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Mastery

Written by: Robert Greene
Narrated by: Fred Sanders
Length: 16 hrs and 9 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (277 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The eagerly anticipated new book from the author of the best-selling The 48 Laws of Power

What did Charles Darwin, middling schoolboy and underachieving second son, do to become one of the earliest and greatest naturalists the world has known? What were the similar choices made by Mozart and by Caesar Rodriguez, the U.S. Air Force's last ace fighter pilot? In Mastery, Robert Greene's fifth book, he mines the biographies of great historical figures for clues about gaining control over our own lives and destinies. Picking up where The 48 Laws of Power left off, Greene culls years of research and original interviews to blend historical anecdote and psychological insight, distilling the universal ingredients of the world's masters.

Temple Grandin, Martha Graham, Henry Ford, Buckminster Fuller - all have lessons to offer about how the love for doing one thing exceptionally well can lead to mastery. Yet the secret, Greene maintains, is already in our heads. Debunking long-held cultural myths, he demonstrates just how we, as humans, are hardwired for achievement and supremacy. Fans of Greene's earlier work and Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers will eagerly devour this canny and erudite explanation of just what it takes to be great.

©2012 Robert Greene (P)2012 Penguin Audio

What the critics say

"Greene argues that mastery can come to anyone over time with dedication and application, which literally shape the brain to the task, and he gives frequent bios of famous achievers to underscore his tips and suggestions. Listeners may question his thinking and some of his advice, but Fred Sanders narrates Greene's assertions and arguments with conviction and without overselling, giving them an extra gloss of plausibility and credibility. His reading is clear and well paced. His tone is earnest and slightly intense, with an energetic edge, like that of a coach urging the listener to accomplishment, but controlled, giving an impression of class and intelligence. Greene would make a fine salesman; he and Sanders put the book across, doing their best to inspire the listener." (AudioFile magazine) 

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Phenomenal

What a knowledgeable journey and soothing voice by the narrator. A+ read /listen would read again

4 people found this helpful

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truely masterful !!

great to listen and life changing. I will listen to it again and again I believe. the book also encourages you to read on more subjects.

2 people found this helpful

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Too much repetition in the story

This book is pretty solid but he reuses the same anecdotes too often which sometimes made me tune out.

8 people found this helpful

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Eye-Rolling Collection of 'Fit the Narrative'

Judging by aggregate ratings, I am obviously in the minority with this opinion; but, I found this book 'a reach' at almost every turn. In the end, I am trying to take away some knowledge to the betterment of my life and those around me - This book failed on that front. Why? Because I thought each chronicle's 'moral of the story' were tailored to fit the narrative of the title. Thus, the ideas held within lacked any credibility to consider implementation in my life. Besides, on most occasions I could think of 3-4 better methodologies. Perhaps, I am a bit of a contrarian and like to challenge convention.

I'll try to balance this out objectively and keep my emotions in check. Fred Sanders is excellent. And much like watching a science-fiction movie, if you suspend belief and just enjoy the ride, the story-telling is entertaining.

Curious to know, does anybody else feel the same way?

1 person found this helpful

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Insightful and Worth Reading

Like other books by this author, it is insightful and expertly and methodically crafted. You learn a lot and will pay more attention to the details and your own inner unique passion...

1 person found this helpful

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Nice but repititve

The author touched an interesting subject and clarify it with examples. on of the shortcoming of the book is the limited number of examples used but repeated several times throughout the book.

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The Work of a Master!

This work is in itself a masterpiece, it is truly a book to live by.

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Long listen, but amazing content

This took me a while to complete, but it was worth it! Very inspiring stories.

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took a big commitment to finish

the content and lesson is worth it but many times I zoned out with the level of detail in the back stories

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in love

I love this book. will definitely be applying this to my life and passions
yay

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  • Mark
  • 2015-05-04

Focus on passion=Less stress and more success

If you could sum up Mastery in three words, what would they be?

Clarity of purpose

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

Being great at something and to truly arrive at being great takes 10,000 hours or more. This is a message that is not being presented in today's age. Students think that they can cheat their way to greatness or be distracted by their phones and think that they can delve deep enough into a subject matter to earn a great job. Shortcuts are preached by many in education and politics. We are not meant to multi-task. Success is not a quick-fix away.

What about Fred Sanders’s performance did you like?

Fred Sanders is the best narrator of a Robert Greene book. He tells the stories well and with just enough passion to keep the listener engaged. I wish that the other books were also available unabridged and read by the same performer. The reader of the abridged Power and Seduction books was too smarmy and took away the credibility of the text.

If you could give Mastery a new subtitle, what would it be?

Master your passion, or be mastered by others.

Any additional comments?

This is a great book and I will read it again. I also purchased the print copy. It is easy to become sidetracked by the media and all of the various forms of entertainment and news that is "so important." Even at work, it is easy to major in the minor things and fall prey to the tyranny of the urgent. This book encourages a person to focus on one thing. To do that separates you out from the 99.999% who dabble and waste their potential and their lives never accomplishing anything worthwhile. What sounds like sacrifice actually is a gift of time and clarity of mind. It takes less time to prioritize when there is a singular goal and less time is needed when the goal is so clear.

85 people found this helpful

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  • Geoff
  • 2013-04-14

Classic Robert Greene

I haven't listened to or read another author that tries to teach life lessons that are relevant today through historic stories from the past. Is he always successfull? No, not always. Is it entertaining and will you learn some cool stories about great masters of the past (think Mozart, Da Vinci)? Yes!

This book may or may not change your life. The lessons are great and the stories are interesting, however, as with all these self help types of books, you will only see change if you apply it. Fred Sanders does a great job narrating this book (one of the better Narrations I've listed to on a Robert Greene book).

47 people found this helpful

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  • Irina
  • 2014-03-30

Must read

The books gives a big incentive to create. Moreover, reading this books definitely has a positive impact on the mood!
This is definitely one of my favorite books now.
Really enjoyed this audio version.

26 people found this helpful

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  • john cook
  • 2013-06-16

Please write another book Mr. Greene.

I love this author. Great book. Robert Greene is truly a Master Author and researcher.

53 people found this helpful

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  • Regis
  • 2015-05-10

Amazing

I changed my life because of this book. I was trough some depressing times but thanks to Mastery I became more productive.

25 people found this helpful

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  • Carlos
  • 2017-10-16

Great book

Goes over common characteristics of historical figures that mastered something in their lives and explains how to take those traits and apply them to whatever you do in life

3 people found this helpful

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  • A M
  • 2017-10-12

Its starts of really well but becomes repetitive.

The book started of really well, however it became repetitive. 16 hours is far too long. 10 hours would of been great. he lost me at 12.5 hours He repeats some stories at least three times. What i took from the book, anything you want to be great at you have to work work work.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Ironlironzion
  • 2012-12-16

An amazing listen!

Would you consider the audio edition of Mastery to be better than the print version?

This is a fantastic collection of biographies and lessons. A very pleasant education on just about everything

7 people found this helpful

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  • Andy
  • 2013-01-21

what it takes, beyond hard work, to really know it

Detailed and far ranging discussion of what it takes to be the best you can be. Examples of both widely known and not so widely known domain experts help illuminate what is required.
When the author starts riffing on the malevolent aspects of the mentor/mentee relationship, I think he is off base. Setting that aside, any person that has the drive to be the best will learn something from this book. Super narration.

23 people found this helpful

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  • Steven
  • 2013-04-23

Myopic at times, with some useful stuff thrown in.

Would you try another book from Robert Greene and/or Fred Sanders?

Maybe, but I would be cautious.

Would you ever listen to anything by Robert Greene again?

Maybe.

Which character – as performed by Fred Sanders – was your favorite?

He didn't perform characters. This was written in the third person throughout.

Do you think Mastery needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No

Any additional comments?

Some exceptional concepts and ideas are buried within this book. However, the author cannot seem to get past the idea that parents are all overbearing, non-nurturing, stifling, and have to be "overthrown". Are you kidding me? I get the idea that we have to unshackle ourselves, but I get the feeling the author is projecting, and it significantly takes away from the enjoyment and message of this book.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Laszlo Papp
  • 2016-05-13

Interesting but lengthy and sometimes repetitive

the book is very lengthy and often repetitive: same story of the same person. it could have been much shorter. other than that I totally recommend it

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  • anja bolbjerg
  • 2017-05-19

this will become a new classic

really well composed, good sense storytelling with excellent real life examples from all eras and walks of life. i really enjoyed it and learnt a lot.