Book Review, Posts

Deep Work – Cal Newport

  • Deep Work audiobook cover artTitle: Deep Work – Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
  • Author: Cal Newport, PhD
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Recommendation Score: 4 / 5

Book Review

The population of “knowledge workers” is increasing with the shift towards an information economy. These workers, such as researchers, journalists, engineers, computer programmers, designers, etc. need “deep work” to be productive and creative. However, they often find themselves in a working environment where they are prone to distractions and frequent interruptions. They are losing calm offices to get open spaces, they spend their time in multitasking, jumping between meetings, chats, and emails, they are expected to remain available for instant messaging platforms, and sometimes they are forced onto social media.

Cal Newport addresses these topics in his book “Deep Work – Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World”. He coined the term “Deep Work” to define the professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration, and that stretches one’s capabilities to their limits.

Deep Work is Valuable, Rare and Meaningful

The author argues that:

  • Deep work is valuable for learning, productivity, and creativity.
  • Deep work is rare since we live in a world where we are distracted permanently.
  • Deep work is meaningful and brings calm and satisfaction to our lives.

The book investigates several ways to incorporate deep work into our working habits, illustrated with real-life stories.

The main concern of the book is how to maximize deep work in our everyday lives. The author is an MIT researcher and professor, and he is clearly focused on the population of workers that have similar work standards to his. Even though he mentions some jobs where deep work is not needed, such as company executives, salespeople, and lobbyists, I think the book lacks more details about the boundaries of “knowledge work” and the ratio of deep work needed. The book completely ignores some workers rely heavily on interaction with people in their daily job, such as healthcare workers, completely. The author deals with high IQ demanding tasks and does not mention emotional intelligence demanding ones.

Overall, the book is good and enjoyable. I recommend it.

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