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The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything... Fast! | [Josh Kaufman]

The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything... Fast!

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. 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 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?

Listen to The First 80 Minutes FREE from The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything . . . Fast!.


©2013 Worldly Wisdom Ventures LLC (P)2013 Worldly Wisdom Ventures LLC

What the Critics Say

"As a father of three, practicing neurosurgeon, and global journalist, I don't have a lot of free time on my hands. The First 20 Hours is a practical guide to learning beyond our mid-20s, when our brains are fully developed. Josh's book will inspire you to pick up forgotten hobbies and chase elusive dreams." (Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.3 (437 )
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3.6 (371 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Robert Patterson Calgary, AB Canada 12-17-13
    Robert Patterson Calgary, AB Canada 12-17-13 Member Since 2007
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    "Very enjoyable book. His ideas sound so right."

    I can see why some other people didn't like this book. But that does not matter, because I thought this was a great format.

    The first three chapters covers methods for skill acquisition, and the remainder of the book are the authors experiences while using his system to acquire 6 new skills. I thought his 6 stories of skill acquisition were quite good.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sam Anchorage, AK, United States 11-20-13
    sam Anchorage, AK, United States 11-20-13 Member Since 2004

    sjdickey

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    "Helping to help yourself more quickly"

    Read the book, listened to the audio book and set out to practice using the methods Josh described.

    Less then 20 hours later I was making acceptable hand cut dovetails.

    Just over 20 hours later I was coding to the just over basic level I needed to accomplish a specific task..

    Practical explanations of practical methodologies that worked. Since reading the book I have learned a new skill I wanted, Learned one I needed and learned one i Promptly abandoned.

    If you want to save yourself some time and learn more about skills and yourself this book is a must read.

    I do have to agree with some of the folks that gave this book poor reviews. You can save even more time by only reading the first few chapters that explain the method and thought processes. Over half the content is filler that without the hard copy will only make some sense.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lawrence Chesterfield, va, United States 08-20-13
    Lawrence Chesterfield, va, United States 08-20-13 Member Since 2012
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    "If you really listen to this book, you will learn"
    What did you love best about The First 20 Hours?

    The book is informative, instructive, and true to the author's intent. In the first 6 chapters, which is only 20% of the way through the book, you will learn everything you need. The remainder of the book reinforces these teachings with real examples, one which I'm sure will enlighten you, as it has enlightened and validated me.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The 6 stories which reinforce the key teaching of the book.


    What about Josh Kaufman’s performance did you like?

    His passion


    What insight do you think you’ll apply from The First 20 Hours?

    To be pleased to know something about lots of my interests, rather than nothing about things I am interested in.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dave Anthold Porter Ranch, CA, United States 07-14-13
    Dave Anthold Porter Ranch, CA, United States 07-14-13 Member Since 2007
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    "Good Techniques for Learning"

    Josh takes you through a comprehensive plan for learning anything quickly. That first 20 hours is crucial in your ability to learn (whatever it is you want to learn) and eventually master.

    In addition, he walks you through different examples of how he learned to program, play an instrument and learn a new touch typing method. I listened to the examples I wanted to and moved on (as he gave us permission to).

    All in all, I think it is a book I would go back to again and again to refresh my skills and challenge myself to learn something new.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike 06-24-13
    Mike 06-24-13
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    "more about yoga than learning"
    What would have made The First 20 Hours better?

    focus on the art of learning, or rapid skill acquisition. I understand using something like yoga as an example of how you do RSA, but for about the last hour I've been listening to how to actually DO yoga, which doesn't interest me. I didn't want to hear about what you learned about yoga.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    something else.


    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thug4life Sutton, MA 07-30-13
    Thug4life Sutton, MA 07-30-13 Member Since 2012

    I'm just a dumb troglodyte who like reading. Me feel good after I read book.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Ran out of gas halfway"
    Any additional comments?

    It pains me to write a negative review of any book considering how hard the author must have worked to get published. I would have written a positive review if I had stopped reading/listening after completing chapter 3. In 20-HRS the theory, philosophy, research, and approach to how to tackle a new subject is very strong. The application, as exhibited in the second half of the book, is actually very boring. Mr. Kaufman knows his learning theory and communicates an well organized plan on how to attack any new subject. However, it was very difficult to listen to the nuance of yoga or the manusha of how to play GO for 2 hours. At times I failed to relate his primary learning tenants established in the early chapters to the later application chapters. This book cannot sustain your interest past 3 hours.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Majeed SPRINGFIELD GARDENS, NEW YORK, United States 06-25-13
    Majeed SPRINGFIELD GARDENS, NEW YORK, United States 06-25-13 Member Since 2013

    A Book Nerd - But Still Think that a Book Means Hard Cover and Pages

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    "This is exceptional Book on Self Development"

    I have read so many books on self development and training, to name a few (quantum learning, Buzan's Genius Formula and other books, Paul Schelee's genius Code & Photo Reading, Einstein Factor for Win Wenger) and so many others.
    In my point of view , this one of the very exceptional. Josh is abridging so many native ideas and theories, and creating his own model that fits professionals to achieve their immediate targets, with their busy schedules. Josh's unique approach is suitable for the fast growing in the market of knowledge, which is also changing rapidly.

    Some of the example skills which have been described in details by the author will be skipped by me. the reason is that "i am not interested" but these skills can be substituted with your own lovable skills, after reading the original skill of course. For example, Yoga, i do not like it and cant love it, but i heard the whole method and will apply it on my favorite sport, Boxing.

    Networking is my profession, and Ruby programming can become my lovable, so i will learn Ruby without substituting it with other skill, after Ruby i will go for DOT NET programming language with the same method for Ruby, and so on.

    But there is a problem, the book says that you do not need to spend 10000 hours to learn a skill, I agree, but if you want to become a surgeon or read and understand Goethe's work, then you will definitely spend much more than 20 hours.

    Josh's work is great, i am in love with his book and probably buy other books for him. Specially the books he narrates himself, because he is not only reading good but also he is delivering his message with maximum potential, obviously because he believes in what he wrote himself.



    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hector G. Diaz Newbury Park, CA 06-18-13
    Hector G. Diaz Newbury Park, CA 06-18-13 Member Since 2009

    Hector

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    "Mind Blowing!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Great book because it will change your view of learning.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Learning strategies.


    Which character – as performed by Josh Kaufman – was your favorite?

    The first chapter is great!


    What did you learn from The First 20 Hours that you would use in your daily life?

    The deliberate action strategy.


    Any additional comments?

    Great book!

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Benedict 06-14-13
    Benedict 06-14-13 Member Since 2003

    Benedict

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    "Very interesting!"

    I think this book is a great personal experiment: To learn something valuable with 20 hours of dedicated practice after you learn the theory of the project.

    I believe this kind of thinking if part of the new way to learn. It is new and in the the tradition recently started by Tim Ferriss in the Four Hour Cookbook and the Four Hour Body.

    Both of these authors present a recipe for applying quick learning to any number of subjects.

    6 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonathan Efrat, Israel 11-27-14
    Jonathan Efrat, Israel 11-27-14 Member Since 2013
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    "This book is 1/3 great and 2/3 mediocre"

    I have to say I didn't know what I was buying when I first got this book... And that’s all my fault because the author is honest Josh Kaufman about what the book is.
    I saw a the Ted Talk by the author and decided this book should be great.
    And when I read the introduction I immediately understood this will be a great reading… during the first chapters.
    So, I’m writing the review so that futures readers will know what to expect.
    The premise of the book is that with 20 hours of focused practice you can become decent at anything… This doesn't contradict the 10,000 hours rule that says: if you want to be an expert on something you have to practice for 10,000 hours (which is normally done in 10 years).
    The author mainly says that with 20 hours you won’t be able to play an instrument like a virtuoso, but you’ll be able to pick a guitar and play in a bonfire… And that is fine with me.
    The first 3 chapters, Josh Kaufman, writes about acquiring a skill quickly and the importance of focus and discipline… So far so good.
    But the last 6 chapters are the summary of his successful attempts to learn new skills… If you are interested in learning exactly those 6 skills (Yoga, Programming, touch typing, ukulele and windsurfing) then you will enjoy the book in its entirety.
    I’m a programmer so when I read the chapter on programming I was thinking to myself either this guy is a genius or he left out most of the learning process, by the end of the chapter he did say that by trial and error he failed more than what he succeeded… But the feeling is that this should be easy, when it’s really not. So, after that chapter I just couldn't take him serious…
    Summing up, the first 3 chapters are great, the rest is disappointing but I guess a 40 pages book doesn't look to serious or interesting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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