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on 5 March 2014
Mastery is a practical guide to achieving great success in your chosen path or career in life. Robert Greene describes a detailed journey of focus and commitment so intense, - that you cannot fail in reaching your full creative potential should you choose to embark on this mission of discovery.
The greatest Masters of all time are studied by Greene not in their achievements but in how they achieved them. This book will re-focus you on your destiny and prove along the way that Mastery is not a mysterious and complex phenomenon, - but a demonstration of dedication and tireless commitment to your passion.
There are 6 chapters covering the ascent to Mastery which serve as a detailed manual in developing key skills needed to attain supreme power in your chosen field:
1. Discover your calling – Greene describes the emotional highs of following your passion and why listening to your inner voice will lead on to your destined path to becoming a master in your work.
2. The Ideal Apprenticeship- “Consider the roles you lead in your career as Apprenticeships”. This phase goes through the various elements of transformation in the mind when a person is continually learning and developing.
3. The Mentor Dynamic – The mentor –protégé relationship is the most efficient and productive form of learning. Greene analyses the process and drives home the importance of having the right mentor in your life, what to look for in a mentor, how to attract them and when to leave them.
4. Social Intelligence – “Often the greatest Obstacle to our pursuit of Mastery comes from the emotional drain we experience in dealing with the resistance and manipulations of the people around us.” Greene identifies the seven deadly realities or negative qualities to watch out for in people and how to avoid them. Strategies for acquiring social intelligence are also highlighted to meet the challenges of dealing with people in your work.
5. Awaken the dimensional mind: The creative active – Greene has devised a 3 step programme to awaken your creativity and expand your mind. A) The creative task, B) Creative strategies, C) The creative breakthrough. Greene goes on to list the six emotional pitfalls that may threaten your work along the way and finally clarifies 9 Strategies for the creative active phase to help you reach your goals.
6. Fuse the intuitive with the rational – Mastery - The closing chapter sets out the strategies required to attain Mastery throughout your life, and how both intuition and rationality are both equally important in achieving greatness in any field.
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift. - Albert Einstein.
Robert Greene has written a detailed book giving excellent case studies to further clarify his message. The irony is you do have to be somewhat dedicated and focused to take in the vast amount of information included in each chapter. However if you do take the time without distraction to sit and work your way through it this is the most thorough example I have read of what is essentially a success manual. Do not be put off by the flowery descriptions of each chapter, as contained between the pages are some transformative guidance notes on becoming the best version of yourself you can be ,- and I guess that’s we all want that in the end.
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on 13 February 2014
Robert Greene has always had the knack for cutting through the proverbial cheese. His writing is thought provoking in a way that I find typically unrivalled, and he is able to put into words those things that you have a general feeling about, but couldn't ever 'firm up'. I bought this book because I absolutely loved his 48 Laws work - which I thought was a masterpiece. Sinister at times, but true none-the-less. The stories in Mastery were extremely well researched, and linked well to what he was teaching. The steps through Mastery are laid bare in this book, and I thoroughly enjoyed what he had to say. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars was because I thought it got slightly repetitive towards the end, a little bit of a 'filler'. But that does not take away from the fantastic work right through the book. Another well written piece, which gave me the conviction that we can all achieve Mastery in our fields of expertise - if only we follow the process as so many who have gone before us have.
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on 22 March 2013
"Mastery" is the word Greene uses to describe the state of being characterized by stepping beyond mere understanding of a topic, instead obtaining superior command over it, yielding intuitive understanding, integration of manifold ideas and resulting in a major increase in creative output. In his book, Greene sets out to understand the nature of mastery, in particularly seeking to provide a practical guide for how to attain mastery.

Greene's topic is inherently interesting, in the sense that mastery obviously is desirable for many people. Also, to a large degree, Greene achieves the goal he has set for himself. The book is divided into six main chapters, and particularly the later chapters on social intelligence, creativity and intuition are well written and contains useful insights. Furthermore, throughout the book, Greene relates stories from the lives of a series of people having attained mastery in very varied fields such as robotics, painting, piloting and dancing. These stories are among the best parts of the book.

There are multiple aspects of the book, however, which I found seriously aggravating. First, in several of the chapters of the book, in particular in the introduction and in the first two chapters, Greene presents a very simplistic view of human nature, coming up with endless self-help clichés of the type "People get the mind that they deserve through their actions" (p. 14), "You possess a kind of inner force that seeks to guide you toward your Life's Task" (p. 19), "At your birth a seed is planted. That seed is your uniqueness," et cetera. Greene also comes up with some very generalizing and quite unfounded statements about the world such as "We are entering a world in which we can rely less and less upon the state" (p. 28). And finally, with scientific veneer, Greene proposes some very oversimplified and unfounded ideas about human history and biology, for example claiming that mirror neurons are the major component giving humans their superior visual and social skills and expounding in unrealistic detail the behaviour of our distant ancestors (p. 7-8). To top it all off, Greene occasionally also displays a rather condescending attitude, opening his paragraph with imperatives such as "Understand:" and the like, and has an annoying habit of capitalizing all kinds of words ("Mastery", "Life's Task", "The Apprenticeship", et cetera). Taken as a whole, I found the hyperbolic lack of objectivity and rigor so irritating that during the introduction and the first chapter, I really wanted to put the book down, and only pressed on because of the recommendation of a friend.

If you can look past all this, however, the book actually starts to shine. Once Greene is done with his simplified ideas about human history and is done extolling the attaining of mastery as the ultimate goal of life, he commences to seriously consider how to attain mastery. The tone of the book shifts to something more factual, and at this point, it's good reading. Greene's attitude is that in order to attain mastery, you should keep your eyes on the prize and be practical about your planning instead of grumbling about the unfairness of the world. For example, in chapter four, when discussing social intelligence, he observes that people who are difficult to work with is a part of life, and instead of passing around blame, he simply discusses how to get along with these people anyway and get the most out of the situation. In this part of the book, Greene's analyses are generally useful and sound, making these chapters the best of the book.

Summing up, the quality of Greene's book is diminished by the flaws in its initial chapters. However, if you can look past this, there is a solid amount of good material in the latter half of the book, and this might well be worth your time.
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on 2 March 2013
Greene is a devoted researcher and a master of the historical anecdote. In this book, he tells some very interesting stories about some very interesting people (Einstein, Mozart etc.) If you like the author and his style, you may enjoy this book.

However, I wouldn't recommend this as a serious advice book. It's extremely long and Greene's list of things you 'must do' numbers in the hundreds. This is not a practical guide to mastery; it is just a very long book with some interesting ideas and inspiring stories.

If you want a more practical, clearer guide to mastery, I highly recommend George Leonard's Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment.
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on 16 June 2015
Hi Guys,

I listen to this in audiobook format after recommendation from a friend.

** Good points **
Personally I found it very useful because I often have creative ideas/instincts/behaviours. I previously thought I was a bit 'off the wall' and sometimes different from others in some ways, this book talks about processes of creativity deeply. Some of which are simple and I do automatically, E.g. when you go for a walk you often get your great ideas, answers to a problem. Others were more deep, e.g. following your intuition/instinct is very often the path you should be following and he gave nice examples to illustrate.

** Bad points **
A minor annoyance, was the author often used the same examples up repeatedly throughout the book again and reintroduced the person.
eg Sally was a metal work artist, nobody believed she could make heavy metal statues because she was a girl.. Author will explain a point, then a few chapters later reintroduce Sally and half repeat exactly the same thing in different words, but then add another new idea.
I get what he was trying to do, but found it slightly annoying and got confused initially thinking 'hadn't he already talked about this person?'

Also, some of his ideas I didn't totally agree with, e.g. talking about how Google beat Yahoo and dominated search engines, and explained why, because e.g. they were doing x,y and z differently. But I felt that this 'backtracking is easy to do in hindsight. Actually , sometimes a few different twists of fate and it could have been Yahoo or someone else on top, sometimes the thing that made one company more successful over another was not the things the author emphasised but could easily have been a completely different set of circumstance.

** Overall **
Overall I enjoyed this book (I listened to on audio) and found it inspiring because it shed a light on my own creative processes that I did automatically without thinking. It also made me realise the importance of working really hard on one area to master it.

Hope that helps guys, let me know if it did and I can write more.
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on 9 March 2013
I just do not really know what else to say about this book other than it offers a huge amount of value... I just think it is a very very valuable book. It is excellent...

I got a the sample on my ipad, this was enough to make me then get it from my local library. After that, I knew I wanted to own it myself to take my time reading and be able to refer back too. I read a lot, books of all types though I'm not really into 'fiction' ... this book is great... so much tosh coming out from so called lifestyle 'guru's' who are just taking a punt to make a dime... Do yourself a favour, have a look at this book...
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on 3 February 2016
Like others I was initially sceptical but this book is written with so much attention to detail and thought and care - you really can't put it down. The reviewer who read a library copy but then knew s/he had to buy it was right - you need your own copy to revisit - there are no shortcuts.

Whatever the field you would like to excel in, the stories in this book will inspire you

The people who say it's too long /complicated etc don't get it - it' is hard work - that's the whole point. Really interesting and inspiring
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on 21 November 2012
This is a seminal book written on one of the most important subjects for humanity, and for the individual. Robert Greene has always had an extraordinary ability to see things as they are, not as we wish them to be. With this book, he takes that focus away from the 'baser' aspects of life, and points it at the most profound and noble thing a human being can accomplish, mastery of self, and of your purpose in life. I wish I'd had this extraordinary guide when I'd first started along the path to mastery, but who knows if I would have appreciated it as much then?
If you're content with just getting by in life, this book is probably not for you, it'll be entertaining at most. But for those dedicated to the path, this is essential reading. This will remain a classic work on the subject for a long time I'm sure.
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on 26 October 2015
Really good book but may not be suitable for a casual reader, it could be hard to follow. If you're interested in Robert Greene's stuff maybe start with 50th Law. I found it easier to read as it had the 50 Cent stories intertwined with the lessons of history.
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on 3 January 2013
Mastery by Robert Greene enables You to know Thyself.

As you read through the book, you will come to fully realize and appreciate the hard work that is needed in to accomplish one's Life's Task. You may call it your Definite Purpose in life-as famously coined by Napoleon Hill-and by right this book is somewhat an expression of a modern age "Think and Grow Rich". Contained in Robert's book is a seminal idea, borrowed from the wisdoms from ages past and present, whose time has finally come.

Anyway, the geniuses of the ages attained their eternal glory not on luck or talent alone but on constant challenges and diligence on becoming a master over their chosen field. For instance, Robert Greene gave detailed accounts on the precarious journeys taken by Charles Darwin-the famed naturalist-in his early years, ones which is marked by constant bitter dispute with the father and criticism from those who disdained his peculiar ideas. Here Charles were sent, unwillingly by his father, to the far corners of Africa. This to examine specimens.

Initially the young Darwin hated the idea of being forced to conform to the paternal standard(who doesn't?), but as soon past he quickly realized how it all became a blessing in disguise. It helped develop his spiritual metal to fend off critics for the years to come. And being sent to Africa attuned himself to his Life's task, on his setting the road for his masterpiece later on in his life entitled "On The Origins of Species".

Being only twenty years old makes me very fortunate to have this book, because the ideas contained in it forces me to think about my Life's Task. This by finding my "inner voice". Which as a child, possessed my thoughts, that steered me to write, imagine and sketch enterprises. This "inner voice" took a long time to retrieve nonetheless, largely thanks to the regimented schooling environment I was brought up in. On which being different meant being an outcast to your schoolmates, and punishment by your teachers. After three days reading the book, I got a clearer view on my Life's Task and finally connected more effectively with my "inner voice".

Please whoever you are, purchase and read this book. The investment made would be well worth it for you and your family's well being in the long run. I stand my ground on this given the amount of value I have attained, enabling me to know more about myself. And the points and examples mentioned in this review only cover a small fragment of the values of reading Robert's book! That is how golden it is.

*Mastery is my first ever direct Amazon book purchase(instead of the "used" option). Knowing full well that value rendered is well worth it in the long run for my career. Thank you Robert Greene. You deserve your success*
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