Master of Change Book Summary - Master of Change Book explained in key points
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Master of Change summary

Brad Stulberg

How to Excel When Everything Is Changing - Including You

4.4 (76 ratings)
15 mins

Brief summary

Master of Change by Brad Stulberg is a thought-provoking book that examines the key principles of personal and professional transformation. It offers practical wisdom and actionable strategies to embrace change and thrive in an ever-changing world.

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    Master of Change
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    Instead of resisting change, go with the flow

    Tommy Caldwell faced a life-altering decision while climbing in the remote mountains of Kyrgyzstan; his group was captured. They were held at gunpoint by members of a rebel militia.

    For days, Caldwell and his climbing companions were held hostage, with no hope of rescue. And by the sixth day, Caldwell realized what needed to be done.

    At this point, they were high in the mountains and they were being guarded by just one of the gunmen. Caldwell summoned up all his strength – physical and psychological – and pushed his captor off the cliff.

    Caldwell killed out of necessity. His decision enabled his group to escape and survive. But even so, the act really weighed on him.

    When Caldwell returned home to Colorado, he struggled with the knowledge that he’d taken another person's life. His life had changed forever.

    While this is an extreme example, change is something we all struggle with. It’s often a jarring, disorienting experience. And whether we like it or not, it’s something we all have to deal with in our lives, over and over again.

    Research shows that, on average, we experience 36 so-called “disorder events” during adulthood such as starting a new job, moving town, or breaking up with a partner. That’s a significant life change every 18 months.

    But although it can be difficult, change isn’t the enemy. The real challenge arises from our reaction to change.

    All too often, our instinct is to resist – to cling to what's familiar and comfortable. But here’s something worth keeping in mind: many world philosophical traditions – Buddhism and Stoicism, for example – have long recognized not just the profound difficulty of change but also the inevitability.

    Yes, change is hard. But it’s also unavoidable.

    Recent findings in psychology and neuroscience have come to an interesting conclusion. Change itself is actually neutral. It’s resisting change that can lead to both psychological and physical suffering.

    So, what should you do instead?

    Stulberg argues that true resilience and adaptability – what he calls “rugged flexibility” – come from embracing, not resisting, the flow of life.

    On that note, let’s go back to Caldwell for a moment.

    After his traumatic experience in Kyrgyzstan, Caldwell faced yet another change and another challenge – he lost his index finger in an accident.

    For many, this would signal the end of a climbing career. But Caldwell's resilience and adaptability saved him. Instead of giving up, he accepted his new reality. He adapted his techniques and mindset to continue climbing, just with different limitations.

    A key to navigating change is shifting your perspective. When you ground yourself in the reality of a situation, even if it means facing a harsh truth or hitting rock bottom, you're more equipped to move forward. By fully accepting change, you unlock the potential to adapt and grow.

    This mindset was essential in Caldwell's journey, which culminated in his triumphant free climb of El Capitan in Yosemite. His success wasn’t in spite of his challenges but because of his attitude toward them.

    So, if you’re seeking a richer, more fulfilling life, it's essential to embrace a core principle of rugged flexibility – openness to the flow of life.

    And here’s something else to consider. Without change, life would become, well, mundane. Boring.

    It's through the ebb and flow, the challenges and triumphs, that you’ll find depth and meaning.

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    What is Master of Change about?

    Master of Change (2023) is a guide to coping with the inevitable – a life full of change and uncertainty. Drawing from age-old philosophical traditions and cutting-edge science, it shows how your attitude to change is the key to a life of resilience, fulfillment, and growth. By altering your mindset and embracing change, you can improve your life.

    Master of Change Review

    Master of Change (2021) by Brad Stulberg is a book that explores the power of adaptability and how we can embrace change for personal growth. Here's why it's worth reading:

    • With its practical strategies and insightful anecdotes, it offers valuable tools to navigate uncertain times and make the most of life's transitions.
    • By combining research from psychology, neuroscience, and sociology, it provides a well-rounded understanding of change and its impact on our lives.
    • The book's compelling storytelling and relatable examples make it a gripping read, ensuring that it's anything but boring.

    Who should read Master of Change?

    • People experiencing changes in their personal or professional lives
    • Stressed-out individuals who want to learn how to cope better
    • Self-improvement seekers

    About the Author

    Brad Stulberg is a researcher and writer on the topics of health and well-being. He’s the author of the best-seller The Practice of Groundedness and a contributor to publications including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Atlantic.

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    Master of Change FAQs 

    What is the main message of Master of Change?

    The main message of Master of Change is the importance of embracing and adapting to change in order to thrive in an ever-changing world.

    How long does it take to read Master of Change?

    The reading time for Master of Change varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Master of Change a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Master of Change is a must-read for anyone seeking to navigate change effectively. It offers practical insights and strategies to embrace and thrive in uncertain times.

    Who is the author of Master of Change?

    The author of Master of Change is Brad Stulberg.

    What to read after Master of Change?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Master of Change, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Start With Why by Simon Sinek
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