What do Sherlock Holmes, Charles Darwin and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart have in common? Mastery, argues the author Robert Greene.
This does not mean simply mastering the knowledge you need for your job, or being the world's leading expert on charity funding. It means mastering our complicated and ever-changing modern environment, a place where we need to keep abreast of technological changes while juggling work and life.
Those who are successful, argues Greene, are the people who have developed a higher form of intellect that enables them to combine both intuitive and analytic thinking. Even if you do not feel as if you are a master of anything, Greene says, you can help yourself to improve your mastery quotient.
Greene uses mini-biographies of people as diverse as Albert Einstein, John Coltrane and Machiavelli, as well as drawing on classics of philosophy and psychology, to illustrate the different stages in the development of mastery.
He is convincing and makes you think that if you set yourself a goal - for example, becoming the chief executive of your charity by 2015 - the only thing holding you back is you. Whether or not this is true is for you to find out.
Emma de Vita is books editor at Management Today