It’s been a while since I have posted a book review. To be honest, I don’t feel the need to post reviews on every book I read, except for the one’s that really makes my mind wonder. Today, I will be reviewing a book called Mastery by Robert Greene.
This review has been long in the making. I read this book several years ago, and then took some notes on them, only to lose those notes, and forget the information it provided. I have re-read this book recently, and was quite amazed at the amount of information it provided, primarily to do with Mastering a skill. The author uses a ton of examples from historical figures such as Goethe, Leonardo Da Vinci, Charles Darwin and many more to drive his point. The author breaks down the book into what he calls the “Keys to Mastery”.
The first key is to find your passion, or what you truly love. One way to find out he says is to go back in time to when you were a boy or your younger self, to find out what is the one thing you did all the time.
The second key is to take on an internship and do what you are passionate about not for the money or prestige, especially at the beginning stages, but rather for the knowledge and wisdom you can gain from delving deep into the subject of interest.
The third key is to find a mentor, in this day and age, this could be a manager that you work with directly, a college professor, or even a distinguished figure online, whose ideas provide a multitude of valuable information or knowledge. In the old days, a young person would actually be sent to live with a mentor, and work as an apprentice under his guidance. The mentor and the student would form a special bond, as the mentor saw a lot of his younger self in the apprentice. He would slowly teach the apprentice everything he knew about the trade, before the mentor took of and followed his own path. This is where the next key comes in.
Finally, the last key to mastery is to take what you have learned under the guidance and apprenticeship of the mentor, and create your own path using your new found knowledge, to advance your skills. The idea is take take what you have learned and to sharpen it, make it better, build upon it, and find new ways to use or implement this skill.
You don’t need to be a genius to attain mastery in a particular area or skill. The author provides examples of many historical figures who found out at the very young age what they loved, and did whatever they could to be the best at it. In the case of Leonardo Da Vinci, he took his love for painting nature and molded it into what it eventually became. Darwin was not considered a genius by any means, but he took his ability to make keen observations, and study nature, and ended up writing the theory of evolution.
Every one of us is unique, and we all have certain natural abilities. If you ever thought or felt that you would be good at something, or that a certain vocation or career was what you were destined to follow, go after that feeling. It’s rare when that feeling is intense, in many of us it takes years of trial and error and some sole searching to find that one thing that truly gets us excited to get up in the morning when we think about it and occupy ourselves with it and let it totally consume us.
In this day and age many of us are afraid to be unique for fear that we would be singled out or won’t be able to compete with the rest of them, especially in our careers. So what do we do, we give in and try to blend in, and be like everybody else, thinking that is life, and the only way to survive, is to be part of this group think, and play the game. Those who venture out on their own are considered rebels, or risk takers, or misguided, or dreamers. This can be risky, provided you stay in this dream world and don’t take action. But if you are able to persuade yourself to take the risk, think out of the box, and realize the hardship that will follow, but fall in love with the journey, then there is a chance you attain mastery.