A Book Review of Mastery by Robert Greene

Mastery is an important principle within the Martial Arts. We call those who have risen in the ranks based on their proficiency Masters and then Grandmasters. I think this book can help any martial artists or martial arts instructor on their quest toward Mastery.

Here is the review I wrote of this book:

Mastery by Robert Greene, bestselling author of The 48 Laws of Power and others is a fascinating look at what it takes to become a master, to gain control of our lives and destinies. A book of considerable research, he uses the biographies of those who have mastered their fields combined with additional research and original interviews to blend historical anecdote, psychological insight, and interesting and engaging commentary to distil the universal ingredients and characteristics of the world’s masters. It’s an extremely engaging and fascinating book.

Things this book focuses on are topics such as discovering your calling or life’s task, the reality of apprenticeship, the dynamic of mentors, social intelligence, creativity, and how to fuse the intuitive with the rational. Each of these general topics is explored through the biographies of figures such as Leonardo da Vinci, Napoleon Bonaparte, Charles Darwin, Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, and Martha Graham. There are many more individuals profiled, including one of my favorites, the former boxer and not trainer Freddie Roach. I was delighted to see him included in this book and enjoyed the lessons shared around his story.

Each chapter had sections on the keys to mastery and strategies for implementing the ideas. I found these to be very interesting and helpful in transitioning the historical lessons to ways I could immediately apply the information to my own life and teachings. Because I’m a writer and speaker, often focusing on martial arts, self-defense, or communications and conflict, I found myself looking at ways to use this information to mastery my fields. I think one of the most important messages that resonates through this book is that mastery is not something you are necessarily born with, but rather a function of focusing and putting in the hours necessary to master your particular field. This is something I’ve taught for years, calling it “reps.”  You must put in the hours and countless repetitions to become a black belt in a martial art.

An important aspect of this book is the motivation factor. I couldn’t help but become motivated to do more when reading the profiles in this book. Seeing the dedication, the obstacles overcome, and the discipline that enabled people to master their own lives and pursuits made me want to do more than I’m already doing. For motivation and inspiration alone, this book is a great read.

While I’m familiar with Greene’s other books, I admit I have not read them yet. After reading Mastery, I’m going to read his others. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and feel it contains much useful information to help anyone master the field they choose to pursue. Read this book to be motivated toward Mastery!