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Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World (2016)

by Cal Newport

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3,077784,483 (4.02)15
Self-Improvement. Nonfiction. HTML:

Master one of our economy's most rare skills and achieve groundbreaking results with this "exciting" book (Daniel H. Pink) from an "exceptional" author (New York Times Book Review).
Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It's a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Deep Work will make you better at what you do and provide the sense of true fulfillment that comes from craftsmanship. In short, deep work is like a super power in our increasingly competitive twenty-first century economy. And yet, most people have lost the ability to go deep-spending their days instead in a frantic blur of e-mail and social media, not even realizing there's a better way.
In Deep Work, author and professor Cal Newport flips the narrative on impact in a connected age. Instead of arguing distraction is bad, he instead celebrates the power of its opposite. Dividing this book into two parts, he first makes the case that in almost any profession, cultivating a deep work ethic will produce massive benefits. He then presents a rigorous training regimen, presented as a series of four "rules," for transforming your mind and habits to support this skill.
1. Work Deeply
2. Embrace Boredom
3. Quit Social Media
4. Drain the Shallows
A mix of cultural criticism and actionable advice, Deep Work takes the reader on a journey through memorable stories-from Carl Jung building a stone tower in the woods to focus his mind, to a social media pioneer buying a round-trip business class ticket to Tokyo to write a book free from distraction in the air-and no-nonsense advice, such as the claim that most serious professionals should quit social media and that you should practice being bored. Deep Work is an indispensable guide to anyone seeking focused success in a distracted world.
An Amazon Best Book of 2016 Pick in Business & Leadership
Wall Street Journal Business Bestseller
A Business Book of the Week at 800-CEO-READ

.… (more)
  1. 10
    Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen (corporate_clone)
    corporate_clone: Deep Work relies in fact quite heavily on GTD. I believe GTD must be a quite important component of the Deep Work practice if it has to be successfully implemented.
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» See also 15 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
The first part of the book really tries to sell you on the value of deep work (vs. shallow work). I didn't really need the sales pitch, I'm already in on the value. But the later parts of the book provide practical applications and suggestions on how and when to set yourself up for deep work, how to avoid or minimize shallow work, and how to avoid distractions while maintaining focus. ( )
  teejayhanton | Mar 22, 2024 |
I find the self-help quality a bit tedious and the stories about successful people are examples selected a posteriori that do not offer statistical significance to the authors case... however there is enough useful advice that I found the book worthwhile. I would recommend any academic to at least skim the text. ( )
  yates9 | Feb 28, 2024 |
An interesting book to read along with David Allen's "Getting Things Done" (Allen is more practical).

Two parts. First part builds argument in favor of deep thinking instead of moving through life in a distracted haphazard method. Second part tries to give some practical advice along with stories of success.

Reaction- I will condense down what I need from the book into two or three pages of notes to apply in my life.

Good short read. ( )
1 vote wvlibrarydude | Jan 14, 2024 |
After reading Newport's HOW TO BECOME A STRAIGHT-A STUDENT (and loving it), I picked this one up immediately. I wasn't quite as enthralled by DEEP WORK as I was the previous book, but I still found it incredibly valuable and so timely.

Like many people, I've been finding myself wasting so much time in aimless distraction. I've been pulling out my phone to fill minutes of boredom (waiting in line, while the bread is toasting... I've even been reaching for it while stopped at red lights!) I knew something had to give. What I didn't realize is just how much damage I was doing by rewiring my brain to be craving that constant distraction.

Like some of the people mentioned in this book, I, too, thought I could just switch from distraction to focused work in a second. But the truth is, I can't. And without a steady practice of "deep work", that's just not going to happen.

I've been focusing on deep work on my own (without calling it that) for the past couple of months, but it was so nice to get some concrete tips and direction in this book that I can now apply to my day. I particularly appreciated the tips about scheduling and seeking out structure, even for leisure time. I've been reading more since I instituted a "no work after 5:30" rule (as per Newport), and not reaching for my cell phone every time I craved entertainment.

Another winner from Cal Newport. I look forward to many more! ( )
  Elizabeth_Cooper | Oct 27, 2023 |
This book is more of a habit management book. Its premise relies on the philosophy of limiting distraction, such as social media and unnecessary emails. Towards the end, it discusses strategies to reduce back-and-forth emails by providing an extra two minutes to discuss following steps and action items to Complete the inquiry. It also discusses how most people do not need social media, and the time spent on that could be best. Used to build more personal meaningful relationships. Although he didn’t note that some good can come out of it such as business relationships.

Why to Deep work
To court abilities for thriving in the new economy:
To court abilities for thriving in the new
Economy. The ability to quickly master heart things. Two, The ability to produce at an elite level, in terms of both quality and speed.

The author notes, a professor of informatics at the University of California Irvine professor Gloria Mark.

To do real good physics work, you need absolute solid length of time. It needs a lot of concentration.

Ironically, jobs are actually easier to enjoy than free time, because like flow activities, they have built in goals, feedback, rules, and challenges , all of which encourage want to become involved in one’s work to concentrate and to lose oneself in it. Free time, on the other hand, is unstructured and requires much greater effort to be shaped into something that can be enjoyed.

The author cites, a Greek concept of EUDAIMONIA which is a state in which you achieve your full human potential. Also known as a state of deep human flourishing

The author sites the law of vital field. In many settings, 80% of a given effect is due to just 20% of the possible causes.

In my experience, if you give your mind, something meaningful to do throughout all your walking hours, you’ll end the day, more fulfilled, and begin the next one more relaxed, then, if you instead allow your mind to bathe for hours, and semi conscious and unstructured web surfing.

Shallow work: non-cognitively, demanding, logistical style tasks, often perform while distracted. Easy to replicate.

The author concludes this reading by citing the story of Bill Gates, who was a young Harvard student in winter of 1974, who utilized deep work through hours of coding for a computer software. ( )
  kvan1993 | Jul 9, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
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Self-Improvement. Nonfiction. HTML:

Master one of our economy's most rare skills and achieve groundbreaking results with this "exciting" book (Daniel H. Pink) from an "exceptional" author (New York Times Book Review).
Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It's a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Deep Work will make you better at what you do and provide the sense of true fulfillment that comes from craftsmanship. In short, deep work is like a super power in our increasingly competitive twenty-first century economy. And yet, most people have lost the ability to go deep-spending their days instead in a frantic blur of e-mail and social media, not even realizing there's a better way.
In Deep Work, author and professor Cal Newport flips the narrative on impact in a connected age. Instead of arguing distraction is bad, he instead celebrates the power of its opposite. Dividing this book into two parts, he first makes the case that in almost any profession, cultivating a deep work ethic will produce massive benefits. He then presents a rigorous training regimen, presented as a series of four "rules," for transforming your mind and habits to support this skill.
1. Work Deeply
2. Embrace Boredom
3. Quit Social Media
4. Drain the Shallows
A mix of cultural criticism and actionable advice, Deep Work takes the reader on a journey through memorable stories-from Carl Jung building a stone tower in the woods to focus his mind, to a social media pioneer buying a round-trip business class ticket to Tokyo to write a book free from distraction in the air-and no-nonsense advice, such as the claim that most serious professionals should quit social media and that you should practice being bored. Deep Work is an indispensable guide to anyone seeking focused success in a distracted world.
An Amazon Best Book of 2016 Pick in Business & Leadership
Wall Street Journal Business Bestseller
A Business Book of the Week at 800-CEO-READ

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