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Mastery (The Modern Machiavellian Robert Greene Book 1)

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Through an intense person-to-person interaction, you absorb a way of thinking that contains great power and can be adapted to your individual spirit. He makes the distinction here, too, that you shouldn’t let it be separate from your life: “Work is often seen as a means for making money so we can enjoy that second life that we lead.

What almost inevitably happens in such moments is that the solution, the perfect idea for completing the work comes to them. Avoid the false path: We’ll all be attracted to fields for the wrong reasons: money, fame, parental influence. Find your way back: You’ll be tempted to deviate from the path throughout your pursuit of mastery, even if you do mistakenly veer away, you can always come back.

Almost more than the how-to, I appreciated Leonard's near-poetic descriptions of how fulfilling mastery is. In this new age, those who follow a rigid, singular path in their youth often find themselves in a career dead end in their forties, or overwhelmed with boredom.

The point of little or no progress where we spend most of our lives: practicing until you break through to the next one. Leonard's insights about mastery may be simple, and we may "already know" many of them, but how many of us have internalized them? The book examines the lives of historical figures such as Charles Darwin and Henry Ford, as well as the lives of contemporary leaders such as Paul Graham and Freddie Roach, and examines what led to their success.This power is what our brains were designed to attain, and we will be naturally led to this type of intelligence if we follow our inclinations to their ultimate ends. He did become a lawyer--a prominent and successful one--but I think back to our conversation in 1986 and wonder whether he has second thoughts (God knows I do). Combine the “how” and the “what”: Get a full understanding of the skill, not just the recipes or tools, don’t leave parts of it unlearned. But mastery isn't reserved for the supertalented or even for those who are fortunate enough to have gotten an early start. You need to develop your powers of concentration, and understand that trying to multitask will be the death of the process.

As a reader, you leave empowered to set on your path and create your own masterpiece, realizing you do have what it takes - but it's a marathon of patience and hard work, not a 100 meter race piled with gold. After his work was completed he became obsessed with birds, and the idea brewed in his mind that perhaps a human could really fly, if Leonardo could figure out the science behind avian flight. The first move toward mastery is always inward— learning who you really are and reconnecting with that innate force.You assume that the parts of any whole interact with one another and cannot be completely separated. Hence Greene’s loquacity might be precisely what will have Masters mentioning his book as an influence 10 to 20 years from now, and this time out of the closet.

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