A How-To Guide: Accelerated Learning for Accelerated Times

[Editor’s note: The video referred to in this article is no longer available for embed. To view it, please search “Tim Ferriss full keynote The Next Web 2013 TNW2013 Conference Amsterdam” on YouTube.]

The above video is a short presentation I gave at The Next Web Conference in Amsterdam.

It covers a basic framework for mastering any skill quickly, including languages, music, dance, and more.

What skill have you put off learning for longest… and why? Let me know in the comments. Perhaps I (or other readers) can help. Second, if you could learn one skill in the next six months, what would it be?


Important afterword:

NOTE — For my competition launched last week (not too late to join), roundtrip airfare is covered for all four winners.

Related content:

The 4-Hour Chef and Meta-Learning — 200+ pages on all I know about accelerated learning

Total Immersion: How I Learned to Swim Effortlessly in 10 Days and You Can Too

Scientific Speed Reading: How to Read 300% Faster in 20 Minutes

How I Deconstruct Languages (scroll through the list)

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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437 Replies to “A How-To Guide: Accelerated Learning for Accelerated Times”

  1. 1. Krav Maga, I’ve been to a handful of classes, but I haven’t stuck with it even though I really want to learn it for peace of mind and as a physical outlet.

    2. Drawing comic book style. I used to draw incessantly as a kid, I would love to get back into it.

      1. Wow…thanks for mentioning Otaku Camera. I just downloaded it and it is awesome. As a manga and general comic book fan this is great.

    1. When it comes to Krav maga… you’ll need to break it down into different chunks(stance, distance, footwork, punches , kicks, grapples) .

      It might sound counter-intuative but I found the book : Bruce Lee : Jeet Kune Do , to be very effective at realising the parts of any fighting style.

      You can ind most of this book for free on google books. Let me know how you get on!

    2. If you’re able to do Krav Maga three times a week, go out of your way to do it.

      Training essentially every other day keeps it in the front of your mind at all times, you’ll notice your response time improve very quickly.

      Visualize techniques when you can. No need to meditate on choke releases for half an hour, just go through the movements in your head every now and then – the body can only follow the mind’s command, and the faster the brain sends information, the faster your physical reactions will be.

      Only side effect is that you walk the streets thinking everybody’s out to murder you. 🙂

    3. @Jeff, I’ve had the same problem as you for martial arts. The way that helped me a lot, was to engrain whatever martial art into your body. Don’t do it, but feel, and this will happen by trusting and developing confidence that our bodies can do Krav Maga, Systema, Wu wei, or w/e martial art it is and not only learn it, but be it.

  2. I would love to learn how to code.

    I have put it off for 2 years.


    1.Too many programming languages to chose from.

    2. It seems like the experts have an insurmountable head start.

    3. Coding seems isolating and potentially boring, especially when just start outing and unable to ship a bunch of cool programs.

    1. Hi Ryan,

      I suggest you try out PYTHON. It’s the closest langauge to English and it’s pretty easy to learn; especially for beginners. The hardest part in learning is sticking to it — 5 sessions as Tim mentions above.

      If you’re interested, I have a class on Udemy that teaches Python and Django. Search for “Coding for Entrepreneurs” and get in for free with the code ‘4HWW’ — it expires on Friday. This class I skip the theory and jump right in to the code so you can learn step by step.

      Another place to learn python is codecademy. Google it. It’s an amazing free resource that will help get you going in no time.

      Cheers and good luck in learning code!

      1. You bet Ann. I want to get more non-technicals coding! Don’t hesitate to ask questions in the course when you get stuck!

        Will you do me a favor and rate the class right away? You can always change your rating later… but, more favorable ratings means more sign ups and more content for you!


      2. Correction: Actually, I mean, thanks to Ryan for asking the question. And, thanks to Justin for suggesting the udemy course and providing the coupon code.

      3. I heartily agree. Python is the bomb for clear code and understanding core concepts. Also search for ‘Dive Into Python’ and ‘How to Think Like Computer Scientist Using Python.’ As to the problem of boredom, it will help if you have a particular tool or project in mind. You will learn coding as a means to an end…and the decide whether to keep going after that.

      4. Thanks for the code! I always wanted to learn and I decided to start now 🙂

    2. Yes, I am trying to learn coding too (mostly to be a better prototyper and product person and entrepreneur). I have decided to learn rails because it does a lot of SQL and HTML generation for you and seemed to be the easiest for beginners with a big community of support. I am trying the onemonthrails program by doing:

      1. Ruby on Rails 3 Essential Training with Kevin Skoglund on Lynda.com (1 week)

      2. RoR Tutorial by Michael Hartl (1 week)

      3. Web Apps class by John Clusterhut at Stanford online (1 week)

    3. try mt4 for forex or studiopress or thesis both highly sought after for wordpress. You can create own gigs from fiverr or annouce to founders of studiopress or thesis that you are one of the designers.

      Either way, you are better of learning coding that are evergreen. Iphone apps or android are highly sought after.



    4. As a programmer of 20+ years I’ll tell you my thoughts on those points:

      1. You don’t have to learn only one language. After you have the first one under your belt, it’s surprising how quickly you can learn another one. This is especially true if you learn an object-oriented language first (i.e. Java, C#) instead of a scripting language (i.e. PHP, Python, Ruby). But you should try a few different ones and see which one(s) you like best. Just play around with them and do lots of tutorials. That’s also how the “experts” start with a new language.

      2. It doesn’t matter how far ahead of you the “experts” are. If you’re just learning how to play basketball, you shouldn’t compare yourself to LeBron. That’s not motivating and doesn’t help your confidence. Just focus on your own progress and have fun achieving your own goals. Also, it’s easy to find people to help you learn, since everyone in software development (programming) is always learning something themselves. They recognize the struggle and most are willing to help.

      3. It can be isolating if you let it, but working with others on a programming project can be a lot of fun – even in a business setting. WIth the right group, there’s a real team atmosphere and plenty of comaraderie. Although most work IS done solo, so if you don’t enjoy tons of analysis, focused thinking, and being “in the zone”, it might seem pretty boring to some. Interactions happen when you need help or just need a break. It can be brain-draining sometimes, so there are LOTS of both.

  3. For rapid learning of languages I highly recommend Duolingo. Lessons are broken into small sessions and learners gain points to level up through various categories. Plus the mobile app is fantastic!

      1. Readthekanji.com focuses on the vocab and kanji part of Japanese. Spend an hour or two learning the grammar and you’ll be good after that.

      2. Try the ‘Kanji Connect’ iphone app (previously ‘Kanji Wordsearch’) for enjoying practicing kanji with a game.

      3. I’ve been living between Colombia and Argentina for a year—the plan is to become fluent in Spanish in less than two years. I get by fine, but I know I won’t reach the goal of fluency with my current practice. My grammar is awful, my vocabulary limited, and my ear for regional accents is a wall. When I deconstruct, top of the list is, I hate to study (in general), and I hate to memorize (verb tenses).

        Just viewed the video—I’m intrigued! I’m going to apply DiSSS methodology moving forward: let me know if you have other tips specific to language I can roll in as I plot my course. Thanks!

      4. If you’re interesting in the online language exchange chats I’ve had several friends recommend iTalki. It may be something worth looking into.

      5. Hi Vicki,

        What have you been doing in Colombia and Argentina? I’ve been thinking of a similar trip there to learn Spanish, travel. I was thinking 6 months. I’d love to chat about your experience.

      6. hello! am far from advanced but just began a couple years ago and wonder if this may help you…was fortunate to have two pieces in a local juried art show in VA… (so encouraging and rewarding):

        read Recovery of inner child by lucia capacchione – she shows how people who never drew before draw expressive things about themselves — then all i did right afterward knowing it is possible – was to look hard at a photo of myself and start drawing the outline … it was creative! lo and behold! drew others then that i had strong feelings about. let me know if this helps you get started. small ez to carry sketchbook or just napkins in a cafe can work to get started. then an art mentor said draw ea day, found it only takes 5 min to an hour how ever long i wanted. art mentor said then try some with few lines and others with lots of lines. excited for you! again hope these help. apparently lots of artists use photos. my art mentor then took me off photos – but that time period of around six or 12 months really helped. drawing from memory was harder but interesting. then andrew loomis books are supposed to be the best

    1. how good is duolingo for truly learning a language to fluency?

      It seems similar to sites like codeacademy that do nothing more than pump you up with a superficial understanding.

    2. Started Duolingo Spanish. First level was easy as I hear much in CA every day. Second level was too great a jump. Could not do any of it.

  4. I’ve been putting off increasing my vertical leap so I can dunk a basketball, I tried a few years ago and was making massive improvements but my poor form on the deadlift left me with an injured back.

    So if I could learn anything in the next 6 months it would be increasing my vertical, it’s always been a childhood dream of mine to get above the rim.

    Love hearing you give advice on learning Tim.

    1. The “Effortless Superhuman” part of the 4-Hour body cover this. Specifically the Sumo Deadlift might be useful for you which involves your legs more than your back compared to a conventional deadlift.

      1. This is also a dream of mine. I’ve done the effortless superhuman for about 6-8 weeks and I can say that my explosiveness of the ground definitely improved. Currently, I’m in the middle of a different program trying to get my BF under 10%. I’ve always heard good things about Gil Thomas’s DunkDreamz program but I have not spent a good amount of time looking into the material. One of his first steps is getting the BF% low.

  5. I have been putting off honing my skill at guitar, it is one of the most beautiful things in the world to me personally and I still struggle with accepting that I have let my skill sharply slide. If I could learn any skill in the next six months, I would love to learn how to become a video editing super ninja and make even better videos to inspire the world around me while pushing my career to the next level!

    1. I’ve played the guitar since I was a kid (I’m in my forties), and what kick started my playing was a Kindle Fire with a speaker dock in my music room so I could woodshed on youtube guitar videos. Super Fast learning.

  6. 1) I have put off learning the guitar because it seems like an overwhelming amount of skills to master. Every time I start, I can’t get past four basic chords as I struggle to make my fingers stretch to accommodate the chords.

    2) In the next six months I intend to master a free standing handstand and short handstand walk!

    1. As a guitar player, I will recommend you focus on songs instead of chords. Yes, you need to know chords in order to play songs, but if you find a song you love, that’s the song that will help you learn those chords.

      A good metaphor is through language learning. Instead of taking classes and focusing on the grammar of a language (chords and notes), you should seek out sentences and paragraphs (songs, symphonies) that show native usage of that language (guitar, instrument).

    2. I second Tyler’s advice, and would also recommend that you check out Songsterr. It’s a good source for a lot of songs, whether you read music or tab. I mainly use the iPad app.

    3. I agree with Tyler, when i first started guitar i had lessons which i found tiresome so i quit for 2 years. I then decided after that time that i wanted to pick it up again; what i found was that learning songs that i liked was a lot more satisfying. Once i felt my skills were getting better learning chords scales etc were a lot easier.

    4. Bec,

      You might consider getting a smaller guitar. If this is not an option then try to stretch your fingers away from the instrument. One exercise is to fit as many fingers on your right hand between the fingers on your left hand.

      Generally it is better to not try to conform yourself to the instrument but to find an instrument that fits you. As the great tubist Arnold Jacobs (and just about everybody else) said “Tension is the enemy”

    5. I recommend going on Youtube and looking at the guitar teaching videos from “guitarjamzdotcom” and “martyzsongs”. The teacher breaks down popular songs into the chords and strumming patterns separately. Very helpful!

  7. I need to learn to build a personal brand for motivational speaking. I wish to speak to jr high, high school, and early university students about choosing their career.

    I am also building a 2 day outdoor leadership course. First one is June 29th.

    How do I build a brand when no one knows me?

      1. @Patrick @Benny Get out there and start speaking with whatever branding you have now, even if it’s just you.Figure out your own USP for what you do and lean on that, adjusting and tweaking over time as you get real-world feedback. Make sure everything you do is video recorded and share it online, in info products, etc. Today your personal brand is not something you create out of thin air but is a by-product of who you are, who you help and what you stand for.

      2. Oh, and choose a viable target market. My mentor Ray Edwards says your biz is built on providing “a unique solution to an identifiable group of people with money”.

    1. My advice,

      1. Get on Help A Reporter Out, answer questions

      2. Build credibility indicators…search this blog for “local to national media”

      3. Ask yourself: if I want to build a (paying) career around motivational speaking…who is WILLING and ABLE to pay for my speaking? Is creating a video product of you giving presentation(s) more scaleable because it does not involve travel, and you can sell it while you sleep.

      A great question to ask yourself is: what would I create if I could create anything?

      All the best,


    2. Aside from speaking in whatever capacity you’re currently able to, I’d also recommend developing a following around your message through Youtube or your website. Some unpolished motivational speakers are being paid by their website readers simply because the readers resonate with their messages and feel a personal bond with them.

      I’d also recommend joining Toastmasters. It’s one of the best places to develop your skills as a speaker.

  8. Learning a language would be number one on things I’ve put off learning. I think the perceived barrier to entry is what has kept me away, but I’m slowly warming up to the idea through duolingo and similar services.

    Great talk by the way!

  9. I recently got a job as a waiter at a new hip, trendy restaurant in Providence, RI. I like wine but never learned much about it. Any suggestions on how to brain hack my way into learning wine basics? They really want us to push wine sales and be able to answer questions from “wine snobs”.

    1. Here’s a shortcut: learn to deflect back and ask them the best QUESTIONS about their preferences, and have a few go-to recommendations for different dishes. That will solve 90% of the situations. Sometimes the Qs are more important than the As, as the Qs determine the As 🙂

    2. Quick hack

      Red wine – meat dishes

      white wine – chicken and fish dishes

      Each type of wine has specific qualities about them.

      – As Tim mentions understand those specific qualities i.e. dry white and you will be able to have a conversation by first asking the clients preferences .

      Group the wines into these specific categories in your restaurant – You will cover the 80/20 rule.

      And finally the more expensive the wine the rarer it is either by age or supplier.

    3. hey Kevin, check out the introduction to wine course in Skillshare.com called Stop Thinking and Start Drinking by John Boyer. I myself love drinking wine but don’t know too much about it. The accessible course taught me quite a lot! Cheers from Sweden!

    4. Yeah sure, use the hacks (at first) for your job (to get by) but either decide you are going to put in the time and effort to actually become knowledgeable about wine and be able to help patrons make choices or simply be just another flakey waiter. You won’t be making as much in tips if all you can offer are the 2 hacks offered by Tim and Todd.

    5. Here’s a quickie wine pairing chart found by 10 sec images.google.com search ‘wine pairing chart’:


      California is biggest wine producer in US. Wine is huge biz in the state and the #2 tourism draw.

      Read through the California Wine Institute site and will learn a lot: http://www.wineinstitute.org/

      Also go to Youtube for short wine courses.

      Winebusiness.com is helpful too.

      Learn! It’ll pay off. If know your stuff will make more tips for starters.

    6. I found myself going from knowing very little about wine, to having a pretty good handle on the flavor palate. The trick was to simply sit down with a dozen or two dozen varieties and trying them all in one sitting. Not drinking a whole glass but just sip enough to taste and really focus on the subtleties. After you have this bit of working knowledge it shouldn’t be too hard to fudge around the edges and come off like a real wine-o!

  10. How to be good at Maths? I have been procrastinating preparation for GMAT for quite a while, any tips for it will be very helpful

    1. For maths the Engineering Mathematics and Advanced Engineering Mathematics books by K. A. Stroud are absolutely fantastic. The first one basically takes you from being unable to count to a college level maths knowledge, the second covers most of the maths you need for a postgraduate maths degree. The chapters are simple, clear, full of exercises and incredibly well explained.

    2. get yourself on KhanAcademy.org with a google or fb account, and watch all the videos and do all the exercises. It might not be exactly what you’re doing in class, but it will fill the gaps. Most problems with Math stem from missing gaps earlier in education, you#ll be surprised how good you can get at it!

  11. Hi Tim,

    Just wanted to leave a comment to say I enjoyed your 4 hour work week book, I listen to the audiobook while I’m out running on audible.

    All the best.

  12. Even through getting a degree and working as a music teacher I dont feel I can conduct at a level I feel is acceptable. (Taking care of that through my connections now)

    I would like to learn how to rapidly read and prepare musical scores. I find myself just memorizing the sounds and not really reading the music as much as I should. Maybe Tim’s speed reading techniques might be somewhat applicable.

  13. I have plut off learning spanish for like 6 years. Dont know why…

    But if I could choose one it would be writing

  14. Hi Tim,

    I would like to see Accelerated Lessons for

    learning how to play guitar in the

    next 6 months. And improving one’s playing skills.

    Song-writing would be cool too!


    1. 1.Pick a song you want to learn.

      2.Find the tab on songsterr or ultimate guitar. (Just google “[song name] tab”)

      3. Listen and follow tab (songsterr has a backing track which you can mute.


      -Guitar map http://0.tqn.com/d/guitar/1/0/3/5/partsofaguitar.jpg

      -Power chord (A lot like flipping someone the bird) http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-a6TNCpbFul8/UCaB9XqNacI/AAAAAAAAAFY/-IwpDiAZ2ZU/s1600/105346.image1.jpg

      -Scales http://www.learnandmaster.com/guitar-blog/wp-content/uploads/pentatonic-scale-1st-pos.gif

      -Alternate picking (faster harder) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-N-8M8XwoFo

      -Palm mute (literally, rest your pick hand palm on the strings just above the bridge)

      Palm mute alternate picking between power chords make it sound like you can play.

      Not so basic:

      -Legato http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HBnkYjAoSw

      -Arpeggio (uses scales) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1ctq07wGDc

      Recommended songs to look at:

      Iron Man

      Enter Sandman

      Hey There Delilah

      Tim actually blogged about chords and “The Axis of Awesome.” http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2012/12/11/how-to-play-the-guitar/

      1. That’s a great resource! I recommend python for newbies which codecademy teaches. Python resembles English the most out of all coding languages so it’s easier to pick up.

    1. Learn Python by finding out how to:

      0) Install ActiveState Python and fire up the Editor

      1) Learn to read a file, write to a file

      2) Split a linein parts (for instance spaces, comma’s)

      3) Go over the lines in a file with a (for-) loop

      4) Learn to create a simple UI with TKinter (standard part of Python)

      With these excercises you will be able to to quite a bit of programming in a few days and you learn the rest on the way….I hope this helps.

  15. I’d like like to learn to be a pro-networker / socialite. I grew up with a lot of introverted personality characteristics that have actually served me well in a lot of aspects of my life, but when it comes to working a room, or soft skills in my company, I’ve got very little to work with.

    I really don’t know where to start, where to find mentors, or how to get good feedback on what I’m doing. I don’t think I can change hard-wired parts of my personality, but I’d like to be able to grow some skills that I can turn on when useful.

    1. Can I humbly suggest the book “brain at work” which could be a starting point to undestanding and controlling emotions. Also, going to meetups (meetup.com) to groups of your interest might get you more used to interacting with strangers.

    2. Toastmasters is a great way, not only to build confidence in front of people and public speaking, but also to learn to socialize and work the room, as you call it. I’ve been going to a local club for 1.5 hours/week for the past year and it would be fair to say that it made a huge difference. It is not exactly a shortcut, but beyond the basics I would say this is the type of skill that you continualy have to practice.

    3. Check out the quiet, the power of introverts. techniques on how to fit in in an extrovert world without loosing yourself.

    4. Josh,

      Perfect new book out for Introverts #1 best seller in it’s category and great reviews. Kindle avail: “Quiet: The Power of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking.” By Susan Cain. Read an excellent review of it, I think on Forbes.

    5. I’m so glad you posted this Josh. I was trying to think of a way to articulate it, but you put it better than I could.

      I forgot about toastmasters. I did it for a while a few years ago and it is an excellent, safe space for practicing “working a room.” I think I’ll give it a go again.

    6. Hey Josh, I’d highly recommend Real Social Dynamics as an information provider in developing your social skills. Although they brand themselves as a pick up artist company, they don’t encourage the memorization of “lines” or “routines.” They develop social confidence through personal development and immersion in social situations.

  16. What do you think would be the most important skill to learn (assuming you know no skills besides high school level education)?

  17. I’ve put off really learning and understanding the science behind cooking. I know it wouldn’t take that much effort, I just haven’t placed enough importance on it to actually dive in. I suspect it would help my cooking, which isn’t something I directly think I need help with, but it certainly couldn’t hurt!

    What I do need to learn in the next six months is French! We are moving to France in 8 months, and it’d be nice to be able to converse!

    1. Hi Mary

      I’m a French woman and I’ll be glad helping you improve your french if you want to.

      I highly recommend you listing to French tv shows or radio podcast.


  18. I’ve been putting off learning guitar, Russian, and speedreading for some time now. It mostly seems to be a lack of focus (I have ADHD), but I’m not ruling out some other reason for me lollygagging.

  19. The skill I have put off the longest is both memory improvements (poor memory) and becoming supremely organized (not so organized!) They really go hand in hand.

    So, if I could learn one skill in the next six months it would be crystal clear short-medium term memory coupled with supreme organization skills & life. To get shit done! Memory is required for the input. So a thought might occur to me for something I’d like to get done at some point in the future, say within the next month. I have no method system or way of first re-remembering it and then getting it done.

    Also how to structure the day is a part of being supremely organized.

    1. You have hit the nail on the head for me – short term memory and organization is my first ones too. I would become your accountability partner if you need one. I have a lot of knowledge here but could use support implementing it.

      1. Hi guys

        Have you ever heard about Tony Buzan and his concept of mind mapping?

        If not I suggest you to see this video :

        Or this one, which is a ted talk about memory :


        And read this book :


        This is an introduction regarding mind mapping. But if you want to go deeper, you can check this website :


        And to finish, I’ve heard about this book (for organisation) but haven’t read it yet :


        Voila,hope this helps.

  20. Hey Tim, that was really deep man (nice closure on simplicity too!)

    I didn’t know about that Stickk site but I can definitely see myself getting results with it.

    About the guitar post, I still remember the video you embedded there (it was pretty epic) but I can’t remember if you actually learnt how to play the guitar or not, did you?


    PS. The most popular anti-charity was pretty funny, I would totally hate myself if my money was going there in case of not succeeding so it has to work!

  21. I want to learn about producing a documentary. I’m in finance but am so tired of seeing crappy documentaries made about natural healing (ie Simply Raw) that takes a great concept and screws up the movie. I need help getting started. Any takers?

  22. The skill of MED teaching. I have a class on Udemy, “Coding for Entrepreneurs || A Programming Class for the Non-Techncial Founder” that’s primary objective is to overcome the fear and doubt when learning programming that many non-technicals have. I was once one of these people and after 1,800 sign ups (with some discounted sign ups) I’ve found that this skill, for this audience, is highly prized.

    The challenge I face currently is distilling this information into smaller bits that provide effective results. I love the idea of getting them to do 5-sessions. That’s something I need to implement right away.

    Look forward to your thoughts.


  23. One skill that I have been putting off for the longest is learning the skill of persuasion and voice mastery.

    Why have I been putting it off? I just don’t know what will work or what principles to follow to be taken seriously and convey power or authority in my voice.

    I’m only just turning 21 and due to my allergies I’m nasally and often sound like my balls haven’t dropped, but yet I still want to pursue being a real estate investor. A “Rainmaker” if you will in the industry. Which means being personable, like-able and incredibly persuasive is a must for me.

    This doesn’t just affect my business life, With family and friends I’m always the quiet one because when I go to speak about something, I just like always seem to cause awkward silences and then fade into the background.

    I also can never seem to find the right words and end up speaking nonsense when under pressure and kick myself afterwards tortured by “I shouldve said …!” kinda thoughts.

    If anyone has any tips,tricks, or resources that can impact my life long quest for voice mastery and persuasion, I would humbly appreciate it and would be ever so grateful.

    1. I like to find tv shows in whatever language you are learning. Pick a genre you like. wikipedia is good for finding out stations and what they are broadcasting. if you like what you are watching you will stick with it.

  24. The skill would be playing the guitar (blues genre) I dont think learning how to play 3-4 chords cuts it, as the depth of what you need to learn to play well greatly exceeds that.

      1. Hi Michael,

        Blues is a very simple musical form. Conversely, it is also true that “Blues is like Life, you can put it all in”! So you may find yourself faced with things very advanced! I suggest you to begin with this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_519cKMj6J0

        Believe me, learn the first two solos and you will have already many awesome, simply and elegant licks to use in your blues improvisations!

        Proceed to learn the material in this way:

        1 – Learn the fingering of the scales gradually, learning not only with fingers but also with listening. It’s crucial.

        2 – Learn the fingering of the solo (fingers and listening, remember!)

        3 – Learn the tone (HOW the single note is touch): with glissanto, vibrato, hammer-ons or pull-offs, down stroke, up stroke, rake, and so on

        NOTE: If you are a beginner, learn only the fist scale and its solo is the best way to get a lot of satisfaction!

        In the Blues it is important to learn as many licks as possible and understand the sound of each lick on each individual chord of the blues progression (I – IV – V).

        The blues is the foundation of a lot (almost all) of western music and is the best starting point for all to become a good musician! This is an example of how language can evolve in Blues: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkaqfgSqtHg

        If you are trouble, email me 😉

        P.S. Hi Tim!

  25. I’d like to learn how to do quick math calculations by mind and how to build my vocabulary. Also, any way you could teach us how to build upper body strength to lift weight? I need to lift 50 lbs for work above my shoulders and can only lift 20 at the moment.

    1. Pavel’s Greasing the Grove technique may help here (not entirely sure if it’s “his” technique, but he’s the one I first heard about it from).

      Essentially, take a weight you can lift above your head 10 times, and lift it 5 times at regular intervals throughout the day.

      I could write for ages on this topic, but so I don’t fill up the blog comments (or hit the character limit), it’s probably easier if you Google “greasing the groove”. This post is pretty good http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=120750501&page=1

  26. I have been putting off learning web design. I know it will make me much more marketable as a freelance marketer, but I can’t seem to find the time to wrap my head around it all

    1. Web design is a VERY useful resource and tons of places to learn.

      Codecademy is free and pretty easy

      TeamTreehouse is not free but pretty awesome content overall

      CodeSchool is not free but awesome content (more programming than straight web design)

      I also have a simple introduction to “Your First HTML website in less than 10 minutes” on YouTube. if you follow that video along, it will get you making a website faster than you could have ever thought.

      Hope that helps.


  27. Awesome! Geez that was a dead crowd there! You could hear a mouse! This is the main reason I bought the 4 hour chef.

    On a really un-related side note! Have you ever seen the show river monsters? The guy in that show reminds me of you so much, I bet you guys would be friends.

  28. I have been putting of learning to program, Ruby or Python. It is a new field to me and seem time consuming. It is hard to know where to start or how to set up a schedule/plan.

    1. Hi Jen,

      I was in the exact same situation as you a few years ago. I tried rails, php, javascript, you name it. I found python, and it was like a matchmade in newbie heaven.

      Not to sound too redundant to another comment I made. I believe Python is the best for beginners because it resembles english the most (if that’s even possible)

      A few free resources to check out:

      – Codecademy (search for python)

      – Udacity (their programming classes use python)

      – google’s python class (above 2 are easier to follow because they were made for web)

      – “Coding for Entrepreneurs” on udemy (shameless self promotion)– get it for free using ‘4HWW’ (by this friday) so it’s clear my intentions are to get you learning.

  29. At age 73 a skill I really need to learn is how to organize a house and make it easier to keep clean.

    I hate housework therefore I’ll be learning something I don’t really like to do. So if simplified… would mean less time spent doing this disagreeable chore.. ….maybe?

    Not what you wanted, but what I need.

    1. Me too! Options?

      Moving to a place where domestic service is cheaper?

      Rent a room in a hotel or old age residency?

      Ask someone to teach house tasks?

      Do them in a mindful state?

    2. I hate housework, too. I lean on Flylady.net–a woman (who for free) provides an online reminder system with daily housekeeping tasks that can be done in 15 minutes or less. If you follow it faithfully, you’ll eventually end up with minimal time spent cleaning. Of course, it helps if you eliminate all unnecessary objects from your home. The less you have, the less you have to keep clean.

    3. Hi Cararta,

      Fly lady is a great resource for maintaining and cleaning your home. She advocates developing daily habits. It’s a great resource for developing any habit, really. I hope it’s helpful, let me know!



      1. Hi Tim,

        Went to Fly lady and looked around,

        copied the commandments….What is funny…I cleaned the sink

        yesterday so I’m ahead!

        Cute site, not bossy, think I’ll go back and sign up, just might work…do a little

        each day….

        Thanks for taking time to share.


    1. Hi Visakam,

      TM; time management – let me now better Your task – Your real goal – why and for what it’s so important for You? How You plan and check Your timeline now? For sure You do that 🙂

      I work as a consultant for many companys. very often “the problem” is how we perceive our own performance.

      For me was very helpful Tim Ferriss’s idea:

      1. Don’t try to be more motiveted and focused than its nessery,

      2. Answer: what i want to do is more easy than what i want to achive,

      3. The “goog questions” determint good TM,

      If You get any question, write and send mail 🙂

      Good luck


  30. In the next 6 months I like to learn how to master writing. Writing has never been my forte while I was in school and like Tim I avoided it like the plague. I study and emulate people like Tim, but I know that Tim’s writing style might not suit what I take interest in writing.

    What helped you learn how to write well?

    1. I still have a lot to learn, but…


      – On Writing Well

      – Bird by Bird

      – On Writing (Stephen King)

      1. Michael and Tim,

        I would also recommend “Understanding Comics” by Scott McCloud. It’s not about writing-writing, but it’s a great source of wisdom about optimalization the story and making the plots so addictive that the reader forgets about the physical medium she holds. Worth trying, it helped me a lot.

      2. I’d love to improve my creative writing. I’ve heard of the Stephen King book before but reading a book about writing somehow doesn’t cut it for me. What I need is to look for a group of other writers (scary stuff!) The comic book sounds interesting though…

      3. Great I’ll check those out thanks Tim!

        Not sure if you already this but Chineasy (www.chineasy.org) is a fantastic tool for visual learners hoping to learn the Mandarin Chinese. Check it out!

    2. I’ve only been blogging for about 3-4 months, but I’ve learned that writing consistently is absolutely crucial in developing as a writer. If at all possible I’d recommend writing everyday as well as writing as fast as possible.

      Writing and editing use different parts of the brain, and as you’ve probably heard our brains aren’t effective multi-taskers. By separating writing and editing into two different processes you should be able to maintain a better flow through out your writing.

    3. Michael-

      I’d second Tim’s recommendations, especially On Writing Well, and add another, A Dictionary of Modern American Usage. Its sound intimidating, but it’s quite readable and make a fantastic reference and idea source.

      But my number one recommendation is just start writing. Write every day and make sure people read what you write and give you feedback. Start a blog, get your friends to read it, write just to write. Eventually you’ll realize there’s no such thing as writing, only re-writing.

      I’ve been writing professionally for over a decade now and nothing has made me a better writing so much as just doing it, making mistakes, failing to get my point across and then trying again. Try not to take the failures personally, just rewrite and republish.

  31. Hi Tim, Great presentation! Could you point me to a method for learning Chinese? I have struggled with this for years unsuccessfully!



  32. 1) What skill have you put off learning for longest… and why?

    I want to become a certified KB instructor. Why? Because I don’t feel prepared or strong enough.

    2) If you could learn one skill in the next six months, what would it be?

    I want to learn how to code and become a Jr. Developer.

  33. Total Immersion changed my life. I just completed the Golden Gate Bridge to Bay Bridge swim (6.2 miles) last weekend after only starting open water swimming 3 years ago…after learning TI.

    1. TI also helped me a lot! Ive been swimming for the last three months and it has bee. Incredible! Thnks for Tims blog post!

    1. The best way to learn this craft is by finding a mentor. You will shave years off of your learning curve by doing this. Find the person you most respect in your local area (or be willing to move to where they are) and learn how you can solve a problem for them. Be insanely useful and helpful (say web skills or toilet scrubbing) and in exchange ask that they teach you the ways of the force.

      Of course it all depends on what kind of music you are wanting to work on but the best resource I know of for this is gearslutz.com. Also try tapeop.com. Or you can always fly to France: mixwiththemasters.com. Good luck!

  34. Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Started about a month ago and training is great, but consists of maybe 45 minutes of whatever technique the instructor feels like followed by 45 minutes sparring. I think it could be more strategic, like learning ‘openings’ and ‘closings’ before putting it together but maybe that’s just me. Not sure if you’ve talked before about deconstucting martial arts?

  35. Gardening! I am studying Horticulture at the moment but a lot of the theory side seems to get lost on me. I’m hoping to bring back the Hemp in NZ sometime soon. I haven’t really figured out how to apply the framework to something so broad as growing food and whatnot. Chur Tim-dawg.

  36. Learning Portuguese – properly. I bought the 501 Verbs book when I came back from Brazil 10 years ago and opened it once. It seems to dmeanding, in terms of sustained mental work.

  37. Hey everyone,

    Quick question. I have pretty bad forward neck posture (which is one issue), and also really bad man-boobs. I know that is not the technical term, but honestly I have no idea what that would be. Does anyone have any tips on how to fix a forward neck posture and / or also fix the flabby chest area? Chest excercises? And if so precisely which ones can I do to relieve myself of the excess fat on those muscle groups.

    I’m only 25 and have been extremely healthy my entire life (soccer 12+ years), but recently have had 3 years of jobs in consulting as a senior programmer and all the desk work is taking its tole. I’d like to reverse it now to be happy with my body again.

    Again, thanks for any advice guys, you are all an inspiration.

    – Dain

    1. I’m not a doctor, but I did deal with this issue last year when a seriously pinched nerve had me sidelined for 2 months.

      My physical therapist gave me her own version of the 80/20 rule. Look at what you do with most of your time and learn or make adaptions to help your neck. For me these places were bed and my desk/studying. Get yourself a great pillow for sleeping. (I’ve tried several and my personal favorite is called the chiroflow pillow. You can find them online. The top is soft and the bottom is a water bladder so you can adjust the firmness!)

      Second, evaluate how you sit at your desk. Make sure your monitor is level so you are looking straight on. If you use a laptop, get an adjustable stand. (I found one for about $20 at walmart). Also, don’t forget to hold your phone up instead of tilting your head down when you play with your phone or ipad.

      Those 2 things were the biggest help. I also used chiropratic adjustments and my PT taught me some neck strengthening exercises and stretches. I wish I had a good source to demo the exercises, but they’re tough to describe.

    2. Find a great massage therapist, get loosened up. (Not a good massage therapist, a great one who can help with body mechanics and not just rub lotion on you) Spend 30 seconds every half hour looking at the ceiling, let those little muscles in the back of your neck rest. Do push ups! Regular ones and in open doorways, open up your chest and look up, give that neck some love. Slow and easy, never forced. Time and a great licensed massage therapist will do wonders.

      1. I just wanted to say that your ‘just look up at the ceiling’ tip has been the most helpful thing I think I’ve ever done with regards to my posture. It’s amazing. I can do it anytime of day, while Im working and it resets my posture. Seriously that tip is a goldmine, thank you so much.

    3. Check out the Neanderthal No More series of articles on the T-Nation website by Eric Cressy and Mike Robertson.

      I would post a link but the site is blocked at work.

      Note: The site is heavily into weightlifting, bodybuilding and isn’t ashamed of that fact, if you get offended by pictures of hugely muscular, half naked men, then it’d be best to do a Google site specific search instead of trawling through the site itself. However you get to them, read through them a few times and if you’ve got any questions, try pinging either of the authors an email.

    4. I don’t want to sound like a shameless 4HB promoter, but the “Perfect Posterier” chapter in the Four Hour Body has helped me with my posture. It’s a simple, cheap exercise that gets to part of the root cause of posture problems, which is a lack of back strength.

    5. Man boobs (the fancy term is gynecomastia) can often be due to an increase in estrogen in males. A hormone panel (along with other tests) would need to be taken.

      For your forward neck posture…see a professional and you may need to get some xrays. I’m a chiropractor and see reverse cervical curves all the time…most of the time it can be easily corrected.

      I can’t adjust you over the phone but I can help with the gynecomastia if you need!

      1. What would you recommend to decrease estrogen? I’m not really eating much soy or anything of the like nature.

      2. Your liver should get rid of the extra estrogen that your body doesn’t need; so the real question is: why is there a build up of estrogen (if that’s the case)? An assessment of your hormones and blood chemistry can help answer that question. You can email me at surena.chopra@gmail.com and I can help guide you in the right direction.

        -Dr. Chopra

    6. I used to have a problem with my upper back and neck posture. My chiropractor called it upper cross syndrome. Google it and you’ll find a bunch of stretches and exercises. The one that worked best for me was to just stand with my back flat against a wall and press my head into the wall for 30 seconds. Press firmly, but not so hard that it hurts your head. Doing this every time I ride the elevator at work (6-8 times per day) had me pain free in 2 weeks.

  38. I want to use the 4hww all the way through with an idea I have but hit a wall this morning while we had our morning coffee and 4hww read. I was thinking that it wouldn’t work and the dreamline momentum stalled.

    I want my muse to work but feel stuck with the details in the middle of the book.

    My skill would be to follow through with my muse.

    1. I think I put this off because it’s never felt like it was the most important *or* urgent thing to learn.

      1. Sing the 20% of the songs that give you 80% of the enjoyment. The reason I don’t sound terrible when I sing is because I basically sing everyday in the car on the way to school or work, all to songs on the radio. 15-30 minutes to a destination, and suddenly you have 30 – 60 minutes of practice. Don’t feel bad if your throat feels hoarse or you don’t sound good. Just try to “vocal mimicry” the singer’s voice as much as possible. After a while, you’ll have a singing style that best matches your own style, and you’ll want to sing that way.

        Also, there is a quote of some famous music teacher or something that said basically “singers would progress so much faster if they recorded and listened to their own voice”. I suggest getting a cheap recorder, or if you have a smartphone it’s easy as cake. You’ll get your own “Singing Intonation and Style 101” course for very little practice each day, or every other day. I’ve used this technique several times, and it’s like nailing an overweight picture of yourself to the fridge when you’re trying to get your 4-hour body. 🙂

    2. I don’t have an answer for you Piers because-i too am looking for the 80/20. Since this is an older post-I was hoping you might have found an answer. Please let me know if you have discovered anything. Thank you.

  39. Learning how to read fast! I’ve been putting it off for too long and it has become that thing which I keep coming back to wondering why I have such a hard time following through.

    To me it is the most basic skill that I need to be able to learn faster in general.

    Any thoughts?

  40. So I see a lot of people mention instruments such as guitar. Personally I have been playing guitar for more than 15 years, I’m no Joe Satriani but I am proficient. What I gave never been able to do is read music. Does anyone have any DiSSS strategies for actually learning to read music? I can read it at the same level as a child learns to read English. I can point at a note and figure it out in about 10-15 seconds but I want to sight read…. Please help me find the right path to start.

  41. I would have to say robotics, mechanics, computing. I want to know how to design and prototype machines that solve problems.

  42. I’d like to pass the exam for my private pilots license. I just keep putting it off though. I’d also like to learn Spanish.

  43. Fantastic talk! I expected the TED wrap-up music at the end.

    Odysseus was the favorite of Athena (Goddess of Wisdom, etc) for that ability to deconstruct and recombine for his purpose. So, Homer’s 800 B.C. second book of western civilization was anointing that way of seeing.

    Surprisingly, ‘The Little Prince’ is the 3rd best-selling book in history. St-Exupery also said, “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

    Things change fastest from the core & to me the world most needs more heart, and less things, simplicity.

  44. I’ve been putting off learning Polish for more than six years now, I live in Poland since three. I can communicate on a very basic level, but that’s it. Polish grammar is insane, and once I’ve learned something I hear people use it in a different way or putting a different ending to it and that’s really confusing. Plus, I have enormous difficulties with the pronunciation. I’m a language perfectionist, sort of, and I’m put off by the fact that I make mistakes as soon as I open my mouth, and knowing more doesn’t seem to increase my conversation skills a lot.

    The second skill I’ve put off for long is speed reading, I’ll try the method you describe in your blog post.

    If I could learn a new skill in six months it would be how to master (tibetan) Buddhist meditation 🙂

    1. Emotional intelligence by Daniel Goleman is excellent. As far as actionable drills that have helped me personally I would say check-out The Sedona Method by Hale Dwoskin. Can be a bit self-helpy at times but the lack of dogma and the fact that it is action-oriented are positive signs.

  45. I have long put off learning the basics of coding and web design and plan to finally tackle it this summer. It seems kind of intimidating as I really have no idea where to start. Is there a specific book that is recommended for a total beginner?

    1. I find that computer programming and learning web design is best learned just by trying it. I learned web design and a little bit of programming by reading online tutorials, going to local meetups, and occasionally watching online videos about something particular I can’t figure out myself. I hope that helped!

    2. FOR CODING: I recommend you start with pure HTML and CSS, as the two are the most basic building blocks of web structure, and more importantly, they have a finite amount of stuff to learn. Think of them like a set of colored pencils. You have say 24 colors and thats it, how you use them is up to you. This will give you a decent playground for learning while not overwhelming you with too many options.

      Get a “for dummies” book, go through it. Then go to something like Themeforest.com, “borrow” some of their photoshop templates, and just try to recreate them.

      Once this process becomes smoother, I would suggest adding the following languages to your study in more or less this order: jQuery, Javascript, PHP.

      Take small steps, and always try to center your learning through a project. It’s a lot more interesting to figure stuff out when you are invested in an outcome vs blindly following a random tutorial.

      Finally, http://net.tutsplus.com/ is a good place to check out cool mini-projects. I’d suggest going to the beginning of the archive as the more recent stuff they have is more advanced and uses a wider variety of frameworks

    3. I agree with everyone above, and will emphasize a point they both make: learn your programming towards a project. David Heinemeier Hansson, creator of Ruby on Rails and partner at 37signals (web-based software development company), says that he never learns a programming language without a problem he wants to solve. If you have an issue to fix, or a personal problem you want to deal with, you’re going to move heaven and earth to find coding solutions to your project.

      1. Wow thank you so much for your answers. I saved them to Evernote and will follow your advice once I get around to getting started.

  46. In the last few years I try serveral times to master negotiation, but with limited results.

    Any suggestions on how to apply DiSSS in aquire this skill will be much appreciated.

      1. Tim talks about this in a podcast he did.

        Can’t find the link at the moment but he talks about the importance of playing out all the possible decision trees in your head beforehand so you know what action you will take in what situation.


        That’s the link, unfortunately I can’t remember the specific one where he talks about negotiating and recommended reading.

  47. To learn a specific skill, would you recommend doing one at a time or is would learning two or more skills at the same time be counter-productive?

    e.g learn how to photoread, learn a language, learn a musical instrument, learn how to ride a motor-bike all in 3 months?

    – I know you could learn them but for best results I’m asking; is one at a time better?

  48. The skill to stay in the now, enjoy now. And in the same time staying prepared for the longer terms so I keep the future I love…

  49. The answer to both questions for me, right now is Brazilian Jiujitsu. Anybody have some useful recourses for 80/20 jiujitsu?

      1. Hey, thanks for the link and the advice, much appreciated. I’m interested more in no-gi probably, but would ideally like to learn both styles.

      2. Where are you getting that stat from? I’d be surprised if it’s true. Alex, check out Stephan Kesting’s stuff which is (mostly) free, and Ryan Hall’s DVDs if you’ve got some spare cash. Ryan in particular breaks BJJ down to principles rather than moves, and explains things fantastically well.

  50. Hey Tim, is there anyway you could post this on the chinese youku or tudou? I’m afraid I can’t open it since its on youtube.

  51. I’d like to learn how to make an electronic music record with Ableton software and learn to master the Dj art. I’m to impatient to find the right sound I like.

    I’d like to learn the Dj skill in the next six months.

  52. Thanks for sharing Tim. A great summary for the book!

    Any tips for leaning how to cycle as a 30 years old? (Yes, I mean a bicycle!)

    It’s quite embarrassing to learn outdoors (I am an expat living in the Netherlands, the land of cycling) and parking garages are not so motivating..

    1. Find a small hill and coast down first to learn to balance on the bike. Once you have your balance, start pedaling. No training wheels or spotter needed.

  53. I would like to learn to write. I have an idea in my head, but every time I try to put it on paper it sucks.

  54. For the past 5 years I’ve wanted to learn Japanese. Not only speaking/listening, but also reading/writing, including using kanji/hiragana/katakana like a native speaker. I find that I start to make some progress, then I plateau, and start making typical busy-being-busy excuses.

    Tim, in the video you say that you need only 1200 to 2000 words to be functionally fluent. What’s the best list you’ve found of most frequently spoken Japanese words?

    I can find lists of most commonly written kanji, but what I’m looking for is slightly different. Ideally, I’m trying to find a list of most commonly spoken words. This would include not only single kanji like ? (hon = book) but also compound kanji like ?? (ryouri = cooking) and words written in kana like ?? (yaru = do) and ??? (terebi = television)

    Anyone know where I can find a list of most frequently spoken Japanese words (written in kanji/hiragana/katakana as appropriate)?

    Many thanks,


    1. It appears that the Asian characters in my first post didn’t appear correctly, but you get the idea.

    2. Japanese is what I seem to be struggling with for years now too.

      It’s structured easily. I did the grammar break down exercise mentioned in the video and previous posts. I use memrise to help with Kanji. I study daily. I live in Japan and even got myself a Japanese wife. Yet I still seem to be progressing depressingly slowly which I think is the real killer.

      My brain just doesn’t seem to be wired into retaining it long term. I feel like I’m walking around in the dark trying to find a switch to turn the light on.

    3. This will sound silly, but if you watch kids shows, not necessarily anime or the like, they use the most commonly used vocabulary. I’m studying chinese and do this, I found that writing down words I wasn’t sure of while watching, then reviewing I’ve gotten stronger on key words and grammer. The best is that typically those shows are only about 20 minutes long, so you could do one or two a week and probably increase your level at a good pace.

  55. I have wanted to learn to rollerblade since I was 8 years old. (I’m 32 now). I’ve put it off because I feel so uncoordinated when I tried it in the past.

    In the next 6 months I need to learn speed memorization. I’m starting chiropractic school soon and it would help alot to be able to quickly memorize anatamy.

  56. I would love to be able to achieve a full lotus stretch (knees to the floor) and to be able to lean forward and touch my head to the ground from it. I want Eddie Bravo level flexibility.

  57. I want to hack time management. I’ve read most of the popular programs and I have the apps, but they don’t stick. What helps you?

    1. Me too, time management but energy management…. how to manage energy levels during the day, how to navigate them….

      1. Hi Victoria,

        You might have already read this book, but if not, I definitely recommend it. It sounds like the exact goal you’re describing: “The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal” by Jim Loehr.

  58. You have changed my life. I thank you.

    You’ve probably read enough comments to know that’s often a preface to “here’s how f/u you are”. Not where I’m going with this but as I watched the video I felt compelled to comment and tell you what I’m seeing.

    Tim, you have to hack presentation skills and master the art of public presentations.

    I’ve read your books, you have the only blog I regularly visit, and I’m building a business that could be huge while using many of your principles. I know you well and I know what you’ve accomplished. So when I find myself drifting off halfway through your video I am able to forgive you and move on to something else. I really, really wanted to know what was coming next but in the tension of how best to spend the next ten minutes I knew that continuing to the end of the video was not the right choice.

    Why does it matter? Elon Musk is terrified of public speaking. That hasn’t stopped him, right?

    Here’s why it matters. Elon Musk builds rockets and cars among other things. You, on the other hand, teach how to learn and master a skill. When you stand up in public and bore us to death you display your inability to do the very thing that you teach. If you are going choose to present publicly about mastery then you MUST model it, right? If you don’t it causes, in a reasonable person, doubt that your systems work at all.

    For someone like me who knows how well they work I can let go of the whole problem, step away and move on to the next interesting thing that you have to tell me. For those who don’t know you that well I imagine they just leave.

    Learn to present as well as you cook or learn languages, my friend.

    Thank you for everything.

    1. He can’t be awesome at everything. The 80/20 rule doesn’t allow him to be. So how bout a break for the person giving us new hope.

  59. Sell my self-designed electronics ‘gadgets’ online.

    I design little electronics products (www.cloudsensor.us) and would love to sell those (more) successfully.

      1. Hi Tyler,

        I use something called Arduino. This is an open source hard- and software platform that allows one to start really simple with a blinking LED and move up to sensors, networking, displays and more.

        Just surf to arduino.cc and started reading, buy a book or read my short tutorial on how to get started at hwstartup.wordpress.com.


  60. DJ-ing and Piano.

    The two sort of go hand in hand for me. Being able to mix, and doing so in a club or on a big stage, that would be life dream come true. Piano is more for just me, though it would be awesome to produce music. Im a big fan of the electronic music scene and I always thought it would be great to pick up a melody from a song I like and just freestyle with it, just to do it.

  61. I would love to learn to play the piano. I played a bit when I was between the ages of 12 and 13. I am 41.

    So far I have two concerns:

    1) haven’t been able to find a suitable instructor in NYC

    2) time to practice – married 2 kids

    1. I suffer from neither problem — my issue is the bland songs that most tutorials take you through to “learn the basics”. I simply can’t get into it by having to play “chop sticks” over and over.

  62. 1. I desperately want to have a successful business. I have tried many times (since 1995 – I’m 41) and for reasonably long period of time. I guess the main problem could be; a. not having a mentor and b. I have not stuck to it for long enough. (Why is it so difficult to find a mentor? People I meet around the world are just not inspiring)

    2. I want to be able to contact easily App-Developers to be able to start a App business.

  63. Attraction!

    I’m a full on tech nerd that want’s the skills to pull model-beauty women.

    Please don’t forward me to the PUA scene — that’s like forwarding someone who wants to lose fat to a common bodybuilding forum (too much conflicting info, opinions etc) instead of something like the 4 hour body.

    What’s the equivalent for attraction?

    1. Technically it is PUA stuff, but I HIGHLY recommend the book “Rules of the game” by Neil Strauss. It’s a 30 day step by step book covering things like speaking more slowly, dressing better and how to begin conversations without coming off as a creep as well as a lot more. You can find it for ~$10 on amazon.

  64. If I want to compete in amateur MMA, should I learn Thai Boxing first, then BJJ or take an MMA class and learn it all at once?

    1. Do them separately. Good MMA classes are harder to find than good BJJ and Muay Thai, and anyway, trying to learn grappling while someone hits you will push you right out of the Learning Zone and into the Panic Zone (where you don’t learn anything).

  65. You asked. Skills I wish I had learned in the order I would try to learn them today, which is different than the order of importance of the impact they would have had on my life

    1 Speed reading (I will try the referenced link for training after these comments)

    2 Remembering names with ease

    3 Touch typing (I am 61 and when I was in school in Europe no typing was taught. Despite all writing I do and a past life as a programmer, I never got it done – go figure. Probably because it is a long and tedious process?)

    4 Play an instrument like piano, sax, accordion (I learned to play the harmonica, but too limited in use)

    5 Speak Chinese (I speak English, Italian French Spanish but they are all similar. Chinese or Japanese would be really different and the future will speak English and Chinese.)

    Great post. Thank you.

  66. For myself – house renovations/landscape architecture (like on those shows from DIYNetwork/HGTV).

    My wife – tennis

  67. Tim,

    I was at a presentation with the head of marketing for a Fortune 500 company recently and she mentioned that she was interested in stepping up their game on social media, etc. She also happens to be head of the local Princeton Club. I mentioned you and your unique skill set and thought you should explore this idea. Anyway, please let me know if you want to learn more and or how she can contact you to discuss. Much appreciated, George

  68. How to make and write a song (lyircs and instrumental) that would make the billboard 100.

    Can you reverse engineer something like music…and then. Make really good music as a result….can lyrics be reverse engineered?

    Next six months?

    Sales and marketing (direct response)


  69. I’ve wanted to play drums for a long time and even have a kit. I can play a few songs, but I need way better stick control before I go further. I have tried to find a way to optimize practicing for that before I begin as the majority of my free time is being spent undertaking learning to program for a career change, which takes precedence. So most of the time I just prefer to have fun and play along to songs, even though I know I need to put in real practice to advance.

  70. Need advice from Tim or someone on Book-writing.

    I am writing a book on Dating. I am consulting a lot of books, audios and videos for the 16 chapters. I am a slow writer. Focus is a major concern.

    What are some of the tips to finish it in a week?

    I have written 350 pages, I have 100 more to write.



  71. I plan to go to medical school soon. I’d very much like to deconstruct the curriculum and coursework. Any ideas when it comes to curriculum or “book learning”?

    1. You will one day be responsible for human lives and you want to “hack” medical school? God help us all. Please try studying.

      1. Haha! I’m not looking for an easy way through med school. I’m looking for ways to improve my personal ability to retain knowledge instead of the typical way of cramming before exams and forgetting (i.e. shooting vasopressin in each nostril and studying for an hour immediately before the exam).

      2. The PASS program in Champaign, IL offers a course to take before starting med school. It helps organize your thoughts before you get too overwhelmed your first day of classes. I did the board review program and thought Dr. Francis was incredible…really helps puts things into context rather than memorizing a million facts and forgetting about it after the test.

        Learning how to speed read is also very helpful. Good luck!

      3. Hi Michael,

        I would recommend memorization techniques. I read a fantastic book, Moonwalking With Einstein, which outlines mnemonic devices to master memory (he learned this method and competed in the US memory championships with no previous experience). He learned to memorize a deck of cards in minutes.



  72. Uhm.. have tried to post before didn’t work hopefully this time it does:

    A skill I’ve put off doing is memory improvements in the short and medium term time frames, and hand in hand with that I’ve put off becoming supremely organized

    In order to use whatever system that might be develope I first need inputs, and not re-remembering something that occured to me that I’d like to get done, within say the next month, means any perfect organization system would fail me, without first having good short and medium term memory and then having a great organizational ability / emergent system for getting things done.

  73. Computer programming. It seems so incredibly useful nowadays, but I have two concerns:

    1. It seems like some absolutely love sitting at a computer for 12-hour timespans doing nothing but coding. As much as too love Mountain Dew, I don’t feel I could compete with that level of enthusiasm. A few hours, sure, but can’t do the marathons.

    2. Not sure how much of a disadvantage I’d be having majored in finance & economics instead of computer science/systems engineering. Is it one of those skills that you can develop through reading a book and practicing, or does college truly provide heightened training?

    1. 1. I wouldn’t let what others do stand in the way of what YOU want to do. (I rarely do long sprints and people like DHH mentioned above don’t advise it either)

      2. I went to school for mechanical engineering and am self taught in programming. It’s hard to find ME gigs, not as hard to find web dev gigs. When I tell people who went to school for programming that I’m not formally educated it doesn’t phase them because their rebuttal is ‘the language I learned in school doesn’t exist or isn’t popular so we’re on the same page’.

      My advice to beginners which relates to what Tim said is 2 fold. Become an expert at debugging and write code line by line as opposed to writing big chunks of logic. You’ll get less frustrated and the problems will be easier to solve.

  74. I would like to learn how to draw well. I’ve wanted to since I got into comics again as an adult. I’ve ZERO talent for it as well and nobody I can think of in my family can draw either but I’d love to learn. I’ve genuinely no idea how to get started.

    It’s also something you never hear about (that I know of anyway) someone not being able to draw and then becoming an amazing artist

    1. Step 1: Listen to Persian audio while you read a corresponding Persian text. There are a lot of good Persian audiobooks; you could use a language course like Assimil if you preferred (ignore the French base, as you already understand spoken Persian).

      Step 2: Write. Lang-8 is probably a good place.

  75. thanks for the speed reading reminder …… must follow link as i want to go back to read your 4hww book again (so much info in there that i can guarantee it will be useful exercise for me)

  76. Parkour! I have always loved it but I never get around to do it mainly because I have little time but also because I don’t know that many people practice it in my hometown, so I really don’t know how to approach this learning.

    In the next six months I would love to learn 3D Modeling. I have actually purchased a few books and courses but I haven’t had the time to do it yet

  77. I go to a LARP (Live Action Roleplaying Game) where we simulate the zombie apocalypse and hit each other with styrofoam weapons. It’s really fun and intense.

    I want to train myself to be better at combat, but I’m not sure what combat techniques to study because, unlike in most fighting styles, I’m not actually trying to hurt my opponent, just get past their defenses and give them a solid whack with my sword.

    I’d also love tips on how to train for combat backwards. Be on the defensive to train attacking? Do no stakes blocking drills?

  78. 1. I’ve been putting off learning portuguese for the past year. I’m going to the world cup next year and would like to get that nailed down before I go. Im fluent in Spanish and portuguese isn’t too different so would love to find something to go from one to the other. Any tips?

    2. I have set a goal to get barreled in surfing within the next 6 months. Not sure how I will accomplish that seeing as I live 10 hours from the ocean. I am a decent surfer just haven’t had the chance to get a barrel yet.

  79. Hi Tim,

    I’ve been putting off achieving my new goals. I used your Framework:

    Decronstruction: easy



    Stakes: easy

    I think Selection is the most hard one, because you have to test things out. Most people don’t test things out or they don’t know how to test (including me), because many people aren’t that adventures and don’t like to take risks.

    I am a little bit stuck here! Does anybody have any suggestions, how to test effectively off achieving their goals.

  80. Well, I would like to learn how to build that 4HRWW business that doesn’t need me to operate, costs nada to start, and gets me making that 75k a year. So far, no ideas seem to be good enough……… its that creativity thing that this numbers guy seems to struggle with. Ah well….

    1. Do you know Microsoft Excel well? That is a highly demanded skill and if you can teach it in a new/different way. You might be surprised about earning $75k/year.

      What do you want to LEARN? As Tim mentions in the 4HWW, learn the skill and teach others who are like you right now.

      Hope that helps

      1. I know Excel pretty well (don’t do VBA coding…yet). How do you see presenting this skillset? Video tutorials, ebook with “excel hacks”, etc? I’m an Informatics Nurse and have been deemed The Excel Guy in the hospital, which has its pros and cons. I’ve learned a few tricks/shortcuts on data mining that i won’t mind capitalizing on.