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Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment Paperback – February 1, 1992

4.5 out of 5 stars 197 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"George Leonard is a remarkable man who embodies what he teaches: an amazing curiosity, a passionate intelligence, and the rare combination of someone who has both a broad vision and the focused mastery of details."
—Dean Ornish

"If he's right—and Leonard has been right so many times about prevailing zeitgeists that you have to wonder if he has a third eye—the upcoming decade might be known as the decade of mastery."
San Francisco Chronicle

"George Leonard translates the wisdom of Zen into a self-help program for sticking with it—whether you want to learn aikido or need support in realizing long-held goals."
The New Age Journal

From the Back Cover

"George Leonard is a remarkable man who embodies what he teaches: an amazing curiosity, a passionate intelligence, and the rare combination of someone who has both a broad vision and the focused mastery of details."
—Dean Ornish

"If he’s right – and Leonard has been right so many times about prevailing zeitgeists that you have to wonder if he has a third eye 00 the upcoming decade might be known as the decade of mastery."
San Francisco Chronicle

"George Leonard translates the wisdom of Zen into a self-help program for sticking with it – whether you want to learn aikido or need support in realizing long-held goals."
The New Age Journal
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; Reissue edition (February 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452267560
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452267565
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (197 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,846 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John McAndrew on December 16, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Leonard is an Aikido instructor in Northern California, and once contributed an article on fitness and athletics to Esquire magazine which I always wished I had kept. Years later, I came across this book, and was thrilled to find that he was the author of that article. There are few pursuits which would not be enriched by the insights and principles of this little book. Unlike the great majority of self-help books, this one looks like the classics: it stays short, and doesn't lose its point in a plethora of unnecessary case studies, examples, and narcissistic autobiographical reflections. Leonard stays focused, doesn't waste his readers' time, yet provides all the information and motivation necessary to put the reader on the slow, steady track to success, whether it be in sports, in business, in the arts, or in a life enriched by all that. It's the antithesis of the quick fix: if you care enough about an endeavor to give your time to it, Leonard will tell you what the learning curve will look like, and will tell you that, if it matters, it's worth giving your lifetime to pursue.
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Format: Paperback
Are you one of those people who allows your goal or goals to dominate your life? And once your goals are achieved, do you think of your achievements as, "no big deal?"

While the author describes 5 keys to long-term success and fulfillment,as:
1. Instruction;
2. Practice;
3. Surrender;
4. Intentionality; and,
5. The Edge - Push the envelop.

Mastery is:
1. The process where what was difficult becomes both easier and
more pleasurable;
2. Long-term dedication to the journey - not the bottom line;
3. Gaining mental discipline to travel further on your journey;
4. Being goalless;
5. Realizing that the pleasure of practice is intensified;
6. Creating deep roots;
7. Knowing that you will never reach a final destination;
8. Being diligent with the process of mastery;
9. Your commitment to hone your skills;
10. After you have reached the top of the mountain, climb
another one;
11. Being willing to practice, even when you seem to be getting
no where;
12. Making this a life process;
13. Being patient, while you apply long-term efforts;
14. Appreciating and even enjoying the plateau, as much as you do
the progress;
15. Practicing for the sake of practice;
16. Winning graciously, and losing with equal grace;
17. Placing practice, discipline, conditioning and character
development before winning;
18. Being courageous;
19. Being fully in the present moment;
20. Realizing that the ultimate goal is not the medal, or the
ribbon, but the path to mastery its self (The "I am"
stage);
21. Being willing to look foolish;
22. Maintaining flexibility in your strategy, and in your
actions;
23. A journey; and,
24. Determination
Apply this to everything in your life, to claim your authentic self.
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Format: Paperback
An easy read that you will share with your friends, family, and business associates. You will learn that todays business focus of "bottom-line" thinking and activity is really destructive and is non-value added in the long-term. In order to get to mastery, whether it's your golf game or family relationships--you must be continuously practicing (learning). When using "bottom-line" thinking--you learn only enough to solve your current problem--and you believe your successful. However, how many times do we have to go back and re-fix or address the problem. If we master the problem (thoroughly understanding it)--we can fix the problem right the first time, completely understanding all the connections. I am convinced this is the book that led Tom Peters to write the "Reinventing Work" series. A great book--you will want to start a reading club / discussion group over this one.
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Format: Paperback
George Leonard may have used Akido as a masterful allusion of life, or any real challenge in it, but his lessons are universal. Being a three time survivor of brain surgery, I have applied his teachings toward mastering my own path and use his terminology regularly. His explanation of homeostasis and how it prevents us from making definitive change in our lives is the essence of the book. Mastering a change in homeostasis is, in fact, what it's really all about. This book will literally change your life and how you see the things in it. Get on your Path, whatever that is.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are lots of detailed reviews here so I won't repeat it all. This book is full of takeaway messages that will allow you to approach mastering something, anything (a sport, an art, a language, you name it) more effectively.
There are two big messages, and a lot of support:
1. The reason for mastery -- he compelling argues that it doesn't matter so much what you choose to master, pick something and pursue mastery. It has a life changing effect.
2. The process for mastery -- this is very compelling. He takes the concept of a plateau and makes it understandable. And shows how to reach mastery given the realities of what happens along the way. We're bad at this in today's world -- we want results right away. But that's not how it works. Committing to the process not the outcomes goes back to ancient Eastern religions, and its as true for modern life and success as well.
He's distilled a lifetime of learning into a very short and useful read.
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