Book Review, Uncategorized

Mastery by George Leonard

My next blog post is about “mastery”. This is a book written by George Leonard. The author is an aikido master. He describes in the book how this practice helps him realize increased fulfillment throughout his life. However, he does not restrict his research and his thoughts to martial arts. In fact, he draws upon many other examples from various walks of life.

There is not one page in the book I did not read twice. There is no chapter I skipped.

People with strong self-awareness often seek resources in order to maintain and increase their state of peace. This book is an excellent one.

As you read it, you fill yourself with energy that drives you forward in life, in your relations, and at work. This book is not ordinary. It does not preach. It does not tell you to drink coffee or not to drink coffee. It sets no rules.

Leonard drives you towards liberation. He believes, based on his experience and the experience of many, it comes from accepting one’s limits. Leonard also encourages readers to explore a goalless life.

Does it strike you?

The author draws upon the need to live for the sake of life, to take a journey for the sake of the journey itself.

In his book, George Leonard identifies the five mastery keys (instruction, practice, surrender, intentionality, edge); he then dives into the science of change. Afterwards, he shifts his focus on energy; and then he spends some time sharing typical pitfalls along the path.

The author passed away back in 2010 having written extensively about human potential and education. One of his many achievements is the Leonard Energy Training which is a discipline inspired by aikido. In his methodology, Leonard uses the body as a metaphor and as a learning facility to change how we manage problems. You can check the nine principles of the training on a dedicated website:

One of my favorite takeaways is what attitude we embody as we take decisions. Leonard describes three common human attitudes that hinder our progression towards mastery: the dabbler, the obsessive, and the hacker. The book delves deep into the traits and behaviors of each.

“Perhaps we’ll never know how far the path can go, how much a human being can truly achieve, until we realize that the ultimate reward is not a gold medal but the path itself.”
George Leonard, Mastery: the keys to success and long term fulfillment

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