We all want to become kings of our craft. The very best of the very best in our chosen field. How do we make it happen? Mastery by Robert Greene claims to hold the key to accomplishing it all.
Who wouldn’t want to be recognized as the very best at what they do, at work or in life? The book Mastery by Robert Greene sets out to give you the tools to make it happen, but is anything but masterful.
The book looks at what it means to achieve mastery and presents plenty of examples of people who have done such. Athletes, academics, and more are overviewed and the ways they were able to become top of their game are explored. It’s interesting at first, but it seems the same folks are used again and again, with only a small sample to prove a point.
A ton of assumptions are made. For many of the examples cited, the author never actually interviewed them. He simply assumes people like Michelle Obama has accomplished all the thing she wanted most in life. How can you say someone has mastered their life’s goal if you don’t know for certain what it is? It’s pretty bold to assume you know what anyone else’s goal is.
Plenty Of Problems
Let’s start with the word this book revolves around. The term “mastery” is used far too frequently. While it may be the topic of the book, when a word gets said too often it starts to found funny and lose meaning due to semantic satiation. It would have been nice to find other words to convey the meaning, as used here it becomes meaningless.
The definition set forth for “mastery” is really only that of the authors. We each have our own views on what would qualify someone as such, as his definition likely only applies to his own view.
The 10,000 hours of practice which Malcom Gladwell proposed based on research from Anders Ericsson is cited as a requirement to achieve mastery. The problem is, this idea was debunked long ago. 10,000 isn’t some magic number and Greene is just perpetuating this myth by claiming that it’s the route to mastering your goals.
This thing drags on and on. Way too long. Like, 200 pages too long. It’s repetitive and the same concepts are banged on again and again, without any additional value added.
At the end for the day, let’s be honest about the requirements to gain ultimate expertise in your chosen area. No master ever became such by reading a book on how to achieve it. The idea that this book is going to help you get to that goal is simply silly and the glaring issues make it even less appealing.
Clearly mastery isn’t something you’re going to find in this book or any other. If you’d still like to grab a copy of Mastery from Amazon do so, just don’t set the expectations too high.