Strategically Constrained: How to Turn Limitations Into Opportunities

I first came across the idea that great strengths can emerge from great constraints in Ryan Holiday’s book The Obstacle is the Way. He takes a philosophical and historical approach, citing numerous Very Important People in history who used their unique challenges as springboards.

I was annoyed by the idea, thinking something along the lines of “These examples must be cherry-picked.” It seemed too neat, too feel-good to be true.

But I recently read another book that continued the theme, A Beautiful Constraint (Affiliate Link), recommended as essential reading for any entrepreneur by Seth Godin. The book was written by Adam Morgan and Mark Barden, who run a marketing and branding agency called eatbigfish that specializes in helping “challenger brands” overcome incumbents in their industries.

The pattern they found was so consistent they wrote a book describing it: the very best place to look for breakthrough capabilities is right behind your biggest constraint.

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