Mastery, Robert Greene - Book Summary

Mastery exposes stereotypes about genius and intelligence, revealing the secrets of talent and greatness. Through a series of research and analysis on the lives of great people like Einstein, Darwin or Da Vinci, Greene will help you unlock your deep passion and become a master.

Who should read this book?

  • Trainees who are about to finish their training;
  • Young people who have just finished school and are thinking about their future career path;
  • People who feel bored with being in one field for too long and feel like they can't get any better.

Who wrote this work?

Robert Greene is a famous author who writes about strategy, power, and seduction. Before starting to write the book, Greene estimates she worked about 80 different jobs, ranging from construction worker to translator to magazine editor. Some of Greene's best-selling works include: 48 Key Principles of Power, The Art of Seduction, 33 Strategies for War and Principle 50 - Fearless (with rapper 50 Cent).

You don't need natural talent to be a master; follow the ancestors.

Most people think that the extraordinary achievements of great men like Da Vinci or Mozart stem from natural talent.  

But that's not true. In fact, there is no natural link between innate talent and mastery of a skill or field.

As one study shows, considering young children with outstanding talents, relatively few of them achieve outstanding achievements later on. On the other hand, people with few signs of talent in school often get more out of their gifted peers in the future.

For example, consider the case of Charles Darwin's cousin Sir Francis Galton. While Darwin was an ordinary boy with no signs of special intelligence, Galton had a higher IQ and was considered an extraordinary genius. However, later on, Darwin became one of the leading scientists and was called one of the most creative people of the century.

Obviously, mastery doesn't depend on whether you're gifted or "ordinary". So what does a special genius or an ordinary person do to become a master?

The exact answer lies: every step of every great master throughout history. Each discovered their field, entered an apprenticeship, developed an open and creative mind, and subsequently attained mastery. Edison, Mozart, Einstein, Goethe – the most famous masters in history all followed the same path to success.

Modern masters, too, take the same steps. For example, before he was a professional boxer, Freddie Roach dreamed of becoming a boxer; he trained with the amazing trainer Eddie Futch, and created a unique fighting style. Roach is now considered one of the best boxing coaches of his generation.

You don't have to be gifted, naturally talented, or have a high IQ to be a master. Just search your field and follow the steps of the great masters before you.

In our hearts, everyone has an urge to follow an industry or field that we want to master.

Have you ever felt that this profession or field was made just for you, and that working in that field was your destiny?

You need to believe that feeling!

Each individual is unique, is unique. Thanks to the endless possibilities of DNA combinations, we are a unique phenomenon; Like snowflakes, no two people are exactly alike.

So why don't we act differently?

Due to the pressure to fit in, we suppress our own uniqueness in the vain hope that, just by doing what everyone else is doing, we will stay out of trouble.

While accepting this "camouflage" can offer certain advantages, it is the uniqueness of each individual that prompts us to listen to our inner voice.

In fact, many of history's geniuses have experienced a moment of "enlightenment," when they knew what they wanted to do with their lives. Many of them feel that, during their lifetime, there exists a force that has led them to a certain field.

According to Leonardo da Vinci, this "awakening" moment was when he stole a pad of paper from his father's office so that he could satisfy his deep passion for sketching animals in the forest.

And for others, that moment is even experienced as an “inner voice” – as is the case with Christians who share poignantly that they listen to God’s instructions, telling them to use life to pursue a particular mission.

Instead of using your energy to blend in with the crowd, realize that you are unique, and that you have a mission in life – that mission can be found quite simply by listening and Follow the voice of your heart.

In the following summary pages, you'll find out exactly how you can follow that voice.

Your main goal in a new field should not be instant success or money, but to learn as much as possible.

When people look to enter a field — an internship or their first job — they often choose positions that promise prestige or substantial pay.

But, there are more important rewards that need to be considered.

For example, a job that gives you the opportunity to learn might be well worth doing, even though the pay is not satisfactory. Other prestigious, high-paying positions will be ready to welcome you later, when the practical knowledge you have accumulated from low-paying jobs in the past becomes worthwhile, despite the experience. dozens of years.

Look at boxer Freddie Roach: he took an unpaid job at a boxing center, using his time there to develop the skills he needed for his professional career. In the end, his efforts paid off; Roach ended up earning far more money than he could have if he decided to take another, well-paying job early on.

It is also the choice of many other masters. For example, as a young man, Charles Darwin turned down a job at medical school and a well-paid job at the church. Instead, he persuaded his father to allow him to work as an unpaid naturalist on the HMS Beagle, where he could freely study exotic plants and animals. The observations he collected from that trip helped him develop his famous theory of evolution.

Benjamin Franklin chose to work for a printing company rather than take over his father's lucrative candle business. This meant that it would take him longer to get an apprenticeship, and his finances were not guaranteed, but Franklin realized he could use the position to learn how to draft documents – a skill he could not afford. later brought great benefits to him.

So when you're looking for an internship or your first job, don't focus on prestige or money. Instead, find people who provide you with opportunities to gain knowledge and develop skills. Such work will help you to reap greater financial rewards in the future.

The best way to discipline and sharpen skills is to have a mentor to guide you.

Learning a new thing is never easy. However, you can at least make that process easier for yourself.

When we try to learn something new on our own, we tend to make avoidable mistakes and spend too much time figuring out how to get it right. What is the result? Time and resources are wasted.

What you need is a mentor – someone who can guide you and help you use your time and resources more effectively.

For example, imagine the difficulties you will face when starting a new job or adjusting to the work environment. Without proper guidance, it will take a lot longer for a novice to learn the job and find the right direction.

It's like going to a foreign city for the first time and trying to find a train station. Of course, you can find it by wandering through unfamiliar streets until you stumble across it. However, you will save time and effort by asking the locals.

Another thing, mentors and apprentices develop a special relationship that is mutually beneficial.

This is because, first of all, the mentor sees in the apprentice a younger version of himself, and is therefore interested and invested in their future. Second, because the apprentice always has a certain admiration for the mentor, intense attention and eager to absorb knowledge like a sponge soaked in water.

However, as an apprentice, your progress is not necessarily limited by the limitations of the mentor himself. Many famous masters even surpass their mentors. Alexander the Great learned a lot about governance from the philosopher Aristotle, and then went on to revise and add lessons based on his experience.

Like many famous students and interns, you should look for a teacher who will teach you in their own unique ways. But don't forget: the ultimate goal is to surpass your mentor.

In the following summary page, you will learn how to find your own path after an apprenticeship.

Once you complete your apprenticeship, you must have the courage to think creatively and challenge the rules you learned.

During your apprenticeship, you will learn the most important aspects of your field. But you can't be just an apprentice forever.

"So what do I do now?"

It's time to revive your naturally courageous and open mind.

When we were kids, we were all atheists, law breakers. A child's mind is completely open. They believe that anything is possible, nothing is obvious, and thus ask all kinds of questions: Why is the sky blue? Who is standing in the mirror, staring at me?

Children also believe in all sorts of supernatural creatures or magical fairy tales, and can instinctively imagine that they are real.

An open mind, unafraid of what you don't understand – this is the natural state of man. For example, as adults, we travel abroad – here, we cannot rely on old habits and experiences, our minds are opened again. Seeing the world through the eyes of a child is, for adults, one of the most enjoyable experiences in travel.

It is the freedom and courage to break the rules and subvert expectations after completing an apprenticeship and walking independently. This is a time that allows you to grow in your field – and achieve expertise – in your own unique way.

Indeed, many of the masters of history have begun to think creatively and set out to create something unique. For example, getting tired of performing the old and mainstream piano repertoire, Mozart began composing his own music. He combined styles he knew, mixing in some unusual, unique elements of his own.

Results? His audience was impressed and overwhelmed by the novelty and creativity of Mozart's music.

Therefore, be brave and think differently, defying the established rules of your time. If you don't, one day you'll get stuck in a cycle of unsatisfactory repetition.

“The future belongs to those who are constantly learning more skills and combining them creatively.”

You can learn to solve problems in new and creative ways by expanding and training your mind.

The ability to solve problems in a creative way can be learned.

First, we have to remove the limitations, open the subconscious mind because humans have a natural tendency to think narrowly.

Humans quickly become creatures of habit, repeating the same actions over and over without self-reflection. When a process is proven to work in a particular situation, we often use it for any similar situation without asking: “Is this the best way to solve the problem? this subject?"

Similarly, cultural norms and practices can help with quick communication, but they can also be a potential obstacle to our creative thinking.

For example, to quickly distinguish things, we often rely on clearly distinguishing expressions such as male/female, body/mind, fiction/reality. Once we get used to the shortcuts above, we also become insensitive to neutral shades.

The second thing we must do to improve creative thinking is train our brains to quickly form new and unusual connections.

A famous study shows that after 10,000 hours of practice in a certain area, the brain undergoes qualitative changes and creates new connections between independent areas. Thanks to these connections, you can quickly see any problem in that field in a new and open way.

One of the most obvious examples is the human ability to solve one problem while seemingly thinking about something else entirely. Often playing the violin while pondering theoretical puzzles, Einstein credits this to helping him find solutions to thorny problems.

So don't give up on yourself just because of the notion that thinkers are born great. You can control and train your brain. By following the above steps, an open and creative mind is not far away.

Finally, in the following summary page, you will know exactly what “mastery” is.

Mastery: practice a skill to mastery, unifying your mind and body, freeing you to focus on a larger goal.

So, what exactly is “mastery”?

You may have experienced this state in a high-pressure situation, when your body reacts immediately – and automatically – to the commands of your mind.

This allows masters to see the big picture, not just the details. Chess legend Bobby Fischer, for example, was able to superbly observe his opponent's moves in a game, even showing multiple ways in which the game could end.

Similarly, pianist Glenn Gould can "see" the entire texture of a piece of music he plays, not just the part he is working on at the time. This helped him to expertly coordinate the different parts of the piece when performing.

The masters are able to do this because they have developed an automatic connection between mind and body – a connection that springs from human nature.

In fact, in every animal, mental decisions and physical actions are experienced as one. For example, at the exact moment a bee "decides" to sting you, it acts immediately. The bee simply responds to its sensory receptors, its nervous system sending commands to the body. Don't wait for the impact to come back; don't think deeply.

And, hypothetically, our primitive ancestors also did not separate body and mind. Dissociation occurs only when we develop the ability to think abstractly – an ability that allows us to override certain reflexes. For example, when threatened, people do not automatically attack or flee; they try to reconcile, calm the situation. But this separation also means that the unity of mind and body will be broken.

Becoming a master brings your mind and body into one, allowing you to reach a whole new level of knowledge and skill. And even as you practice discipline, you'll be able to see the bigger picture and use this knowledge to do great things in your field.

“The level of concentration determines the time it takes to become a master.”

“The painful, frustrating early experiences of the learning process build an iron will.”


The main message of this book:

To gain mastery, you need to listen to the calling in your mind; active training and learning under the guidance of a mentor during an apprenticeship; and, finally, develop independent and creative thinking. Studying the lives of other great masters can also give you insight into this quest.

The summary helps you answer the following questions:

Who can gain mastery?

  • You don't need natural talent to be a master; follow the forefathers;
  • In our hearts, everyone has an urge to follow an industry or field that we want to master;

How does the apprenticeship process work?

  • Your main goal in a new field is not instant success or money, but to learn as much as possible;
  • The best way to discipline and sharpen skills is to have a mentor to guide you;

How to achieve mastery, creative thinking?

  • Once you complete your apprenticeship, you must have the courage to think creatively and challenge the rules you learned.
  • You can learn to solve problems in new and creative ways by expanding and training your mind.

What is mastery?

  • Mastery: practice a skill until you master it, letting your mind and body unify, freeing you to focus on the bigger picture.