Interview with author of "The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything... Fast" (plus excerpt)


7 Responses to “Interview with author of "The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything... Fast" (plus excerpt)”

  1. Nadreck says:

    The problem with all these “How To Learn” books is that their regimes apply solely and only to the sort of mind that the author has.  So this is all great if you happen to be pretty close to Josh Kaufman on the neurological spectrum and worse than useless otherwise.

    For example, if one is autistic then time spent in “practice” (whatever that is)  is wasted; but fortunately there are two or three other methods to get the same, or better, results.  However, you don’t even have to go that far off the (meaningless) statistical average to get vast variation in what is a useful learning technique and what isn’t.  Memory capacity, imagination, pattern recognition, style of priority setting and so on all vary wildly.  You can get some training to improve any of these but that just pushes the problem up a level.  (Eg. “Why don’t you just practice practising if you’re having trouble with it?”)  In addition many of these are antithetical to each other so you have to pick which design trade-offs you want depending on your natural abilities, the subject matter, and what the pedagogical bigots around you will let you get away with.

    • Forced2Register says:

      I agree with your comment…

      modern knowledge is more suitable for one kind of learner and more difficult for other learners…
      this is another injustice of modern society

    • Nikolas Adair says:

      I just spent 20 hours learning behavioral neurology, and it turns out you’re just plain wrong. Sorry.

  2. Jorpho says:

    So, the answer to How to Learn Anything… Fast is: Appreciate Being Able to Do Things Badly?

    At least it’s not Ferriss.

  3. Edward Whalley says:

    just as long as it isn’t written by Tim Feriss. 

    • Jarrod Henry says:

      I think the biggest problem I have with Feriss is he’s somewhat deceptive/dishonest in his books and claims.  

      Kaufmann doesn’t say you’ll be an expert at the end of the 20 hours.  He simply says you can learn to be reasonably competent if you 1) spend 20 hours learning and 2) learn the right things the right way.

      It’s funny how people have claimed things like “Well, I don’t think you could be a good surgeon in 20 hours” or “I don’t think you can perfect being a quantum physicist in 20 hours” with this book.    But you CAN learn a fair amount of first age and treatments.. and probably put yourself on a good start to a medical career in that time.. and you may not be a quantum physicist.. but you CAN get yourself in line with the current theories in that time.

      I like this book.  I’m going to find it very handy. :D

  4. ForeverZero says:

    So after buying and reading this book, I cannot recommend it.  The first chapter sets up the premise. The second and third outline some very good ways on how to learn new skills with as little as pain (physical and mental) as possible. 

    But every chapter after that is largely anecdotal references by the author on why this works, followed with “helpful tips” if you want to learn what the author learned. I personally have little intrest in Yoga, Ruby,Touch Typing, GO, Windsurfing, or ukuleles so the rest of the book was all but useless filler on various disciplines and then rehashing the original talking points of the book. Though I could see this information appealing to some, it was not for me.

    12.99$ for two useful chapters and 6 primers on random skills is a bit steep for me.

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