[Friday Book Review] Mastery by Robert Greene

25th Oct 2013
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Mastery

Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Outliers had very lucidly explained the concept of 10,000 hrs of hard work to master any field. This week, we review the book Mastery by Robert Greene who is also known as the modern day Machiavelli.Unlike most of the nonfiction books, this one makes for a very captivating read and talks about the path to become a leader in any field. It also follows the common patterns which the author found in most of fields he researched about. The book contains examples from people like Mozart, Darwin, Einstein, Humphry Davy to living legends like Paul Graham, VS Ramachandran etc.

The book is mainly divided into 6 chapters explaining the steps to attain mastery in different fields

1. Discover your calling: The life's task - The first move to mastery is to learn who you are, how do you reconnect to your inner force, the force which directed you to activities and things which fit your inclinations in childhood and as we grow these inclinations tend to fade out as we start listening to our peers and parents and get distracted by the daily anxieties. Reconnecting with those activities will lead us to find our inner calling and direct us to our career path. Here he gives a brilliant example of how Leonardo da Vinci found his calling and moved in the right direction.

2. Submit to reality: The ideal apprenticeship - Post your formal education, you enter this phase as you move on to your first job and begin your practical education. This phase is known as apprenticeship. This is the time where you must master the skills and discipline yourself and develop an independent thinking, which prepares you to take on new challenges on your way to mastery.

3. Absorb the masters power: The mentor dynamic - In the short time you spend on earth, learning everything by yourself is not possible. The mentor-protégé relationship is one of the most efficient forms of learning. The right mentors know how to challenge you and where to focus your attention, they can provide realistic feedback on what you are doing. This has been demonstrated in a beautiful way in the relationship between Michael Faraday and Humphry Davy.

4. Seeing people as they are: Social intelligence - Manipulations and resistance by people can often be one of the greatest impediments to attain success in life. Benjamin Franklin also faced the same issue in the early stages of his career and how he has overcome this is told in this chapter.

5. Awaken the dimensional mind: The creative active - As we accumulate more skills and learn more things we tend to get anxious as how to use this new-found knowledge. As we learn more we must become increasingly bold and confident about what we know and expand our knowledge to related fields thus forming new associations and start experimenting more, thus become increasingly dimensional and open to new ideas.

6. Fuse the intuitive with the rational: Mastery - After a deep immersion to our field of work we tend to build a kind of intuitive ability for the different aspects of our field; when we add this ability and with the rational processes we expand our minds to their outer limits and able to explore the full potential of the process.

Every chapter contains many case studies, practical strategies to follow, and also the cases where the process didn't work.

All in all, this book makes for a captivating read apart from numerous stories and mini biographies on the life of peoples which in themselves teach you a lot of things.

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