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A Short Book That Will Help You Learn Any Language You Want

18 true personal stories for independent language-learning thinkers

Any Language You Want book cover

There are people online who sell ‘the secret,’ the ‘fastest way’, or the ‘best method’ to learn languages.

This bothers me.

How can they sell something that doesn’t exist? How can they sell “the best method” without knowing anything about the people they’re selling it to?

I decided to rebel against these false promises by writing a book titled “Any Language You Want: 18 Conflicting Answers for a New Kind of Language Learner”. 

Here’s what the book is about and how it can help you.

The Content of “Any Language You Want”

“Any Language You Want” is a collection of contradictory true personal stories in answer to “What’s the best way to learn a language?”

In each of the 18 chapters, I share a story about how I mastered English, my second language, and tell you what’s the best way to learn another language.

Each chapter ends with the same sentence: “This is how to learn a language”.

But each chapter disagrees with the next.

One story tells you to hire teachers and take classes — just like I did while learning English in London. The next one argues you should do everything on your own. Take no courses, hire no teachers. Do what I did when I was living in Australia.

One story says you should never touch a dictionary. The next one persuades you to look up every unknown word you encounter. 

Should you aim at sounding like a native? Yes! Wait, no, you shouldn’t.

Which story tells the truth? Which chapter is right?

All and none. It’s up to you to decide. It’s up to you to try things out, experiment, and find what works for you.

These are all the “tools” inside the book:

  1. Invest in a New Life and Language Classes
  2. Walk Alone, No Investment Needed
  3. Plant Seeds
  4. Learn Unconsciously
  5. Don’t Ask the Impossible
  6. Take Mistakes Seriously
  7. Study Rules
  8. Make Music
  9. Take Language Exams
  10. Take Up Real-World Challenges
  11. Accept There’s No Blueprint
  12. Adopt the Best Method in the World
  13. Become a Master Solo-Storyteller
  14. Include Everyone
  15. Keep Your Accent
  16. Speak Like a Native
  17. Teach
  18. Trust But Verify
I asked Scott Thornbury — one the most renowned and influential figures in the field of language teaching methodology — to read and review “Any Language You Want”.

He liked it. So the advice I’ll be giving you is advice you can trust.

But wait a second. I don’t know you. How can my book give you the best advice without knowing you and your unique situation?

Well, it can’t.

How “Any Language You Want” Can Help You

“What’s the best way to learn a language?” is a complex question, and complex questions require complex answers.

In “Any Language You Want” you won’t find a blueprint for learning languages, nor will you find the best advice or the X things you should do to become fluent in a language. 

Instead, you’ll read about the problems, beliefs, thoughts, and frustrations I had as a learner, and learn the strategies I adopted to improve my language skills. Hopefully, you’ll realise how language learning is a multifacedmultidimensional, and highly personal activity.

“Any Language You Want” is a book that will discourage you from looking for the “best way” or the “top tips” and encourage you to look for “what works for me”.

The book’s main aim is to help you become an independent language-learning thinker — to empower you. I’ll be telling you everything I did to become a proficient speaker of my second language but, because I don’t know you, I cannot know which of my 18 stories will work for you.

All of them worked for me. How many will be suitable for you? Maybe all, maybe none.

I don’t know.

8 Random Facts about “Any Language You Want”

  • Since August 2023, “Any Language You Want” has sold 313 copies (I’m writing this on 21 May 2024) 
  • The book was inspired by “Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur” and “How to Live: 27 Conflicting Answers and One Weird Conclusion” — two fantastic books by Derek Sivers. Had I not read these, “Any Language You Want” wouldn’t exist today.
  • It’s 78 pages long.
  • The longest story is about 1300 words. The shortest 194.
  • My aunt — an intermediate (B1) speaker of English — read it and said she could understand everything without using dictionaries.
  • Trisha Traughber, a writer and writing coach, helped me write it.
  • I used humour in my stories, so I hope you’ll have a chuckle here and there.
  • It’s available on Amazon.

Final Thought on “Any Language You Want”

We all want precise answers and guidelines in life. Everything would be much easier if, for every goal we want to achieve, we had a detailed road map to take us to our final destination.

However, both in life and language learning there is no one-size-fits-all road map (despite what some people say online). The same map could take one person to fluency and another off the cliff.

This little book I wrote is a tool to help you draw your own road map, so you can make progress and learn…any language you want!