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Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment

One of my favorite joys is seeing the work of a pro. I'm okay at a lot of things, primarily driven by sufficient confidence to try things and curiosity to learn. But some people are absolute pro's — at a level that seems almost incomprehensible. The difference in output is not just one of speed, though they are usually more efficient. A pro can accomplish something that normal people wouldn't be able to, even given as much time as they wanted.

George Leonard offers this short book about this very idea: becoming this sort of person, who has absolute mastery of a domain. The way I've framed it is actually incorrect, though. Mastery is about the journey, not a destination. In some ways, it's a state of being, not a state of accomplishment. Leonard talks about archetypical failures from people who fail to become masters in a discipline, and offers several keys and themes about building mastery.

It's an enjoyable read, and given me a lot to think about.


These are entirely subjective, and roughly try to capture my personal enjoyment and usefulness, and how likely I'd recommend it to others. Don't read too much into this unless you love my judgement. Rough guidelines:

A: Top quartile. Changed the way I think about something.

B: Worthwhile. I took away something useful.

C: Didn't hit, wouldn't directly recommend. Likely won't revisit.

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