“Mastery” – Bookcast #47

Mastery (2012) by Robert Greene

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Overview of “Mastery”

  • A very brief description of “Mastery”
    • Through the stories of dozens of highly successful famous people in many different fields, Greene has put together a powerful program teaching us how to achieve mastery in one’s life. Mastery can be thought of as the unique way each of us can fully actualize our potential for greatness and enjoy a fulfilling life.
  • What Greene sets out to do / Purpose of the book
    • Greene’s overarching thesis is to challenge the conventional notion of “genius” as a genetic gift bestowed upon a handful of individuals. He believes “genius” is acquirable, and all masters, regardless of intrinsic ability, go through roughly the same process on their path towards mastery.
  • The intended audience of the book / Who will benefit most
    • People who love history
    • People who love stories of success and accomplishment
    • People who enjoy having their ass kicked (in a good way)
    • People who want to become more powerful, more successful and happier
    • People who want to hear a self-help book that shares truth – not fluff
  • Who probably WON’T like this book?
    • People who need to believe that all the great accomplishments in our history were from superhuman “geniuses”…so they don’t have to take responsibility for their own lives
    • People who want a easy, feel-good self-help book that won’t require them to make any real changes to their lives
    • Lazy people (seriously, 7 years to get good at something??? BS!)
    • Creationists
  • How does this book specifically benefit Men? 
    • In the modern era, regular men are at a disadvantage because they’re easy to control. If you don’t set yourself apart it’s easy to become manipulated and jerked around by the powerful influence of culture, industry, political groups, media, our employers, our neighbors and even our friends and family. Mastery provides a road map for men to find their individuality. As leaders in our families and our communities it’s critical for Men to know who we are, what we’re passionate about and where we’re going in our lives!
  • Is this book Easy, Average or Difficult to read? / How long is it?
    • Easy to read, but NOT easy to implement! Also it’s going to take some time to digest the material in the book. Think about this more like a textbook for a class and less like the traditional self-help book.
    • 354 pages, Audiobook: 16 hrs, 9mins
  • What are the overall book reviews?Is the book well-known? Popular? Significant?
    • Amazon Books: 7385 Ratings – 4.7 Stars
      • Kindle Ranking:
      • #23 in Social Psychology & Interactions
      • #27 in Motivational Business Management
      • #99 in Motivational Self-Help
    • Audible: 12,154, 4.7 stars
      • Ranking:
      • #8 in Social Psychology
      • #16 in Business Motivation & Self-Improvement
      • #493 out of All Audible Books
  • Book-To-Movie Translation 
    • N/A

Bio of Robert Greene

  • Grew up in Los Angeles. Attended UC Berkeley and finished in University of Wisconsin with a degree in Classical Studies (aka Liberal Arts + English). 
  • He estimates he had “80 jobs before becoming an author,” including construction worker, translator, magazine editor, and Hollywood movie writer.
  • Influenced to write 48 Laws while working in Hollywood, watching the power plays at work around him every day.
  • Arguably the single most popular author for Rap Artists. He’s been endorsed by: Jay-Z, Kanye West, Busta Rhymes, Ludacris, Drake and many others. Jay-Z, Kanye and Busta Rhymes have written songs about the 48 Laws. 
  • Greene can speak five languages and is a student of Zen Buddhism.
  • He is an avid swimmer and mountain biker.
  • Greene is a mentor for Ryan Holiday, bestselling author of The Obstacle Is the Way and The Daily Stoic (ref our last bookcast).
  • Greene suffered a serious stroke in 2018, caused by a blood clot in his neck and has currently left him without the use of his left hand and leg. He still writes, works and hikes every day.
  • Has written several books, including
    • The Art of Seduction, October 2001
    • The 33 Strategies of War, January 2006
    • The 50th Law (with rapper 50-cent), September 2009
    • Mastery, November 2012
    • The Laws of Human Nature, October 2018
    • The Daily Laws, October 2021
    • And of course 48 Laws of Power 

Breakdown of Themes in “Mastery”

  • Discover your calling : the life’s task. 
  • Submit to reality : the ideal apprenticeship.
  • Absorb the master’s power : the mentor dynamic. 
  • See people as they are : social intelligence. 
  • Awaken the dimensional mind : the creative-active. 
  • Fuse the intuitive with the rational : mastery.

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