How to learn anything in 20 hours


For a long time now I’ve been really interested in learning; how we do it, what motivates us to learn and what works. In my work and my coaching I’ve tried to find the best combinations and methods to help others get ideas and skills on board fast.

One of the beliefs that’s been around a while now is that it takes 10 000 times of doing something to become an expert at it. Really depressing for those of us who don’t have the time or inclination to put into getting that good! Luckily, there’s a bunch of new ideas out there to challenge that belief.

One such concept comes from a guy called Josh Kaufman in a book titled ‘The First 20 hours, How to Learn Anything…Fast.’ His premise is that since most of us aren’t aiming for a world title in the things we want to learn, we needn’t panic. Twenty hours ought to probably get us functional.

Principles to follow

Kaufman has 10 principles he suggests we follow, which he outlines first. He then takes the reader through six areas where he tests his theory by learning a  new thing. Whilst some of them were far too detailed for me to follow, I appreciated that he was prepared to be his own guinea pig and let us in on what he discovered about how to learn anything in 20 hours.

Of interest to me was that Kaufman didn’t follow every step every time, and that some things seemed to create stronger effects than others. The best take away  is that with some focused attention and effort, we all can learn just about anything we choose.

Anyone interested in knowing how to learn anything in 20 hours will find this book worth the read, it’s not overly heavy. You could head over to Kaufman’s website if you want to check him out. Or to this TED talk if you’d like a summary. I’ll be testing his theory myself really soon!