The First 20 Hours

How to learn anything fast



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Josh Kaufman
@joshkaufman · Bestselling author,
Hi, all - I'm the author. (@dredurr, thanks for posting!) "The First 20 Hours" explains a universal method I developed for rapid skill acquisition. The goal was to distill a huge body of research literature in cognitive and behavioral psychology into a practical method readers can use to pick up any new skill in any field of endeavor. The process is simple, but the results are profound - readers worldwide have used this method to learn a wide variety of motor/cognitive/professional/personal skills, from cello to piloting aircraft. The method is fully field-tested: I used it to learn programming, yoga, windsurfing, ukulele, touch typing on a different keyboard (Colemak), and the game of Go, all of which are featured as case studies in the book. Two years after publication, it's great to hear from readers who are applying the techniques to learn valuable new skills, and I'm continuing to use the method myself. Most notably for this audience, I'm now an intermediate full-stack Ruby developer, and run my business on software that I wrote myself. Happy to answer any questions from Product Hunters.
Deandre Durr☀️
@dredurr · Growth Hacker
Your book was life changing. Through your studies was there anything that you found the 20 hour rule did not work for?
Josh Kaufman
@joshkaufman · Bestselling author,
@dredurr Thanks - very glad to hear that! I'd love to hear what you've been learning. The 20 hour precommitment appears to be universal - if you invest 20 hours in *anything*, you'll be a *lot* better than when you started, regardless of field. Most of the people who try something new quit out of frustration within the first 4-5 hours, but a tiny bit of persistence at the beginning pays huge dividends. The method tries to make getting to the 20 hour mark as easy as possible. There's nothing magical about the 20 hour mark, by the way - it's primarily behavioral psychology. 20 hours of investment is enough to see huge results, but it's not enough to feel overwhelming, which can be a significant barrier to getting started and sticking with it. The 20 hours precommitment makes it much more likely you'll sit down and invest your time in a smart way. ~40 minutes every day for a month is very doable if you're serious about learning something, and it forces all of the right difficult decisions (like what to *stop* doing and what you're *not* going to focus on learning) at the beginning of the process, which is extremely helpful.
Luke Fitzpatrick@iamwormify · Founder | Writer | Developer
Totally awesome stuff guys!!! Love it. I actually considered making a side project like this - but a web based blog. If you have a blog, it would be great if I could write up a guest post for you guys :)
Lior Romanowsky@liorowsky · Founder at Spartans
A good word for design - it's really well done, makes you automatically think about yellow pages or a guide. Haven't read but putting in the reading list for next year :)