10 Books on Mastery for Crafting a Remarkable Life and Acquiring New Skills Quickly

Looking for the best books on mastery? I’ve got you covered.

The list below contains books that will teach you how to

  • acquire and master new skills quickly, 
  • become a more productive learner, 
  • improve your performance at work, school, and in life,
  • craft a remarkable life, and
  • reach your fullest potential in your chosen field 

1. Mastery by Robert Greene

Mastery by Robert Greene | Books on mastery

We all have the power within us to be a Master.

In Mastery, Robert Greene combs through the lives of great historical figures for insights into how we can take control of our lives and destinies.  

Greene distills universal truths and lessons from masters like Martha Graham, Buckminster Fuller, Henry Ford, and Temple Grandin, offering a framework for how we can also become masters by doing one thing remarkably well.

What’s in it for you:

  • Study the behaviors of masters like Charles Darwin, Leonardo da Vinci, and Albert Einstein
  • Learn how to harness your full potential in your chosen field
So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport

Cal Newport does not believe that “follow your passion” is good career advice.

In So Good They Can’t Ignore You, Newport embarks on a quest to find out how individuals end up loving their jobs.

He asserts that a focus on passion at the expense of skill can lead to dissatisfaction and chronic job hopping.

Spending time with individuals that are immensely satisfied with their work, Newport uncovers strategies for developing a compelling career.

What’s in it for you:

  • An evidence-based blueprint for doing work you love
  • A new way of thinking about careers, happiness, and crafting a remarkable life  

3. Mastery by George Leonard

Drawing on his experience in the martial art aikido and Zen philosophy, George Leonard shows how mastery can help you achieve higher excellence and more profound satisfaction and fulfillment in all areas of your life. 

What’s in it for you:

  • Mastery’s five essential keys
  • Tools for mastery
  • How to master your athletic potential
  • How to avoid obstacles to mastery

4. Peak by Anders Ericsson

Throughout his career, Anders Ericsson has studied star athletes, chess champions, memory mavens, and violin virtuosos.

Peak is a distillation of 30 years of groundbreaking research into a powerful way of acquiring new skills.

Ericson’s unconventional strategies will show you how to get better at the skills that matter to you.

What’s in it for you:

  • A science-backed approach to getting better at acquiring skills
  • The science of excellence

5. Ultralearning by Scott Young

In this era of technological change, the key to staying ahead is continual self-learning and mastering of new skills. 

But the problem with learning new skills is that most of us use old routines and ways of solving problems that are ineffective.

In Ultralearning, Scott Young offers 9 principles for quickly mastering difficult skills. 

These powerful principles will help you break out of your mental rut and adopt the most effective learning methods.

What’s in it for you:

  • How to future-proof your career and optimize your competitive edge through self-learning
  • Powerful tools for improving your studies, career, and life.

6. The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle

The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle

The Talent Code will teach you how to maximize your potential and grow your talent by leveraging a recently uncovered brain mechanism.

Daniel Coyle identifies 3 crucial elements for optimizing your performance—deep practice, ignition, and master coaching. 

What’s in it for you

  • Tools for reaching your highest potential

7. The Little Book of Talent by Daniel Coyle

The Little Book of Talent by Daniel Coyle

The Little Book of Talent is a small handbook that complements Daniel Coyle’s The Talent Code.

It offers 52 concise principles for improving skills and nurturing excellence.

What’s in it for you:

  • An excellent summary of the actionable tips in Coyle’s The Talent Code. 

8. Drive by Daniel Pink

Drive by Daniel Pink

In Drive, Daniel Pink alters our perspective on motivation. 

He asserts that the key to excellence and life satisfaction is our deeply embedded need to control our lives, learn and create new stuff, and improve ourselves and our environment.

What’s in it for you:

  • The three aspects of true motivation: mastery, purpose, and autonomy

9. Talent Is Overrated by Geoff Colvin

In Talent Is Overrated, Geoff Colvin disproves long-held beliefs regarding excellent performance. 

He offers new evidence that shows inborn talents do not determine the leading performers in any field.

Rather, greatness comes from decades of practice and perseverance, not DNA. 

To achieve greatness, you need to practice a certain way, analyze your progress, and learn from your mistakes.

What’s in it for you:

  • Real-world examples of how to achieve greatness
  • How to continuously improve with the right kind of effort

10. Make It Stick by Peter Brown et al.

Make It Stick by Peter Brown

Make It Stick debunks the myths of learning. 

Drawing on the latest findings in cognitive psychology, the authors offer practical strategies for becoming a more effective learner.

What’s in it for you:

  • New insights into how memory works
  • How to become a more productive lifelong learner

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