Deep Work by Cal Newport:Book Review

Productivity books, we all read them

kinda is becoming my guilty pleasure at this point. However, I have to give the book “Deep Work” some credit. Although this is my second reading, I still find enormous meaning from it.

The book is a non-fiction thesis on how “knowledge work” is valued in the economy, and how top achievers actually succeed. It also tackles the idea of “information overload” in our modern digital age.

What is Deep Work?

“Professional activity performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate.”

Deep Work, in contrast to shallow work, is truly valuable in today’s economy. For example, 30 minutes of coding is much more “valuable” than 30 mins of email/message responding. Deep work is long, uninterrupted segments of intense focus that enables you to make quality work. Deep work is the work that enables one to produce their Magnum Opus, or at least work that they would be proud of.

How did the best become the greatest?

One thing that really stood out to me while reading was the formula of work quality.

$$ \ Quality \ of \ work = \ Time \ spent \times \ Intensity \ of \ focus $$ Newport gives numerous examples of winners in the economy who are successful because of their methodology to how they carry about doing their work. In this hyper-interconnected world, it happens that the achieves in their respective fields disconnect themselves for extended periods of time in order to satisfy this equation.

Cal denounces the culture of companies ordering their employs to maintain twitter/emails, and even open air offices, as they hinder in general productivity

Another interesting concept is the idea of attention residue. The book tells us that when we switch tasks in rapid succession, which has become the new normal in the multitasker-hustler fad we have today, is a terrible practice that both reduces attention, and quality of work.

What is in it for me/you?

So far, I have been a man of shallow work. This book really made me reconsider how I practice work. I highly recommend the book to anyone who has the hunger for success in this ever-changing economy.

You can find the book on Amazon

Happy reading!