Similar authors to follow
Manage your follows
About Julian Northbrook
I help English learners forget that Engish isn't their first language.
My journey into the world of language started in 2007. I’d just graduated art university and I managed to get an interview for a job working at a gallery in Harajuku, a fashionable part of Tokyo. This is it, I thought. This is what I wanted to do. This is the life I was going to live. Four months later, I was on the plane dreaming of the exciting life I was going to live.
But I didn’t get the job. I had everything they wanted, except one thing: My Japanese wasn’t good enough.
Shortly after, my wife’s friend introduced me to someone she knew. A guy called Tom. He was working on a team under a major Japanese artist called Takashi Murakami. I wanted to know how he'd gotten the job and if I would be able to get a job there, too. So I went off to meet him for lunch.
It turned out that Tom had no experience in the art world. No art qualifications. He had never done any art, let alone shown his work in exhibitions. He just applied for the job and got it. But the thing is: he could speak, read and write Japanese. Lots of people who come to live in Tokyo learn the language. But very, very few bother to get really good at it.
This was a huge shock for me. Here I was, with all these art skills and qualifications. I'd spent years studying art, and I got good grades at university. I'd even shown my work in international art exhibitions. But it was all meaningless.
In this environment, I was nothing without Japanese.
I’m ashamed to admit it now, but I hated Tom. He had everything I wanted. I was angry because I thought I was better suited to the job than he was.
I felt totally lost and didn’t know what to do.
Then, before I knew it everything changed dramatically. My wife got pregnant, and soon after my son was born. If I’m honest, I wasn’t ready for that kind of responsibility. But it just happened.￼
Life became really serious, fast.
I got a job as an assistant English teacher in a school. The wage was low, but it was the best job I could get. I enjoyed teaching but I hated all of the other work. I felt embarrassed about my bad Japanese. I felt humiliated almost every day. The other teachers were busy and always seemed annoyed at having to deal with me. I had to join meetings and had lots of ideas, but I didn’t understand what people were saying. I was afraid of saying something stupid, so I just sat in silence, nodding and agreeing with everything if asked a question.
Home life was getting harder as well. I had to send a lot of emails but I was too embarrassed about making mistakes. So I had to get my wife to check everything. Sending a simple email took so much time. My wife was busy looking after the baby, working all day. And she was getting pissed off at having to spend so much time helping me – I was more like another kid she had to look after than a husband.
I thought if only could just improve my Japanese, everything would be better. I wanted to forget that Japanese wasn’t my first language, and just live a normal life like I had done in England. But even after I passed the highest level of the Japanese proficiency test I couldn’t do this. I should have been really great at the language – on paper I was there! But I didn’t feel good at the language! And to make it worse, I had no idea what I should do to improve. I felt like I’d tried everything. But nothing seemed to work. I obviously just wasn’t talented at languages.
Perhaps it was time to give up?
Not long after this, I was on the train coming back from work with several other English teachers. I think one of my co-workers had noticed that I was having a hard time supporting my family, and he asked me why I didn’t consider doing a masters and teaching English at university. The money would be much better, and the job more interesting, he said.
All this time I’d been focused on Japanese but not going anywhere. Getting an English teaching qualification sounded like a good idea. After several months of talking about it with my wife, I decided to apply. It was difficult to pay the fees… but it was an investment for the future.
The course was really hard work. But something totally unexpected happened. I took my masters to become a better English teacher. To help my students learn English. But actually, the biggest benefit was for me.
For the next three years, I became totally absorbed in the topic of second language learning. I read hundreds and hundreds of books and research articles. I talked to professionals and researchers. Attended seminars. I learned how languages are learned, the things successful language learners do – and the things they don’t do. I studied how the human brain works, I studied language learning psychology and conducted my own research.
All this time the barrier that had held me back…was doubt.
I’d been doing a lot of stuff, but everything was so random and messy. I’d start things but never finish them. I’d gone from studying textbooks to just watching TV in Japanese all day. I’d gone from trying to practice my Japanese with native speakers to trying to learn just by listening. I’d bought countless courses that promised instant results. Nothing worked. I was constantly looking for a better way to learn the language.
I realised that the reason my Japanese wasn’t improving wasn’t because I was no good at languages. It's not that I wasn’t “talented”. But simply because I was putting all my time and energy into the wrong things.
I needed a clear, structured path to follow that I knew would work. Free from doubt.
From that point on, a lot changed in my life for the better. I left my assistant teachers position and got a job in a Japanese company. Eventually, I left to start my own business. My home life became much easier – I’m able to do simple things I couldn’t before: take the kids to the doctors when they’re sick, call a maintenance man when something stops working. I’m able to be a better husband, someone my wife can rely on. It was like the barrier was gone, and I was free to move forward.
There were so many times I wanted to quit Japanese.
I'm so glad that I didn't. Because if I had… I wouldn't have the life that I have now. Drawing pictures with my kids in the evening. Running my own business here in Japan. Going to art galleries. Running. Cycling. Doing all the things that I do. I wouldn't have any of this if it hadn't been for mastering the Japanese language.
Mastering Japanese has given me much, much more than the language. It gave me the confidence to do all of the things I do now. If I wanted to I could easily go back to that art gallery in Harajuku and get the job. But I choose not to. Instead, I chose a different path.
I decided to start my own business, helping people just like me who are struggling with English and failing to reach their full potential.
During my darkest days, I didn’t have the capacity to do anything other than worry about Japanese. It was a dark, depressing period in my life that I never want to go back to. Language is such an important part of what it means to be human — and when that ability is taken away from us, we suffer.
Customers Also Bought Items By
Titles By Julian Northbrook
Do You Like the Way Your English Accent Sounds?
How you sound in English matters. Research shows this very clearly. Native speakers judge people with clear, easy to understand accents as proficient in English (even if in reality they're only beginners). On the other hand, they judge people whose accents are hard to understand as being low-level (Even if they're “advanced” on paper).
Awesome Accent is more than an English accent training guide. It's all about speaking with an amazing sounding voice in English. Whether you want to speak English fluently and clearly with your own, native accent, or whether you want to learn a new accent such as a British accent or an American accent – I'll teach you everything you need to know.
Here's What You'll Learn
In Chapter 1 we discuss all the background stuff you need. What is an accent, really? What does your English accent say about you? How important is your accent when learning English as a second language? Do you need to live in a native-English speaking country? ... and a whole lot more. In Chapter 2 we discuss some mindset issues that are probably holding you back. In Chapter 3, the three key elements to sounding awesome. Then, in Chapter 4—the main meat of this book—I'll share with you everything you need to know to learn any accent you want. How to do it, where to start, the most important things to know, and how to put changing your accent on autopilot so it just happens naturally and pretty much by itself over time over time. Then in Chapters 5, 6, 7 and 8 we go far beyond the basics and learn how to develop your voice so you speak with massive confidence in any situation – whether you're using English in business, your an Academic who uses English at conferences or you live in an English speaking country.
And Here's the Table of Contents:
Chapter 1 - The What, Why and When of Sounding Awesome
Chapter 2 - Some Silly Myths
Chapter 3 - The Three Aspects of Sounding Awesome
Chapter 4 - How to Nail Any Accent You Want: The Quick ‘n’ Dirty Guide
Chapter 5 - The Laziest Sound in All of Human Speech
Chapter 6 - Skipin' Sounds for Fluency
Chapter 7 - Become a Maestro of Your Voice
Chapter 8 - Controlling the Feeling in Your Voice
About Julian Northbrook:
Julian Northbrook is an unconventional punk of the business English learning world. A leading expert in English education and direct response marketing, he’s fully equipped to drag you kicking and screaming from English-mediocracy to speaking at an outstanding level. After being turned down for his dream job in the art industry, Julian suffered three long years as a crap Japanese speaker. He understands exactly what it’s like to feel like a total idiot every time you speak. But Julian overcame his language problems, mastered the language, and went on to work first as a freelance translator, then as an executive member of a Japanese company. But he soon grew sick of the corporate world and left it to pursue something infinitely more satisfying – running his own business helping small business owners and entrepreneurs get so good at English that they forget that it’s not their first language.
Do you speak English confidently? Or are you paralysed by fear?
It's hard enough to learn English. But when you're not confident? It's even harder. This book will take you through the confident English speaking mindset and will show you how to speak with confidence next time (and every time) you speak English.
I was never confident...
When I was younger I was shy and not confident in front of people. And this held me back and made improving my second language hard. I never took the opportunities I had to really use my Japanese... because I was afraid.
Fearless Fluency will show you how to speak English confidently and fluently
Yes, I've been there. And this is why I know you CAN overcome your fear of speaking English if you want to. If you want to speak English confidently and be more confident in your everyday life, it’s likely you’re going to need to make changes to the way that you think and behave. But pay attention, apply the lessons I share, and your confidence will grow.
Here's just some of what you'll learn
- Why some people succeed in English, and others fail (make your YOU succeed).
- what confidence REALLY is (hint: it's probably not what you think, and this is making it hard for you to overcome your fear).
- A lesson from the film Jurassic World that could help you speak confident English (and be happier in life in general).
- How to stand out as confident in English, and gain the respect of everyone around you.
- The "Three Fears" of speaking English as a second language (and how to overcome them easily, by yourself).
- The evolutionary reason you feel nervous and afraid when you have to speak English (and the shocking truth about human beings... but just knowing this is enough to break the bad habit).
- How the most famous, successful people in the world became successful... and how you can (and should) copy what they did with your English.
- The true meaning of "failure" that you won't find in any dictionary.
- The unconventional secret to doing any interview confidently in English.
- How to eliminate embarrassment from your life quickly and easily.
- A lesson from one of the world's most successful beer brands that you can (and should) apply to everything you do.
- One simple habit that has nothing to do with speaking English... BUT can help you to be much more confident in English.
WHo is Julian?
Julian Northbrook is an unconventional punk of the business English learning world. A leading expert in English education and direct response marketing, he’s fully equipped to drag you kicking and screaming from English-mediocracy to speaking at an outstanding level. After being turned down for his dream job in the art industry, Julian suffered three long years as a crap Japanese speaker. He understands exactly what it’s like to feel like a total idiot every time you speak. But Julian overcame his language problems, mastered the language, and went on to work first as a freelance translator, then as an executive member of a Japanese company. But he soon grew sick of the corporate world and left to do something more satisfying - teaching people how to speak English at an extraordinary level.
Do you translate in your head when you speak English?
"Think English, Speak English" will show you how to think in English when you speak English and stop performing 'mental gymnastics' every time you try to have a conversation.
If you’ve reached an intermediate to advanced level, can read, and understand a book like this… but still struggle to speak fluently and understand what people say instantly because—like many people—you’re stuck translating in your head... then this book can help.
Warning: this isn’t a complete English learning guide.
Think English, Speak English is focused on one, very specific part of mastering English: stopping translating in your head, and thinking directly in English so you can speak, and understand, the language fluently like you do your native language.
If you’re looking for a complete step-by-step guide on how to learn English, my other book "Master English FAST – an uncommon guide to speaking extraordinary English", would be better for you.
When I originally wrote Master English FAST, I had a lot of content left over that didn't fit in to the book. This content became a series of "advanced" English learning skills books – "Think English, Speak English", is one of those, along with "Fearless Fluency" (confidence in a second language), "Secrets of Structured Learning" (stopping forgetting everything you learn), "Awesome Accent" (sounding awesome when you speak), and several others.
One more thing – there’s no magic way to suddenly start thinking in English. What I teach you in this book works. But only if you put in the time and effort.
If you don't want to do that?
Don’t buy this book (or if you already did, return it now).
BUT – if you are prepared to put the time and effort required for learning to think, and speak, English like you do your native language… then here’s my promise to you: study this book carefully, put what you learn into practise, and speaking, and understanding, English will become a hell of a lot easier.
If you’re struggling to learn English and speak English in your work, business or daily life you’re in the right place. Master English FAST, An Uncommon Guide to Speaking Extraordinary English, by Julian Northbrook will show you step-by-step what to do as an intermediate or advanced English learner to speak English as a second language.
In Master English FAST you will discover:
Chapter 1 - Why Your English Sucks
In Chapter 1 you will learn the top six reasons you struggle to speak English well... even though you have been learning Engish for a long time.
Chapter 2 - Start with Why
Why are you here, learning English? In Chapter 2 you learn about your goals and what language you need to learn to live life in English. You'll also learn why YouTube may be stopping you from speaking English well... and what you need to do to be better at English.
Chapter 3 - Language and Language Learning 101
What is language? How can you learn a language effectively? What is "holistic learning"? And what are the three things essential to extraordinary English Speaking? What about pronunciation and accent? You'll discover the answer to these questions, and more, In Chapter 3.
Chapter 4 - How English Mastery Really Works
In Chapter 4 Julian talks in detail about his two-step method for mastering English, which he likes to call the 'world's simplest English Mastery method' ... it really is that easy.
Chapter 5 - Learning All the Language You Need
How many words do you actually need to speak English well? And what should you learn first? You're probably wasting a lot of time learning things that you don't need. Hint: most native English speakers only use about 2.5% of their language.
Chapter 6 - Learning Language Focused on Fluency and Naturalness
Native speakers don't speak using grammar rules and individual words like you were taught in school. Instead, they use a different type of language to speak fluently and naturally. If you want to speak English like a native speaker, then, you need to learn this kind of language too.
Chapter 7 - How to Sound Good and Not Be Boring
Just learning the language is not enough if you want to speak excellent English. You also need to know how to use that language to talk about things that are interesting and engaging to the listener. Chapter 7 shows you how.
Chapter 8 - The Big “C” of Speaking Well
In this chapter you will read all about culture - what it is, and why it's so important for you speaking English as a second language (especially business English). You will also learn about humour and being funny when you speak English, what to do when you don't understand someone's culture, and how to learn culture quickly and easily.
Chapter 9 - Choosing Learning Materials
What are the best materials to learn English? Julian did a lot of research on this for his PhD work and it's NOT textbooks (but also not most of the things you might find on the internet or YouTube). Chapter 9 will show you the best materials for learning and improving your English, fast.
Chapter 10 - Fantastic Fluency
This chapter is all about building fluency, and Julian shares with you several effective exercises and techniques for practising your fluency.
Do you work hard… but fail to see REAL progress in Your English learning?
If so – you’re doing something wrong, and you need to learn how to learn English as a second language in a way that actually works, based on what we know from cognitive psychology and neuroscience.
This is what The Secrets of Structured Learning is all about.
When I was a beginner in Japanese, I improved fast. But as soon as I hit the dreaded intermediate barrier things went horribly, horribly wrong.
It's not like I wasn't studying. I was. In fact, I was studying a lot. I felt like I'd done everything. I tried all kinds of different methods. Every book. Every audio course. I spent hours watching films and YouTube trying to learn by listening ('cos I read somewhere that was a good idea). I took lessons with a tutor and put hours into learning more and more new words.
Yet… I didn’t see progress.
The problem was that I was learning in the wrong way.
Your brain wants you to learn to speak English (or indeed any other skill) in a specific way – and it’s NOT the way that most people try to learn (and not what you see in the average English learning method...).
It’s not the way you learned at school.
It’s not the way that companies train their employees… and in fact, it’s completely different to what most of us think we should do.
Here’s just some of what this book covers:
- The Principles of Structured Learning base don how your Brain WANTS you to learn to speak English (or indeed, any other skill…) based on what we know from cognitive psychology and neuroscience.
- Why learning more, and trying to learn “fast” is actually making you learn less, and slowly (and what you should be doing instead).
- The simple “Two Step” method for learning to speak amazing English in record time, by going slow.
- Why corporate training almost never succeeds, and the big mistake a Sales Manager at a hundred-million-dollar company made (that cost his company HUGE sums of money… and got him fired).
- The airline industries secrets to creating some of the most highly training and skilled people in the world.
- Why you forget the English you learned (often FASTER than you learned it…) and what to do to ensure everything you learn STICKS and becomes active, usable English.
- The Story two men with brain damage, and what that tells us about learning (that you can easily apply to your daily study… whether it’s English or anything else).
Julian Northbrook is an unconventional punk of the business English learning world. A leading expert in English education and language psychology, he’s fully equipped to drag you kicking and screaming from English-mediocracy to speaking at an outstanding level. After being turned down for his dream job in the art industry, Julian suffered three long years as a crap Japanese speaker. He understands exactly what it’s like to feel like a total idiot every time you speak. But Julian overcame his language problems, mastered the language, and went on to work first as a freelance translator, then as an executive member of a Japanese company. But he soon grew sick of the corporate world and left it to pursue something infinitely more satisfying — running his own business helping small business owners and entrepreneurs get so good at English