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We talk to author Robert Greene, who’s famous bestseller, The 48 Laws of Power, took ideas from students of legends like Machiavelli and Sun Tzu, and distilled their teachings into simple principles anyone can follow. The book became beloved by rappers like Jay Z, Kanye West, and even 50 Cent, who loved Greene’s work so much that the two ended up writing a book together.

Greene’s latest book, just out in paperback, is Mastery. It focuses on how one can discover and excel at their “life’s work” — the skill that one is uniquely good at. Greene engages with problems in modern day society, thought, and practice through a multi-disciplinary approach, taking each issue on a variety of playing fields — this multi-faceted perspective is part of what makes his opinions so hard-hitting. We talk that magical 10,000 hours moment when the master bypasses logic, the similarities between Napoleon Bonaparte and 50, the decline of empathy in today’s society, his feelings about that famous Richard Sherman interview, and much more.

Annotated excerpts on

  1. Excerpt #1: The Napoleon Bonaparte of Hip Hop
  2. Excerpt #2: The 10,000 Hour Rule
  3. Excerpt #3: The Decline of Empathy
  4. Excerpt #4: One Unified Brain

Show notes:

  1. Rappers and The 48 Laws of Power
  2. Robert Greene on renovating like a master
  3. Why Robert Greene isn’t who you think
  4. The key to Mastery on BigThink
  5. 48 Laws of Power on CNN
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