What made Mastery very interesting was the way the author blended stories of many different types of "masters" throughout history (Darwin, Edison, Franklin, Goethe, Mozart, Einstein, and many contemporary masters as well) and drew out the most relevant lessons. It was neat to read some many mini-biographies and hear about how these were all normal guys who put in extra-normal hours to the crafts they wanted to pursue.
Some of the core lessons I took away from the book were as follows:
- Focus on reality and rationality.
- Develop skills like a craftsman. These take years to perfect, and short cuts don't work.
- Ignore and push out others' voices and pressure, and pay more attention to your own voice and calling.
- Reality-test your ideas quickly. Prototype. Think with your hands.
- Sketch and use real, physical tools, not technology, to aid thinking.
- Cultivate a beginner's mind. Always maintain some dissatisfaction and drive to improve and learn something new.
- Develop social intelligence. Pay attention to social dynamics.
- Read and study broadly. Draw connections and focus on the relationships between ideas and fields.