The Real Work: On the Mystery of Mastery

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Adam Gopnik’s latest work The Real Work: On the Mystery of Mastery is a tour de force in the world of wondering how we become experts at the things we do. In a similar vein as Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, Gopnik’s book approaches the art of mastery of singular skills with the diligence of a researcher, the soul of a philosopher, and the heart of the everyday man.

Broken into chapters that focus either on a profession–artist, magician, driving instructor, boxer, dancer–or on a specific mystery of mastery (there are seven), the book is easily read in fits and starts. As an educator, I can’t help but think about how useful some chapters would be as stand-alone readings in a class on work ethic, time management, grit, or the foundational principles of education.

As Gopnik humbles himself before masters of each specific area, he exposes all that he does not know and is therefore wide open to what he can be taught. This gives him room to be awed by the abilities of those masters and receptive to the lessons of their excellence.

At its heart, The Real Work: On the Mystery of Mastery is about our desire to better ourselves and our audacious hope that the daunting task can be achieved. If you are a human experience junky and like to read about why and how we do what we do, Gopnik’s latest is for you.

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Author Adam Gopnik
Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 256 pages
Publisher WW Norton
Publish Date 14-Mar-2023
ISBN 9781324090755 Buy this Book
Issue March 2023
Category Self-Help