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on 1 December 2015
This book is OK only if you are American, gregarious and superficial about languages. I bought it thinking it might offer useful help. I was wrong. The writer is a chat show type who does not lend himself to my way of thinking anyhow. I wasted my money this time. There are other books on the subject. Just be careful you don't buy another of these. Consolation: I won't ever have to meet him..
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on 16 April 2012
due to the mixed reviews of this book, i got myself a cheap second hand copy. i was pleasantly surprised by the content. ok, there is a lot of chit chat and loads of anecdotes, like most books aimed at the US market. but its easy to skip these bits if you want to cut to the chase. his story is interesting, tho, and his enthusiam is infectious, so come back to it later!

the book suggests a multi-activity way of learning your target language instead of ploughing through your language textbook from beginning to end. he suggests use of flashcards, kids books, magazines, etc, even music in your target language. the book seems to be written pre-internet. but this was a bonus as i found myself being able to think of extra ways to incorporate fun study; for example, i discovered you can study virtual flashcards online, a store online that sells audio recordings of my language for listening practice. i'm even studying recipes in my language now!

i'd recommend this if your finding your language course book a bit dry and need a boot up the behind to feel motivated and positive again. i'm certainly feeling a lot more excited about my own course book, now i know its just one tool of many i can use to becoming fluent in my target language.
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on 26 March 2013
I love books about people's adventures in language learning!

This won't teach you a language but is an interesting account of the author's life-long enthusiasm for learning languages and how he discovered the method for learning he uses now. Written in 1991, it's a little out of date in relation to the technology that can help in language learning but still relevant.
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on 17 December 2012
Out of date.
Interesting enough to read but not a lot there really.
Everyone's language learning experience is different. This is the authors.
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on 3 January 2008
If nothing more, with an open mind this book should prove an interesting read for those with only the slightest interest ranging to the avid language enthusiast.
My personal view of this publication is as part language learning guide, and part biography. The author clearly has had a life-long love of learning languages and Mr. Farber's personal experiences and anecdotes make for interesting reading.
I found this motivating and it helped me to envision that I will eventually use the languages I learn whilst travelling in other countries and in doing so have much fun and make new friends and acquaintances in the process.
I'm a great believer in the principle that if out of 100% of a book you can get a 5% benefit from something you did not previously know then that makes reading it worthwhile. Thus most people should be able to read this book and take something useful from it in becoming a more astute linguist. The main reason I did not give this a five out of five is because I feel that the book could use updating slightly.
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on 9 October 2004
I saw this book mentioned on a fellow linguist's website and was delighted to get a 2nd hand copy here on Amazon. I used to think that I should limit the amount of languages I try to learn and that I was never going to be much good a remembering vocabulary. Now I think quite differently and, although I am not using Farber's method entirely, he has given me some good ideas, some entertaining thoughts and real encouragement to work towards my goal of being a polyglot. If he can learn 25 languages, I don't see why I can't!
I'm not sure that his entire method will suit all language learners, although there certainly is something in there for everyone. For instance, I don't think most people would be motivated enough to learn almost entirely independently of a structured course, but there are some great suggestions for expanding your language ability. I think most learners would prefer to work through a course book, but that doesn't mean that one can't use many of his ideas.
I enjoyed his humourous style and I just wish he would bring out an up-dated version, this one is now 15 years old!!
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on 17 February 2011
Very good. The techniques outlined should enthuse jaded language students. His obvious enthusiasm for language-learning is inspiring and should stop boredom setting in. I'm just amazed at how bad language tuition was when I was young - we would be confronted with loads of verb tables within hours of starting - if the teachers wanted to put us off, then they could hardly have done more, and in many cases they succeeded. Farber's multi-track approach is engaging. It has encouraged me to restart my language learning. Hopefully I can now see a way of succeeding.
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on 29 January 2016
This book is an easy read. It does some contain some solid advice - use flashcards, use mnemonics, use a multi-facetted approach to learning (including audio media), immersion is good, seek opportunities to study and practice languages at all times - but nothing really that is now considered anything other than standard good practice. Since it has no reference to optical media (CD, DVD) and no references to software, the book can be considered somewhat dated. The author is correct in guiding the reader away from the old fashioned grammar-translation approach if they want to remain motivated and keep their skills relevant; however, that method can also work for particular objectives if one is motivated enough - I learnt to read (and to a lesser extent write) several languages that way.

However, the author continually boasts he learnt a language within a matter of months using his methods. He did this many times over. What he does not say is what he means by "learning a language". Does he mean he can pass the time of day with a native speaker, or does he mean he can converse fluently on abstract philosophical and political issues? He makes several claims but leaves disconcertingly vague what his abilities actually are. He's most likely either being dishonest about his skills or he is some kind of Wunderkind who possesses a very rare and innate talent for languages that most of us do not have. We will not be able to emulate his achievements. Learning a foreign language to a high level of fluency and correctness in speaking, reading and writing will take the average person several years of fairly dedicated application. Doing the same for two or more languages - especially if they are unrelated - is the work of an appreciable portion of an adult lifetime. I therefore come to the conclusion that the author is exceptional - assuming his claims are true.

The book is also "fluffy" (and somewhat self-congratulatory). The author could have conveyed the same information in a book about one third of this title's size.

If the reader already has a basic knowledge of language-learning methods and approaches I recommend he only borrows this book from the library. He may learn a few things of a lesser nature but these do not justify purchasing the book.
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on 30 January 2004
I bought this book on the strength of recommendations on several language-learning websites and afterwards I was very glad that I'd read it within the first few weeks of starting to learn another language. I'm sure that by employing the methods given here I've managed to adopt a more intelligent approach to my language studies that's made the best use of my available time.
Although a lot of the book consists of anecdotes and other padding, the material relating to studying and learning a language is all helpful, especially to someone learning a new language for the first time. A lot of material is the sort of thing that seems obvious after you've been told, while other material is the same as the advice given in more general guides to self-study. That said it's all useful and it doesn't hurt to be reminded about good study habits.
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on 14 December 2010
The books ok, like the others have said, he does just write little stories about him and not too much about actually learning but i found that they were a nice touch and didn't really mind reading about him. There isn't much substance to the book, nothing that i didn't know before, for example learning new words by imagining pictures, i think that was the only REAL tip. There is, however, a nice little bit of English grammar recap that i fpund really useful, it's all the really simple stuff that you just need someone to explain because you didn't really listen to all the "real" words in English.
All in all, it was ok, I finished it in 2 days, don't expect too much from this book, just see it as a story ABOUT learning languages and it would be all you want.
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