Publisher's Summary

"Learn anything... fast!"
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.
This method isn't theoretical: it's field-tested. Kaufman invites readers to join him as he field tests his approach by learning to program a Web application, play the ukulele, practice yoga, re-learn to touch type, get the hang of windsurfing, and study the world's oldest and most complex board game.
What do you want to learn?
©2013 Worldly Wisdom Ventures LLC (P)2013 Worldly Wisdom Ventures LLC
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Critic Reviews

"As a father of three, practicing neurosurgeon, and global journalist, I don't have a lot of free time on my hands. The First 20 Hours is a practical guide to learning beyond our mid-20s, when our brains are fully developed. Josh's book will inspire you to pick up forgotten hobbies and chase elusive dreams." (Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
1 out of 5 stars
By Matthew on 08-05-2017

Worst book I've listened to.

If you want to listen to someone explain every task they perform this is for you. I couldn't stand this book.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By Cigdem on 08-05-2016

Too much irrelevant background detail

Great idea and decent first chapter but it lacks sufficient relevent and quality content to fill an entire book so it's stuffed with way too many irrelevant details about the hostory of yoga and descriptions of physical yoga poses. Irrelevant and a waste of time.

If the 4 Hour Chef was available on audible then I'd recommend it as an alternative book for how to learn to do new things quickly.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
1 out of 5 stars
By Grady on 16-06-2013

Finished the thesis early in the book

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Maybe someone in their early 20s with little experience in their life might like it.

Would you ever listen to anything by Josh Kaufman again?


Would you listen to another book narrated by Josh Kaufman?

Not sure. Really not going to.

What character would you cut from The First 20 Hours?

I'd kill all the stories about things he learned in his past.

Any additional comments?

Seriously, he finishes his thesis early in the book. The rest is just fill. He talks about how he learned yoga and computer programming (that's all in the past). This was all about 20/20 foresight. How about talking about his thesis and then actually applying it to something he knows nothing about. Write about that. Write about how it's something he wants to learn, but is fighting with all the self doubts, frustration and aggravation of finding the motivation to do what he intellectually wants, but has trouble finding the discipline to actually learn. Prove that thesis. Don't just introduce the thesis and then look back into the past about how it worked for things he already learned. Don't talk about things he had to learn for his business. I have to do that all the time. I have to learn about things I could care less about because I have to do it for my business.

All in all, this book talks about a thesis that could be stated in 3 lines. Only focus on learning one thing at a time. Devote the time to do it and don't let any other learning distractions stop you from this goal. And finally, think before you do. Plan how you're going to learn and do it intelligently. I have a problem with that idea because it all falls back to 20/20 foresight. You can't learn what's important and what isn't until you learn something about it.

In the end, this was a brief thesis that didn't need the full space of a book. It makes money for the author because it's not a brief article that he can put on his website--it's a book. And this book is a waste of time and money.

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188 of 207 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Christophe on 19-06-2013

First 3 Chapters are enough

The book has a great start and fullfilled my expectations. The you get 30min of yoga history and you just stop listening.

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46 of 51 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
1 out of 5 stars
By Jen on 24-02-2015

Good Essay not really an audio book

What disappointed you about The First 20 Hours?

Kaufman is clearly passionate about his topic but its more of an essay than a full book.

What could Josh Kaufman have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Less lists more substance when describing how he learnt each subject.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

lists lists and more lists

Any additional comments?

the first 20 pages are very good and they have made me get off my couch and pick up my ukulele. His TED talk on the topic is worth a visit

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Gym Addict on 02-05-2014

Pretty Disappointing

Would you try another book written by Josh Kaufman or narrated by Josh Kaufman?

Yes, I like his writing and his narration is very good

What was most disappointing about Josh Kaufman’s story?

Got to say I am a little disappointed with it. Essentially 2/3 of the book are the case study examples of the new skills that the author decided to learn. Unless you are really interested in learning how to do yoga, web programming, touch-typing, play the Ukulele, the board game GO or windsurfing for yourself then the majority of the book can be pretty boring and somewhat tedious.

All the actually useful information and takeaways from the book (unless you are interested in the above skills) are in the first 3 chapters (40 pages) & the final 2 pages of the Afterword at the end.

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5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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