The eagerly anticipated new book from the author of the best-selling The 48 Laws of Power
What did Charles Darwin, middling schoolboy and underachieving second son, do to become one of the earliest and greatest naturalists the world has known? What were the similar choices made by Mozart and by Caesar Rodriguez, the U.S. Air Force's last ace fighter pilot? In Mastery, Robert Greene's fifth book, he mines the biographies of great historical figures for clues about gaining control over our own lives and destinies. Picking up where The 48 Laws of Power left off, Greene culls years of research and original interviews to blend historical anecdote and psychological insight, distilling the universal ingredients of the world's masters.
Temple Grandin, Martha Graham, Henry Ford, Buckminster Fuller - all have lessons to offer about how the love for doing one thing exceptionally well can lead to mastery. Yet the secret, Greene maintains, is already in our heads. Debunking long-held cultural myths, he demonstrates just how we, as humans, are hardwired for achievement and supremacy. Fans of Greene's earlier work and Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers will eagerly devour this canny and erudite explanation of just what it takes to be great.
©2012 Robert Greene (P)2012 Penguin Audio
Private intellectual, writer, and retired academic. Currently R&D director for Gravitational Systems Engineering, Inc.
While many of the ideas have been covered in other books, this author handles the topics with a fresh sense of urgency, and a lot of good illustration. The message is an overlay of the old joke "how do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice!", with the idea of learning to put your passion first.
There is no magic here, but an excellent personal trainer. Its worth a listen.
A fellow listener inclined to share my opinion on these productions. Maybe even inspire someone toward a powerful, or educational audiobook!
This book is a self-help book, told through use of many famous and inspiring people's lives. Robert Greene shares some ideas for improving our disposition throughout the book, at times even suggesting we be deceptive to co-workers under particular circumstances. I found that tidbit of advice entertaining, if not mildly surprising. The biographical aspects were by far the most exciting for me. Greene was able to bring new life to the iconic persons in his book through bits of their lives, either unbeknownst to me, or shared from a fresh perspective.
As far as his advice, well I take it as mostly optimistic opinion. He bases his overlying theme of 'long intensive work equals positive results' on real and sound data, however some of the advice seems to be extemporaneous concepts contrived while he was conveying the dilemmas in his subjects lives. Don't get me wrong; good advice is good, whether fabricated off-the-cuff, or through years of mental labor. It just feels awkwardly and forcefully placed, when he puts his ideas in action, as a parallel to these great men and woman's responses to their struggles.
The narrator was absolutely fine. My idea of a perfect narrator, is one that I don't even regard; I am to engrossed in what I am hearing and interpreting to fathom. I would guess my concentration on the material was broken three times throughout the entire sixteen hours due to mispronunciations. That is by my standards awesome!
Now that I have the negative criticism out of the way, I would like to say that this is a great book. I found it reminiscent of Malcolm Gladwell's 2008 book, Outliers where he too, writes extensively on the ten thousand hour rule. I learned plenty for the money I spent on it, and who knows I might even decided to master something. Enjoy, this is a great bargain!
Detailed and far ranging discussion of what it takes to be the best you can be. Examples of both widely known and not so widely known domain experts help illuminate what is required.
When the author starts riffing on the malevolent aspects of the mentor/mentee relationship, I think he is off base. Setting that aside, any person that has the drive to be the best will learn something from this book. Super narration.
The author uses plenty of example from Davinci to Mozart to Proust to Darwin to Paul Graham to illustrate his points about Mastery and how it is not through some rare gift but through conscious practice and attention to detail. Understanding this and how it relates to your "life's work" can guide career decisions. I wish I had a copy of this when I left high school rather than learning on the job so to speak.
I'm a lawyer and mediator. I represent businesses in disputes with their insurers and in other complex litigation. I also assist machinery companies and manufacturers (primarily international) with equipment sales, non-disclosure agreements, and business issues. I also mediate commercial disputes.
The substance of this book is great. It features stories of interesting people who have achieve mastery in their fields. It debunks the myth that masters are born and not made through hard work.
Great subject matter with interesting stories. What could be better? It would be better if it were eight hours instead of sixteen. The book simply needs a major editing (pruning might be a better word). The book is repetitive and needlessly lengthy, droning on like a politician's speech after the point has already been made.
I loved this book, very exciting stories and examples of masters being taught by themselves and stories of their apprenticeships. I have listened to this book over 5 times in the first month and I keep getting more and more out of this book. Instant favorite in my collection of over 500 books. Daily listener and this book has excited me more than most.
Classics, history, historical fiction, marketing, Napoleonic stuff and of course 'Boys own Adventure'. This is my bent. Occasional self help as well.
This is a good look at what it really takes to be a master. No quick easy silver bullet but just work, insight and sweat. I like Robert Greene's books as I find them very helpful and well written. Wish I had this knowledge when I was starting out. Of course it doesn't answer the problem when your chosen profession or skill you are pursuing disappears or becomes redundant. You're suppose to have the insight to see where the next step is. I have not found that and feel like I am looking in a dark room for a black cat that isn't really there. Never the less this book is well worth the listen to. One of the good self help books.
The idea is common sense. Master something and you will do well. I like Robert Greene's 48 laws of power. Excellent story telling, entertaining and useful. However, mastery is somewhat similar. I did not think it was worth listening. Didn't finish until end and wish i could return for something I have not yet heard.
Relying upon more real principles and less positive mental attitude exercises.
No. He must be delusional to expect spoken rules to be accepted as eternal principles. Using reason beyond credible limits to justify miraculous results. Like two shaman referring to the same thunderstorm in opposite terms. One desires sacrifice to appease the angry gods and the other declaring that the gods are fighting our battles for us in the heavens. He twists thoughts to support outlandish claims.
No. Reading was a repetitious rhythm that was more like a constant commercial than a book reading. He regularly mispronounced words like "omnipotent" in his readings. Always sounding exactly the same in his timbre and pace.
Distrust, a con in the grossest manner. I fell for these same principles and found myself irresponsibly in debt. An "attitude of abundance" does not regard lack as a possibility. My collectors would tend to disagree with that reality. Thinking it so does not make reality go away. It still needs to be addressed.
It is like the scripture in the bible that spoke of early members of the church saying to the poor, "go home, be fed, all is well, be happy" It did not fill their bellies any more that these words could fill ones own coffers.
No. It repeats the same biographies over and over. I might recommend an abridged version.
The reader was good.
No. Repeated himself enough as it is.
While there is some great info on masters and useful info on mastery, Greene does not respect the reader's time. I can see the possible value of of spreading a biography over several topical chapters, but many details of each of the biographies are repeated at least 3-4 times. The book therefore has a very drawn-out feel.
Perhaps more importantly, Greene will often praise a master's tendency to carve his own path, but then he will also stress the importance of walking on eggshells around existing paradigms in "career" paths, as if a career path in profit-driven enterprise is unavoidable and the only way to give voice to your creativity. He does not advise masters to challenge the status quo when it is not prudent. He talks about a fighter pilot's unmatched kill count as if it is an accolade, and not a tragic symptom of pilots having to master a task that should not be necessary. Mastery of flight is one thing, but to exalt a kill count is to miss the point that masters are the ones who should, by their massive action and inner wisdom, be the ones saving us from the necessity to act out our lives within these paradigms, rather than "finding their niche" within a culture to demonstrate their mastery. Again, he does praise masters' staunch individuality, but ultimately forfeits to the notion that the expression of that individuality must manifest within the typical realms of politics, economics, business, academia, etc., ignoring the fact that any true master with half a pair of testicles will not forfeit and will find a way to achieve mastery without any consideration of or acquiescence to the trending pardigms and societal fuckery of the era.
"Not a revelation"
More interesting for the biographies than any insight into mastery and self development. Can literally be summed up as 'work hard at what you enjoy and are best at'. Really wanted to like this book but finished a little disappointed at the lack of developed insight.
"An inspirational insight into success"
This is an entertaining and insightful examination into what it takes to stand out above the crowd. It helps you to realise that the success of geniuses like Mozart, Leonardo Da Vinci and Michael Faraday wasn't handed to them on a plate and that their natural talents alone did not secure their places in history. The secret ingredients were the love of their subject, their attitude and their determination to succeed despite constant obstacles. This book has helped me to see setbacks and challenges in a different light - often, they are blessings in disguise. Sometimes, they are the very key to success itself.
"Marvelous insight into some of the greats minds"
Really enjoyed this from start to finish. Some brilliant stories on past and present masters of their fields. The narrative of trying to apply your own mind to do the same I took a bit tongue in cheek. I'm definitely not Mozart..
"Great and life changing"
It is the book that help u get skills life and jobs done. Finding the thing motivates u from feep within your heart.
Goes on for a while and entire sections are repeated. All in all it is a book that somewhat confirms the obvious, but in an entertaining way. The narration sometimes droops a bit and the author hasn't quite mastered the art of being concise.
"fully furnished foray into the science of success"
I regularly return to Mastery. The book contains such a wide range of case studies, full of both informative lessons and unforgettable anecdotes which show empirical truths in the human psyche across the centuries. As a young person beginning my career, I almost follow it as a guidebook at times, keeping me on track and motivated.
Each of the case-studies' lives are scintillating biographies, over the last year I have probably cited each of them at various parties and with my friends. I particularly liked hearing the life-story of Benjamin Franklin- who became the polymath he was through making countless bad decisions. He posed as a widow so that his writings would be published by his jealous brother, and then revealed it- then was dismissed and ended up in a printing press in London, where his unwillingness to play along with the other workers led to a 'poltergeist' ruining his work. Each of the stories serves a purpose, they aren't merely anecdotes- I can't praise enough how much I love Robert Greene's 'show, don't tell' approach with this book.
Fred Sanders has a wonderfully colourless voice- not putting his own emotional stamp on its contents, which for such an informative book is a real benefit. I felt very comfortable listening to him and could concentrate indefinitely- sometimes a narrator begins to grate after a while. I also got great enjoyment out of his pronounciation of 'von Goethe'.
Greatness is a code. (?)
If you are a hard worker and want to get the most out of the brain you have, i recommend this book.
"A great start to any aspiring master"
One of the best, have listened to funnier but nothing compare to its educational message.
Einsteins story about his job at the patent office, how a job can be something that helps you eat and give you time to critically think about what you really want to do and become in life.
Temple Grandin and how she overcame autism, becoming a true master.
A great book and will have examples of things you probably have done subconsciously, but not taking anything away from it just making it even more powerful. Almost turning it into a tool instead of something you think, you feel or would like to be the right way.
The references to past masters making it a collection of GREAT stories and not too educational.
"Not for me"
This was a departure for me. The self help aspects of the book I found irritating and there was a lot of repetition in telling the stories of historical masters. However, the philosophy of his main thrust was reasonable, some aspects of brain development, the evolution of intelligence and some of the mini biographies were interesting.
"Great Book that i'd recommend to anyone"
This is the first book I got from Audible and I'm happy with the choice. I learned much from this book as it show you what it takes to be good in something. It is hard work , we sometimes resist doing and calling ourself talentless. But talent without the long hours of hard work to put in is nothing. I will definately some back to this book and listen to it again as it is really inspiring. Again, I would recommend this book to anyone...
"Well researched and tight message throughout"
Robert Greene always produces interesting content and researches it very well. He is thorough and his writing is engaging as he weaves the stories of various masters of their discipline throughout the ages, bringing theme after theme together to tie the subject together in comprehensive manual for intellectually understanding mastery.
Worth a read. Very interesting in both content and context.
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