The First 20 Hours Book Summary - The First 20 Hours Book explained in key points
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The First 20 Hours summary

Josh Kaufman

How to Learn Anything… Fast

4.2 (385 ratings)
12 mins

Brief summary

The First 20 Hours by Josh Kaufman is a personal development book that introduces a practical approach to learn new skills fast. The author advocates for a method of deliberate practice to acquire proficiency in any field in just 20 hours.

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    The First 20 Hours
    Summary of 6 key ideas

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    Learn the basics of anything in 20 hours by using rapid skill acquisition.

    Is there some skill you’ve always wanted to learn but never had the time for? Many people wish they could play the piano, dominate on the tennis court or converse in fluent French, and may even undertake to learn these skills. But often they give up before they’ve even acquainted themselves with the basics. The reason is that they believe it’s too late for them to acquire a new skill – but that’s simply not true!

    This is where rapid skill acquisition comes into play. By employing this technique, you can become fairly good at whatever skill you choose by putting in a mere 20 hours of practice.

    Obviously, if your aim is to become the next Serena Williams, you’ll need many thousands of hours of work. Rapid skill acquisition is more about covering the basics, rather than transforming yourself into an instant expert. But even those first 20 hours of practice on the court will already enable you to play against friends and maybe even partake in local tournaments.

    Let’s continue with the example of tennis. If you practice for 20 hours, breaking that time up into daily doses of 60-90 minutes, you’ll soon find yourself rapidly improving. And once you’ve completed the initial 20 hours of practice, it’ll become considerably easier to continue developing your chosen skill.

    If you’ve ever tried to learn something new, you’ll know that the first few hours of practice are often the hardest. At this stage, you’ll be more likely to get confused and run into problems, which is what causes people to give up early on. But it’s essential to persist for at least 20 hours. That way, you’ll have already reached a substantial level of skill, which will make further practice less problematic.

    So how can you make those 20 hours really count? Let’s dive into the ten principles underlying rapid skill acquisition.

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    What is The First 20 Hours about?

    The First 20 Hours (2013) is about learning new skills quickly. These blinks will help you shake off the notion that it’s too late to expand your horizons. Whether you want to master a foreign language or learn how to fly a helicopter, here are ten simple steps for getting started.

    The First 20 Hours Review

    The First 20 Hours (2013) by Josh Kaufman is a book that provides valuable insights on how to learn new skills quickly and efficiently. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With its emphasis on practical techniques, readers can learn how to go from beginner to competent in any skill in just 20 hours.
    • Supported by research and personal experiences, the book offers a step-by-step approach that is easy to follow and implement.
    • It showcases the power of deliberate practice, proving that with focused effort and the right strategies, anyone can become proficient in a new skill.

    Best quote from The First 20 Hours

    Theres no magic to it – just smart, strategic effort invested in something you care about.

    —Josh Kaufman
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    Who should read The First 20 Hours?

    • Dreamers and curious souls
    • Procrastinators
    • Wannabe polyglots

    About the Author

    Josh Kaufman is an independent researcher on topics such as business, entrepreneurship, productivity and behavioral psychology. He’s been ranked as one of the best business authors by Amazon. His first book, The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business, was a best seller.

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    The First 20 Hours FAQs 

    What is the main message of The First 20 Hours?

    The main message of The First 20 Hours is that with focused practice, you can acquire a new skill in a short period of time.

    How long does it take to read The First 20 Hours?

    The estimated reading time for The First 20 Hours varies. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The First 20 Hours a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The First 20 Hours is worth reading because it provides practical strategies for rapid skill acquisition. It's a valuable resource for anyone looking to learn new skills efficiently.

    Who is the author of The First 20 Hours?

    The author of The First 20 Hours is Josh Kaufman.

    What to read after The First 20 Hours?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The First 20 Hours, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School by Mark H. McCormack
    • 10 Days to Faster Reading by The Princeton Language Institute and Abby Marks Beale
    • Learn Like a Pro by Barbara Oakley and Olav Schewe
    • Learn Better by Ulrich Boser
    • The Little Book of Talent by Daniel Coyle
    • How to Grow Your Small Business by Donald Miller
    • Scaling Up by Verne Harnish