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"Learn Anything in 20 Hours" with Josh Kaufman (Marketing Insights Podcast)

  • Danny InyDanny Iny

first20hours-coverWhat would it mean to you and your business if you could identify one skill or ability that was missing in your business – from closing sales to working Photoshop – and learn how to do it, and do it well, in just 20 hours?

I wouldn’t have believed it was possible myself – but after listening to the following podcast interview with Josh Kauffman by our own Danny Iny, I’m not only convinced – I’m itching to get started. Josh knows how to learn something fast – and he tells all, with great examples, tips and stories.

Josh Kauffman is the author of the wildly popular personal MBA, and has a new book coming out called the first 20 Hours. Today, he and Danny are going to chat about the core message of the book – and how it can make absolutely massive changes in your business.

Distilled Wisdom

  • To bring this home to business, look at the five essential elements of business, (value creation, marketing, sales, value delivery and finance) you can choose any one of those and develop at least a starting mastery of it as it applies to your business in 20 hours.
  • Learn how to ask yourself the questions that will tell you what single thing, or few things you need to make the biggest impact in your business – then devote the time (20 hours!) to learning the skill that will make that change.
  • When we’re really excited about something, we may start the learning process – but at the beginning, when you suck, it’s so intimidating that we give up before putting in the necessary time.
  • If you had three hours to fill, you need to identify the one next thing you really want to learn. List all of the things you think you want to learn, and then narrow the list down by cutting out half, and then half again until you’re left with one. Once you have one, go pick up 3 to 5 books on the topic, the skimming of which will let you know what the most important things to focus on in order to start your learning are.
  • Remember: at the end of the 20 hours, you will have either attained your desired learning objective, or have spent 20 hours getting darn close!

And don’t forget that you can also download the transcript of this podcast.


If you all got out of that what I did – it’s time to run pre-order the book to get the cool bonus resources, and start learning things fast. Pre-order the book in any format and forward your proof of purchase to – you’ll get access to the core of the method, as well as a bunch of super cool bonus information about awesome skills you could learn.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments of this post – what ONE skill do you want to learn to improve the heck out of your business?

15 thoughts on "Learn Anything in 20 Hours" with Josh Kaufman (Marketing Insights Podcast)

Mertie Maron

Thank you for the great content. I am glad I have taken the time to see this.

Markus Ledezma

A cool blog post there mate . Thank you for it .

Martin Charvát

Hi ​Martin,​

I have just found you review of First 20 Hours from Josh Kaufman so I thought you could find this useful. 🙂

My friend Michal and I have created actionable canvas based on the book. Why? Because reading without an action is not enough and we want to make it easier for people like us to actually USE IT to acquire new skill, step by step.

Here it is.

Please excuse grammar mistakes, it’s just a testing version (and I’m not a native english speaker). The yellow rectangels stay for post-its that you fill the canvas with so that you could reuse it.

My questions is — Do you consider the canvas so useful that you would buy it? If yes, for what price and if no, why?

Thanks in advance. Your help is really appreciated! 🙂

Martin Charvát


Just after reading a good post on Forbes just got back here seeing another great post about the 20 hour rule. The rule has been a great inspiration and strategically explaining how to learn is the main thing I guess we could get from the book. In one of my new skills I acquired was Aggressive inline skating and I learned to come to a level which can compete at the London speed skating events and Friday night skating network.


This was a very interesting podcast. I was reminded a bit of My 4 Hour Work Week.
And about working more efficiently.

I really like the idea of setting aside 20 hours for something and just doing it. You either will learn it or come pretty darn close as you said.

I shall have to listen to it again to ensure that I catch-all the great nuggets of information, but you did a pretty good job of that with the ‘condensed wisdom’ section.



Josh: Thank-you for all the pointers You give us in this Post & interview with Danny. I firmly believe what You’re telling us…Since I learned to read have always love to read & study. Have Learned EFT (tapping), deep meditation, different exercises, and the list goes on and on. Lately I’m learning Photo Reading, so what You are suggesting is not far fetched, it can be done! “Whatever the mind can conceive the mind can achieve.” – Andrew Carnegie Thank-You very much Danny, You always guide us to the top, as does Bamidele Onibalusi..Gratitude, Love & Blessings!

Maria Lash

Rose Johnston

I listened to the podcast and I think Josh is advocating using–at a personal level– instructional design principles and techniques to learn a new skill. In other words, de-constructing your learning goal into terminal objectives and enabling objectives.

The “twist” I like is in the upfront research; i.e., study the tables of content (ToCs) to find the patterns that reveal what the experts consider the fundamentals to be.

Dan Starr

Danny, and all who read this,

The pros of this: I have used the research method of learning extensively and I can tell you it does work. I just applied this to learn Tai-Chi and I found the exact right info I want to master, which then brings me to…

The cons of this: I likely have a bit more musical talent than others. After all, I’ve been a performer for 40+ year and a teacher for 25+ teaching some very bright people. Unfortunately, you simply can’t teach the body the skills the body must learn in 20 hours. I doubt it can be done. I certainly couldn’t do it. It’s not merely an intellectual exercise.

Sara Dillinger

In all fairness, I need to say that when I clicked the link a second time, it did take me to the Danny/Josh podcast which was, all things considered, worth the trouble. I’m not only going to pre-order the book, I’m going to order Josh’s Personal MBA. It looks to me like the “First 20 Hours” book is going to be invaluable to me as I get my business up, hire employees, tell them what they need to learn if they don’t already know it, and give them the book to help them learn it. Thanks to Josh for writing the book and to Danny for telling me about it.

Shailendra Vijayvergia

Thanks, it worked.


I listened to the podcast and I think Josh is advocating using–at a personal level– instructional design principles and techniques to learn a new skill. In other words, de-constructing your learning goal into terminal objectives and enabling objectives.


Thanks for the information.

Shailendra Vijayvergia

I am also confused. Listened to the podcast till 8-10 minutes, but it was about email marketing, not related to post topic, i.e, “Learn anything in 20 hours”

Sara Dillinger

I am confused. I am one of those who usually read every one of Danny’s emails, but this one has me stumped. As I read it, the podcast that was linked in the email was supposed to be an interview between Danny and Josh Kaufman. The podcast that I heard when I clicked the link was one with Megan and Danny about email marketing. It was interesting but it wasn’t what I was led to expect. Now I am wondering if this is a “bait and switch” tactic, a mistake, or just a misunderstanding on my part. I’m also left wondering how I gain access to the podcast (if one exists) between Danny and Josh. Did I totally misunderstand or did your call to action miss the mark?


Sorry about that – we had a file linking glitch, and fixed it. 🙂

Comments are closed.