The First 20 Hours

Title: The First 20 Hours

Recommendation: 7.3/10


Love learning but feel constrained by the time investment needed to achieve worthwhile results?

Although it might take 10,000 hours (right, Malcolm?) to develop world-class mastery of a new skill (an important caveat), Josh Kaufman breaks down a systematic approach to rapidly achieving intermediate skill proficiency. 

Applying his approach, he documents how he learns yoga, programming, and how to play the ukulele in under 20 hours.

Walking through his application was a refreshing change from the distant utopia we find all too often in the self-help category.


If you rely on finding time to do something, it will never be done. If you want to find time, you must make time.

1) Define target 2) deconstruct skill into prioritized sub-skills 3) remove common distractions 4)  prioritize & practice sub-skills for 20+ hours 5) create feedback loops.

Getting accu­rate, real-time information about how well you’re performing during practice makes it much easier to improve.

The trouble comes when we confuse learning with skill acquisition. If you want to acquire a new skill, you must practice it in context. Learning enhances practice, but it doesn’t replace it. If performance matters, learning alone is never enough.

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