham Lincoln had humility, endurance and compassionate will. The inspiring leaders you will encounter are: Ulysses S Grant, Thomas Edison, Margaret Thatcher, Erwin Rommel, Steve Jobs, Barack Obama and so on. As Holiday notes: “some of these men and women faced unimaginable horrors, from imprisonment to debilitating illness, in addition to day-to-day frustrations that were no different from ours. They dealt with the same rivalries, political headwinds, dram, resistance, conservatism, break-ups, stresses, and economic calamities. Or worse.”
How did they overcome? It appears that all great men and women of history had one thing in common: “like oxygen to a fire, obstacles became fuel for the blaze that was their ambition.” Hence, the title of the book. Highly inspiring and worth a read. 


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Nifty, Sensex, Bank Nifty in no man’s land – Thursday closing report

Nifty has to close above 8,360 to head higher


We had mentioned in Wednesday’s closing report that the move on NSE’s benchmark CNX Nifty is still weak. Although the 50-stock index opened Thursday in the green, it moved with a downward bias. After 10.56am, the benchmark moved into the red and stayed there till the end. After hitting almost the same level as Wednesday’s low, the Nifty tried moving higher.
The S&P BSE Sensex opened at 27,619, while Nifty opened at 8,346. Both the indices moved from a high of 27,666 and 8,365 to a low of 27,354 and 8,270, respectively.
Sensex closed at 27,507 (down 58 points or 0.21%) while Nifty closed at 8,319 (down 16 points or 0.19%). Bank Nifty too followed the same trading pattern. The index opened at 18,563 and moved from the high of 18,640 to the low of 18,382 and closed at 18,449 (down 90 points or 0.48%). With the May futures & options expiry today NSE recorded a higher volume of 85.48 crore share. India VIX fell 0.87% to close at 17.1325.
Private weather forecaster Skymet has said that conditions are favourable for the onset of Southwest Monsoon in India. It expects the monsoon to hit Kerala around 30 May 2015. The progress of monsoon over Peninsular India is expected to be delayed by a week, according to Skymet.
The US has praised India for its "considerable momentum" towards clean energy, saying that over 10% of the country's electricity will come from renewable energy by 2022.
Eight companies, Lupin, Bharti Infratel, Eicher Motors, Bharat Forge, Container Corp of India, Marico, Shree Cement and UPL will be added to the MSCI India Index from Friday, while Reliance Infrastructure will be removed. 
NCDEX has launched "Gold Now", an online forward trading channel facilitating buying and selling of gold, for the benefit of jewellers. This platform proposes to allow delivery of gold originating from domestic refineries through recycling. Gold Now will offer bullion in 1-kg and 100-gram forward contracts for six centres with a daily delivery facility through T+1 and T+2 settlement system. The cities where delivery will be available include Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Delhi, Kochi, Hyderabad and Chennai.
India's economic growth rate in the January-March quarter is likely to slip to 7.2% from 7.5% in the previous three months, mainly because of lower production and weak global demand, credit rating agency Moody's said.
India achieved its highest addition in power generation capacity in the past one year, leading to the country's power deficit falling to a record low of 3.6%, Power and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said on Wednesday.

Coming back to the Indian stock market, Arvind rose 5.90% to close at Rs238 on the BSE. It was the top gainer in ‘A’ group on the BSE. It was in the news for opening the first store of US-based fashion brand GAP in Delhi on 30th May. The store will be based in Select City Walk mall in Delhi and sell Gap, GapKids and babyGap brands. The company is planning to open several such stores in the first year of operations.
Wockhardt fell 8.90% to close at Rs1,434.90 on the BSE. It announced weak March 2015 quarter results. It was the top loser in ‘A’ group on the BSE.
Vedanta rose 2.53% to close at Rs196.90 on the BSE. It was the top gainer in the Sensex 30 pack. It plans to acquire upto 5.33% stake, worth over Rs2,200 crore, in its group concern Cairn India next week.
Cipla fell 2.58% to close at Rs643.40 on the BSE. It was the top loser in the Sensex 30 pack. It has signed an exclusive pact with vaccine major Serum Institute of India to market flu vaccine, Nasovac-S, in the country.
On Wednesday, US indices closed in the green. US treasury chief Jacob Lew yesterday urged Greece and its creditors to “double down” in their efforts to reach a deal to solve the nation's debt crisis, saying no one should be complacent about the risks to the world economy from a Greek default and possible exit from the Eurozone.
Asian indices showed mixed performance. Nikkei 225 (0.39%) was the top gainer, while Shanghai Composite (6.50%) was the top loser.
There were reports that China's sovereign wealth fund has reduced its stake in China's banks. Exports to China are expected to grow by around 14% a year in the decade to 2030, potentially outpacing outbound shipment growth to any other country, said an HSBC trade forecast report.
European indices were trading flat while US Futures were trading in the red.
There were reports that the deal between Greece and its creditors failed to materialise yesterday.


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