Mastery was a wonderful book, very dense and dripping with insights. The book is thick with details about the lives of people who have achieved mastery in a broad range of fields, from music to science to architecture to boxing. The book is written as a tour along the path to mastery, with life stories sprinkled throughout. The tour is dotted with advice about how to follow along in achieving mastery, with suggestions ranging from social skills to how to best fill the necessary hours of practice to how to find a mentor. While the book is written around achieving mastery, many of the insights are just as applicable to any life, and the delightful anecdotes that fill the volume make it well worth reading regardless. I could hardly put the book down whenever I picked it up, eager as I was to drink in the inspirational drought that it had to offer.
I’d recommend this book to anyone who wants to get more out of life. The insights and anecdotes it has to offer are woven together into a rich guide to achieving mastery in any field, and field is quite loosely defined here, with many of the masters combining several conventional fields into their chosen life’s work. While I had a weakness for the stories about masters in the sciences like Darwin and Faraday, I found stories of those in other fields like Proust and Grandin and Fernández equally illuminating; I definitely benefited greatly from the concrete nature of the stories, and came away from the book with a much better idea of how to make its suggestions work in my own life than I would have had without them. Aside from all the wonderful insights into how to make the most out of life, what perhaps was the best takeaway from this book was a deepened appreciation for all the ways that people can make their mark on their world.
In summary, it’s a fantastic book. While it’s on the dense side, it’s well worth the time invested to read it, as you come away with a wealth of understanding and second-hand experience that would be difficult to come by any other way. I know I’m going to keep it on my shelf for a long time to come.