Jack of All Trades

How to Master All Sorts of Skills in Short Amount of Time and Be a Modern Renaissance Person

Non-Fiction - Self Help
166 Pages
Reviewed on 08/30/2015
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Roy T. James for Readers' Favorite

Jack of All Trades by The INSTANT-Series opens with an observation: The lifetime available to us is enough to master one skill, maybe one more. Therefore to become someone versatile, rather than wasting time on a single area, it is profitable to become a Jack of all trades, which is better for one's livelihood and self-confidence than to only have specialized knowledge in one area. This book offers a bunch of techniques to preserve memory, enable easy recall, choose appropriate topics, as well as finding resources to help learning, making becoming a 'Jack' child’s play.

Jack of All Trades by The INSTANT-Series acknowledges that, undeniably, one of the most rewarding things in life is to learn a new skill or feel accomplished in a particular subject. Also, it is dangerous to your livelihood and self-confidence to have specialized knowledge only in one area. This book, with the help of a good number of pointed suggestions, enables one to acquire a wide variety of skills, to be a multi-faceted talent. To truly be a human Swiss army knife, this book, by encouraging one to stop thinking in terms of money and start thinking in terms of experience, sharpens all one's faculties. Yes, you can absolutely spend nearly a decade of your life in learning a specific skill, whether it’s professional or otherwise, or follow these precepts to be ‘wanted’ anywhere. However, my experience with ‘Jacks’ is that, though they command an easy reception, the welcome rarely extends beyond the initial joy. This is a good book for those disposed to that joy.

Nneka Gunn

I am one who believes that life is an unending journey in the pursuit of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. I have always loved reading and learning, so when I read the opening chapter of the book and is quoted Leonardo da Vinci,

“The natural desire of good men is knowledge.”

I knew then that I had picked a book that would be perfect for me. Being that I have done so much reading, learning, and traveling in my life, I needed guidance on how to wrangle all of what I have learned into a form that could benefit myself as well as others. This book is chocked full of wisdom and know-how. Tidbits such as changing your thoughts to think in terms of experience instead of money when it comes to choosing a new skill or how the acquisition of knowledge itself garners protection for those wise enough to pursue it. My favorite chapters were: Memory Enhancement and Mental Stimulation. Both providing easy and unique techniques I could use for improvements.

This book covers everything a confused renaissance woman such as myself would need including chapters on:

Secrets of Great Renaissance Men in History (i.e. Marie Curie and Einstein)
Choosing Pursuits
Nurturing Your Talents
The Art of Learning
Mistakes to Avoid like biting off what you don’t have to chew (you’ll have to read the book to understand)

Definitely a enjoyable, thorough, and in-depth approach to expanding and stretching myself in other fields while knowing my own limits. Well-written and entertaining too. Ten stars!

Great Book for Teachers a

This is an interesting how-to/self-improvement book written to give the reader several tricks, strategies, and mental tools to understand his own metacognition—knowing what one is learning. It is of benefit to those who have a direct need to improve his mental skills (students and business people), those who want to improve his mental skills (retirees who want to stay alert), and those who teach others in any subject.

The first three chapters are an introduction to the premise of the book along with some historical background on the notion of a renaissance man and some famous ones in history. The next two chapters deal with self-assessing your own learning style and an overall definition of the art of learning. There are two chapters devoted to stimulating and enhancing your memory with background information on different methods to test and enhance your mental skills. Chapters eight and nine deal with deciding what skills are worthy for your own pursuit of knowledge and how to master the skills and content of your new learning endeavor. The end sums it all up with one chapter on teaching others to use the skills and a summary of the contents of the book.

There is one chapter that is devoted to determining your own learning style. This chapter is especially useful for teachers to help students gain their own personal knowledge of metacognition. The chapter goes on to explain the different learning styles, their implications for the learner, and how to use that knowledge to improve yourself.

There is also a chapter on how to learn by setting short-term goals: tips and strategies for day-by-day acquisition of information that you want or need to learn. The chapter goes on to give tips on how to conduct personal research to acquire this knowledge and/or skills for the new learning.
My takeaway: This book is a benefit for anyone who wants some practical tips, strategies, skills, and tools to make life-long learning more accessible in the modern age. The author’s voice is light-hearted making it not so pedantic or preachy. The chapters are organized logically with subcategories arranged in a way that makes maneuvering throughout the text easy. I bookmarked several sections that I want to go back and puruse at a later date.

My verdict: Well worth the cost of the book.

Eric McClellan

“…never put all your eggs in one basket. You want to diversify and become well-rounded in your endeavors; however, on the other hand, you only have so much hours in a day to do things...let alone learn everything under the sun.”

A problem a lot of students have nowadays, that this book hopes to solve and more. ‘Jack Of All Trades: How to Master All Sorts of Skills in Short Amount of Time and Be a Modern Renaissance Person’ was a good quick read that taught me a lot of different techniques in learning that I hadn’t known before which was quite refreshing considering that I’ve read other books that taught me things I already learned in Uni.
One of the first things I noticed while reading through the book was that it gets straight to the point in most of the information, which is nice because students like myself can easily read through it and get most out of the knowledge and since it’s less than 200 pages, it’s an easy re-read as well.

Another big thing that I remembered well after reading the book was its touching on multitasking and its importance outside of school. I say this because in a lot of my classes starting from freshman year have all been focused primarily on one aspect of my major and not really thing else. I’m a film and digital media major and everything has been focus on editing in my degree plan. Don’t get me wrong, focusing in on editing is not necessarily a bad thing but there’s many parts ot the film industry that I can also work on such as screenwriting, cinematography, etc. to help go along with the current workforce and market myself for better. Again, something that I wasn’t aware of prior to reading this book, that I’m happy I learned now.

I don’t want to drag on and on about all the information in the book because I want you to read it yourself, but if you’re a student (especially in college like myself) I would definitely read this book to get you a little leg up on competition when trying to find a job outside of school. And if you’re a teacher I would also recommend this book too, as a quick read with your class. A lot of younger people like myself aren’t aware of how to market ourselves correctly in the workplace, as well as learning additional skills to go along with our majors. So if more teachers could help shed light on this and proper ways to multi-task, etc, I think your students would definitely appreciate it once we’re off in the real world.


To start off, this is a very different book from the Instant-Series. I think of this book like a special edition, you know like a television show that has occasional holiday specials or special spinoffs. That's kind of how I consider this book "Jack of All Trades" from the Instant-Series.

This book does contain solid decent information, but the only issue was it was trying to be all over the place. At first I wasn't exactly sure what this book was about specifically. It had a nice cover and intriguing title so thought I get it. Is it a learning book? Is it a self-improvement book? Is it a study aid book? Is it a career guidance book? Is it a memory book? Is it a mental improvement book? Is it a motivation book? Is it a happiness book? Is it a success book? That's where it threw me off. Think if you were to buy a rock music album, but it also has pop, jazz, and hip-hop, then it becomes a little too much. I guess the thing for me was the expectation.

This is like a wild card self-improvement book. Don't get me wrong, this is not necessarily a bad thing, but we all know what happens when there too many major heroes and villains in a single movie, which in this case can be an overload.

Interestingly enough, this book IS called "Jack of all Trades" is very fitting in the approach this book took in being that Jack of All Trades self-help/learning book. It's definitely an all in one book for people wanting to learn and such or become better at whatever they do, which can range from any aspect in the career, relationships or whatever you want because to get better at things all come back down to learning them, as this book made the point that anything is learnable (yes, even how to be better with people). Plus, the reading and style is very entertaining and informative at the same time, so those alone kept my interest.

Overall, this is a great book, and I'm sure others will certainly like and enjoy it. Just my 2 cents.

Robert Brooks

I was genuinely impressed with this book and thought it important to share my thoughts with you. I have had so many problems in the past with trying to learn and retain the information I have learned. I do not want to give the secrets of the book away so I will just hit on a couple of key points in the book that stuck out to me.

Being a renaissance person is someone who is not afraid to pursue knowledge. Someone who would rather go on a trip to Africa to learn about dung beetles than go to the beach and get a tan. This person has a real hunger for learning everything they could possible learn. They also know how to ensure their job security by mastering a couple of skills instead of just one.

The author teaches us that anyone can learn to be good at something if not everything, is a fresh way to look at things in this life. The fact that we only have so long to live and only a short time to get things done. It is more important to become a master of some, than a master of none. This stuck with me because I put four years into a degree in the medical field and I now have no job. If I had learned more than one portion of the medical field I would still have my job.

I found the portion that spoke of figuring out which type of learner you are very helpful. I am a person that learns from reading things more than listening or being more hands on. Now that I know what type of learner I am, I can use the step by step guides to teach myself how to learn in the other ways to ensure I can learn the best way possible.

Another great section is on teaching yourself how to use your brain to its full capacity. Not just looking at things the same old way. How to look at them from a different angle and how to put these lessens to work in your daily life. You are also given different exercises to do to warm up your brand and get ready to learn more effectively.

We are also shown various steps to master your chose skill. You will also learn how to teach others to be a master of their own life and skills. This is one of the most useful sections for me. I have always wanted to learn how to become a great teacher and this will help me do just that. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants open their mind to the vast knowledge of the world around us, someone who wants to ensure there job security, or to learn how to learn as much as they can in the shortest amount of time possible.


It's funny that a book that talks about how to be a jack of all trades is a representative of that very idea itself, in that it covers a wealth of information all condensed in one easy to read book. And because of that too, it's easy for anyone to pick up this book and find at least one thing (if not more) to resonate with. Plenty of quotes and humorous anecdotes keep the reader entertained as valuable information is given to be learned and applied to the aspiring learner.

This book covers everything from the basics and fundamentals of different learning styles and the benefits to being a jack of all trades, to discussing the differences between talent and skill (and improving on both), to practical guides to speed reading and improved memorization skills, to so much more. Definitely interesting to read and see how I can apply some of these ideas to my own life, especially since I have my own long list of things I want to learn and experience over time.

Angela C.

I downloaded this book to read and I expected a poorly written guide. What I found was a book crammed full of information.

This book discusses the realities of how much time we really have to achieve these skills.

What skills?

Skills such as working memory improvement. Working memory is important because it is what we use to do something as basic as fill an order, or remember what is needed from the store.

Skills such as how to speed read so you can learn faster and more efficiently.

Specializing in a few skills very well is better than learning many things incompletely and incorrectly.

There is so much in this book that I learned about, it is packed full of information, with no fluff.

The information contained in this book can be life changing for the reader. It is outlined in an easy to follow format, and is an interesting read that kept me engaged the entire time.

The book is fast paced, full of inspiring quotes that help emphasize the author's points.

candice vega

With a title like ‘Jack of All Trades’, you know you’re in for a good read as well. When I first came across this book I thought of how impossible the idea of being a master of many skills would be, but as I kept reading this guide book of sorts, I found just how possible it could be if you were to properly implement what it displayed for you.

This book here starts off with an introduction on what this book is about, which is the mastery of skills, and it breaks down the logistics of how the rest of the world view the allotted time to ‘master’ any given skill, which is around 10,000 hours. Then it goes on to tell its readers that you shouldn’t put all of your time into one one skill using the phrase, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” At this point, I was confused because I figured there wasn’t any way you could master any more than one or two skills if it take THAT long, so why not focus all of my time? And then I found out.

Reading on, it explains how tricky it is to only have ONE special skill because you may run into situations where your skill, although useful, may not help you in any way at all and you could become stuck. So then there’s a suggestion to become a Polymath, which is a person who had a wider range of knowledge than average or also known as ‘a person who knows everything.” I thought that to be out of reach, but continuing on I realized that it was closer to my grasp than I ever thought.

It explains the mistakes to avoid as well, on your journey to becoming the jack of all trades, in great detail I might add and how self motivation is a strong factor in this process too! You’ll learn about the makings of a Renaissance man/woman as well as some details about a couple in our history. You’ll also learn about the difference between a talent and a skill, and how to separate the two personally.

The most important step of this process though is to figure out what type of learner you are (visual, auditory, or kinesthetic) which this book also outlines all three of them for you and includes specific exercises for each different learner. You’ll be able to figure out what’s the best way for you to learn and what you can do to implement that into your life journey.

So after you figure that out, you can begin with your to-do list that you can pick something from every day to do! Proceeding into the book, there’s various exercises that are given to you so that you can learn your skill and ultimately master it in the end. This book even teaches you how to train your brain to speed read and how to create a photographic memory for yourself as well!

This book is the kind of book that one shouldn’t pass up if they are on a search or quest to receive the gift of knowledge because with this book you will learn the proper way to exercise your mind to harness the knowledge and be able to retain it. If you or someone you know are looking to become the Jack of all Trades, this book is a perfect addition to your library. Don’t pass this up. It had opened my mind to endless possibilities!


I just finished Jack of All Trades. What an interesting book. At first I didn't think I was going to enjoy reading it and that I wouldn't learn anything from it. I was pleasantly surprised on both accounts. I purchased the book because of the section on memory. I have MS and there are days I have trouble remembering my own name. I am always looking for ways to improve my memory. I loved this section of the book. I have heard before that you need to eat right to feed your brain and that feeding your brain the right foods can help improve your memory. For some reason, reading it in this book just clicked. I could actually "see" how this would help. Many of the memory tricks and tips are ones I have gotten from my neurologist and they really work. The learning styles section was quite enlightening. I had heard about auditory and visual learners before but those methods were never super successful for me. This was the first time I found a learning method that describes me. I learn best by doing and teaching. This book will give you insight on the type of learner you are and how to learn a skill, going from Novice to Master in a relatively short amount of time. I think that anyone who wants to learn many new things but isn't quite sure how to go about it will benefit from this book.

Mark Federowicz

Awsome and inciteful read. NOT some dribbling bilge full of fluff, but depth that'll
make you say " boy, I never thought of that before" great job!

Paul Fallavollita

One of the most motivating realizations is that men are mortal. This book makes a great case for why one should engage in a systematic program of learning and self-improvement today: given the average human lifespan, you have 50 years to learn as much as you can. The "10,000 hours" rule for practicing a new skill is nicely factored into this analysis (7 years per skill yields 7 main skills in life).

The author makes the case for choosing to be a generalist (polymath or Renaissance Man) versus a specialist--chief among these reasons is the resilience that comes from not putting all of one's eggs in one basket. Once the logic of this lifestyle is established, this book addresses the "how to" dynamics of building better studying, memorization, and retention habits coalescing around one's chosen life plan.

The key of this book is strategizing to become a "Jack of all trades and master of *some*). One starts with one's talents and passions and branches out among the smorgasboard of human knowledge, avoiding distasteful or ill-fitting areas. "Know thyself," as the ancient philosophers said. The ideal of the Renaissance Man is not lost or unattainable, as this book proves, because it has morphed into what often is heard called in corporate and academic areas the role of the "lifelong learner."

A lifelong learner using this book is taught balance most of all--not rejecting social skills or neglecting the human graces, for example, and not ignoring the physical body (i.e. a sound mind in a sound body). The lifelong learner possesses a "desire to discover" that prompts an assessment of motivations and a will to overcome any environmental or genetic handicaps.

This book teaches techniques for finding one's learning style and leveraging it to overcome the famed twin limits of "talent versus skill." Many other to-do lists, exercises, and goal-setting tools are provided--including a list of "brain foods" to add to your diet. I can't guarantee that every reader will become the next da Vinci, but it is a safe bet that the reader who diligently consumes and applies these tools and techniques will be different (and better off) than when he or she began.


I'll start off by saying that one of the things I like most about this book is how it's organized. This author seems to do a great job of making the book flow very nicely from subject to subject, which is one of the most important aspects of an instructional book. It's cohesive, covers all the bases, and reads very nicely. Not one was I confused or lost; it was just all very straightforward and it was a pleasure to read.

The content was just as good. It started each section off with a clever quote which I thought was a nice touch and it always fit well with the subject matter. It was well-written (and being crazy about grammar, I'd know!), which only highlighted the organization of the book. As far as instructional content goes, it includes lots of tips and "hacks" which I actually found useful and insightful.

Overall, I'd say it's worth the read. I even got it for free! I very much enjoyed the book and I'm pleased with the series. Nicely done!