Mastery by Robert Greene

How much I recommend it: 9/10

Mastery by Robert Greene was exactly the book I needed at this time in my life.

Mastery is finding your “life’s task”, doing an apprenticeship in that thing, then continuing to practice that thing until after years of focused effort and practice, achieving Mastery.

Very few people ever achieve Mastery yet every human is capable of it. Most people are too scattered to achieve Mastery.

You can only be mastering one thing at a time.

For some of the great Masters of history, they didn’t realize they were in the process of Mastery. They were merely following their natural curiosities deeper and deeper until years later they looked back to discover they had become the best in their fields.

Greene profiles the following people and their path to Mastery:

  • Temple Grandin: Bovine expert who invented better ways of handling cattle; autistic, had to overcome challenges related to autism to thrive in her field
  • Leonardo da Vinci: Artist, scientist
  • Benjamin Franklin: Scientist, politician, writer
  • Charles Darwin: Biologist, scientist
  • Mozart: Musician
  • Faraday: Scientist
  • Albert Einstein: Inventor, scientist
  • Henry Ford: businessman
  • Goethe: author, philosopher
  • and dozens of others

Mastery is about developing the mental and emotional capacity to be an individual. To go your own direction and follow your own curiosity even when the world thinks you’re crazy.

Masters are knowledgeable not only in their direct area of expertise but everything around it - like Erwin Rommel who studied the mechanics of his army’s tanks, the psychology of his men and of the opposing generals, and other fields adjacent to military strategy that made him so effective.

Mastery comes with 10,000-20,000 hours of experience.

Once the mind has mastered a skill, it can perform it with very little effort thus freeing it up to focus on creative and original tasks using that skill.

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