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The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything...Fast (Audiobook)

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Publisher's Summary "Learn anything... fast!" Take a moment to consider how many things you want to learn to do. What's on your list? What's holding you back from getting started? Are you worried about the time and effort it takes to acquire new skills - time you don't have and effort you can't spare? Research suggests it takes 10,000 hours to develop a new skill. In this non Publisher's Summary "Learn anything... fast!" Take a moment to consider how many things you want to learn to do. What's on your list? What's holding you back from getting started? Are you worried about the time and effort it takes to acquire new skills - time you don't have and effort you can't spare? Research suggests it takes 10,000 hours to develop a new skill. In this nonstop world when will you ever find that much time and energy? To make matters worse, the early hours of practicing something new are always the most frustrating. That's why it's difficult to learn how to speak a new language, play an instrument, hit a golf ball, or shoot great photos. It's so much easier to watch TV or surf the web... In The First 20 Hours, Josh Kaufman offers a systematic approach to rapid skill acquisition: how to learn any new skill as quickly as possible. His method shows you how to deconstruct complex skills, maximize productive practice, and remove common learning barriers. By completing just 20 hours of focused, deliberate practice you'll go from knowing absolutely nothing to performing noticeably well. This method isn't theoretical: it's field-tested. Kaufman invites readers to join him as he field tests his approach by learning to program a Web application, play the ukulele, practice yoga, re-learn to touch type, get the hang of windsurfing, and study the world's oldest and most complex board game. What do you want to learn?


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Publisher's Summary "Learn anything... fast!" Take a moment to consider how many things you want to learn to do. What's on your list? What's holding you back from getting started? Are you worried about the time and effort it takes to acquire new skills - time you don't have and effort you can't spare? Research suggests it takes 10,000 hours to develop a new skill. In this non Publisher's Summary "Learn anything... fast!" Take a moment to consider how many things you want to learn to do. What's on your list? What's holding you back from getting started? Are you worried about the time and effort it takes to acquire new skills - time you don't have and effort you can't spare? Research suggests it takes 10,000 hours to develop a new skill. In this nonstop world when will you ever find that much time and energy? To make matters worse, the early hours of practicing something new are always the most frustrating. That's why it's difficult to learn how to speak a new language, play an instrument, hit a golf ball, or shoot great photos. It's so much easier to watch TV or surf the web... In The First 20 Hours, Josh Kaufman offers a systematic approach to rapid skill acquisition: how to learn any new skill as quickly as possible. His method shows you how to deconstruct complex skills, maximize productive practice, and remove common learning barriers. By completing just 20 hours of focused, deliberate practice you'll go from knowing absolutely nothing to performing noticeably well. This method isn't theoretical: it's field-tested. Kaufman invites readers to join him as he field tests his approach by learning to program a Web application, play the ukulele, practice yoga, re-learn to touch type, get the hang of windsurfing, and study the world's oldest and most complex board game. What do you want to learn?

30 review for The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything...Fast (Audiobook)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    I wrote this book, so I may be biased...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Zack Ward

    The problem with "The First 20 Hours" is that the author spends a majority of the book explaining what he learned (Yoga, Programming, touch typing, Go, Ukelele, Windsurfing) rather than how he learned it. Just look at his chapter on Yoga. He spends twenty pages explaining where yoga originated and the poses that he learned, but only one page of skill acquisition explanation (where he admits to referencing some books and online videos). Essentially, Kaufman's book shows you that it is possible to The problem with "The First 20 Hours" is that the author spends a majority of the book explaining what he learned (Yoga, Programming, touch typing, Go, Ukelele, Windsurfing) rather than how he learned it. Just look at his chapter on Yoga. He spends twenty pages explaining where yoga originated and the poses that he learned, but only one page of skill acquisition explanation (where he admits to referencing some books and online videos). Essentially, Kaufman's book shows you that it is possible to become sufficient in a target skill if you dedicate 20 hours (in 90 minute windows) of deliberate practice. Not research. Not reading about it. Not thinking about it. But actually doing it, and doing it in a way in which you're constantly striving to improve. He also stresses the importance of practicing in the evenings to reap the rewards of REM sleep memory enhancement. The useful part of this book can be found in the wikipedia article on skill acquisition. The rest is a report of what he learned and how far he got in each skill. I was expecting a lot more from this book and I was sorely disappointed.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Liam Delahunty

    The First Twenty Hours has an interesting idea and something useful for most of us in this time short attention wandering world getting to a degree of general competence in a topic rapidly. I dislike several things about this book. The misuse of the 10,000 hours idea to become an expert. I've never ever heard anyone say it takes 10,000 hours to learn something (other than to misquote!). 10,000 hours is purely the amount of time required in competitive areas to become absolutely world class. (view The First Twenty Hours has an interesting idea and something useful for most of us in this time short attention wandering world getting to a degree of general competence in a topic rapidly. I dislike several things about this book. The misuse of the 10,000 hours idea to become an expert. I've never ever heard anyone say it takes 10,000 hours to learn something (other than to misquote!). 10,000 hours is purely the amount of time required in competitive areas to become absolutely world class. (view spoiler)[ The principles behind rapid skill acquisition are two part and in a couple of early chapters Kaufman details the processes: The Ten Major Principles of Rapid Skill Acquisition: 1. Choose a lovable project. 2. Focus your energy on one skill at a time. 3. Define your target performance level. 4. Deconstruct the skill into sub-skills. 5. Obtain critical tools. 6. Eliminate barriers to practice. 7. Make dedicated time for practice 8. Create fast feedback loops. 9. Practice by the clock in short bursts. 10. Empathize quantity and speed. The Ten Major Principles of Effective Learning: 1. Research the skill and related topics. 2. Jump in over your head. 3. Identify mental models and mental hooks. 4. Imagine the opposite of what you want. 5. Talk to practitioners to set expectations. 6. Eliminate distractions in your environment. 7. Used spaced repetition and reinforcement for memorization. 8. Create scaffolds and checklists. 9. Make and test predictions. (hide spoiler)] The majority of the book is then made up with the author exploring various projects. Here is another problem for me. We have basically chapters of the authors research into his hobbies and not a lot of discussion about the processes above. Yes, it's there, but as an aside I feel. I'll skip over the chapter on programming as that was flawed in so many ways. I know that as a programmer for the last 20 years and web developer since before "regular people" even knew the Internet existed I have biases that I likely can't overcome. Suffice to say the reasons for learning to program where somewhat akin to wanting to learn to fly because of turbulence, blaming the turbulence on the airline all the while the passenger was deliberately bouncing about in the chair and ignoring the fasten your seatbelt sign. That all said, he gets it done and he's now running his own site software and that's impressive. However... my major gripe is that he doesn't tackle the two things that almost everybody will want to learn, a PROPER instrument such as guitar or piano and to learn a foreign language. He tackles the ukulele as an instrument. The uk-a-f***ing-lele. Then he doesn't actually really bother to learn it, but instead to cram in four chords so he can play a party piece. Hmmm. This isn't doing it for me as regards learning an instrument. Okay, I play guitar and saxophone so again, I have a bias. On the positive side, he develops a passion for the instrument, performs in public and is continuing to play. During the book several times the author mentions languages - how he "learnt" Spanish at school but now knows nothing, and in a list of things that people want to know. Despite this he doesn't tackle actually learning a foreign language and that really is where the book misses a trick for me. I enjoyed the book, it was a light easy read, but I haven't really taken anything new away from it. In short, research what you're interested in, buy what you need, then turn off the TV and internet and do something every day until you're able to perform "noticeably well".

  4. 4 out of 5

    Edwin

    Very disappointing. There's an worthwhile idea here: it may take 10,000 hours, as others have suggested, to master something at the world-class level, but what about those areas where you just want to be competent enough to enjoy it and not humiliate yourself? Unfortunately, this isn't really the book to help you. The first part is the 10 principles Kaufman has put together for Rapid Skill Acquisition, and they are mostly common sense. For example, do things you love, get rid of distractions, and Very disappointing. There's an worthwhile idea here: it may take 10,000 hours, as others have suggested, to master something at the world-class level, but what about those areas where you just want to be competent enough to enjoy it and not humiliate yourself? Unfortunately, this isn't really the book to help you. The first part is the 10 principles Kaufman has put together for Rapid Skill Acquisition, and they are mostly common sense. For example, do things you love, get rid of distractions, and put in sufficient practice time. Who knew? I mean, all the suggestions are fine, but there's nothing you couldn't think up yourself. But, you suppose, maybe things pick up in the second part (and main portion) of the book, where Kaufman shares how he picked up 6 different skills: yoga, computer programming, touch typing, go, playing ukulele, and windsurfing. Aha, here things will become more clear, as we see these principles in action! Alas, you would be mistaken. Each of these chapters has little relation to Kaufman's 10 principles (with random asides, 1-2 per chapter, where Kaufman says, "See, I just did Lesson X!"), and they are written completely backwards. In a book that is about how to quickly develop competency, the logical way to organize these little case studies is to walk through your 10 steps, and show how you they applied for each scenario. Then, theoretically, readers could apply those same 10 steps to whatever skills they want to acquire. In these 6 case studies, however, we actually get bizarrely detailed diaries of Kaufman's time spent learning this various skills. Instead of showing how his 10 principles work, we get the first-hand, play-by-play account of Every. Single. Thing. Josh. Kaufman. Did. To. Learn. Something. For example, the chapter on coding spends more time actually teaching the reader to code a very specific program that was very specific to Kaufman's needs at the time than on universal concepts of learning. When he learns to play Go, we follow along as he decides on which game board he will buy--and where he will buy it from. And it's the same every time. These chapters are specific where they ought to be general, and glaze over what should be the most important points. And most frustrating of all, Kaufman's emphasis on 20 hours turns out to just be a number he pulled out of his head (or possibly reverse engineered after seeing how long it took him on average for his six case studies). There's absolutely no reason given for why 20 hours is the right amount of time, as opposed to 5, 10, 15, 25, or 30. It's just a nice, round number that sounds great in the title but has no real relation to the amount of time it takes to develop competency in any particular skill. His yoga case study takes about 5 hours, he only spends 9 on windsurfing, while he goes past 20 hours on others. Just a big disappointment.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    For the past 10 years or so, I've described myself as a dabbler. I am a Jill of many trades, an expert of none. I own a guitar and a ukulele, but I can only play 3 songs on each. I own language learning tools for Spanish, French, Arabic and Czech, and can barely speak anything other than English. I've taken 1 surf lesson and 1 stand up paddle board lesson and loved both. Someday, I would like to learn to build a website, make silver jewelry, and play the violin. I also work full time, exercise d For the past 10 years or so, I've described myself as a dabbler. I am a Jill of many trades, an expert of none. I own a guitar and a ukulele, but I can only play 3 songs on each. I own language learning tools for Spanish, French, Arabic and Czech, and can barely speak anything other than English. I've taken 1 surf lesson and 1 stand up paddle board lesson and loved both. Someday, I would like to learn to build a website, make silver jewelry, and play the violin. I also work full time, exercise daily, and don't employ a maid or a cook. You see the problem? Enter the First 20 Hours. This book gives readers a plan of attack and details how the author went about learning 6 new skills himself. See a summary of his skill learning at http://first20hours.com/ I really liked the no-nonsense style and self-awareness of the author. He referenced 2 books and a NYT article that I've already read, so it really felt like he wrote this book specifically for me (except that our "skills to learn" didn't line up perfectly). He points out that while Malcolm Gladwell may be correct in that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something, it only takes 20 hours to become proficient, if you're working smart. Here is the basic method: Method 1. Choose a loveable project 2. Focus on one project at a time 3. Define your target performance level 4. Deconstruct the skill into subskills 5. Obtain critical tools 6. Eliminate barriers to practice 7. Make dedicated time for practice 8. Create fast feedback loops 9. Practice by the clock in short bursts 10. Emphasize quantity and speed

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nada Elshabrawy

    Very informative.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ben Nesvig

    It's difficult to imagine a better book on skill building than The First 20 Hours. If you've ever found yourself thinking "I wish I knew how to ____" or "I wish I didn't quit ____ lessons as a kid," then this is the best book you can read. There are many other books on learning that I love, such as "The Art of Learning" by Josh Waitzkin, but this is by far the best step by step guide you can apply to learning any skill. The first 40 pages are dedicated to the principles of effective learning and It's difficult to imagine a better book on skill building than The First 20 Hours. If you've ever found yourself thinking "I wish I knew how to ____" or "I wish I didn't quit ____ lessons as a kid," then this is the best book you can read. There are many other books on learning that I love, such as "The Art of Learning" by Josh Waitzkin, but this is by far the best step by step guide you can apply to learning any skill. The first 40 pages are dedicated to the principles of effective learning and skill acquisition. You could technically stop here if you wanted to and go on learning a skill, but there is a lot you'd miss, as it's very helpful to see the principles of skill acquisition in context. Each of the skills show the principles in context as well as overcoming some of the common barriers to learning. Some are more interesting than others depending on your interest in the skill. While each skill has interesting elements to it, learning touch type is the one that wrinkled my brain. It's fascinating to see his journey in rewiring his brain to type on a different keyboard. I had no idea that different types of keyboards even existed before reading this book. I'm not sure if I'll make the switch to the Colemak keyboard, but I'll now be focusing on skill building before sleeping. If you want to learn any skill quickly, this book will give you the 10 principles of skill acquisition and learning while destroying the typical excuses that people give for not learning something.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Chung Chin

    The First 20 Hours is a book about rapid skill acquisition. In this book, based on his research, Josh Kaufman lists down the four major steps of rapid skill acquisition: a. Deconstruct b. Learn c. Remove barrier d. Practice Next, the author goes on to explain ten principles of rapid skill acquisition and ten principles of effective learning. The ten principles of rapid skill acquisition is a list of common-sense thinking to skill acquisition, put together nicely in a list for your checking. The ten p The First 20 Hours is a book about rapid skill acquisition. In this book, based on his research, Josh Kaufman lists down the four major steps of rapid skill acquisition: a. Deconstruct b. Learn c. Remove barrier d. Practice Next, the author goes on to explain ten principles of rapid skill acquisition and ten principles of effective learning. The ten principles of rapid skill acquisition is a list of common-sense thinking to skill acquisition, put together nicely in a list for your checking. The ten principles of effective learning is almost the same thing, but for effective learning. The rest of the book is about the author's journey to pick-up six new skills; his process as well as what he learned about the skill. Overall, the writing of the book is clear and easily understood. Some chapters, especially the one on how the author picked up programming skills, are rather technical and can be complicated. However, you can skip this chapter if you're not keen to learn programming as it will not be of interest to you on how Josh Kaufman picked up his programming skills and what he learned. As for the content, I did not find the entire book useful. The meat of the book was in the first few chapters. The rest of the book is in my personal opinion, fillers that are there to make a book. This is because, the title of the book is "The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything ... Fast." Reading a "How To" book, I expect to learn how to actually do something. In the chapters that explain his journey on picking up a particular skills, I personally think that the author spend a lot more time letting the reader know what he has learned. This to me, is not a "How To" book - it is a dictionary for a particular skill. For example, in the "Yoga" chapter, the author starts by letting us know how he first come to know yoga. Next, he gave us a lecture on the history of yoga. Then, he presented to us what he found out about yoga. I actually appreciate this part a lot more, but I would think that it will be more useful if he is able to connect this back to the four major steps in a clear manner. However, because of the way this is presented, it feels a lot more like reading up on "What Yoga Actually Is About" rather than "How I Learned Yoga Using Rapid Skill Acquisition". If you're keen about rapid skill acquisition, my personal recommendation would be to pick-up Tim Ferris Four Hour Chef instead.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Perry

    The First 2 Hours: Pathway to Putrefication Effortlessly it seems, the author has created a book that is simply unreadable. This defect, without exception, putrefies a book for me. Should you, a reasonably intelligent person, decide to read this, I'll wager good money on the proposition that you won't need 20 hours to learn you wasted time and/or money. Indeed, the Vegas line on over/under is 2 hours, and I'll take the under. The First 2 Hours: Pathway to Putrefication Effortlessly it seems, the author has created a book that is simply unreadable. This defect, without exception, putrefies a book for me. Should you, a reasonably intelligent person, decide to read this, I'll wager good money on the proposition that you won't need 20 hours to learn you wasted time and/or money. Indeed, the Vegas line on over/under is 2 hours, and I'll take the under.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Doerschuck

    Josh Kaufman did a great job creating a lot of hype for the book, that's for sure. But I for one was a little disappointed upon actually reading 20 Hours. There are two chapters tops that detail his "method", two ten point lists, and the remaining 280 some odd pages are case studies. Kaufman stresses "breaking down a skill" into smaller chunks, but doesn't really give any in-depth write up on how to do just that theory-wise. In the first chapter Kaufman says "Yes, the secret to learning skills q Josh Kaufman did a great job creating a lot of hype for the book, that's for sure. But I for one was a little disappointed upon actually reading 20 Hours. There are two chapters tops that detail his "method", two ten point lists, and the remaining 280 some odd pages are case studies. Kaufman stresses "breaking down a skill" into smaller chunks, but doesn't really give any in-depth write up on how to do just that theory-wise. In the first chapter Kaufman says "Yes, the secret to learning skills quickly is to break it down" and then doesn't really say anything else on the topic. You can read the following chapters and get some idea, but I don't even feel he broke down the skills equally across examples. What I mean is this: when he tried to learn Go he read theory books and did Go problems along with playing people online - Great. But when he learned windsurfing, he spent $3,000 on equipment and then took it to a lake in low wind and just hopped right on it. That's not breaking down anything! That's buying a board and trying to windsurf! All in all I really just wanted this to be more of an instructional book, and it wasn't. It's 1 part instructional and 10 parts memoir. That's fine I guess if that's what you're looking for, but that's not what I want to get out of this book and not how the book was marketed.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Colleen Wainwright

    A crisp, well-written explanation of rapid skill acquisition that any learning junkie will find incredibly useful. On the strength of the first three chapters alone, I've been recommending it to anyone who'll listen, but there's a wealth of additional data in the six case studies where the author used himself as guinea pig to test his theories. (They are, in case you've not read it elsewhere yet: yoga; a programming language; a non-QWERTY touch-typing system; an ancient Chinese strategy game cal A crisp, well-written explanation of rapid skill acquisition that any learning junkie will find incredibly useful. On the strength of the first three chapters alone, I've been recommending it to anyone who'll listen, but there's a wealth of additional data in the six case studies where the author used himself as guinea pig to test his theories. (They are, in case you've not read it elsewhere yet: yoga; a programming language; a non-QWERTY touch-typing system; an ancient Chinese strategy game called "Go"; the ukulele; and windsurfing.) Where are the likely roadblocks in learning a new language vs. acquiring a new physical skill? How can you use the principles to overcome them? What overarching lessons can you take away from each endeavor you take on? As a chronic abandoner of projects, I'm delighted to have this book to apply to my next one—either ukulele or sign painting, because (alas), I am told in no uncertain terms that whichever I choose, things will go better if I focus on it wholeheartedly. The good news is that it won't take 10,000 hours to get good enough for either strumming or printing to become enjoyable; if I can discipline myself to do an hour of focused practice each day, I'll have time to get to both, even if it takes me double the 20 hours. Full disclosure: this review is based on an advance reader's copy of the book, sent by the author, who is a personal friend. That said, I cannot be bought! At least, not for the price of a free book! (Hell, I won't even finish reading a lot of the free books I receive. I mean, have you seen what passes for editing these days?)

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    The first three chapters of this self-help book give some great tips to learning anything you want in 20 hours. You may not be an expert, but you should be able to have fun with that new skill. However, the remaining 6 chapters are about how the author learned to play Go, windsurf, play the ukulele, learn computer programming, do yoga, and learn a keyboard that is not QWERTY. These chapters were meant to show how to apply the tips to learning in a practical way. Unfortunately, there was WAY too mu The first three chapters of this self-help book give some great tips to learning anything you want in 20 hours. You may not be an expert, but you should be able to have fun with that new skill. However, the remaining 6 chapters are about how the author learned to play Go, windsurf, play the ukulele, learn computer programming, do yoga, and learn a keyboard that is not QWERTY. These chapters were meant to show how to apply the tips to learning in a practical way. Unfortunately, there was WAY too much detail in these chapters about how to learn those things and I ended up just skimming it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    Read the first three chapters. Everything else was just about what he personally learned and not terribly interesting. Basically, you can do anything if you make it a daily priority for a couple weeks. Which is obvious, but I guess I was hoping for some big secret to be revealed. Or at the very least, a funny writing style.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ema Olnew

    I really enjoyed it. He explained how to do it, as in the theory, and then he moved on to the practical side of it by sharing his personal experience with aquiring six new skills based on his theory. For some people it may be too practical and personal, in the way that his choice of skills to improve wouldn't appeal to others, but I liked reading about it. Also, I like his writing, clean, on point and funny, in a smart way. I really enjoyed it. He explained how to do it, as in the theory, and then he moved on to the practical side of it by sharing his personal experience with aquiring six new skills based on his theory. For some people it may be too practical and personal, in the way that his choice of skills to improve wouldn't appeal to others, but I liked reading about it. Also, I like his writing, clean, on point and funny, in a smart way.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Milan

    This is another book which should have been just a blog post. The main ideas: • Choose want you want to learn and deconstruct it into the smallest possible sub-skills. • Learn enough about each sub-skill to be able to practice effectively and self-correct. • Remove any physical or emotional barriers that get in the way of practice. • Practice the most important sub-skills for at least 20 hours, even if it is a drag.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Pete

    The First 20 Hours (2013) by Josh Kaufman is a pretty thin book on learning new skills and learning in general. The book is pretty much an essay extended into a book. Kaufman’s book is about how to obtain the basics of a skill in 20 hours. Kaufman wrote a successful book called The Personal MBA. Kaufman is the self-help guru for the Hacker News set. Kaufman has 10 rules for Rapid Skill Acquisition and ten major principles of effective learning. They include such gems as ‘Research the skill and re The First 20 Hours (2013) by Josh Kaufman is a pretty thin book on learning new skills and learning in general. The book is pretty much an essay extended into a book. Kaufman’s book is about how to obtain the basics of a skill in 20 hours. Kaufman wrote a successful book called The Personal MBA. Kaufman is the self-help guru for the Hacker News set. Kaufman has 10 rules for Rapid Skill Acquisition and ten major principles of effective learning. They include such gems as ‘Research the skill and related topics’ and ‘eliminate distractions in your environment’. Personally I’ve always liked to work on nuclear engineering while under gunfire, but these tips may work for the author. However, some of the tips do have some merit. The idea of giving pretty much anything you decide to take up 20 hours of concentrated effort is worthwhile. Also fast feedback loops, decomposing things are worthwhile. Kaufman also makes the point that you ‘make time’ for something rather than having time. For most of the rest book Kaufman writes up varies activities he has used the approach he describes for. They are doing yoga, altering his web site and writing a web application, learning go, learning the Ukulele and learning to wind surf. It’s pretty clever to write a self-help book and use your diaries of what you are doing as well. The book isn’t worthless but it’s really not up to much. I’ve also learned something valuable, before buying a book check around for some negative reviews if it’s written by an author with a web following.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Vojtech

    As far as I am concerned this book merely describes the obvious procedure involved in acquiring a skill. I don't think there is anything special in there which would help you rapidly acquire arbitrary new skills. The chapters describing various things Kaufman taught himself ranged from boring and cringey to slightly interesting, I had to skip a lot. My recommendation is to go and work on the skill of your dreams rather than waste time reading or listening to this. As far as I am concerned this book merely describes the obvious procedure involved in acquiring a skill. I don't think there is anything special in there which would help you rapidly acquire arbitrary new skills. The chapters describing various things Kaufman taught himself ranged from boring and cringey to slightly interesting, I had to skip a lot. My recommendation is to go and work on the skill of your dreams rather than waste time reading or listening to this.

  18. 5 out of 5

    M Jahangir kz

    A decent read, although not as good as his other book The personal MBA, which is one of my favorite.. The book is basically based on simple practical techniques and principal, which enables us to learn any skills very quickly, the good part is that the other has himself tried those techniques, and learned 5 to 6 new skills, which he also illustrate on the book that how he learned those skills in less than 20 hours, following were those skills 1. Programming 2. Touch typing 3. Go game 4. Wind surfing 5 A decent read, although not as good as his other book The personal MBA, which is one of my favorite.. The book is basically based on simple practical techniques and principal, which enables us to learn any skills very quickly, the good part is that the other has himself tried those techniques, and learned 5 to 6 new skills, which he also illustrate on the book that how he learned those skills in less than 20 hours, following were those skills 1. Programming 2. Touch typing 3. Go game 4. Wind surfing 5. Ukelele Downside of this is that I think the author has exaggerated the book, because the techniques that he thought were very sound and sold, only one example would have been enough for the sake of illustration, and with this the book would have been easily under 100 pages.. then I would have rated it 5/5. Having said this, I still rate the book very high, because it is very practical one, Josh kaufmann is by the way a brilliant writer, his story telling and writing skills are just sublime.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dax

    Really hoped it would be as well researched as Personal MBA, instead I got a mishmash of pop-productivity for a few pages and then the author learning random skills for the other 90%.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Trang Le

    Most books about study skills often have either, or both of the following shortcomings: 1. They're too obvious; 2. They're more like 1000-word blog posts repurposed into 200-page for commercial publication. I almost didn't pick up this book, considering that it receives only 3 out of 5 stars on both Amazon and Goodreads. I changed my mind after seeing the very polite replyof the author to a critical review. The book opens with several uncomfortable truths about learning something new that we oft Most books about study skills often have either, or both of the following shortcomings: 1. They're too obvious; 2. They're more like 1000-word blog posts repurposed into 200-page for commercial publication. I almost didn't pick up this book, considering that it receives only 3 out of 5 stars on both Amazon and Goodreads. I changed my mind after seeing the very polite replyof the author to a critical review. The book opens with several uncomfortable truths about learning something new that we often fail to notice: 1. Skills take time and effort to master, as said by Geoffrey Chaucer 7 centuries ago: The lyf so short, the craft so longe to lerne. 2 Many things aren't fun until you're good at them. Remember your first months learning a new language, musical instrument or sport? You have a vivid expectation of how good you want to be, but your rudimentary skills leave you frustrated. The author hit the nail on the head with those observations and offered to introduce a method that makes it possible to acquire new skills with less angst and waste of time. Despite the subtitle of the book: How to Learn Anything...Fast, this book is about skill acquisition, not learning. He made the distinction between skill acquision and learning, skill acquisiton and training, skill acquisition and education. Skill acquisition is practicing something in context and requires sustained concentration. That's not to discredit the value of learning, training and education. They all complement each other, but according to the author, skill acquisition is the way to go if you want to get good at anything where real-life performance matters. Think of web design. No matter how prestigious your credentials are, you're not going to be deliver results if you don't actually practice designing website in context. So how do you go about acquiring new skills rapidly and efficiently? From the author's personal experiences, it takes 20 hours of concentrated and intelligent effort to be good enough for your own purposes. In chapter 2 and 3, the author outlined 10 principles of rapid skill acquisition and 10 principles of effective learning. I feel like they're just an expansion of the classic S.M.A.R.T goal strategy but I find it helpful when someone put them into a handy list. He also cited several academic literature on skill acquisition, learning curve, mindset and gave some lifehacker-styled tips about time management and planning to help you realize your goals. Unfortunately, chap 3 is where the excellence of the book ends. In the 80% remaining section of the book, the author used himself as a guinea pig and set out to acquire 6 particular, completely different skills. He said that the core skill acquisition process is largely the same, but his accounts were more about flimsy manuals for those skills than how he actually applied his principles to acquire them. I was left with many questions: How to define your target performance level for skills without a finish line, like drawing or teaching? How to desconstruct your skills into subskills when you're an utter beginner? etc. Most of the time, defining your target performance level, not the destinatio is a taxing journey in itself and the book fails to expound on that. Overall, this book is 20% helpful and 80% fluff. I still reread the first 3 chapters from time to time to remind myself that half begun is well done. But do I recommend this book to others? It can be helpful for people with a Reconnaissance temperament, people who want to be the Jack or Jill of many trades, people whose goal is not to win the Olympics gold medal but just want to be good enough at a sport to have fun and not embarrass themselves. If you're notYou'd better watch his Tedx talk and decide for yourself.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nguyen P. Chi

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I picked up this book with mere curiosity about how the author managed to learn Yoga and Go in 20 hours (2 out of 6 skills that he took as examples). It's not like he didn't make any worthy points, but his arguments are not convincing enough to me. Basically, if you want to learn something, you have to practice, repeat, and don't get distracted - that's it. But the targets are different between people and I'm not gratified with what he defined as "skill mastered". The only quote in the book that I picked up this book with mere curiosity about how the author managed to learn Yoga and Go in 20 hours (2 out of 6 skills that he took as examples). It's not like he didn't make any worthy points, but his arguments are not convincing enough to me. Basically, if you want to learn something, you have to practice, repeat, and don't get distracted - that's it. But the targets are different between people and I'm not gratified with what he defined as "skill mastered". The only quote in the book that somewhat hits me: "It's all too easy to feel like you're investing a lot of time on a skill without practicing very much at all. If you wanted to learn something for a long time, you dream about being good at it, but you're hesitant to get started, you can spend years of mental and emotional energy without improving one bit." Hahaha, so true.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ben Drexler

    I have very, very mixed feelings about this book. Baked into its central conceit is a kind of disdain for mastering a skill. The author is up-front about his desire to acquire a base-level competency in many different skills rather than master any one of them. In some chapters, his approach to learning stumbles upon some unique insights as to how human beings acquire new skills. In some chapters, it's painfully clear that this approach has led him to a very superficial understanding of the pursu I have very, very mixed feelings about this book. Baked into its central conceit is a kind of disdain for mastering a skill. The author is up-front about his desire to acquire a base-level competency in many different skills rather than master any one of them. In some chapters, his approach to learning stumbles upon some unique insights as to how human beings acquire new skills. In some chapters, it's painfully clear that this approach has led him to a very superficial understanding of the pursuit he's attempting. As a programmer and musician, his chapters on Ruby and learning to play the ukulele are maddeningly simplistic and clearly built upon a foundation of the author putting as little work as possible into these pursuits. Our culture has an issue with prizing immediate gains over long-term commitments and the author's approach indulges wholeheartedly in the former. I found some of the research he uncovered fascinating and after reading the chapter on Go I really want to take it up myself...but beyond that I'm left with the impression that this is a guy with way too much money, way to much time, and way too little desire to actually be good at anything he tries. This isn't a mold we should all strive to follow.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Chad

    This book doesn't present a revolutionary secret for learning skills. What it does is collect insights that seem obvious, but are almost always overlooked, with clear observations, and describe a system for employing those insights to make the process of acquiring new skills more predictable, and for making success in skill acquisition more repeatable. In that respect, it provides an excellent starting point for others to improve their approach to developing their own repertoire of skills. The le This book doesn't present a revolutionary secret for learning skills. What it does is collect insights that seem obvious, but are almost always overlooked, with clear observations, and describe a system for employing those insights to make the process of acquiring new skills more predictable, and for making success in skill acquisition more repeatable. In that respect, it provides an excellent starting point for others to improve their approach to developing their own repertoire of skills. The lengthy case study examples toward the end are not exactly required reading, and many people might find them tedious and unnecessary -- even wasted space. I think they serve a useful set of examples for how the process works in practice, to help readers put what advice the author offers into practice, but not all examples are likely to offer much value to any given reader. Pick and choose what to read, perhaps skim these sections to see if they might offer insight into things you're having difficulty really absorbing from the earlier explanations for how to go about systematically acquiring a skill; ignore what doesn't offer any utility in your own life.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Dorotea

    Many skills can be learned to a sufficient level with 20 hours of focused, strategic effort. In order to do so: deconstruct it into the smallest possible subskills, learn enough about each subskill to be able to practice effectively and self-correct, remove any physical, mental, or emotional barriers, practice the most important subskills for at least 20 hours.

  25. 4 out of 5

    May Ling

    Summary: Great framework in the front. Then 6 examples of skills that were picked up within the year. The front chapters get the 4 stars, the back I could take or leave. I like the framework which include: 1) Deciding 2) Deconstructing 3) Learning 4) Removing (obstacles) 5) Practicing This is more or less true for all new things. I also really like he describes - in not so many words, what Skills acquisition is not. That's important. The idea that you will be expert at anything is silly. I think he cho Summary: Great framework in the front. Then 6 examples of skills that were picked up within the year. The front chapters get the 4 stars, the back I could take or leave. I like the framework which include: 1) Deciding 2) Deconstructing 3) Learning 4) Removing (obstacles) 5) Practicing This is more or less true for all new things. I also really like he describes - in not so many words, what Skills acquisition is not. That's important. The idea that you will be expert at anything is silly. I think he chose some skills that are very specific and may not relate to all people and for anyone that knows the skills, the way he says he learned them would make a person want to kill themselves a little bit. I think it might be better entitled "intro to anything in 20 hours." Additionally, it's really suspect that one would turn these into a life habit in 20 hours. Perhaps... Still, I like that he's really getting the intro in 20 hours and then continuing onward to practice for the rest of his life. That's rather handy. Also, I think many will like the concept of 20 hours because it's something they would be able to commit to vs. 6mos. To the extent that someone is inspired to acquire a new skill by having such a breakdown... cool!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Joan Roig

    I will give it 2 stars instead of one because of the first chapters. So disappointing!!! More so because the first chapters seemed very promising. how many times I have wanted to acquire a new ability just to end up getting overwhelmed by the huge amount of content, the lack of time to dedicate... etc etc. During the first chapters the author gives a roadmap to follow in order to rapidly acquire a new ability. So I was very excited when I read he would proceed to apply this roadmap in 6 different I will give it 2 stars instead of one because of the first chapters. So disappointing!!! More so because the first chapters seemed very promising. how many times I have wanted to acquire a new ability just to end up getting overwhelmed by the huge amount of content, the lack of time to dedicate... etc etc. During the first chapters the author gives a roadmap to follow in order to rapidly acquire a new ability. So I was very excited when I read he would proceed to apply this roadmap in 6 different abilities he wants to acquire. Nothing further from the truth. Instead of going point by point explanining how he applied every principal to each ability he fills the book with information about such abilities. This makes the reader disappointed and the book unbearable... specially if you do not like the topics he is describing. For instance... the yoga chapter.. I definitely was not willing to read about the ancient history of Yoga.. honestly I could not care less. I felt as though the author had a good idea in creating this book, but at the end was unable to bring it to life. Anyway.. huge disappointment.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sipho

    I feel hoodwinked. The promise of this book and what it actually delivers are worlds apart. And for that, I am furious. The main idea is basically that nobody has time for the 10,000 hour rule popularised by Malcolm Gladwell. Most of us want to learn new and interesting skills, not to be elite world class practitioners of those skills, but for fun, out of interest or to help us do something else. Enter the concept of rapid skill acquisition. Josh Kaufmann proposes that it only takes about 20 hours o I feel hoodwinked. The promise of this book and what it actually delivers are worlds apart. And for that, I am furious. The main idea is basically that nobody has time for the 10,000 hour rule popularised by Malcolm Gladwell. Most of us want to learn new and interesting skills, not to be elite world class practitioners of those skills, but for fun, out of interest or to help us do something else. Enter the concept of rapid skill acquisition. Josh Kaufmann proposes that it only takes about 20 hours of very focused practice to become proficient at a new skill at a level above amateur. Fair and fine. My gripe is that the author doesn't really expand on this. Sure, he lays out the principles of rapid skill acquisition and how to learn effectively, but the majority of the book describes his process of learning various disciplines. This would be fine if you're interested in stuff like yoga, windsurfing or playing the ukelele. I am not. As a result, only the first 20-30 pages were of any use to me. While I like the concept and will probably try it for myself, I don't think this book should have been a book. A series of blog posts would have done the trick. Instead of reading this whole book, I'd actually recommend watching Kaufman's brilliant Ted Talk on the subject here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MgBi... This pretty much covers the key aspects of everything he talks about in the book and is only 20 minutes long.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Bharathan

    For anyone who has a long overdue list of goals and skills they haven't yet got around to acquiring, read this book. Although the "first twenty hours" moniker is a bit misleading, for along with twenty hours of practice one needs to invest in research equipment shopping and money, the book details incredibly productive strategies for picking a skill and sticking with it. The author explains these strategies in an engaging and easy to understand manner using obscure examples from his own life. Th For anyone who has a long overdue list of goals and skills they haven't yet got around to acquiring, read this book. Although the "first twenty hours" moniker is a bit misleading, for along with twenty hours of practice one needs to invest in research equipment shopping and money, the book details incredibly productive strategies for picking a skill and sticking with it. The author explains these strategies in an engaging and easy to understand manner using obscure examples from his own life. This book might even be enough to motivate you to pick up that new skill you've wanted to try but haven't felt you have the time to do. If not, it's certainly an entertaining read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mohamed Hema

    One idea or method books, are meant to explain how to implement it and how to use it. The main idea was good, but the author forgot it totally and instead of explaining implementation methods he went to speak about his personal interests and how it works. As I am someone personally who loves creating new habits and learn new things, I think it doesn't matter how much effort or how many hours of practicing but the main thing is commitment and sticking to the thing till it becomes natural routine One idea or method books, are meant to explain how to implement it and how to use it. The main idea was good, but the author forgot it totally and instead of explaining implementation methods he went to speak about his personal interests and how it works. As I am someone personally who loves creating new habits and learn new things, I think it doesn't matter how much effort or how many hours of practicing but the main thing is commitment and sticking to the thing till it becomes natural routine that you enjoy, or you master the skill itself. I am disappointed, and was expecting something better.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Marwen Aouiti

    It is a good book where you can find strategies and analysis from an experienced author about planning and learning how to learn new skills. Sometimes you may feel bored because you'll be reading about things for the first time; well you can skip that but it's recommended to read the summary after every learning experience to get the maximum profit from the author's experience. It is a good book where you can find strategies and analysis from an experienced author about planning and learning how to learn new skills. Sometimes you may feel bored because you'll be reading about things for the first time; well you can skip that but it's recommended to read the summary after every learning experience to get the maximum profit from the author's experience.

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