“The First 20 Hours, How to Learn Anything…Fast” by Josh Kaufman.
It should be titled, “The First 20 Hours, How to Discover if You Have Discipline”.
It may or may not have played into last Friday’s blog.
I love to read and I’m sad to report that I haven’t read a fiction novel in a very long time for fear of sailing off into the sunset with it, returning to reality only when I smell dinner burning and I’ve forgotten a child at school.
Instead, I find books at random and read them in tiny snatches like magazines, hoping something sticks. I have a book-stack that never seems to shrink.
My girlfriends have been trying for months to hook me up with podcasts and audiobooks and websites but that involves sitting down and holding still and, um, remembering there are such things in the world.
I finally finished Mr Kaufman’s book. He acquired six new skills over a year, devoting 20 hours to working each one out and when he reached his goal, he moved on.
The only thing I devoted 20 hours to was reading the book, looking for his secret. It was well hidden on the very last page: “If you want to acquire a new skill, you have to practice. There is no other way.”
Consistent, focused, deliberate practice. Well, why didn’t he say so in the first place?
I should have grabbed the book next to it by Gretchen Reynolds, “The First 20 Minutes”.
Let’s read the next book in the pile: “Rising Strong” by Brene Brown.
I enjoyed her “Daring Greatly” because it encouraged me to be braver with my blog. Her new one seems to be about the process of getting back up when you fall on your face.
Huzzah! I face plant all the time, thanks to discipline!
I’m halfway through the chapters and she blows the old “victim mentality” right out of the water with compassion and some common sense healthy attitudes.
I’m suspicious that practice and discipline are in there somewhere, but it will be messy and thoughtful with neither straight lines nor deadlines, and a lot of telling stories on herself. I love it.
Earlier this year, before I read about yoga and tellifin and websites and comedy and a curry recipe, I read Jen Hatmaker’s “For the Love”.
Her front porch philosophy and her thoughts on five kids and the way she sees all kinds of sides on a coin had me laughing hysterically now and then and staring thoughtfully into space now and then, and this one has the honor of sitting on my shelf permanently for long-term use.
I read “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert and it was so-so and then I read Twyla Tharp’s “The Creative Habit” which was pretty solid, and Gary Klein’s “Seeing What Others Don’t” about the world of insight, and something that wraps up the nuts on my family tree in gold foil, “Furiously Happy” by Jenny Lawson.
Obviously, I’m a big fan of literacy.
Today, we celebrate it with a website and a bookshelf, and probably a little Kipling on the side.
I found a website called goodreads.com that looks like fun.
So far as I can figure out, you tell it what you’ve already read and rate how much you liked it, and it recommends new books to you, from zombies to zinnias.
And then you take the list down to the library and check them out with a good old fashioned library card, right? To each her own, girlfriend, I have to fondle the pages.
Therefore, I’ve always been intrigued by something called “Little Free Library” which puts book-stacks curbside for the express purpose of book swapping. It’s a take a book/leave a book honor system that promotes reading and community. What a great idea.
As I have no carpentry skills, this weekend I’ll be building a little bookshelf right here on the blog; a place to leave your favorites for others to find…all over the world.
I’m painting it many shades of green.
What have you read this year that you really enjoyed, and why?
What was worth burning dinner for? Staying up until 2am for? Making three pots of tea for?
Stack your good reads down in the comment box.
You might want to set a timer on the oven.