Latish Sehgal's Blog

Book Notes: Mastery

Read On: Apr 2013
Reading Time: 4 hours
Rating: 7/10


In this book, Gorge Leonard shows how the process of mastery can help us attain a higher level of excellence and a deeper sense of satisfaction and fulfillment in our daily lives. Whether you’re seeking to improve your career or your intimate relationships, increase self-esteem or create harmony within yourself, this inspiring prescriptive guide will help you master anything you choose and achive success in all areas of your life.


  • A dabbler is excited with the newest of things and cannot tolerate the plateau. He is the eternal kid.

  • Obsessive people are concerned with the bottom line. They don’t settle for second place and go for results. When faced with a plateau, they double the effort and push themselves until they burn out.

  • A hacker is satisfied with the staying on a plateau after getting the initial hang of things. He does enough to get by.

  • On the path to mastery, facing a plateau is the hardest part. It flushes out our hidden motivation. You have to learn to love the plateau as much as the upward surges while the muscle memory is formed.
  • Most of our life will be spent on the plateaus, yet we are never taught to enjoy it.
  • 5 keys to mastery:
    • Instruction: It’s sometimes challenging for top performers to become great teachers. It requires humility and good teachers take delight in their student surpassing them.
    • Practice: On a master’s journey, practice should be done for its own sake, and not for rewards.
    • Surrender: One should leave their dignity at the door and surrender to their instructor. Sometimes you have to let go of your expertise in one area to learn something new or move to the next level.
    • Intentionality: Imagine the desired results mentally.
    • The Edge: A lot of people on the path to mastery play with the edge of possible things.
  • Some guidelines to stay on the path to mastery:
    • Be aware of how homeostasis works. Things like to stay the way they are, even if it is not good. The bigger the change, the more the resistance from homeostasis.
    • Be prepared to face resistance. Stay on the edge of your comfort zone but don’t stray too far.
    • Develop a support system. This could be with family or with somebody who has been through this journey.
    • Follow a regular practice.
    • Dedicate yourself to lifelong learning.
  • Getting energy for Mastery:
    • Work out if physically tired; make decisions and act regularly if mentally tired.
    • Acknowledge the negative and accentuate the positive. Focusing on only the negative reduces your energy.
    • Set prioritites.
    • Make commitments and deadlines.
  • Dealing with pitfalls along the path:
    • Have modest expectations. Don’t focus on the goal alone.
    • Consistency of practice is the mark of the master.


This book is a good complement to So Good They Can’t Ignore You. I read it a year ago as part of a program at work, and it gave me a some new vocabulary to classify my different pursuits in life. I might be a dabbler with learning music, obsessive ping pong player and so on. I also believe that you can pursue Mastery with only so many things in life, and you should really think about what you want those things to be.

P.S I have moved all my Book Notes to Read My Book Notes.