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Mastery (2012)

af Robert Greene

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9691116,697 (3.96)2
Robert Greene, the "modern Machiavelli" debunks the prevailing mythology of success and presents a radical new way to greatness.
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Loved this book. A lot of words but it has a lot of good examples of the principles it teaches. My main takeaway was that you should always be stretching yourself and always learning, and when things get easy you've got to make them harder. ( )
  britt_joiner | Dec 4, 2021 |
What does it take to rise to the top of one’s profession or any other domain in life? Through artful storytelling of historical and contemporary figures, Greene offers us a plethora of examples to follow. He tries to tie each case to principles of how the individual mastered her/his own environment. In so doing, he offers us a self-driven manual for how to command a sector in life.

Greene’s contemporary exemplars include figures from many domains, including piloting, research, and linguistics. Ancient figures include geniuses that you learned about in school. All in all, a variety of personality and professional types are represented, including both men and women, people with disabilities, and the formally educated as well as the self-educated.

The author is clearly adept at spinning a good story. His storylines stick to readers’ ears and hearts. I listened to this book as an audiobook while I performed other tasks with my hands; each chapter drew my attention in, and time passed quickly. I have not read Greene’s other works for comparison, but his skill in the narrative arts is evident.

What most lacked was intellectual rigor. Yes, he brought forth diverse inspirational examples that illustrated key concepts related to mastery, but I could not deduce if Greene’s theorizing was ever tested via a scientific method. I hoped to see studies cited or some sort of quantitative analysis to back up his far-reaching claims of long-standing principles. What shows me that his contentions are true besides anecdotal evidence?

That said, this book does offer much fodder to activate readers’ creative juices. Inspiration needs to be followed by perspiration, no? That means that I have a lot of work to do because Greene began a process of trying to learn about the finer details along life’s paths. He showed how these figures, through their own perspiration, managed to overcome situations to help others and to lead. If one function of books is to push us on to increasing excellence, then this book succeeds in spades. ( )
  scottjpearson | Jun 26, 2021 |
The overall thesis "Anyone can be a Master" is a fallacy of epic proportions. The common threads he tries to weave are a tangled, garbled mess that is pointless to try and follow. The bit on social interactions is highly narcissistic in nature and too simple of a view on how one should look at and act around others.

However, Mastery still is an interesting read. The stories of the masters are at times well told, and their stories do have important lessons to impart. The major theme, mastery does not come naturally, but with dedication, hard work, and intense focus, is a lesson we should all at least aspire to do. ( )
  illmunkeys | Apr 22, 2021 |
A book full of accounts of people who acieved much in their field. Some of these were familiar, more less so, with a varying mix of interest to myself. There was a lot of repetition in using each of these examples to convey the point of each chapter. A bit long winded. ( )
  sbluerock | Jan 16, 2021 |
Reading this has been a profound experience. I found myself taking LOTS of notes and making many decisions to better my own life.

The book has it's few flaws but the ideas Robert managed to get across more than make up for any sort of flaws.

I can't recommend it enough for anyone interested to make a significant impact in any field or strives to achieve mastery. ( )
  m0nk3y | Mar 24, 2020 |
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Everyone holds his fortune in his own hands, like a sculptor the raw material he will fashion into a figure. But it's the same with that type of artistic activity as with all others: We are merely born with the capability to do it. The skill to mold the material into what we want must be learned and attentively cultivated -------- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
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There exists a form of power and intelligence that represents the high point of human potential.
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Robert Greene, the "modern Machiavelli" debunks the prevailing mythology of success and presents a radical new way to greatness.

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