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3.4 out of 5 stars44
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on 30 June 2013
As I think another reviewer has put the first 3 chapters of theis book are excellent and if the book had stayed in a similiar vein I would rate this book as a 5 star for anyone who would like a counter-point of the view of the 10,000 hours of practice is required to master a skill or subject (which I know is a often misquoted fact).
That as its basic premise the author hits the target but its afterwards the 6 or so chapters where it was suppose to demonstrate pratical application that I felt the book falters.
To be fair he ably demonstrates the emotional effort required to learn a skill that means normally most give up when the going gets tough which he had explained very well as a basic tenet in the first quarter of the book but I struggled to carry on charging through the book with the same momentum I had built up at the beginning.
I still think a very good book and provideds a very good way to build confidence in tackling something new, just think future readers need to be prepared to change gear 4th chapter onwards and that is why I have given 4 out of 5.
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on 2 August 2013
I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of this book and found it to be an excellent and inspiring read.
After reading a great deal about the '10,000 hour rule' as detailed in Outliers: The Story of Success it was refreshing to see how Josh Kaufman approaches rapid skill acquisition in as little as 20 hours.

If you enjoy memoir style stunt literature as I do, or simply enjoy reading about real life case studies you'll find this book valuable. Some of the case studies may not be of interest to you, but you can take the premise of how to approach the 20 hour skill acquisition and apply that to any area of interest.

This is a valuable book to add to your success library if you're committed to becoming a 'Niche Expert' or if you fear you suffer from 'multiple niche disorder' and have a passion to pursue a great many interests and don't know where to start!
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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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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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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 24 August 2015
The book could be halved. And, either there's no magic secret or real lessons to be learned other than breaking subjects down to bitsizes. Don't really need a whole book for that.
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on 4 January 2016
A real eye-opening book into how easy it is to learn pretty much anything! I've put it to the test, and I would say that it does actually work!
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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 16 February 2016
Awesome read.
Would recommend.
Rethink the way you learn and pick up new skills at a fast efficient pace.
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on 20 August 2015
Excellent book, well written and it works!!! I Watched Josh Kaufman on YouTube which prompted me to buy this book.
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