Cheers Book Club …..Mastery by Robert Greene

 Title : Mastery : How to become the Master of any Skill

Author : Robert Greene

Year of Publication : 2012

Genre: Non-fiction, Self-Help

Publisher: Viking Press

Mastery by Robert Greene is the author’s fifth book and has since been regarded the holy grail of self improvement literature. This is a fantastic book, especially for anyone who desires to be the authority in their given work of life.

In Mastery, Greene, analysis the steps taken by historical world renowned inventors, sports-persons,  businessmen e.t.c. Having done this, he comes the the conclusion that regardless of their occupation, these masters followed a similar pathway to attaining legendary status.

Perhaps the most notable of these steps is the 10,000 hours apprenticeship required to be a master in any fields. According to Greene’s research, the best way to learn practical knowledge is through apprenticeship. This form of learning is guaranteed to impact the most knowledge but takes 10,000 hours (approximately 7-9 years ) of  conscious, consistent and continuous learning to reach the level of mastery. This idea has been widely discussed by numerous authors including Malcolm Gladwell in his book : Outliers, The Story of Success.

Lessons from Mastery

Reconnect with your inner self to rediscover your calling. Although society and other influential people in our lives may direct us towards certain vocations, it is best to look within to find which fulfills us most.

”Just as a well filled day brings blessed sleep, so a well employed life brings a blessed death”

Leonardo Davinchi

Having decided on the perfect vocation, choose and commit to an apprenticeship. This is a tested and proven way to acquire the required practical knowledge needed in the real world to perform tasks that distinguishes one’s work. This apprenticeship is going to take years of humble observation, skill acquisition, and experimentation.

Occupy the perfect niche. As discussed in our review of  “The Science Of Getting Rich” it is best to create one’s lane of expertise/ mastery than to compete for already occupied space. As discussed in the book, that case of Charles Darwin illustrates that attaining general knowledge of a chosen vocation is important, but that knowledge shown be streamline into specific areas for the attainment of in depth knowledge.

Mastery is achievable. All of us can, but most of us won’t. Mastery is not a result of some super human genes. No one is born a master. The difference between masters and ordinary people is that masters do not give up on their crafts. Often times we pick a craft and half way though our education, we either get bored of the craft or give up due to frustrations. Greene argues that it is at this point of frustration that one needs to push further. This is a sign of progress and dedicating more time to intense studies would help overcome this plateau.

Mentors are infinitely important (see The New Mentors ). We all have limited time, hence it is wise to find someone with broad knowledge about our chosen vocation to impact as much knowledge as possible upon us in a short time. So what you ought to have learned in 4 year, you would learn in 2 year under the tutelage of a mentor.

You must break loose from your mentor at the right time. Make bold steps towards creating your own legacy by applying and adjusting the teachings from your mentor and years of apprenticeship into your own peculiar area of expertise.

In conclusion, nothing beats hard work. There you have it, that in my opinion is the concluding lesson from this book. This book takes us through the lives of great masters and what you realize in their stories is that, everyone has a unique story of hard work and dedication. This is a book everyone should read and revisit frequently.


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