This is yet another classic one would refer multiple times in his life. I had read this book a long time ago but I was dreading to write about this because no matter how I would describe this I know I would dismally fail to put the gist of the book in my words. This is such a wonderful book . Robert Greene has put a lot of wisdom in this book for everybody to absorb in one’s life.
Most of the times everybody hates mediocrity in their lives but the truth is majority of the people are mediocre. There are only few people who achieve Mastery. So what exactly is mastery? Is it a myth or real life achievable thing. I think you could seek the answer in this book.
According to the author Robert Greene:
Mastery can be achieved by Deep Observation (The Passive Mode), Skills Acquisition (The Practice Mode), and Experimentation (The Active Mode).
Some of the answers that I sought from the book are-
Q- How do human beings actually learn anything?
The natural model for learning, largely based on the power of mirror neurons, came from watching and imitating others, then repeating the action over and over. Our brains are highly suited for this form of learning.
Q-Where do human tend to pay their attention?
It is a simple law of human psychology that your thoughts will tend to revolve around what you value most.
Q- What is failure and how do we cope with it?
There are two kinds of failure. The first comes from never trying out your ideas because you are afraid, or because you are waiting for the perfect time. This kind of failure you can never learn from, and such timidity will destroy you.
The second kind comes from a bold and venturesome spirit. If you fail in this way, the hit that you take to your reputation is greatly outweighed by what you learn.
Repeated failure will toughen your spirit and show you with absolute clarity how things must be done. In fact, it is a curse to have everything go right on your first attempt. You will fail to question the element of luck, making you think that you have the golden touch.
When you do inevitably fail, it will confuse and demoralize you past the point of learning.
Q- What is Social Intelligence and how it can play a role in achieving our means?
Social intelligence is the ability to see people in the most realistic light possible. By moving past our usual self-absorption, we can learn to focus deeply on others, reading their behavior in the moment, seeing what motivates them, and discerning any possible manipulative tendencies.
Q- How to deal with people?
You must allow everyone the right to exist in accordance with the character he has, whatever it turns out to be: and all you should strive to do is to make use of this character in such a way as its kind of nature permits, rather than to hope for any alteration in it, or to condemn it offhand for what it is. This is the true sense of the maxim—Live and let live…. To become indignant at [people’s] conduct is as foolish as to be angry with a stone because it rolls into your path. And with many people the wisest thing you can do, is to resolve to make use of those whom you cannot alter. —ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER
Q- How to achieve Mastery?
One should possess specific knowledge of human nature—namely the ability to read people, to get a feel for how they see the world, and to understand their individuality.
Second, there is the general knowledge of human nature, which means accumulating an understanding of the overall patterns of human behavior that transcend us as individuals, including some of the darker qualities we often disregard. Because we are all a mix of unique qualities and traits common to our species, only the possession of both forms of knowledge can give you a complete picture of the people around you. Practice both forms of knowledge and they will yield invaluable skills that are essential in the quest for mastery.
It was such a joyful journey to read the book. I am quite sure when I would read it again I would again seek answers for my questions. I definitely recommend this book for reread. This book is a journey which could take you from darkness of ignorance to enlightenment of wisdom.