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Customer Review

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great guide to learning and motivation, 13 Sept. 2013
This review is from: The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything ... Fast (Paperback)
"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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