Mastery is a book by Robert Greene that looks at the topic of achieving “mastery” in a task this is something that the book lays out as being more than an expert you are an active, creative leader in the field.
Throughout the book Robert uses real life examples of people to illustrate his points these people include Freddy Roach the boxing trainer, Charles Darwin and Leonardo da Vinci amongst others. He uses their biographies to highlight themes in the book and as a way to show in a practical sense to the reader how the points or theories in this book relate to practice.
The use of real life stories does serve to illustrate his point very well however it’s constant use does dredge on a bit and some of the book sounds like you are rereading the same passage as he uses the same people and stories on occasion. Freddy Roach’s story being one of the more prescient examples. However it is not enough to ruin the flow of the book it does come as some what of a distraction at times.
The book is stratified in a few sections that cover the points from choosing your “calling” to becoming a fully fledged master in your chosen field. The book alludes to research but never really delves into it to base it’s points it is very heavily based of anecdotal and story evidence. Which is more compelling for the reader but maybe not as authoritative as it could have been.
In essence Robert leans on things such as the 10,000 hour rule of practice using this as the basis for the phase one of mastery which he calls the apprenticeship which is a decade or more spend doing your chosen activity for it’s own reward. Not looking for special attention or undue reward just like a child learning the task and attaining physical mastery over it.
Robert also covers some social strategies you can utilise during your apprenticeship which I found particularly interesting as it is a very important dynamic in life and not one I have seen covered in any real depth before so I found it quite a rewarding aspect of the book.
The book then divulges into how you must break free of your mentor and strike out on your own engaging creativity and diversifying your knowledge base thus allowing you to think creatively and come up with original and novel solutions to problems.
The last half of the book is definitely weaker than the first however on the whole it is an excellent and motivating read with a lot of useful things to say about one of the biggest topics anyone can cover your life’s work.
I would highly recommend you give it a look if your stuck for something to read.