Learn anything in 20 hours

9.28  ·  4,533 ratings  ·  983 reviews
learn anything in 20 hours

The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything...Fast by Josh Kaufman

Forget the 10,000 hour rule— what if it’s possible to learn the basics of any new skill in 20 hours or less?
Take a moment to consider how many things you want to learn to do. What’s on your list? What’s holding you back from getting started? Are you worried about the time and effort it takes to acquire new skills—time you don’t have and effort you can’t spare?
Research suggests it takes 10,000 hours to develop a new skill. In this nonstop world when will you ever find that much time and energy? To make matters worse, the early hours of prac­ticing something new are always the most frustrating. That’s why it’s difficult to learn how to speak a new language, play an instrument, hit a golf ball, or shoot great photos. It’s so much easier to watch TV or surf the web . . .
In The First 20 Hours, Josh Kaufman offers a systematic approach to rapid skill acquisition— how to learn any new skill as quickly as possible. His method shows you how to deconstruct com­plex skills, maximize productive practice, and remove common learning barriers. By complet­ing just 20 hours of focused, deliberate practice you’ll go from knowing absolutely nothing to performing noticeably well.
Kaufman personally field-tested the meth­ods in this book. You’ll have a front row seat as he develops a personal yoga practice, writes his own web-based computer programs, teaches himself to touch type on a nonstandard key­board, explores the oldest and most complex board game in history, picks up the ukulele, and learns how to windsurf. Here are a few of the sim­ple techniques he teaches:
Define your target performance level: Fig­ure out what your desired level of skill looks like, what you’re trying to achieve, and what you’ll be able to do when you’re done. The more specific, the better.
Deconstruct the skill: Most of the things we think of as skills are actually bundles of smaller subskills. If you break down the subcompo­nents, it’s easier to figure out which ones are most important and practice those first.
Eliminate barriers to practice: Removing common distractions and unnecessary effort makes it much easier to sit down and focus on deliberate practice.
Create fast feedback loops: Getting accu­rate, real-time information about how well you’re performing during practice makes it much easier to improve.
Whether you want to paint a portrait, launch a start-up, fly an airplane, or juggle flaming chain­saws, The First 20 Hours will help you pick up the basics of any skill in record time . . . and have more fun along the way.
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Published 20.05.2019

Rapidly acquire new skills: THE FIRST 20 HOURS by Josh Kaufman

Book Review: The First 20 Hours, How to Learn Anything... Fast

What if we could sacrifice expertise for proficiency while saving Do you remember the Telephone Game from elementary school? Four hours a day, for a decade more or less. His research corroborated that it takes 10, hours to become an expert. And not just any expert — he was referring to what was necessary to become a top performer in a very narrow, very competitive field, like being a first-chair cellist, or an Olympic sprinter.

You may have comes across the rule that it takes 10, hours to be an expert at a new skill as determined by Malcolm Gladwell. This equates to working full time, for five years solely focused on that activity. That might be OK for hard core competitive but for mere mortals like ourselves we would normally be satisfied with a reasonable degree of competence. The intention of this book is certainly not to master any skill, but simply how to use the initial time you spend on it to maximum effect to have a steep a learning curve as possible. For people with little time available, this is a tempting proposition and one that follows a simple systematic procedure,.

Josh specializes in teaching professionals in all industries and disciplines how to master practical business knowledge and skills. The widely-acclaimed Personal MBA manifesto and recommended reading list has been downloaded over 1. His site hosts over 50, readers every month, and has been visited by over 2 million readers since its founding in Josh's current projects involve ongoing research in the fields of business, education, and skill acquisition. Most of us are deeply disturbed at the prospect of being horrible at something, even temporarily. The early hours of trying something new are always challenging, but a little persistance can result in huge increases in skill.


This is basically a much worse version of 4-Hour Chef. 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. Pick one, and only one, new skill you wish to acquire. Put all of your spare focus and energy into acquiring that skill, and place other skills on temporary hold.


  1. Gallia D. says:

    To see all the posts in the series, click here.

  2. Joe T. says:

    Don’t have 10, hours to learn something? All you need is 20 hours |

  3. Ben S. says:

    “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi. What if you could learn anything in 20 hours.

  4. Daniel C. says:

    4 Strategies for Learning Anything in 20 Hours or Less - Under30CEO

  5. Michael M. says:

    Podcast Episode

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