The First 20 Hours by Josh Kaufman
Please take a moment to think about how much you want to learn. Do you have any plans? How are you preventing yourself from getting started? How can you learn new skills if you don't have the time or the energy?
Developing a new skill requires 10,000 hours of practice. When can you ever find that much time and energy in this nonstop world? To make matters worse, the first few hours of practicing something new are always the most frustrating. Learning a new language, playing an instrument, hitting a golf ball, or taking good pictures can be challenging. Watching TV or surfing the web has never been easier. . .
Joshua Kaufman describes a systematic way for learning new skills rapidly and efficiently in his book, The First Twenty Hours. This approach shows you how to break down complex skills, maximize productive practice, and remove common barriers to learning. You will become a significantly better performer when you complete just 20 hours committed to focusing and deliberate practice.
It was Kaufman himself who tested the methods presented in this book. We have the privilege of watching him develop a personal yoga practice, write a web-based computer program, learn how to touch-type on a nonstandard keyboard, play the oldest, most complex board game in history, learn the ukulele, and windsurf. He teaches a few simple techniques:
Identify your target performance level and what you hope to achieve. Identify what skill level you're trying to reach and what you'll be able to do when you achieve it. It is best to be as specific as possible.
We tend to think of skills as bundles of subskills, but most are really more like bundles of skills. Identify the most important subcomponents and practice them first by breaking the process down into subcomponents.
Get rid of distractions: Deliberate practice sessions become easier to complete when distractions are removed and unnecessary effort is removed.
With accurate, real-time feedback, you can improve much quicker during practice.
It takes only 20 hours with The First 20 Hours to become proficient in any skill, regardless of the topic. . . and have more fun along the way.