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Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
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Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  125,123 ratings  ·  10,284 reviews
Popular blogger Cal Newport reveals the new key to achieving success and true meaning in professional life - the ability to master distraction. Many modern knowledge workers now spend most of their brain power battling distraction and interruption, whether because of the incessant pinging of devices, noisy open-plan offices or the difficulty of deciding what deserves your ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published January 12th 2016 by Piatkus Non Fiction (first published January 5th 2016)
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Anthony Kim I read this book twice. It really impacted the way I do work.

I am a medical physicist, with responsibilities in the clinic as well academically. Afte…more
I read this book twice. It really impacted the way I do work.

I am a medical physicist, with responsibilities in the clinic as well academically. After I read this book I stacked all of my rote clinical duties into two-week piles and plowed through them, leaving months to focus on my academic work as well as clinical projects that meant a lot to me.

I also have applied this at home with my writing, and likewise got way more productive.

It's a pretty good book. I view it as a wake-up call to a distracted world: just focus on one thing at a time and you'll be a happier, more productive person.(less)
Frank Chang "So good they can't ignore you" is worth a read. It's different from Deep Work. It's really about how to stand out in the professional world. Doing De…more"So good they can't ignore you" is worth a read. It's different from Deep Work. It's really about how to stand out in the professional world. Doing Deep Work will compliment that stand out and make your own lane; but "So Good" has very good advice on how to make you be a special breed in the work space.(less)

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Adam Zerner
Dec 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Overview: the thesis is that deep work is both rare and valuable in todays world. That's about 1/3 of the book. The rest of the book is practical advice on how to pursue deep work.

Part of me feels like a lot of what was said in the book is common sense. Particularly things that people know but can't find the willpower to do. I think that there is some truth to this. But there's also a difference between "knowing", and *knowing*. I think this book can help take a lot of people from "knowing" to *
Rachel Bayles
Jan 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: professional
If you do one thing to improve your life this year, subscribe to Dr. Newport's blog and start reading his books. I would suggest starting with "So Good They Can't Ignore You" and then read "Deep Work." They compliment each other. The first helps you sort out what you should be focusing on, and the second one tells you how to make sure what's important gets done. Over the years I've read lots of productivity books, and the related literature. But his approach to work impacts me everyday, and noth ...more
Jan 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Worth reading. Helped me make some drastic changes in my schedule. I will post an update how these changes went after six months.

What I learned: (spoiler alerts)

1. Figure out what is most valuable to your success.
2. Spend most of the time on it, mostly in the early hours of your day where your attention span is long.
3. Try to spend at least 3 deep sessions on it approx. 90 min each.
4. Almost anything other than your main task is a shallow task.
5. Bunch all the shallow tasks into one deep task.
Feb 28, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help
It is easy to lose yourself in shallow work - I'll agree with the author. Other than that, there is very little of value or substance in this book. You might want to review your excessive tweeting. You might stop using Facebook altogether. You might abandon email.

The problem is that the real ideas (have sender filter their own email, take time away from office, take email sabbaticals) might work for specialists, freelancers, entry-level workers or academics, like the author. But not once does th
Paras Kapadia
Apr 14, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
File under - Shallow writing that should have been a blogpost at best.

This book is mostly random commentary on other people's work and content. Almost nothing is original and no studies have been conducted by the author himself. The author's contribution is simply - this researcher found this, I do it this way and you should do it too.

The irony of this book is that the subject matter expert on deep work has produced such shallow content.
Always Pouting
Apr 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I kind of have been procrastinating a lot lately, even my reading has fallen off, this social distancing and shut down has really torpedoed my routines so reading this feels timely and a good reminder of the need to prioritize and cut out superfluous activities. I'm not sure that this book needed to be as long as it was to be quite honest and I felt similarly about the other Newport book I read. The book makes a lot of intuitive arguments and I think most of us know the importance of being more ...more
A shallow, poor quality book about deep work. The central idea is about scheduling distraction free blocks of time to help you reach a state of flow with your work so you can achieve more. The useful content could be summed up in about 10 pages. The rest of it is mind-numbing padding. For a guy who doesn’t want his time wasted, he wasn’t exactly respectful of his reader’s time. I grew quickly tired of hearing about how awesome this author is. Some of his comments on business versus academia are ...more
Mar 02, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ideal advice for folks whose top priority is to achieve elite levels of professional success by capitalistic metrics -- namely by jumping through golden hoops very swiftly. The author, for one, is a professor whose goals are to secure tenure, publish a ton of highly cited academic papers, and win the equivalent of a Nobel prize. If your life goals sound similar, he's got tips for making it happen.

This book is less useful for people whose priorities include critiquing/reforming elitist institutio
Feb 15, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This had a lot of valuable ideas about the importance of deep work and how to do it. Most people are going to buy into this concept easily enough, but Cal did a nice job further arguing it with some examples, various research, and so on...but this book also felt like a very good 100-page book that was stretched into a mediocre 260-page book. It's repetitive. And his research often relies on the "correlation = causation" mistake. For example, someone gives up social media, so instead of writing 4 ...more
Chadi Raheb
Deep work at a glance:

📌Periodic isolation —week/days/hours (for reading, thinking, new ideas)

✅ Quit (or at least strictly manage) social media

✅ Go online when you have a reason! (Make a list)

✅ 4-hour work/concentration law (+ cheat-hour)

✅ Have a routine

📌 ❓Have a ritual (start + end)

✅ Pomodoro technique

✅Have deadlines: shorter than anticipated

✅ Let others know about your personal routine/isolation

✅Combining an activity which doesn’t need much mental effort (e.g. walking) with analyzing/thinki
Jan 26, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Many good pts, but barely any women and a single unneeded Trump reference
Feb 22, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Background: Read this during the evenings while attending a scientific conference where I had to concentrate on lectures that I didn't understand 90% of, but still seemed fascinating.

This is not a masterpiece, it's not even a self-help book. You would expect someone that advocates deep work to have put a little bit of deep work into a book about it. It doesn't seem so. Maybe the author was too busy writing and publishing the nine peer-reviewed articles that he keeps claiming to have published wh
Jan 12, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: will-not-finish
I read 50% of the book and then went online to find if someone had summarized the rest for me. Somehow, Cal Newport has both convinced me that deep work is definitely necessary and that he has no idea what he's talking about.

I can't say it better than Natalie Luhrs: "Cal Newport’s Deep Work is both a useful and an incredibly infuriating work to read: there are a lot of really good productivity strategies but they’re encased in a layer of academic tech-bro privilege of which he seems to be wholly
Amir Tesla
Jun 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing, amazing. This book is going to drastically help me reach the optimum level of productivity I've been seeking.

This marvelous book provides you with a great mindset, valuing deep work resulting in astonishing achievements.

The deep work book is organized in two sections:

1. The first convinces you of the importance and necessity of deep work in order to live a fulfilling and productive life.

2. The second part of the book begins to offer practical advices on cultivating a deep work rout
Feb 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Deep Work was a solid self-help/productivity book. Being a podcast junkie, I had heard the majority of things that Newport preaches in his book. However, I really appreciated his practical applications of how to enter into Deep Work, or 'the zone' as I call it.


In Deep Work, the author tells a story of a young consultant who automates his work responsibilities using Excel macros. He then studied computer programming to increase his worth in the workforce. I, too, am a cons
Nov 09, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

Say you were shoring up an ideology of service. Where besides abstract idealism would you draw from? Well, America's "me first" set has some very practical things figured out. Habits of mind that help them get "ahead" in the workplace.

This book is a great example of the kinds of literature they produce - it contains important information and some actually good critiques/ techniques for sharpening attention and the effectiveness of one's work. Newport is a very clear writer with a vast view of t
Eva P.
Sep 08, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish
The ideas - as far as I read- were good. But the too many examples of white men that have used those ideas first and succeeded, plus the fact that the writer disregards other variables (like all kinds of privilege, economic status, personal preferences etc) made me lose interest to even skim it to the end.
Peter (catching up)
“Deep Work is the professional activities 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.”
Cal Newport offers a very compelling argument as to the value of finding organising those periods when we all need to focus on the work/knowledge we need to obtain to further our professional goals and ambitions. Newport cites examples of key influential and high
Jan 20, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Given that the subject is depth, this is a surprisingly shallow book. The author is a scientist but does not add scientific rigor to this topic. He mainly sticks to the level of anecdote with more "I" "I" "I" than Ricky Ricardo.

Why not just read the original books he is summarizing?
Flow The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi The 4 Disciplines of Execution Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals by Chris McChesney Getting Things Done The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals

The content is not generally B
da AL
Jul 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Practical how-to's as well as researched encouragement to be wary of how much time we give away to anything other than our true passions. By working hard and then playing hard, we can achieve better focus in less time. Audiobook performer Jeff Bottoms reads well. ...more
David Rubenstein
This is an engaging, short book about how to achieve deep work. The first half of the book is devoted to explaining why deep work is important. The author claims that deep work is very important for any task that requires a deep level of cognitive thinking. In the first part of the book, the benefits of deep work are described. A lot of anecdotal evidence is presented, showing how some people who have deliberately removed distractions from their workplace, have made enormous progress towards the ...more
Chris Porter
Feb 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The ability to focus is the new IQ.

I heard that somewhere, from someone smart (or someone with a low IQ who was over compensating).

I realised my ability to focus on one task had degraded horrendously since getting a new smartphone. Since December I've been enjoying this smooth user experience by paying constant homage to the little screen of joy.

The day my usage hit 4 hours I knew I had a problem.

Then I started reading Deep Work.

In a world of distraction the ability to deep work is king. It is i
Caro (Bookaria)
Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2019
In a world filled with constant distractions and interruptions, our ability to focus deeply and produce quality work has become affected. This book discusses the importance of deep focus and concentration in creating results at work.

I value the author's ideas and found them helpful. My perspective regarding interruptions has shifted and I'm working on managing distractions better which in turn will improve overall efficiency.

Overall, a great book about productivity.
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-improvement
Deep Work is the way to success! Using studies from prestigious academic journals and think tanks, Newport shows that Deep Work is the best way to get quality results and learn the fastest. Newport gives a list of practices to master Deep Work and also shows the reader what to do to make Deep Work routine. College students should embrace Deep Work!
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cal Newport provides insight from his experience, research, and lessons from others on how to get in the flow of your work to be the most productive. I read this after his first book “So Good They Can’t Ignore You” and “Deep Work” helped to build on the lessons in the first book.

In general, the key is to find a good work flow by stimulating you in whatever works best and finding blocks of time without interruption to get deep work done. This seems like a good way to be most productive and is on
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Alternate title: Legalism for Dummies!

To be fair, I'm not the appropriate audience for this book. I'm a stay-at-home mom, not a "knowledge worker" looking to get ahead in today's economy. Also, I'm a pretty disciplined worker already, so I found most of his conclusions to be fairly obvious things that I already knew. But working deeply is not really a matter of what you know, it's a matter of what you're willing to do day after day, month after month, year after year. That's a heck of a lot toug
The Artisan Geek
What I learned from reading So Good They Can't Ignore You is that you can actually skim through Newport's books and extract the same information as if you were to read them thoroughly. The only difference is that you have saved yourself from reading an abundance of examples (mainly about white middle/upperclass men) and self congratulatory text, that at the very least, could have been easily whittled down.

Therefore this time, I skimmed through Deep Work and actually finished the book not
May 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Do you ever notice how the books written by people who talk about the writing process as a mechanical one are the most mediocre books? Hmm. Well, there's not much new here. Read the Erickson Peak book or the Flow book (can't pronounce that guy's name) or the countless other books (like the Shallows) about distraction and technology and you can skip this one. But that's not to say there aren't some helpful insights in here. Here are a few:

1. Quit all social media for a month and see if you miss i
Emma Sea
May 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of Newport's main building blocks here is the concept of ego depletion: that our willpower runs down the more we use it. More recent research has cast doubt on the original framing of ego depletion, but still it holds a deep sense of truthiness. Still, Newport's suggestions of ritualizing behaviors in order to minimize my likelihood of slipping into shallow work resonates with me.

It's noteworthy that the book is written for people whose day job involves deep work. If you're a peon during the
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: waiting
TL;DR It's better to focus on your work than pretend you do what you are supposed to do.

Also turn off wifi while you try to work.
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What's Next?: Book Review: Deep Work 1 15 Aug 08, 2021 01:18PM  
Goodreads Librari...: wildly incorrect first published date 3 21 Mar 17, 2021 12:47AM  
Did you apply any of the advice described in this book? 5 96 Nov 30, 2020 09:54PM  

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Cal Newport is Provost’s Distinguished Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University, and the author of seven books. His ideas and writing are frequently featured in major publications and on TV and radio.

From his website: "I write about the intersection of digital technology and culture. I’m particularly interested in our struggle to deploy these tools in ways that support instead of sub

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Cal Newport is a computer science professor at Georgetown University and the author of Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted...
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“If you don’t produce, you won’t thrive—no matter how skilled or talented you are.” 140 likes
“Clarity about what matters provides clarity about what does not.” 126 likes
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