12 Rules for Learning Foreign Languages in Record Time — The Only Post You’ll Ever Need


Preface by Tim Ferriss I’ve written about how I learned to speak, read, and write Japanese, Mandarin, and Spanish. I’ve also covered my experiments with German, Indonesian, Arabic, Norwegian, Turkish, and perhaps a dozen others. There are only few language learners who dazzle me, and Benny Lewis is one of them. This definitive guest post […]

How to Learn Any Language in 3 Months


The Okano Isao judo textbook I used to learn Japanese grammar. Post reading time: 15 minutes. Language learning need not be complicated. Principles of cognitive neuroscience and time management can be applied to attain conversational fluency (here defined as 95%+ comprehension and 100% expressive abilities) in 1-3 months. Some background on my language obsession, from […]

How to Learn (But Not Master) Any Language in 1 Hour (Plus: A Favor)


Deconstructing Arabic in 45 Minutes Conversational Russian in 60 minutes? This post is by request. How long does it take to learn Chinese or Japanese vs. Spanish or Irish Gaelic? I would argue less than an hour. Here’s the reasoning… Before you invest (or waste) hundreds and thousands of hours on a language, you should […]

How to Learn Any Language in Record Time and Never Forget It


Preface from Tim Back in 2012, Gabriel Wyner wrote an article for Lifehacker detailing how he learned French in 5 months and Russian in 10, using mostly spare time on the subway.  That article went viral. But don’t run off! That was nothing but version 1.0.  This post gives you version 2.0 and more. He’s […]

How to Resurrect Your High School Spanish… or Any Language (Plus: Be on the CBS Early Show!)


Oktoberfest is good for reactivating German but bad for livers. ((c) Dave77459) How can you possibly maintain fluency in two foreign languages — let alone five or six — if the opportunities to use them are months or years apart? In 20 minutes, I leave from JFK for Iceland, then Scotland, and then a circle […]

How to Become the Ideal Apprentice: Part III

Deep within the Amazonian rainforest live the Pirahã, who speak a language so isolated that it has become the subject of intense controversy within the linguistic community. That debate was sparked by the findings of one man: a Christian missionary named Daniel Everett. Do not think that what is hard for you to master is humanly […]

Filling the Void: Thoughts on Learning and Karma


Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge (Photo: Jim Maragos/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for a worthwhile goal, a freely chosen task. -Viktor E. Frankl, Holocaust survivor, author of Man’s Search for Meaning I believe that life exists to be enjoyed, and […]

Why Language Classes Don't Work: How to Cut Classes and Double Your Learning Rate (Plus: Madrid Update)


Coffee shops vs. classrooms – who wins? (Photo: eye2eye) This is one of several articles planned as supplements to the original “How to Learn (But Not Master) Any Language in 1 Hour.” This piece focuses on acquisition of new material; for reactivating “forgotten” languages and vocab, I recommend also reading “How to Resurrect Your High […]

A How-To Guide: Accelerated Learning for Accelerated Times


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 […]