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The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything . . . Fast! [Englisch] [Gebundene Ausgabe]

Josh Kaufman
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13. Juni 2013
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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  • Gebundene Ausgabe: 288 Seiten
  • Verlag: Portfolio Hardcover (13. Juni 2013)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 1591845556
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591845553
  • Vom Hersteller empfohlenes Alter: Ab 18 Jahren
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 23,1 x 15,7 x 3 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 2.3 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (3 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 73.653 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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“A blockbuster in the making, The First 20 Hours breaks down the learning process into simple and effective steps with real-life examples that inspire. After reading this book, you’ll be ready to take on any number of skills and make progress on that big project you’ve been putting off for years.”
—CHRIS GUILLEBEAU, author of The $100 Startup
“If you’re like me, you’ll get so inspired that you’ll stop reading to apply this approach to your own procrastinated project. After reading the first five chapters, I tried Josh’s technique to learn a new programming language, and I’m blown away with how fast I became fluent.”
—DEREK SIVERS, founder, CD Baby,
“Great opportunities are worthless without skills. No more excuses! Kaufman proves that we all have the capacity to become experts.”
—SCOTT BELSKY, founder, Behance, and author of Making Ideas Happen
“With the amount of information and change in the world today, the person who can adapt and learn the most quickly will be the most successful. Kaufman breaks down the science of learning in useful, entertaining, and fascinating ways. If you care about keeping your job, your business, or your edge, this book is for you.”
—PAMELA SLIM, author of Escape from Cubicle Nation
“In this inspiring little book, Josh argues that you can get good enough at anything to enjoy yourself in just 20 hours. In other words, all that’s standing between you and playing the ukulele is your TV time for the next two weeks. If Josh, a busy father and entrepreneur, can make the time, then the rest of us can too.”
—LAURA VANDERKAM, author of 168 Hours and What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast
“Lots of books promise to change your life. This one actually will.”
—SETH GODIN, author of The Icarus Deception

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

JOSH KAUFMAN helps people make more money, get more done, and have more fun. His first book, The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business, is an international bestseller. He lives in Colorado.
Visit and; Follow @joshkaufman

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Buchdeckel | Copyright | Inhaltsverzeichnis | Auszug | Stichwortverzeichnis
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2.3 von 5 Sternen
2.3 von 5 Sternen
Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen
28 von 28 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
1.0 von 5 Sternen Another waste of Time! 6. Juli 2013
I came across this book in a well known bookshop when visiting London recently. The title intrigued me so I bought it. It turned out to be another one of those books where the best bit was the title.

This book offers nothing new. There is no special formula for acquiring a new skill other than commonsense an a bit of logical thought. Furthermore this book is mainly full of the author's learning experiences of windsurfing, computer programming, a Chinese game, practicing yoga, etc. The only relevant bit was the first few pages of the book. For anyone wanting to know the big secret of learning something in 20 hours dedicated learning time, here's the book's recommended formula:
1. Choose a lovable project.
2. Focus your energy on one skill at a time.
3. Define your target performance level.
4. Deconstruct the skill into subskills
5. Obtain critical tools.
6. Eliminate barriers to practice.
7. Make dedicated time for practice.
8. Create fast feedback loops.
9. Practice by the clock in short bursts
10. Emphasise quantity and speed

That's it. If you were expecting something different you will be disappointed. That's what I spent my £12.99 on. What a waste!

As always, buyer beware!
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11 von 11 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen All could be said in 50 pages 7. August 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
The first few pages are a somewhat entertaining read. But the main point of the book seems to be the surprise of the author over the fact that you can learn to program a little or play Go at a beginner level with 20 hours of concentrated practice. The other 80% of the book talk about specific skills the author learned. You would expect to get a lot of practical tips on how to learn but the majority of this part simply explains the skills in some detail. You do get information about what the author did to learn this specific skill but it completely lacks reflection or insights about the process. This book just doesnt contain more useful information than could be presented in 50 pages.
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1 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Not bad 9. Juni 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Whereas not as Easy as The Titel might imply. I will try it out with starting to learn how to Play a Ukulele. Fun Experiment to See how much i can achieve within 20 hours.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 3.6 von 5 Sternen  129 Rezensionen
154 von 169 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Okay, not great 15. Juni 2013
Von drewrhino - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
I guess this book may have been the result of Kaufman applying his skill acquisition methods to writing!

All snark aside, this book fell short of what I expected. The first part of the book goes over the theory of skill acquisition that he has researched. It's very short, which is unfortunate, as he does a good job of putting things together in a nice arc. But the section is so short that it feels like a top ten list rather than an actual fleshed out theory.

Then the majority of the book is taken up by rather lengthy descriptions of how he went about learning a few different skills. I found this section too focused on the particulars of each skill; and there was little to no explicit mention of how he actually applied his theory to learning new skills. I can see how some elements were in play, but it would have been nice to see more in depth analysis of how each point on his checklists matters, rather than 20 stick figure drawings of yoga poses. It's to bad, I really wanted to like this book, and many of the skills Kaufman pursues are interests of mine, but a lot of the passages just seem to be edited versions of his personal learning journal of what yoga poses or ruby commands worked, rather than an analysis of how learning skills is itself a skill.

In short, don't get burned like me, wait for this one to go on sale, get it at the library, or just watch his YouTube videos and read his blog.
161 von 186 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
1.0 von 5 Sternen Mostly an amateur's description of some topics of interest 18. Juni 2013
Von Adult Reader in Calgary - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I enjoyed Kaufman's first book and was looking forward to this one, especially since it deals with rapid learning.

Unfortunately, "The First 20 Hours" is disappointing. The initial 20% of the book describes some general and fairly superficial principles for rapid learning. The remaining 80% provides an amateur's description of six topics of personal interest. If you're interested in Yoga, ukulele, web programming, wind surfing, touch typing, or the game "Go", and further want to know what an admitted amateur has discovered for himself about these topics, then you may find this book worthwhile. Otherwise I fear you will find it just a waste of time and money.

You might assume I'm judging the book unfairly, and that the specific skills are actually being used to illustrate the application of the rapid learning principles. Oddly that is not the case. There's relatively little connection between what he writes about (say) the history and practice of Yoga and the principles expounded in the first few chapters. What you are left with is an odd "Wikipedia-grade" description of an eclectic handful of subjects. Like ... who cares?

I'm sorry for the negative tone of this review, but I was disappointed. "The First 20 Hours" was not a good purchase for me and I do not recommend it.
37 von 42 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Do you want to be Jack? 26. Juni 2013
Von Jack Reader - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Before you buy this book you have to ask yourself this basic question: do you want the be a Jack of all trades or the master of some? Then, you may ponder about the "self-help-ish" or "magic number-ish" 20 hours issue (you will learn that this is the personal experience of the author). But, the title sounds too good to ignore, too enticing to leave, so you still buy the book. You will be disappointed.

You will find that the author wants to do soooooo many things, but there is never enough time to do them all. (Aren't we all staring at our bucket lists with the same quiet desperation?) But, here is a method that allows you to beat the confining principles of being realistic, prioritization AND focusing. It contains 10 principles of rapid skill acquisition (1, love the stuff; 2, focus on the stuff; 3, decide how good you really want to be; 4 through 9 are really no brainers and 10, emphasize quantity and speed) and 10 principles of effective learning (1, research the stuff; 2, just do it; 3, identify mental models, etc.). The method is then demonstrated using the author's preferred random skills: yoga, programming, typing, go, ukulele, windsurfing.

So, why will you be disappointed? Because most of us have only a few "dream skills", but would like to do them at a higher level than many disconnected things at an average/below average level. It may be the question of a high enough dose of Ritalin, but an average adult does not dream to do a periodization of 20 hour cycles of random skills. If one jumps from one skill to the next, what becomes of the necessary practice time of the earlier skill? I understand that the author simply wanted to demonstrate how well his method applies to unrelated "arts", but here is where the book falls short. Instead of demonstrating how generally applicable the method is, I would much rather get into the method itself through the acquisition of a single skill (not to forget the difference in between learning unicycling or playing the piano, doing karate or breeding Saint Bernards). Some demands extensive knowledge of theory, while others based on mostly practice. (There is also no breakdown of how the 20 hours was spent, say, while learning yoga. At one point a 90 minute instruction is mentioned, then a 3 hours instruction. How much time was spent with researching the basic theory?) Mental scaffolding or mental models/lattice work could have been used to demonstrate applicability of this single skill, instead of creating an easy target for criticism by rushing through eclectic ventures. I would have expected more learning about learning itself and how elements of knowledge/skill aquisition are similar (but not the same) in between widely varied topics. But it is questionable, if there is one general "learning DNA" that could generate both flea an and elephant skills.

Principle 3 of rapid skill acquisition "Define your target performance level" is why most of us will give up on this book. At the end it is not about frustration barriers, 20 hours, methods or skill acquisition, but dealing with plateaus. George Leonard in his excellent book "Mastery" describes exactly the type of path this author wanders upon. It is the "Dabbler", the eternal kid. The end of the first 20 hours may actually signify the first inevitable plateau, where admitting how demanding something can be and how much more effort and commitment it requires to move on to the next level is simply dismissed by moving on to a brand new project. I may be wrong, but the "target performance level" is much more of the journey itself than a destination.
96 von 120 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Learn anything you want with this book! 12. Juni 2013
Von Ivan Kreimer - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
This is a very particular book about a very particular topic: skill acquisition.
As soon as I saw Josh was going to publish a new book about this (almost mysterious) topic, I immediately knew it was going to be great. Just as his past book, The Personal MBA.

As soon as you start reading the book, you will be surprised, as this book is not what you expect it is. But wait, that's not a bad thing. In fact, that's great.

Instead of explaining the psycological side of skill acquisition, or instead of showing you some random scientific studies about the topic (as almost any other book on the topic has done), he starts right off the bat with the method he used to acquire 6 skills: yoga, programming, touch typing, go, ukulele and windsurfing.
Yes, quite random skills, you may think. But that's also great. Why? Because you can extrapolate many of the principles of how he learned those skills to similar skills.

For example, if you want to learn a martial art, you may see a lot of similarities with the windsurfing experience he had.
If you want to learn how to program any language, you can almost copy paste what he did to learn Ruby.
If you want to learn how to play a new instrument, the same applies.

The book can be separated in two parts: at the beginning, he shows you with no fluff the 10 principles of rapid skill acquisition, and the 10 principles of effective learning. Even though he explains the 10 principles quite fast, don't worry, there's not many more things to talk about about those principles.
Then, in the second part, he starts to explain how he learned all those 6 skills.

The big advantage of this book is that you will learn at firsthand how you can also learn almost any skill you want.

The big disadvantage this book has is that he goes to explain each skill quite deeply. You will get kinda bored with many of the things he explains, but hey, if you are as curious as me, you will still enjoy it (it's very interesting to know how Go and Yoga were developed).

So you may not see many golden nuggets throughout the book as you may expect. What you will get is the "idea" of how you can learn anything just by applying a very specific and simple method.

This book can be summarized using the Pareto Law: the 20% of this book will teach you everything you need to know about skill acquisition; the other 80% just proves it.
72 von 92 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen The First 20 Hours: How to Become a Poseur... Fast 16. Juni 2013
Von RF - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Assuming this book was already in the works last November, then there must have been a serious "Oh s@!t!" moment for the author when Tim Ferriss' book, "The 4 Hour Chef" was released and he realized, "We're saying the same thing. Mine's just not as good!" If this book wasn't already underway, then someone should call foul-play because the similarities are conspicuous: An approach to rapid skill acquisition that involves deconstructing something into its most basic components and a focus on the highest value activities, an emphasis on language-acquisition, a Tiger Woods comparison and a semi-rebuttal to Malcolm Gladwell and the "10,000 Rule." That's just the beginning.

(Josh goes beyond Tim here and includes the tasteless subtitle, "Damn You, Malcolm Gladwell", calling out a man who has written three of the most influential books of the 21st century. Ballsy, to start. Besides that, the bone with Gladwell seems misguided as he was evaluating what accounted for the humongous gap of success between the likes of The Beatles ["Bigger than Jesus"] or Bill Gates [one of the wealthiest men...ever!], and their contemporaries. The theory was about lopsided success at the most extreme levels not general skill acquisition. Finally, it's just poor form. Don't bite the hand that feeds you. Gladwell's conclusions were way more influential and compelling than anything you're going to find here).

But I digress.

My disappointment with this book isn't so much that this approach wouldn't, or doesn't, work, it's that the book is incredibly underwhelming, skimpy at best, and none of the author's results or conclusions are all that striking, rapid, or convincing.

The introduction can be summed up like this: Pick a skill you're interested in, break it down, buy some books or watch some hi-res Youtube videos on the topic, practice for about 20 hours, and you can become... mediocre. The next six chapters attempt to demonstrate this through some of Josh's own projects.

Some examples of skimpiness and advice on what's to come:
- Two checklists that sum up the entire process.
- Explanations of the learning curve. Thank you. God, I've been wondering about this. Glad to have it finally broken down for me! (Oh yeah, Tim's book had this too).
- 6 pages of stick figures doing yoga poses.
- A chapter on computer programming, with pages of irrelevant code that you should skip entirely, unless you're really lost and in need of direction such as, "I already have a computer, which is a start: You can't program without one" (pg 89). Now that you've got that covered...
- A chapter on touch typing that you should also skip entirely.
- A chapter on the board game Go, which I'd never heard of, and that was moderately interesting, but again, pages and pages of diagrams, skimming, and more gems like, "Mind = Blown. This game is huge."
- Ukelele and windsurfing.

Aside from the annoying, self-congratulatory tone throughout ("I'm effectively a business professor, but I don't work for a university" [pg 70]), probably the saddest part of this book is that the author's conclusions about acquiring new skills don't actually match what his experiences testing these theories are telling us. At the end of 20 hours of yoga practice, he concludes that it has some benefits, he likes it, and he'll keep doing it at home. After 20 hours of practicing Go (or writing and programming), he concludes, "I have mixed feelings about Go... my leisure time is limited, and Go seems to require the same sort of intense, focused concentration that writing and programming demand. While Go can be fun, at the end of a long day, Go feels a bit too much like work." In other words, he's getting his ass kicked by people online, and realizing it takes more than 20 hours to get to the point where it doesn't feel like work, i.e. The steep part of the learning curve. He'll come back to this one later, when he has more time to devote to it. He's learned to play some basic songs on the ukulele and has completed a live performance (Kudos. Seriously, Kudos), and will continue to sing and play for/with his daughter, which is sweet, but we've also heard quite a lot about her by this point... As for wind-surfing, not so much: "I tally up my total practice hours, and come up short of my goal: nine hours of practice total, far less than the twenty I wanted to spend by this point. I spent more time than that on the water paddleboarding." But at least we get a nice promise: "By the time you read this, it will once again be windsurfing season... I'll reacquire the basic level of skill quickly." Meaning, like, the ability to stand up on the board.

So, self-admittedly, he didn't really learn each of these skills. He just dabbled in them and scratched some curiosity itches. Three of six would be generous. One of them he's giving up on completely because progressing any further will take more time, and another he only did for 9 hours. Yet despite all of this, he feels justified in saying, "In less than a year, I learned six complex skills." He finishes with the sage advice that, "If you want to acquire a new skills, you have to practice. There is no other way." Gold.

So, what to make of "The First 20 Hours"?

Well, if you're the type who equates trying windsurfing a few times with actually possessing the skill of windsurfing, or considers it remarkable and rapid progress to have gotten better at a complex board game by having read a few books and played the game online 33 times, or if you're just the type that likes to have stories on-hand of all the cool feats you're accomplishing so that you can tell people all about them at your next party (when you really only know OF them, or have tried them for maybe a few hours), then you'll probably like this book. (Note: Even if you're good, don't mention the online gaming. Just don't).

Personally, this isn't the type of "learning" or "skill acquisition" that I'm particularly interested in. This is poseurism. This is gathering stones (not conquering territory) exemplified, and if "The Personal MBA" is the result of 10,000 hours, then this book is what you get from the first 20.
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