2014-03-05

Review: The First 20 Hours

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

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Josh Kaufman successfully captured my interest and attention in his book The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything...Fast. Josh is a kindred spirit; we share the same city, we're both active, we're both dads, we have an interest in technology and writing, and we even have like minds when it comes to our hobbies and interests:
Personally, I’ve always had a “Renaissance man” sort of temperament: there are hundreds of things I want to learn at any given moment, in hundreds of different areas.
-- Josh Kaufman, The First 20 Hours.
I pick up hobbies and interests in the same way as Josh, but sometimes I'd find myself overloaded. For example, last year, I managed to achieve a dozen or more goals and aspirations I've had for a long time. It was fun, it was intense, but it was crazy. I took on too much, too fast and I crashed hard.

In fact, it took a literal bicycle crash to make me realize that I had taken on too much last year. I was spreading myself thin and not reaching what Josh calls the "target performance level" in many of my interests. I managed to keep my life-priorities always in order, but my personal hobbies and interests had started to become draining to me.

The First 20 Hours presents some great approaches to "rapid skill acquisition", something I'd always done -- not with intention nor focus. Josh provides a framework that the reader can use to focus in on a skill and reach a desired level of achievement quickly.

I came away from reading the book with a lot of good advice in mind, most especially: "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." If you find yourself interested in picking up a new skill, I encourage you to read Josh's book and give his rapid skill acquisition advice a try. Afterall, "World-class mastery may take ten thousand hours of focused effort, but developing the capacity to perform well enough for your own purposes usually requires far less of an investment."



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