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Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell

But the book!

While I was in college, I developed a fascination with exceptional performance. I became curious about what made Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and company so good at their respective crafts. Before the book “outliers” was published in late 2008, the prevalent popular opinion about exceptional performance centered mostly on unique God given talent. To be fair, that line of thinking seems true on the surface. However, the book “outliers” takes a deeper look into the realm of exceptional performance, citing data from incredibly well done research to unearth what some would consider an unpopular truth – genius has a lot less to do with it than we previously thought. Continue reading Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell

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48 laws of power, by Robert Greene

Buy the “48 Laws of Power” book

We’ve all been there… You’ve just joined the workforce, and have been given your first assignment on the new job. You excitedly take it on, with the intent of putting in as much effort as possible to ensure that you do as good a job as possible. Against considerable odds, you actually succeed at your new project, and it is looking like you might finish it in record time. You start allowing yourself to think that the success you are having with your work might mean a promotion and a subsequent meteoric rise to the top… that is until reality hits you square in the face. You find that instead of being recognized and lauded for your good work, a group of people a couple of levels ahead of you swoop in at the very end of your project to put their names on it and gain partial credit. You felt wronged by this so you went through what you thought were the proper channels to vent your frustration and lodge a formal complaint. Three weeks after you lodge this official complaint, you’re fired from your job and you cannot for the life of you understand why. Continue reading 48 laws of power, by Robert Greene

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Mastery, by Robert Greene

Buy the “Mastery” book

This is without doubt one of the best books I have ever read. Written by Robert Greene (the author of the 48 laws of power), this master work of a book de-mystifies the process of attaining mastery in any chosen field of endeavor. Rather than romanticize and/or sugar coat the process of attaining mastery, it goes into great depth showing the very practical steps required to complete the journey. From mastering the technical aspects of your chosen discipline to mastering your own emotions and interactions with other people, this book covers every last relevant detail. If you are serious about getting to a stage of mastery in your chosen discipline, this book is an absolute must read. It will be one of the best investments you make… hands down! Continue reading Mastery, by Robert Greene

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How to get really good at (fill in the blank)

Steve Jobs (1955-2011)

We all intuitively know when we have experienced a display of exceptional skill because it stirs up emotions in us that words cannot quite capture. It is the feeling that causes you to shake your head in disbelief at Stephen Curry’s accuracy from 3-point range on a basketball court. It’s the emotions you feel when a soulful guitar solo leaves you in tears. It is the excitement that forces you to dance when you hear Alicia Keys belt out the chorus to “Empire State of Mind” from her famed vocal chords. Words cannot describe these feelings because exceptional skill predates language in our human culture. Before the invention of language or the existence of insanely skilled musicians, writers, and athletes, our ancestors were insanely skilled hunters and navigators who could deftly weave their way through the rich African jungle and strategically plan the efficient killing of prey. Master’s of their respective domains seem to possess skill that is otherworldly and beyond the average person’s grasp. This apparent unattainability of mastery is further heightened by the fact that there are so few masters in history who really stand out. These masters form a shining line through the annals of time: Galileo, Leo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Sir Isaac Newton, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Albert Einstein, Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, Michael Faraday, Benjamin Franklin, Martha Graham, Marie Curie, John Coltrane, Jimi Hendrix, Michael Jeffrey Jordan, Steven Paul Jobs, Floyd Mayweather Jr, and John Mayer amongst others. The otherworldly skill these masters possess seduces us into repeatedly asking certain questions. How does exceptional skill come about? Are their brains just different from that of the average person? Are these people just born geniuses? Can anyone become a genius? Do I have what it takes to be like that or should I just accept my lot in life and stop fooling myself? Well my friends, I invite you to follow me on this literary journey as I attempt to explain where exceptional skill comes from. Continue reading How to get really good at (fill in the blank)