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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 19 November 2013
I bought this as a gift for my son who struggles to concentrate on projects to their conclusion. He took to some of the projects in the book really well and now practices yoga regularly I believe.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 13 September 2013
"I have an idea for a new product but I don't know how to build it," Josh Kaufman writes on the first page of his book: TheFirst 20 Hours: How to learn anything fast. So do I and so probably do you.

So why are we not doing it? "How much free time do you have each day after all your work and family obligations are complete?" asks Kaufman. "Do you feel like you'd need 36 or 48 hours in a day to finally sit down and learn something new?"

In 2008 another US author Malcolm Gladwell wrote Outliers in which he argued that you needed 10,000 hours of skills training to become better than other people at something. You may notice that the England football team has just used the 10,000 hours idea as the basis of its skills work with young England footballers.

So now you have a new barrier to not learning something new. "Not only do you have to make time for practice...but now you have to put in 10,000 hours."

Kaufman's book, which will help any business owner looking to grow and develop their business, sidesteps these objections. His credentials are his first book, The Personal MBA, that achieved the following: "By avoiding business school, and spending my time actually building business instead, I learned a ton, and saved over $150,000 in the process." I think he has something to teach us.

His argument is that you need a process to follow to learn any skill and you can do this in 20 hours. Not skills to be the world champion. But skills to get you by in business and life.

The rules are:

· "If you want to get good at anything where real-life performance matters, you have to actually practice that skill in context. Study, by itself is never enough."

· You have to deconstruct a skill into the smallest possible sub-skills

· You must learn enough about each sub-skill to be able to practice and self-correct

· You must remove the physical, mental and emotional barriers that get in the way of practice.

· You must practice the most important skills for 20 hours.

The brilliant thing about this book is you can read all the theory in 38 pages, and learn a lot about how to organise your self-development and to better lead your team.

The rest of the book comprises chapters on six skills that Kaufman aimed to learn in 20 hours each: yoga, programming, touch typing, go, ukulele and wind surfing. Do you have to read it? Perhaps not.

But I started to read about yoga and it was a brilliant tutorial. So was the chapter on programming. And in the chapter on touch typing is a powerful idea that you need to pay attention to.

Kaufman was a 60 word per minute typist with Qwerty keyboards. He retrained himself on a new system, Colemak, and he was down to five. "When you are used to a certain level of speed or ease in completing a task, anything else seems awful... What is even worse is the knowledge that if you went back to the way you used to do things, everything would be better again."

This is a big reason behind many failed attempts to improve. "That emotional experience is the largest barrier to learning," writes Kaufman.

On the cover Seth Godin writes: "Lots of books promise to change your life. This one actually will." If you read Kaufman with an open mind and if you have a plan, then he is correct. A great book.

For more, see [...]
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on 26 December 2013
I rally like this book but more space could have been spent on ways to break through emotional barriers to learning. Full credit for an easy to follow structure though.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 19 July 2013
Here is my review of the book by Josh Kaufman, after a few weeks wait the book was finally published (I pre-ordered it from Amazon). It was delivered ahead of schedule and I just could not wait to get stuck in. After buying and reading his first best seller The Personal MBA, I more or less knew what to expect, another quality book from Josh.

I have to say I am not disappointed as Josh has gone and produced another bestseller. I am a practical person and learn best by copying what someone else is doing. Maybe it is from apprenticeship training (or I was good in my trade because that is my nature). In The First 20 Hours Josh brilliantly introduces the fundamentals of Rapid Skill Acquisition in short easy to digest paragraphs. The book flows with interlinking principles which makes it easy to follow along.

The first 3 chapters lay the foundation of rapid skill learning and I could more or less say he has front loaded the book with practical easy to follow steps. He has then gone to produce case studies which illustrate the application of the principles. What I appreciate most is that Josh has actually gone through the process of learning all the skills he bases the case studies on.

How have I applied the lessons in this book? I bought a guitar about 3 years ago now, hoping that I could just pick it up and become the next guitar maverick. Enough to say that magic has not happened and my guitar has just stayed perched on a hook in the utility room, gathering dust. The Ukelele case study has been the kick I needed to pick up an instrument and have been met with some success. I can play a few notes now and would like to get to play the "Four Chord Song" just as well, if not better than, Josh.

Lastly I would like to thank Josh for another smashing resource I will be recommending to everyone, grab your copy, also available as an eBook and in audio so no excuses
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on 19 August 2013
I read this with a little skepticism. I was proved wrong when I actually went to try it out for myself. It works.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 13 January 2014
This book helped me get out of a sel-defeating leaning cycle I had been in for years.

It's great that it's in the kindle version too.
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7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
I wanted to like this book, but couldn't.

The core advice is reasonable, if mundane, but frankly I'd expect anyone over the age of abut 12 to have already been taught it.

The core failing, as I see it, is that the author works 25 hours a week at home. Just 25 hours, and it sounds like that's including the time he spends writing, at home. He also reports that he largely sets his own schedule. It's not surprising, therefore, that he can devote the 60 to 90 minutes a day required for what he describes as "Rapid Skill Aquisition". His failing is to assume that everyone else also has that much free time to devote to the work. Ignoring that a working person will likely have 40-60 hours a week of scheduled work plus their commute and then when they get home they have to pick up emails, respond to emails, read documents and do all the other things they didn't have time to do in the office but still have to have done.

Coming up close behind is a failure of assumption on skill development. The title of the book implies that you can learn a skill in 20 hours. To be fair, you can. With 20 hours of concentrated effort in 60-90 minute slots spread over two to three weeks you can pick up a skill. But, boy, will you suck at it! The author admits himself in the book that 20 hours won't give you more than the very basics of the skills. If that is all you need, then fine. Just don't apply this method to anything that really matters, and certainly not to anything safety or employment critical.

The book is mostly biography and the description of the history of yoga is interesting, so buy it if that is what you like. Just don't buy it thinking you'll be able to use it to learn a useful skill to a useful level quickly.
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16 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 18 June 2013
This has got to be one of the worst books I have purchased. The reviews were misleading - suggesting it was an insightful piece of writing.
There is nothing new heer or indeed much beyond common sense. After the first two chapters where the principles are outlined the rest of the
book is just case studies of how he learnt various skills, at a very basic level.
There are charts showing that as you practise more the better you get - doh.
This book is a complete waste of time and money. Haven't read his other 'best selling' title but if this is any indication I won't be bothering.
To imagine that such a book should be published is amazing. More fool me for purchasing it and funding further writing of Mr Kaufman
If you value your money and time avoid this title
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on 3 February 2015
Great product, thank you!
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 1 July 2013
Like Josh Kaufman I also like to have core ability in a number of skills - I'd rather try things myself than rely on "the pro's" from the outset. My experience is also that it doesn't need to take that long to reach a reasonable level of proficiency. My approach in the past has been rather ad-hoc (i.e. just dig in and see when problems come up) and I can certainly see how a more structured approach will lead to more consistent skills improvement.

I haven't tried my hand at his ideas yet but will do so in the next month or so to brush up on my freehand design drawing.
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