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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 (410 )
5 star
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1 star
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Overall
3.2 (350 )
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1 star
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Story
3.6 (347 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Grady Denver, CO, United States 06-16-13
    Grady Denver, CO, United States 06-16-13 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    152
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    "Finished the thesis early in the book"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Maybe someone in their early 20s with little experience in their life might like it.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Josh Kaufman again?

    No.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Josh Kaufman?

    Not sure. Really not going to.


    What character would you cut from The First 20 Hours?

    I'd kill all the stories about things he learned in his past.


    Any additional comments?

    Seriously, he finishes his thesis early in the book. The rest is just fill. He talks about how he learned yoga and computer programming (that's all in the past). This was all about 20/20 foresight. How about talking about his thesis and then actually applying it to something he knows nothing about. Write about that. Write about how it's something he wants to learn, but is fighting with all the self doubts, frustration and aggravation of finding the motivation to do what he intellectually wants, but has trouble finding the discipline to actually learn. Prove that thesis. Don't just introduce the thesis and then look back into the past about how it worked for things he already learned. Don't talk about things he had to learn for his business. I have to do that all the time. I have to learn about things I could care less about because I have to do it for my business.

    All in all, this book talks about a thesis that could be stated in 3 lines. Only focus on learning one thing at a time. Devote the time to do it and don't let any other learning distractions stop you from this goal. And finally, think before you do. Plan how you're going to learn and do it intelligently. I have a problem with that idea because it all falls back to 20/20 foresight. You can't learn what's important and what isn't until you learn something about it.

    In the end, this was a brief thesis that didn't need the full space of a book. It makes money for the author because it's not a brief article that he can put on his website--it's a book. And this book is a waste of time and money.

    148 of 163 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Keshav Union city, CA, United States 06-16-13
    Keshav Union city, CA, United States 06-16-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Learn by doing it."

    First -- you're listening to a book instead of reading it because you wan to "read" faster than actual reading. So, for anything you wan to learn (or want to burn down your learning bucket list), you learn by doing it. Based on his experience and research, Josh has come up with 10 principles for learning enough to enjoy.

    1. Choose a lovable skill
    2. Choose the target performance level
    3. Learn one -- only one -- at a time.
    4. Deconstruct the skill to sub skills
    5. Get the tools to help you start practicing the skill asap.
    and 5 more.

    Key emphasis on the getting to doing and acquiring skill, tips creating the environment to sticking to it makes all the difference in this approach. First few chapters will move to action -- a great success for any book by any measure.

    The book also details Josh's successful application of these techniques to learning Yoga, web application, Go, touch typing, ukulele and windsurfing. I treat this as bonus.


    28 of 31 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christophe Kempten, Germany 06-19-13
    Christophe Kempten, Germany 06-19-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "First 3 Chapters are enough"

    The book has a great start and fullfilled my expectations. The you get 30min of yoga history and you just stop listening.

    35 of 39 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gordon Dawson Creek, BC, Canada 07-03-13
    Gordon Dawson Creek, BC, Canada 07-03-13 Member Since 2011

    Web Developer, Eldoren Design, www.eldoren.com

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A great book! Worth the Cost!"

    Just a quick note - I am about 85% through the book and its already provided some great insite and interesting information. In a few places it seemed a bit slow and then took off and I was hooked all over again. I like this author and he has provided some great value in this book. The narration is awesome....one of the easier audible books to listen to.

    I would rate this a 4.5 out of five but they only allow a 4/5. Highly recommended to my friends, family and business associates.

    Cheers

    Gordon

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Toronto, Ontario, Canada 06-29-13
    Scott Toronto, Ontario, Canada 06-29-13 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A few key points make a worthwhile read"
    Where does The First 20 Hours rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It's in the top 20% of all the personal improvement books I've listened to.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The First 20 Hours?

    It reinforces the idea of Deliberate Practice, which I first heard about in "Talent is Overrated".


    What about Josh Kaufman’s performance did you like?

    Any time an author is reading his own book, it's going to be hit or miss. Fortunately, Josh Kaufman read it well. Having the author read his own book wasn't a negative at all.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The notion that you don't have to be a black-belt expert at everything. That if you want to learn something, spend 20 hours learning it in an effective manner and then you're good enough to move on to another skill.


    Any additional comments?

    I wasn't a huge fan of all the examples - how he learned Go, or to type, or to program, etc. Seemed a bit like filler. But it's worth listening to nonetheless.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    April Santa Cruz, CA, USA 06-16-13
    April Santa Cruz, CA, USA 06-16-13 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Disspointed"
    Would you try another book from Josh Kaufman and/or Josh Kaufman?

    I don't know.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    I don't know.


    Have you listened to any of Josh Kaufman’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The First 20 Hours?

    All stories telling me how do yoga, programming, playing go, sailing, etc.


    Any additional comments?

    The author has some great advice for learning but the meat of the advice comes in about the first 45 minutes and the rest is just telling me how to do yoga, program computers, play GO, sailing, etc., stuff I'm not interested in, nor did I want to learn about. I realize the author is trying to use those as examples as to how he learned something but it was ridiculously detailed and certainly took him more than 20 hours. I feel like the rest of the book was decdicated to plugging his wifes Yoga video and his other computer businesses and his "20 hour" website.

    It real waste of my time and my money for this book!

    33 of 41 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SurviveAZ United States 11-29-13
    SurviveAZ United States 11-29-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Solution + Step by Step Examples - Perfect for me."
    If you could sum up The First 20 Hours in three words, what would they be?

    Made me Smarter


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The First 20 Hours?

    The web programming example walked through the steps, giving an exact account of what the solution would look like in practice. Not only that, the example is so detailed, with resources listed, that I want to re-listen and build a web based program myself.


    What about Josh Kaufman’s performance did you like?

    Josh's voice is easy to listen too, and he does a great job of translating sincerity in wanting to help anyone learn whatever they want to learn, fast. The willingness to so honestly and openly share his knowledge is admirable.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    It is not a one sitting book. It not long though, and sections motivated me to get up and Practice what I want to Learn. Very motivational.


    Any additional comments?

    I shared this book with co-workers who are studying for project management certifications. Three of them, who reviewed the material, were impressed and are using the 'practice' concept for studying, rather than spending so much time on reading material. One successfully passed the exam, and the rest of us have our exams scheduled soon.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    shakespeare san diego 06-22-13
    shakespeare san diego 06-22-13 Member Since 2013

    jon

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Lots of talk way to much filler."
    Would you try another book from Josh Kaufman and/or Josh Kaufman?

    No


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Did not get that far


    Would you be willing to try another one of Josh Kaufman’s performances?

    No


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Anger and disappointment


    Any additional comments?

    So much of the audio book was devoted to stories and that's fine to warm us up to the strategies but at chapter seven I found myself a bit angry at having listened to a very long talk on yoga positions, history,what he got out of it and Antonio Banderas younger look alike all the women had crushes on... and very little on new strategies...

    basically save yourself money just devote yourself to 90 minutes of intense study if you can't study 90 minutes build up to it.. remove distractions and make time for study daily at roughly same time... there free ... I was victimized by the old bait and switch.
    I paid for learning strategies and received a book on how to fill hours of the listeners time and do it sounding gooooood.. .. (Yes Josh has a good voice)
    What a waste.

    Shame on you Josh. You got me but I'm returning the audio book for my money back. I want my time back also but that's gone and I feel ripped off.


    9 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jean-Stéphane Szijarto Switzerland 06-24-13
    Jean-Stéphane Szijarto Switzerland 06-24-13 Member Since 2011

    JS

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I feel cheated"
    Any additional comments?

    My review is not about the audio part, but about the book. Kaufman blahblahs around, and then spends I don't know how much time talking about the history of yoga, which I don't care at all about. I feel this was just some space filler, and hence feel cheated.

    8 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    manaf riyadh, Saudi Arabia 04-25-14
    manaf riyadh, Saudi Arabia 04-25-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
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    "a diary not a road map"
    What disappointed you about The First 20 Hours?

    Totally hogwash , this book has nothing to do with practical life. In my opinion a scam


    What was most disappointing about Josh Kaufman’s story?

    Not a road map rather a look what i did without an ounce of proof


    What didn’t you like about Josh Kaufman’s performance?

    Scam


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    First chapter


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 51 results PREVIOUS126NEXT
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  • sarah
    Harefield, United Kingdom
    7/15/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not a good listen"
    If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I'm not sure who would want to listen to this book - somebody who wanted to learn how to do yoga? the book went through all the yoga positions and how to do them? I have done yoga I really didn't need anybody to tell me how to do it? I thought it was going to give me a game plan for learning some sort of framework but it didn't.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Josh Kaufman again?

    No


    What didn’t you like about Josh Kaufman’s performance?

    the content


    Any additional comments?

    Don't buy

    13 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • Gym Addict
    Trinidad & Tobago
    5/2/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Pretty Disappointing"
    Would you try another book written by Josh Kaufman or narrated by Josh Kaufman?

    Yes, I like his writing and his narration is very good


    What was most disappointing about Josh Kaufman’s story?

    Got to say I am a little disappointed with it. Essentially 2/3 of the book are the case study examples of the new skills that the author decided to learn. Unless you are really interested in learning how to do yoga, web programming, touch-typing, play the Ukulele, the board game GO or windsurfing for yourself then the majority of the book can be pretty boring and somewhat tedious.

    All the actually useful information and takeaways from the book (unless you are interested in the above skills) are in the first 3 chapters (40 pages) & the final 2 pages of the Afterword at the end.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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