The First 20 Hours

The First 20 Hours

How to Learn Anything ... Fast

Book - 2013
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Forget the 10,000 hour rule-- what if it's possible to learn the basics of any new skill in 20 hours or less?

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.

Kaufman personally field-tested the meth­ods in this book. You'll have a front row seat as he develops a personal yoga practice, writes his own web-based computer programs, teaches himself to touch type on a nonstandard key­board, explores the oldest and most complex board game in history, picks up the ukulele, and learns how to windsurf. Here are a few of the sim­ple techniques he teaches: Define your target performance level: Fig­ure out what your desired level of skill looks like, what you're trying to achieve, and what you'll be able to do when you're done. The more specific, the better. Deconstruct the skill: Most of the things we think of as skills are actually bundles of smaller subskills. If you break down the subcompo­nents, it's easier to figure out which ones are most important and practice those first. Eliminate barriers to practice: Removing common distractions and unnecessary effort makes it much easier to sit down and focus on deliberate practice. Create fast feedback loops: Getting accu­rate, real-time information about how well you're performing during practice makes it much easier to improve. Whether you want to paint a portrait, launch a start-up, fly an airplane, or juggle flaming chain­saws, The First 20 Hours will help you pick up the basics of any skill in record time . . . and have more fun along the way.
Publisher: New York : Portfolio/Penguin, c2013.
ISBN: 9781591845553
Characteristics: xi, 274 p. : ill.
Alternative Title: First twenty hours


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Cynthia_N Jul 05, 2016

Interesting read. Kaufman's theory is that you can learn anything to an efficient level with 20 hours of dedicated practice. He shows you how to break down the process, do research, and gather tools (none of which counts towards the 20 hours). Each practice session should be no more than 90 minutes. He gives detailed examples of how he learned multiple things. I haven't tried it out yet but I am in the planning stage of my next skill!

Jun 22, 2015

I was a little dubious about this book at first, but I really enjoyed it.
The author takes a number of different skills to learn in the required 20 mhours, and some he does more successfully than others. After he had mastered programming and touch typing, it was refreshing to see him struggle with Windsurfing and get thrashed in his first competitive game of Go. I'll be tryiong the technique over the summer to see if it pays off for me.

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