The monumental self-help work "Mastery" has inspired millions of readers and seminar attendees to take a second look at the things they consider themselves expert in. Do they truly "own" a skill or an expertise or a business?
Renowned basketball legend Michael Jordan practiced the same shots thousands of times after any other star basketball player would have stopped, thinking he had perfected that throw. Michael played on.
Golf whiz Tiger Woods did the same with golf. He knew the secret to owning the golf course was to master the shots. Play he did when lesser golf professionals would have quit. Tiger kept hitting.
Basketball coach Jim Valvano, who led North Carolina's Cinderella Team to a victory that surprised everyone, succumbed to cancer all too soon, but his famous last words still echo in our minds all these years afterwards. "Never give up," he said. Jim Valvano never did.
In Mastery, the author turns to great heroes in history. He sifts through biographical works about them to learn how they mastered their arenas, how they achieved the things they did, and he shares them with us so that we, too, can master our own lives and our futures.
Greene turns to people like Charles Darwin, Henry Ford, Martha Graham, Leonardo Da Vinci, Mozart, and Marcel Proust. He takes into consideration modern-day giants as well. Then he works in the lessons we can learn from those who are lesser known.
First we need to know ourselves and our calling. We must be willing to spend considerable time as an apprentice, examining those who have gone before, honing our skills, experimenting with what might be, and be honest with ourselves as we as we go through self-examinations in order to become more than we are.
We must welcome criticism and failure, which present us with opportunities to learn from them and grow stronger.
We must recognize that human emotions keep us from reaching our true potential and learn to push away things that threaten to rob us of what we can be. Such characteristics include envy, pride, laziness, inconsistency, complacency, ego, closed-mindedness and more.
About the author:
American writer Robert Greene was born in 1959. He grew up in Los Angeles, California. He attended the University of California at Berkeley and finished a B.A. degree in Classical Studies at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. He is best known as a popular speaker and author of self-help books, although he has worked in a wide range of jobs, including construction worker, translator, and editor.
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 US Air
Force’s last ace fighter pilot?
In Mastery, Robert Greene mines the
biographies of great historical figures for clues about gaining control over
our own lives and destinies. Picking up where his bestselling 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
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.
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