Deep Work

Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
by Cal Newport | Grand Central Publishing © 2016 · 304 pages

Deep Work. It’s the key to how you get So Good They Can’t Ignore You—which, of course, is the title of another one of Cal’s great books. Big Ideas include Deep Work vs. Shallow Work, how to give your neurons a workout, cleaning up attention residue, the four rules of deep work, finding the routine that works for you and learning how to shut down completely.

Deep work is so important that we might consider it, to use the phrasing of business writer Eric Barker, ‘the superpower of the 21st century.’
Cal Newport

The Deep Work Hypothesis: The ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy. As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive.

The book has two goals, pursued in two parts. The first, tackled in Part 1, is to convince you that the deep work hypothesis is true. The second, tackled in Part 2, is to teach you how to take advantage of this reality by training your brain and transforming your work habits to place deep work at the core of your professional life.”

~ Cal Newport from Deep Work

Deep Work.

It’s the key to how you get So Good They Can’t Ignore You—which, of course, is the title of another one of Cal’s great books.

Cal is an assistant professor of computer science at Georgetown. He got his Ph.D. from MIT and writes with the clarity and logical precision that you’d expect from a guy with that kind of background.

I learned about this book at the end of the interview Cal and I did on So Good. I wrap up each chat by asking the author how our community can learn more about them. Cal laughed and said, “Well, I’m hard to find.” Hah.

He told me that he’s never joined Facebook. Or Twitter. And that this commitment to doing deep work was actually the subject of his next book. Of course, I was excited to read about THAT and here we are.

I got this book less than 24 hours ago (thank you Hachette!) and I read it in less than a day—in between an interview with Steven Kotler on The Rise of Superman and another interview with Dan Coyle on The Talent Code.

It’s a super inspiring read. In many ways, it’s a manual on how to get into the flow and grow the talent that Kotler and Coyle talk about. (Get a copy here.)

I think this subject is REALLY (!) important and an absolutely key component to optimizing and actualizing. The fact is, most of us are drowning in the shallow end of the work pool—allowing ourselves to be distracted by trivia that prevents us from doing the great work we’re here to do in all aspects of our lives.

It’s time to dive into the deep end!

Of course, this book is a guide to helping us do that. It’s packed with Big Ideas and I’m excited to share some of my favorites so let’s jump straight in!

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About the author


Cal Newport

Author and Associate Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University.