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3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 20 March 2014
I was really interested to read this as I already speak one foreign language and am learning another. To be honest, the content in this book could be summed up in a couple of chapters and I suspect most of it is on Benny's website (the end of every chapter has a link to his website for further information). It gets quite repetitive at times and the main message is about immersion. While I agree with his points about using the internet and finding native speakers, not a lot of people have the time to dedicate to his style of learning.
All in all, I found some of the information helpful and did go to his site to look at more, but I'm not sure that this is particularly groundbreaking.
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on 17 April 2014
Someone recommended this book to me, so I thought I'd give it a go.

I can't say that I would have tried it if I hadn't had the recommendation, so I am glad they did.

The reason I would have been reluctant to have a look at this book is that the title suggests that the author has found an easy way to learn a language fast, and that if you pay your money then you can too. If you pay your money.

I was brought up on the Jungle book, and "feed them silence when they say, come with me the easy way", so I was sceptical about feeding them money.

So when I started reading it, I already had one eyebrow raised, with the other at the ready, and was ready to sneer my way through the book.

So I was very pleasantly surprised when I found that the author is not offering an easy way to learn a language, quite the opposite.

This book offers a counter-intuitive way of learning languages, which involves:

1. Lots of time commitment.
2. Sheer bloodyminded determination to get past any social inhibitions that you might have.
3. Plenty of booklearning, but at a later stage than you would normally expect to do it.

Basically, the method is to find people who speak the language, either in your area or line. And start talking to them. A Lot. When you've built up a reasonable level of confidence, THEN you start on the bookwork, to set what you are doing in to a real life context.

So you need to jump in at the deep end and sink not swim. All the better to immerse yourself. And as this is just a metaphor, you can't actually drown. Just hideously humiliate yourself with a bunch of total strangers from another culture :)

So why do I like this book? It offers a counter intuitive method of learning languages, that is not easier than others, and in fact looks harder, but which gives a well argued case for why if you put the effort in that you'll see results within a good time frame. I also like the way that he defines what fluent is. The cover might make you think that the author is offering an easy way, but there don't seem to be any false promises in the book itself.

Another thing that he says is that you should make a public commitment to your learning, to really ramp up the pressure. Well here goes. I'll edit this in a few weeks time to tell you how it went.
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on 31 December 2014
Just finished to read the book and I think it's a great inspiration by a skilled polyglot. I've been learning Norwegian for a while and I still can apply some of the methods he recommends.
First of all, speak the language from day one and build your knowledge through communication. To do that just have videocalls with language partners. There are plenty of websites to find people that are eager to learn your mother tongue or whatever language you know.
Second: live the language. Think in that language, read newspapers, hear the radio, write a blog, immerse in that language, use apps in your target language, etc.
In this way, you will be able to reach a B1 level in 3 months with a minimum use of text books. Of course you also need persistence and passion.
It was nice to read his point of view about Spanish (my mother tongue Spanish) and some tricks to learn it (and other latin languages).
The book is full of great tips that can boost your learning curve or can motivate you to learn faster.
For me the book and Benny Lewis are absolutely inspiring references to learn Norwegian (in my case) and any other language that I might try in the future.
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on 29 March 2014
I just finished reading the book. The book is great for motivating you to learn a language and Benny Lewis is quite an inspiration!

The media hype helped a lot in convincing me to buy the book. However, I wish this book had more practical examples of how I can approach learning a (only one) specific language. Perhaps I was hoping for a day by day to do list on how to learn a language in 3 months. Towards the end of the book the author gives some guidance on some languages, but the book is trying to cover too many languages and is too high level. The author uses the approach of immediately talking and doing skype calls etc which is fantastic, but I don't think the book has fully answered the question how I can memorise some of the words and genders. To be fair the author does give you examples of how he memorised words, but those approaches will never work for me. I am still uncertain on how to progress between learning words, doing fun things with the language and learning some grammar. I fully agree with the author's approach to learn the language before he travels to the country, this author is clearly realistic and has shared great experiences.

Highly motivating book (I almost gave it 4 stars), but I walk away from this book not knowing what approach to follow going forward. I think it helps to sign up to the author's website version, because Benny Lewis gives some really good advice on there.
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on 16 June 2016
It tells you what you already know. If you keen to learn a language you don't need this book , this book is for people that need motivating but by the time I finished reading it I had lost the will to live.
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on 22 December 2014
I bought this book and read it within about a day of on-off reading, and learned pretty much nothing new, except about the site iTalki. The problem with this book is that, firstly, it follows the same structure as his website, so to me, it's £6 pretty much wasted, as I ended up scanning a lot of it which I either had already read or it was simply irrelevant. Which brings me onto the second point, that often I felt like he was filling the space because he didn't have enough real content to reach a book - like a whole chapter going through the different languages. I mean, this is useful in its own place (I read the German bit, for example), but unless you're learning lots of languages it renders the whole chapter somewhat obsolete. Also, as much as you italicise 'my advice is to speak', it won't drill it home any more.

I enjoy his website, I think his videos are interesting, but I'd give this book a swerve.
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on 14 December 2014
I am trying to learn Spanish and was really struggling with memorising much at all. Started looking for something that could help me with the learning and memorising process.

Even though there is some useful information in this book, I found in general the information given was what I saw - and I think a lot of others would see, as nothing more than common sense, and information readily at hand on the internet.

I sometimes wonder if some of those that grasp learning languages so easily, really are on the same page as those that struggle with the learning - and just wonder why we 'don't get it' as easily as them.

I know there must be those out there that do - but unfortunately not in this book.

On finishing the book I was not left with a feeling of optimism and any greater confidence, and felt this may be a man who can learn languages easily enough - but really doesn't know how to teach that art.
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on 4 March 2015
I read the book from front to back, with each new chapter expecting the author would cut through the case, but this book is clearly missing depth and I find the title misleading. It is more an advertising tool to the author's blog. And it's not so much the tenner I spent but the time invested that led to the disappointment.

While the author surely has good intentions to bring one closer to language learning, he fails on the practical approach and method. There are a few good techniques mentioned like the keyword method in ch 3, but most of the book just scratches the surface and lacks the HOW.

If the author has successfully learned many languages, then it would be great if he shared HOW he actually did it, describing exactly HOW he learned a specific language, what techniques and tools he used, a time plan, goal setting, courses, book etc so that one can take that approach and adjust it to ones individual needs, level, and learning style.

Instead, throughout the whole book one gets to read: check out my blog, every method has advantages and disadvantages, everyone learns a language differently, people, there is no one right answer, and even uses platitudes like 'set up a wordpress blog and link it to facebook'.

So after having read the book I am pretty much none the wiser on how to improve my approach. I remember things like start speaking from day one, mini missions, schedule skype lessons with native speakers, use flash cards, best to learn only one language at a time. Things that are obviously quite obvious for an engaged language learner.

In my opinion, if a book needs an additional source for details and explanations, then why was the book written?
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on 17 April 2016
Given the (self) hype, I was expecting quite a bit more from this book. Unfortunately, it fails to deliver and as others have noted, the 'tips' are quite generic, and the book overall lacks detailed explanations.
Also, the book has a somewhat misleading title that is only explained away in Chapter 2. 'This brings me to the title of this book: Fluent in 3 months. The point is not that you have to aim for fluency in three months...
The question of what fluency means is one of great controversy depending on who you ask.'
I kinda disagree, and think most people have a notion of what 'fluency' means; those involved in language learning even more so.
There is a big need for a book to explore language learning methods for self-learners in the internet age. This is not it. A missed opportunity.
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on 14 March 2014
This book contains a large number of very sensible and practical tips, which would be particularly useful for anyone who needs (not merely wants) to learn a language but is apprehensive about doing so. I think I would advise beginning the study of grammar a little earlier in the language-learning process than Benny does, but I agree with 99 per cent of his advice. There were some techniques that I had never heard of that I shall certainly use from now on. One criticism for the publisher (not the author), though: I hate the cheap newsprint paper on which the book has been printed.
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