mastery cover

Author: Robert Greene

Rating: 7/10

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Originally, I thought that this text would be containing much of the same message as the "So Good They Can't Ignore You" book I have previously reviewed here. Too my surprise, It wasn't so.


While there are clear areas of overlap in content between the two books, namely in some of methods to attain mastery in any given topic, the book by Robert Green surprised me with its breadth and depth. Robert Greene has clearly done massive research into the topic, and provides an extensive list of recommendations and strategies for achieving mastery. Furthermore, these strategies are substantiated with a number of personal examples from very different areas of expertise, ranging from Physics (with Einstein), to Modern Dance and Painting. Those personal examples really enrich the text in my opinion, and make the points clearer. The author even steps briefly into areas where classical texts on this matter dear not venture in, such as how to handle office politics and interpersonal conflict. With this move, he clearly makes a statement that successful Mastery cannot be attained simply by ways of technical mastery alone, and highlights how important the way we communicate with others is in the whole mastery process. The only weaknesses I see in this book (and there are not many), are ironically related to the author trying to cover too much ground. At times it feels that there is some redundancy in chapters where he is mostly re-iterating points he made earlier. Another point where I feel this book differs from "So Good They Can't Ignore You" is in putting more emphasis and credence to the concept of an innate vocation of "gift", whereas the book by Cal Newport argues that most of us don't have any way of knowing what we could be good at until we try hard and dedicate ourselves to a worthwhile learning endeavor. I tend to favor the later viewpoint rather than the former. 

All in all, this is a very interesting book, covering a lot of ground. Most readers (myself included) will likely learn some useful concepts and ideas, and will be entertained by the personal experiences described in the various chapters. Recommended.

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