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Mastery by Robert Greene
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Mastery (edition 2012)

by Robert Greene

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200358,750 (4.03)1
Member:RGazala
Title:Mastery
Authors:Robert Greene
Info:Viking Adult (2012), Hardcover, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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Mastery by Robert Greene

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Great book. If nothing else it's worth reading for the stories. ( )
  ignacy | Sep 11, 2014 |
Robert Greene's Mastery explores the lives of many historical Masters (Mozart, Da Vinci, Proust, etc.) and explains how their Mastery is attainable for everyone. By ignoring societal constraints and complications, following our own interests, serving time in an apprenticeship phase, and staying committed to our craft, Greene believes that everyone can become a Master and make lasting contributions to society.

While I like Greene's message and find his writing to be absorbing, I have some serious concerns about this book. First is the fact that Greene's conclusions stem from extremely shaky "evidence". There are practically no scientific studies cited in this book, and very rarely do Greene's interpretations involve any proof at all. Every piece of evidence that Greene presents to support his theory is anecdotal. Greene is not a scientist himself, and really gives no reason why we should believe his arguments. Throughout this book, I could not help but think that anybody could have come to Greene's conclusions and presented them as facts. So, why should we believe in what Greene has to say? Unfortunately, this book never provides an adequate answer. We are left to assume that what Greene tells us is true, because Robert Greene says so.

Another issue in this book is it's extremely repetitive nature. Every single section tells an anecdote about someone considered a Master in his or her field, and then Greene goes on to explain that this person is a Master only through hard work, something that everyone can achieve. This cycle occurs over and over and over and over and over and over, for 300 crammed pages and is truly exhausting. Even more disconcerting is how Greene will, within his repetitive structure, duplicate anecdotal sections. There are three sections throughout the book that discuss famed boxing trainer Freddie Roach, and each section tells the same exact anecdote. A fact may be added or the story might be expanded at the end, but the reality is that I ended up reading the same story three times (never has Roach been given such exposure in a book that has absolutely nothing to do with boxing). The effect is nearly maddening and forced me to skim over various sections, searching for new information.

While I found a number of flaws with this book, I don't want to take anything away from Greene's prose. The book is well written, provides interesting mini-biographies about famous figures, and can be quite captivating in the areas that till new ground. But, for me, it is hard to take a book seriously when it relies so much on anecdotes and ignores the need for any scientific evidence. In a book about Mastery, it's clear that Greene is no Master of science, no Master of proof, and no Master of Mastery, but is, instead, simply a Master of selling books.

Thanks to Viking Books and First Reads for sending me the ARC of this book.
  PlayingBooky | Apr 2, 2013 |
Each of us has a passion. For a variety of reasons within and outside our control, very few of us pursue our respective passions to the point of achieving mastery over them. Author Robert Greene's great new book, "Mastery," can't help us defeat objective limitations truly beyond our control that prevent us from mastering those passions. Barring such limitations, however, "Mastery" is brilliant. It's nothing short of a concise, elegantly written, well-researched and deeply inspirational guide to assess, confront and overpower any other obstacles (whether internal or external) standing between us and approaching, if not achieving, mastery of a pursuit core to our particular natures and desires.

Other reviewers here and elsewhere note that from time to time "Mastery" is repetitive. That's true. Then again, so too is the path to mastery one of repeating meaningful thoughts and actions over and again until the objective is within reach. In that sense, the book practices what it preaches, and encourages its readers to do so as they absorb Greene's instruction and commentary.

I'm one of Robert Greene's big fans -- I consider his book "The 48 Laws of Power" (2000) one of the most important and enjoyable I've ever read. "Mastery" is a worthy, and in many ways essential, companion to "The 48 Laws of Power." ( )
1 vote RGazala | Dec 29, 2012 |
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Everyone holds his fortune in his own hands, like a sculptor the raw material he will fashion into a figure. But it's the same with that type of artistic activity as with all others: We are merely born with the capability to do it. The skill to mold the material into what we want must be learned and attentively cultivated -------- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
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There exists a form of power and intelligence that represents the high point of human potential.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670024961, Hardcover)

The eagerly anticipated new book from the author of the bestselling 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:48:26 -0400)

Robert Greene, the "modern Machiavelli" debunks the prevailing mythology of success and presents a radical new way to greatness.

(summary from another edition)

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