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Monday, September 1, 2014

Here's a Non-Chess Book I Found Interesting

What do you want to learn? The First 20 Hours How to Learn Anything... FAST! by Josh Kaufman, bestselling author of The Personal MBA 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 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.

     I recently picked up this book and found it extremely interesting. Kaufman set aside the time for learning six new things in an experiment he describes in The First 20 Hours. In his case it was yoga poses, computer programming, windsurfing, the game of Go, touch typing, and playing the ukulele.
     If you're not interested in or don’t have 10,000 hours to become an expert, Kaufman suggests you can break down learning into a systematic practice of about an hour a day for a little less than a month. In this book Kaufman describes how he learned the subjects he was interested in, but the techniques he used can be applied to anything. 
     Don’t kid yourself…there’s no way you are going to become an expert (or even good) at something, anything, in 20 hours, but what’s important is learning how to apply general principles of rapid skill acquisition and effective learning and a careful study of this book explains how the author applied those principles. For a more complete review you can visit Pablo's Miscellany.
     From the reviews I read, a lot of people who purchased this book were like a lot of chess players who buy books like Become a Grandmaster in One Hour; they’re looking for the magic bullet and when they find there isn’t any, they whine about being defrauded. Even if you spend only 20 hours learning a subject it’s still going to be 20 hours of effort! Anyway, I liked the book and recommend it as long as you aren’t looking for a magic shortcut to becoming an expert at anything.

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