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on 26 March 2017
I came across this book purely by chance, and having loved his book about power, The 48 Laws of Power (Which I have also reviewed, so I won't go into it here) I bought the paperback. To my knowledge, there's an abridged (posh word for shortened) edition, but this is the whole enchilada at well over three hundred pages! It took a while to read, and the print is really small, so it's best you get the kindle version if your eyes aren't what they were! So, Monsieur Greene, on this outing, teaches some really valuable lessons on exploring the full potential of the human psyche using past and present masters of their crafts as examples, like Leonardo Da Vinci, Goethe, Faraday and Einstein. It's totally changed my perspective on life, as Greene suggests that we find our Life's Task, and not close off our minds to learning new skills and embracing change, whatever our age, instead of getting comfortable, because it's safe and reassuring. He mentions the importance of mentors, and that, in some cases, we have to mentor ourselves if no such mentors are available to us. And the important stages of learning an apprenticeship, from observation, to breaking free and striking out on your own. I found it really informative and useful, and I came away with two memorable pieces of information, one being that, when you feel you have nothing left to learn in a job or apprenticeship, it's time to leave, and a great quote by Einstein, who viewed the intuitive mind as a 'sacred gift' and the rational mind as 'a faithful servant.' He said that 'we have created a society where we honour the faithful servant and forget the gift'. There's something for everyone in this gem of a book if you stick with it, and what you can take to the bank is that Greene states that we all have it within ourselves to be masters and modern day geniuses, and that it's not merely the preserve of those who are 'naturals', He illustrates this point by referring to a pilot who was not naturally gifted, who put in the training and the hours to become one of the best, even when the odds were stacked against him, and the dedication of a top basketball player who, while not naturally gifted at the sport relentlessly displayed such dedication, passion and commitment, and the hard work paid off. Greene's message is clear, to truly get the most out of our lives, we have to push past our comfort zones and see what we are really capable of, with the right inspiration and guidance. Everyone should read this book, and I, for one, am very glad that I did. Well worth its five star rating!
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on 24 March 2018
I guess what I was hoping for here was inspiration and how-to to achieve mastery. Did I get it? Yes and no. The book examines masters from the past and present, and keeps coming back to them at various stages of their lives, to study how they came to be masters. The how-to is as simple as find something you love, call it a calling if you want. Find a type of apprenticeship within the field you've chosen. Then practise, practise more, and slowly develop your own style. It is inspirational indeed, but can get a bit repetitive at times. In the end I don't think there's a definite formula for mastery but I still buy many of Greene's points and examples.

Now, the crux is to figure out what to be a master at. It's not that easy. This is where the book provided value to me. To start thinking about callings, purpose, a life task. Big topic and humbug to some. Not to me though. I do believe this is the way forward, and Mastery entered my life at the right time to start this thought process.
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on 3 May 2015
I was a little suspicious of this book, as there are so many 'motivational'-type books out there, but actually it rather grew on me.

It sets out to explain how to become an expert at something, illustrated by various examples from the lives of famous and not-so-famous people. Eloquently written, these are genuinely interesting and inspirational. As Greene has used such a wide range of examples, they will strike chords with different readers - so not merely obvious ones from the arts and sciences (e.g. Leonardo da Vinci), but even a boxing trainer and a fighter pilot.

The broad message is a familiar one - keep working obsessively at it for years, and don't expect instant results - but with various more specific insights, e.g. that once they achieve a level of mastery people acquire an intuitive, holistic overview of their subject matter that transcends the details they have mastered - seeing the wood rather than the trees - which applies equally to chess, piano playing, painting, etc. (I've some personal experience of this phenomenon in music, and am just starting to sense it in chess.)

My only, minor, criticism is that each of these life histories is revisited several times in the book to illustrate different points, thus becoming a little repetitive. But there is plenty of material covered here, and readers will no doubt identify further points relevant to them that are not explicitly discussed by the author.
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on 7 December 2017
Best book of self development I have ever read. I just wanted to buy the physical book as I have listened the audio book thats how good it is. It change my life somehow. I wish I could have read this book when I was 15.
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on 2 October 2017
This book is a MUST for anyone who is planning to master a field. Probably one of the best books I've read in my life, it is now my Bible. Greene mentions the importance of having a mentor on your road to achieving mastery- this book is in effect, a mentor in itself.
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on 21 February 2017
Excellent inspiration for those seeking to master their craft/trade and profession. I originally bought this for my brother as a Christmas present for him, he was not dissapointed. Ideal for aspiring professionals/veterans, and industry guys & gals who have an unshakeable will to learn and grow...and eventually master their skills.
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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 25 October 2016
Really good book. The author really reminds us a simple truth I want to believe: mastery is accessible to anyone, it is just a question of mindset and work.
I will certainly read out again.
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on 19 September 2015
Highly recommended for anyone serious enough about gaining true skill in a subject. Even if you are just curious its worth a read. I didn't find anything in the book useless, everything had great purpose. Everything was clear, made sense, and was taught in interesting ways.
The format is excellent, with a very clean subtle use of graphic design elements that will make re-reads and further study a breeze.
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on 19 June 2016
A very interesting book exploring the way we acquire skills in life. As well as being thought provoking there any many ideas that can be implemented by anyone wanting to learn a new skill.
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