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Publisher's Summary

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Classic Robert Greene

I haven't listened to or read another author that tries to teach life lessons that are relevant today through historic stories from the past. Is he always successfull? No, not always. Is it entertaining and will you learn some cool stories about great masters of the past (think Mozart, Da Vinci)? Yes!

This book may or may not change your life. The lessons are great and the stories are interesting, however, as with all these self help types of books, you will only see change if you apply it. Fred Sanders does a great job narrating this book (one of the better Narrations I've listed to on a Robert Greene book).

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Focus on passion=Less stress and more success

If you could sum up Mastery in three words, what would they be?

Clarity of purpose

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

Being great at something and to truly arrive at being great takes 10,000 hours or more. This is a message that is not being presented in today's age. Students think that they can cheat their way to greatness or be distracted by their phones and think that they can delve deep enough into a subject matter to earn a great job. Shortcuts are preached by many in education and politics. We are not meant to multi-task. Success is not a quick-fix away.

What about Fred Sanders’s performance did you like?

Fred Sanders is the best narrator of a Robert Greene book. He tells the stories well and with just enough passion to keep the listener engaged. I wish that the other books were also available unabridged and read by the same performer. The reader of the abridged Power and Seduction books was too smarmy and took away the credibility of the text.

If you could give Mastery a new subtitle, what would it be?

Master your passion, or be mastered by others.

Any additional comments?

This is a great book and I will read it again. I also purchased the print copy. It is easy to become sidetracked by the media and all of the various forms of entertainment and news that is "so important." Even at work, it is easy to major in the minor things and fall prey to the tyranny of the urgent. This book encourages a person to focus on one thing. To do that separates you out from the 99.999% who dabble and waste their potential and their lives never accomplishing anything worthwhile. What sounds like sacrifice actually is a gift of time and clarity of mind. It takes less time to prioritize when there is a singular goal and less time is needed when the goal is so clear.

24 of 25 people found this review helpful

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Its starts of really well but becomes repetitive.

The book started of really well, however it became repetitive. 16 hours is far too long. 10 hours would of been great. he lost me at 12.5 hours He repeats some stories at least three times. What i took from the book, anything you want to be great at you have to work work work.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Must read

The books gives a big incentive to create. Moreover, reading this books definitely has a positive impact on the mood!
This is definitely one of my favorite books now.
Really enjoyed this audio version.

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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WOW, I CANT STOP LISTENING

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.

40 of 47 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Amazing

I changed my life because of this book. I was trough some depressing times but thanks to Mastery I became more productive.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

what it takes, beyond hard work, to really know it

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.

20 of 25 people found this review helpful

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Great book

Goes over common characteristics of historical figures that mastered something in their lives and explains how to take those traits and apply them to whatever you do in life

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Myopic at times, with some useful stuff thrown in.

Would you try another book from Robert Greene and/or Fred Sanders?

Maybe, but I would be cautious.

Would you ever listen to anything by Robert Greene again?

Maybe.

Which character – as performed by Fred Sanders – was your favorite?

He didn't perform characters. This was written in the third person throughout.

Do you think Mastery needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No

Any additional comments?

Some exceptional concepts and ideas are buried within this book. However, the author cannot seem to get past the idea that parents are all overbearing, non-nurturing, stifling, and have to be "overthrown". Are you kidding me? I get the idea that we have to unshackle ourselves, but I get the feeling the author is projecting, and it significantly takes away from the enjoyment and message of this book.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Mastery is both a goal and a destination...

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.

Gare Henderson

24 of 32 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • I. Reid-Knightley
  • 04-08-13

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.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • livvster
  • 07-26-15

Read this when you're 21!

Where does Mastery rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of the best Audible books I've listened to

What other book might you compare Mastery to, and why?

It's unique researching high achievers that are not all well known and better for it.

What about Fred Sanders’s performance did you like?

His passion made me want to carry on listening

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

10,000 hours to Mastery

Any additional comments?

I loved this book. I particularly enjoyed learning about some of the lesser well know Masters and have been inspired to read and research some of their material. I have learned a great deal. I was left feeling this book should be read in your 20's and there was a sense that by 40 (as I am) it's a little too late!! Nonetheless it is a great read.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Byron
  • 04-07-13

character building!

First of all I generally don't write reviews but in the case of this book I am making an exception! if you are like me and looked for this book on the recommendation of Elliot Hulse you will not be disappointed! it will get you on the way to becoming "the strongest version of yourself" the main problem i have with this audio-book is that Fred Sanders (i have never heard of him before is he famous in america?) voice get on my nerves but that's probably more of a personal thing! so all in all if you want a book for self improvement or even just to see what other peoples ideas on self improvement are! (like me) its worth ago right?

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Adam
  • 06-30-13

Not a revelation

Any additional comments?

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.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Rory
  • 04-04-13

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..

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • FENG
  • 12-23-12

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.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Majed
  • 08-12-15

Amazing, Enlightening and Motivating

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, I read the book, and listened to the audio book twice and plan to do so again. The stories of the masters' lives are truly inspiring and I believe everyone should know their stories.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Mastery?

Michael Faradays story really resonated with me

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Martha grahams story was a very unlikely one which shows you can achieve once you trust yourself and follow your instincts

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Shek
  • 04-27-15

Brilliant

A true insight into mastering any field. Recommended for anyone wanting to develop their inclinations. Lessons not easily learned from people around you.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • D Anderson
  • 07-03-15

An inspirational read for the aspiring Master

Robert Greene presents valuable principles of Mastery and allows the reader (or listener) to absorb these principles with relevant examples throughout history.

Thoroughly enjoyed! Well read too!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • TallBrew
  • 01-26-15

Compelling and Inspiring

This is not a dry textbook-style, step-by-step guide to mastery. It is far more engaging than I thought it could be and the narrator does a magnificent job.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Erica Dibden
  • 05-18-15

This is a Masterpiece

For all of you out there struggling to find your life's purpose, this is the book for you.
I can clearly map out what I want, when I want it and more importantly why I want it.
This book is gold...

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-19-18

overall great read

Was in depth but felt very repetitive in uncovering the background stories of the lives of the people discussed within the book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Sean James Finn
  • 01-02-15

Great

Repetition of stories for in well with the mantra of the book. However I didn't really think it was written well which was disjointed.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Tim Jones
  • 08-28-16

Some interesting ideas but lacking real substance

In this book, the author presents his pet theory as to what steps can be taken on the steps to 'mastery' by anyone who chooses to do so. These steps could probably have constituted an interesting magazine article or blog post, but are instead extensively illustrated by the lives of famous 'masters' (DiVinci, Franklin, Einstein, etc) none of whom appear to have consciously followed any set method to their own success.

The stories are sometimes interested though often repetitious as the author cherry picks different details from their lives and stories to illustrate his points. In the end though, we are left with a large number of absolute statements by the author that never really get backed up.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Terry
  • 10-27-16

Inspiring and insightful

Well written book with modern examples of masters in their field and their journey. Lots of gems to take away. Make sure you take notes!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Simon
  • 05-28-18

Deep and thought provoking

It took me a little while to get into the book, but it was deep and thought provoking in a fascinating way. Well worth a listen

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Andrew Weekes
  • 04-03-18

Much of Value

I feel this book would be five stars with some editing or restructuring. Greene's perspectives on mastery go deeper than standard success habit writing. Linking mastery to social intelligence and primal desire to learn are a couple of fascinating concepts. There are extensive strategies for pursuing mastery with biographical examples demonstrating the concepts of mastery through anecdotal evidence. The book repeats these biographical examples more than once. This repetition doesn't add much to the book and makes key concepts more difficult to pull out rather than easier. A concise section on the strategies followed by another section on the biographical examples would be less repetitive, more usable and make the book at least an hour shorter. I have read all of Greene's books in one form or another though and can highly recommend this one.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tyler
  • 01-01-18

Amazing, Mind Opening

It's a real perspective changer. Recommend it to anyone with unfulfilled aspirations. Which should be, well everyone.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-29-17

amazing book, be your best self

challenge you to do your life best work, great real life examples . be your best self

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Vishal Chaudhary
  • 07-13-17

Absolutel Gem of Book!

On sacle of 1/10 I would give 10.5. Book full of timeless wisdom and history of past maestros how they get over adversity and achieve remarkable results.Very detailed analysis on human brain and evaluation. Must read and reread it!