Robert Greene, who is most known as the author of the New York Times bestsellers The 48 Laws of Power. He also wrote The Art of Seduction, The 33 Strategies of War, and The 50th Law. His highly anticipated fifth book, Mastery, examines the lives of great historical figures such as Charles Darwin, Mozart, Paul Graham and Henry Ford and distills the traits and universal ingredients that made them masters. In addition to having a strong following within the business world and a deep following in Washington, DC, Greene’s books are hailed by everyone from war historians to the biggest musicians in the industry (including Jay-Z and 50 Cent). You can follow him on Twitter @RobertGreene.
In this interview, Robert talks about his new book, what the secrets are to mastering a skill, his belief that passion can turn into expert, and more.
What inspired you to write Mastery? What do you want readers to get out of it?
The idea for the book came to me in 2006. For the prior ten years I had spent most of my time researching power and reading biographies of high achievers in all fields, all periods of history. I had also worked as a consultant to many powerful people in business and the arts. I had noticed that many of these successful people, historical and contemporary, shared certain common traits. They had a way of thinking that was exceptionally fluid; they could adapt to almost any circumstance; when confronted with problems, they could look at them from novel perspectives and solve them. They could do all of this with surprising rapidity, as if they had developed an intuitive feel for their work. The icon of this would be Napoleon Bonaparte.
I came to the conclusion that what tied all of this together was that these types had mastered their field. Most of us feel like we are always a little below what we need to know; after so much experience and practice these masters feel like they are above the battlefield, looking down. With this perspective, they make better decisions.
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