Book Review - Mastery


Mastery by Robert Greene

  • Score: 9.5/10
  • Amount of Content 10/10
  • Value of Content (Usefulness) 10/10
  • Originality of Content 10/10
  • Relevance of Content 10/10
  • Entertainment Level 8/10
  • Inspiration 9/10

It’s been crazy-long since I did a book review! About a month ago, I just finished Mastery and it's high-time I do a review. This book has had a much larger impact on me than I expected it to. It's entertaining, motivating and valuable. I won't hesitate to call it the best book I've read of late. It's definitely got the highest rating out of any book I've reviewed. Read on to learn why. 


Amount of Content

At 352 pages, Mastery is a pretty lengthy book. If you know me, you know I listen to more books than I read. This book as an audiobook comes in at 16 hours and 8 minutes, and even at that length, I found it engaging. The author uses about a dozen 'masters' in their respective fields as examples to reinforce the ingredients required for mastery. The breadth of these examples keep the content interesting enough, I think for everyone. It's clear Greene has done his research and has a great grasp on the subject matter. Being one of the longer self-improvement books I've read, I give it a 10/10 


Value of Content

This book gets an 10/10 for value. I bought the audiobook through Audible, which charges about $17 per month for a credit (good for one audiobook). I'd happily pay 3 or 4 times that much for the content in this book. The lessons, ideas and examples the author breaks down throughout Mastery are lessons learned by studying the best of the best throughout hundreds of years of history. It's hard to find such a comprehensive, yet succinct bundle of ingredients that when executed point you toward mastery. 


Originality of Content

There isn't much original about becoming a master in a given field. The way Greene structured Mastery, and chose to write the book was fairly original. I haven't personally read any other books that follow the structure Greene used to explain a concept such as mastery. He introduces recognizable masters of our past, (many of whom you'll be familiar with), and then revisits parts of their lives as living examples that support the overarching idea of each chapter. I give it a 10/10 for originality.


Relevance of Content

This is highly subjective of course, but I'm personally on a mission to master a few creative tools in my lifetime. I'm always seeking ways to improve my skills or speed up my learning. Greene dissects what was unique among the masters and then distills it into actionable items that can be incorporated into anyone's journey to mastery. I found it to be a good balance of example and pragmatic to-dos. 10/10. 



The author's use of so many diverse examples kept the book fresh and engaging. The writing style is pretty formal and serious though, and could have been a bit more casual or funny. This didn't detract from the messages of the book, rather just made it feel like a long read/listen at times. This book gets an 8/10 for entertainment.   



9/10 for inspiration. This book inspired me to get serious and focus on mastering a specific skill, rather than diluting my skills and attention. The author makes it clear that in many cases, the secret to mastery is brute-force repetition and consistency. There's no short cut, but Greene breaks down the road to mastery into three distinct stages. Each of those stages are broken down further to lay the stepping stones to ultimate mastery. Greene also helps break the illusion of overnight successes and short-cuts to results. I find this encouraging as I toil away at developing my own skill set.


Final Thoughts

Mastery is a heck of a read. It's a hefty book that will satisfy the hungriest of learners. If you're someone who's sick of hearing the same-ol' advice like, 'have a routine', 'be consistent', ,get enough sleep', 'meditate', then this book is for you. It reads less like a click-baity top-ten list and more like a deep dive into what it really takes to become a master. There are so many rich ideas in here, often after listening for a half hour, I'd spend the rest of the day thinking about what I'd just heard. 


The Verdict

The best non-fiction book I read in 2016!