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Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

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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.

304 pages, Paperback

First published January 5, 2016

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About the author

Cal Newport

117 books7,475 followers
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 subvert the things we care about in both our personal and professional lives."

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5 stars
60,264 (43%)
4 stars
50,370 (36%)
3 stars
20,281 (14%)
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1 star
1,729 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 11,101 reviews
Profile Image for Adam Zerner.
59 reviews107 followers
December 28, 2015
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 *knowing*. Additionally, there were also a good chunk of things that I didn't know before reading this book.

I gave this book a 5 star rating primarily because of how important I think the topic is. By following the advice, I think it could be genuinely life changing.

Things I personally am planning to change after reading the book:
- A rekindled commitment to eliminating distraction/shallow work from my life. I'm willing to be ruthless in this pursuit. Ex. no more reading marginally useful articles.
- A rekindled commitment to seek out hard things. As Paul Graham puts it, "run uphill".
- Research says that 4 hours is sort of the limit for how much legitimate deep work a human can do in one day. There are also tons of examples of successful people who only put in ~4 hours of deep work per day. So I don't feel (as) guilty anymore about the amount of actual work I get done each day.
- Setting a cutoff point each day. "I don't do any work after 7:00pm". Your brain needs to recharge, and before it can recharge, it needs the confidence to know that there won't be any more incoming work requests until morning. I've noticed that being "constantly on" really stresses me out and makes me less productive, so it needs to stop.
- To end the day, a shutdown ritual is useful. Particularly to make sure there's nothing urgent left to do, and to organize your tasks. This way, your mind won't be worried that it shut down too early and needs to get back to work.
- Previously I was skeptical about the limits of willpower and thought I could just "wing it". Overall I'm still skeptical, but I'm less skeptical and I plan on taking advantage of things that reduce the need for willpower.
- In particular, I plan on sticking to a schedule. If I'm explicitly scheduled to be working from 10am-noon, I'll be less inclined to come up with excuses to procrastinate.
- The idea isn't to constrain yourself though; the schedule can be flexible. The idea is that by putting deliberate thought into what you do, you'll be less inclined to procrastinate.
- It's important to plan ahead so that things like hunger don't interfere with your work.
- Perhaps the most important thing I learned from this book is how dangerous it is to constantly cave in to procrastination cravings. Ex. needing to check your phone for the 30 seconds you spend waiting in line. Doing this basically atrophies your willpower muscles and makes it harder to engage in deep work. Next time you're working on something but are tempted to check Facebook, you won't be able to resist. You're too used to caving in. And even if you do resist, the temptation itself will be distracting. I've actually noticed that these sorts of things happen to me and I hate it. So I'm serious about following the advice to cold turkey eliminate procrastination during designated deep work periods, and to not be constantly occupied. Ex. I don't need to watch YouTube videos while I brush my teeth and get dressed in the morning.
- I'm quitting Facebook. To me, the upside is clearly not worth the downside of having that temptation.
- Productive meditation: take a period where you’re occupied physically but not mentally - walking, jogging, driving, showering - and focus your attention on a problem.

Aside from the core content of the book, I really enjoyed all of the stories and anecdotes. There are a lot of interesting tidbits about the lives of famous and successful people.

Overall, I thought the book was extremely well written. It was very clear and understandable. It was broken down into understandable sections and subsections. And I thought Cal (the author) did a *fantastic* job of using stories to illustrate his points. I've noticed that a lot of writers struggle with this and spend too much time in the abstract. Cal made everything very concrete (in addition to making the abstract point clear).

I should note that almost none of the arguments in this book are air tight. You could poke holes at them. But if he were to make them air tight, the book would be thousands and thousands of pages long.
Profile Image for Rachel Bayles.
373 reviews127 followers
June 13, 2016
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 nothing has done more to change how I work and how I define success.
7 reviews15 followers
January 14, 2016
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.
6. Nature helps to retain your attention span.
7. Email and Internet in general is a huge attention sucker.

What I disliked:
1. It is hard to remember what the rules are after reading the whole book. "So good they cannot ignore you" did a better job at this.
2. I did not like the way the content is organized. Three/four huge chapters.
3. Some places it felt like fillers.
Profile Image for Holger.
103 reviews21 followers
March 7, 2017
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 the book mention managers or Cadre positions, who drown in email but are required to respond fast and to use email as the primary tool.

Another problem is that the author continously touts his own horn. How many grants he got. How many children he fathered. How many books he wrote. How much he travels.

If you want original ideas, this is the wrong place. Read David Allen instead, whose ideas permeate this book to a degree, but who cannot be quoted every second page although he should be.
Profile Image for Paras Kapadia.
97 reviews21 followers
April 18, 2017
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.
Profile Image for Always Pouting.
568 reviews717 followers
October 6, 2020
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 deliberate about what we do and trying to engage in things that challenge us and help us grow. Its more so the implementation/execution that's the issue with a lot of these productivity related things in my experience. It can be useful though to read these things once in a while to reinforce those ideas or to try and recalibrate oneself into being more mindful/cultivating better habits. Four starts mostly because I think I needed this at this moment to help me get myself back into the habit of doing more work instead of just napping and watching TV all day. I really hope this shut down ends soon honestly.
Profile Image for Mary-ellen.
332 reviews28 followers
July 15, 2018
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 arrogant - especially his assumptions about how long it would take the average grad to learn various business tasks.

While I agree with the value of deep work, it’s not a new idea. And there’s nothing new here. I closed this book wondering if Cal Newport has it all wrong. I think he might do better to get off the academic publishing treadmill he has shackled himself to and prioritise quality over quantity in future.
Profile Image for Kony.
396 reviews240 followers
March 6, 2016
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 institutions, cultivating deep and meaningful relationships (and not sacrificing these for worldly success), practicing forms of love that don't necessarily advance one's career, and mentoring others who have grown up with fewer privileges than your typical "knowledge worker." The author isn't offering advice about how to keep and nourish the relationships that, for some, make professional "success" worth pursuing.

That said, he smartly describes the kind of tunnel vision and hard-nosed decision making that constitute an *efficient* path to capitalistic success for aspiring elite experts.
Profile Image for Chadi Raheb.
332 reviews349 followers
May 6, 2023
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

✅ 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/thinking deeply about a specific problem

Profile Image for Chris.
Author 2 books5 followers
February 25, 2016
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 papers in a year, they now can write 9 papers, so the clear reason is because they gave up social media (and other shallow things), right?

....Hmm, not exactly.

That probably does play a part, but someone naturally gets smarter as their career progresses (at least in the beginning), so the speed and quality of their work likely improves. Plus, researchers build off their previous research, which I assume makes it easier for them to publish more, more easily. As well, in the world of academic publishing, you might get asked to be a co-author on a paper (such as the 4th or 5th author), especially as your stature in the discipline grows, and when you're a 4th or 5th author, your contribution might be very little, thus taking very little of your time.

In this book, Cal implies that Bill Gates is as successful as he is, because of his commitment to deep work. Well...sure, but also a "right place at the right time" situation, right (see the Malcolm Gladwell essay about this in "Outliers"), as well as just natural intelligence and aptitude--things that Cal kind of ignores or shrugs off.

An author like Jonathan Franzen can more easily shrug off Twitter and other social media, and instead engage in mostly deep work, because anything he writes gets a lot of attention already, because he's a famous/popular author. A less well-known author does need to prioritize deep work, but also probably has to tweet and do some of these other "shallow tasks," as that's how people build up attention for their product/brand, when the world won't automatically pay attention to it. Yes, the actual work itself should be more important, but this other component is also (unfortunately) important to the success (money/attention) of their deep work. These are things Cal seems to mostly ignore (in between reminding you every five pages that he published 9 papers in a year).

So I found some of his conclusions slightly flawed (in their methods or their data to back it up), even if the point of the conclusions (that you will be more productive if you eliminate shallow tasks), I did buy.
Profile Image for Liong.
132 reviews84 followers
April 12, 2023
Loved his book "Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World."

Now I read his other book "Deep Work". I understand that deep concentration in working is very crucial.

Deep work helps us quickly learn and understand hard things.

Deep means we must focus intensely without distraction.

High-Quality Work Produced = (Time Spent) x (Intensity of Focus).

This book mentioned many famous people such as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, J.K. Rowling, and so on.
Profile Image for Lara.
14 reviews11 followers
February 2, 2016
Many good pts, but barely any women and a single unneeded Trump reference
Profile Image for Andrea.
151 reviews31 followers
February 22, 2017
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 while writing this book.

What annoyed me about this little book:

- It's too long for its content - concentrate on your work and you'll get results. Thank you, captain.
- It considers its readers pretty much idiots, by assuming that they are addicted to social media and email, which might not exactly be the case, since people that read books in general are not the type that spend their days texting and writing long, pointless emails.
- It assumes that being on social media equals spending your entire waking hours tweeting and sharing pointless content, not taking into account the impact it has on small business owners that rely on social media to grow their businesses and communicate with their audiences. It also has this all-or-nothing attitude that never helps.
- In the whole book there are two (!!) examples of women who use deep work successfully in their lives. Really, Cal, you could only find two women in the whole world to use as examples?
- There's an extreme emphasis on programming and research in programming and how useful deep work is for that. I have a hunch that most people who want/wanted to read this book have no interest in either programming or scientific research on programming related matters.
- It's repetitive.

What I liked about this book:
- The idea that you can train yourself to increase your capacity for concentration and your attention span by deliberately working on something cognitively difficult (or even physically difficult, why not) every single day.

As paradoxically as it sounds, I'd only recommend this book to those people who won't read it anyway.
Profile Image for Sisi.
64 reviews5 followers
January 13, 2018
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 unaware."

Actually interesting tips and studies are buried beneath mountains of worship for white, male CEOs, as well as a complete unawareness or acknowledgment for the type of privilege you need to have in order to follow the tips he's giving.

Read a book summary instead of the actual book. Natalie's blog post, which I found by Googling, does a pretty good job here: http://www.pretty-terrible.com/i-read...
Profile Image for نیما اکبرخانی.
Author 3 books121 followers
September 12, 2019
این کتاب هم از اون کاسبی های خوب من از پادکست بی پلاس بود.
کلا پادکست بی پلاس رو گوش بدید کتاب های غیر داستانی خوب که نه عالی ای رو معرفی می‌کنه. واقعا من هیچ ساخت و پاختی با علی بندری ندارم ، پادکستش خوبه.
اما این کتاب هم همونطور که از جملات بالا معلومه داستانی نیست. راجع به کار کردنه البته نه کارهای یدی.
کار رو ابتدا توضیح می ده بعد می‌آد توضیح میده کسانی که کار غیر یدی انجام می دادن و موفق بودن در سطح جهانی رو بررسی می کنه که اون ها چطور کار می کردن . توضیحی که منجر می شه به تعریف کار عمیق و بعد هم دستور العمل هایی برای عملیاتی کردن این کار.
این کتاب از کتاب های خودیاری هستش و احتمالا توی کتاب فروشی های واقعی و مجازی لای یه سری کتاب موفقیت در کسب و کار خیلی چرت و پرت طبقه بندی می شه (متاسفانه) ولی اصلا از جنس اون ها نیست و یه کتاب خیلی علمی برگرفته از یه عالمه تحقیق علوم اعصاب و روانشناسی و کلی مصاحبه با آدم های موفق نوشته شده توسط یه استاد دانشگاه با سابقه که یه عمری زحمت کشیده. کتاب روش های زیادی رو ارائه می ده که من فکر می کنم به درد خیلی ها بخوره.
Profile Image for Amir Tesla.
161 reviews669 followers
September 25, 2017
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 routine along with tactics to refine and preserve it constantly

This book was really amazing, incredibly well written, enriched with great amount of refined experience and I absolutely recommend it to any one who longs productivity and achievement of gigantic results and accomplishments.
Profile Image for Sara Kamjou.
597 reviews295 followers
March 26, 2020
عنوان کتاب، یعنی کار عمیق، دقیقا گویای محتواشه! بله این کتاب در مورد مزایا، مسیر و نحوه‌ی عمیق شدن تو کارهایی می‌پردازه که تمرکز داشتن، تأثیر زیادی رو کیفیت کار داره.
اگر عادت دارید چند تا کار رو همزمان انجام بدین و یا براتون سخته روی یه کار متمرکز بمونین، این کتاب می‌تونه پیشنهاد خوبی باشه.
تنها نقطه ضعفش این بود که یک جاهایی دچار تکرار می‌شد و می‌تونست کوتاه‌تر باشه.
+ من نسخه صوتی کتاب با صدای حسین غلامی رو گوش دادم که کیفیت خوبی هم داشت اما نسخه‌ی متنی رو هم خریدم و خواهم خوندش. به نظرم در مورد این کتاب، اگر فرصت دارین، خوندن نسخه متنی احتمالا مفیدتر باشه.
یادگاری از کتاب:
هر قدر سعی کنید کار بیشتری انجام دهید، کار کمتری انجام خواهید داد.
عادت کنید به چیزهای کوچک بد اجازه بدهید تا اتفاق بی‌افتند. اگر این کار را نکنید، هیچوقت زمان لازم را برای کارهای بزرگ متحول‌کننده نخواهید یافت.
Profile Image for Scott.
75 reviews61 followers
February 25, 2017

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 consultant, and this is exactly what I'm doing with UX design. I'm getting myself out of the mundane work of project management, and moving toward the thought-provoking and challenging field of design.


- Deep work is a skill that can and must be developed to be successful in knowledge work. Leaders in the next generation will have the power to put away distraction and enter into deep work.

- Working creatively with machines is one of the three types of people who will success in the new economy. UX designers are right in line with this thinking. AN added benefit is being able to work remote and control your work environment.

- Knowledge work is not supposed to be shown through producing X amount of widgets. It shouldn't be solely measured by quantity of hours worked or public messages/deliverables sent. Quality is what really matters.

- When telling people that you're busy, they will respect it. Deep work stretches are always understood if they are well defined, and well communicated to those trying to get your attention.

-3 Methods of Deep Work:
The habitual 'rhythmic method' of deep work is more sustainable and actually produces more hours of deep work cumulatively. It becomes engrained in us as scheduled thinking time. Try waking up early and starting your day with a few hours of deep work. Over times, this habit will increase your ability to think deeply (work it out just like a muscle).

By and large, most jobs don't allow you to disappear for large chunks of time. The 'monastic method' of deep work is rarely doable.

Fitting in deep work whenever you can into your schedule is called the 'journalistic approach'. Walter Isaacson exemplified this method in writing his novels on the side of his job as the NY Times lead editor.


- To learn quickly, you need to study for long periods of time consistently. This is neurologically proven.

- Force yourself to concentrate by locking away digital distractions. To write comprehensive thoughts, put away and limit distractions, interruptions, and constant checking of messages.

-Perform a 'shut down' complete action that signifies the end of your professional work day

-Regularly rest your mind to improve frequently and intensity of deep work (e.g. short walks, water breaks)

- Embrace boredom - Don't flee from being bored! Allow your mind to relax and be un-stimulated. Your mind cannot come up with creative solutions and personal insights if it is constantly bombarded with digital stimulus. If you cannot allow yourself to be bored for more than a few minutes without mindlessly swiping around on your phone, then you are not ready for deep work. Your mind has been conditioned for distraction. It's being rewired.

- Study like Theodore Roosevelt - Focus in short intense bursts of deep work, not long drawn out marathon study sessions filled with interruptions

- The 'any benefit' reason for using social media platforms is not a good reason for using them. This reason essentially says that if something provides 'any benefit' then it is worth using. This is a trick! We must focus on the best uses of our time, not merely on good uses of our time.

- Get off social media, cold turkey. Don't announce it. See who actually notices that you're gone. You'll be surprised by how many won't miss you from social networks. Sad, but true.


"I'll live the focused life, because it's the best life to live." - Winfield Gallagher
Profile Image for Obied Alahmed.
242 reviews143 followers
November 10, 2022
حقيقة هذا الكتاب من ناحيتي الشخصية هو أهم ما قرأت بل هو باكورة قراءاتي كلها وهو ذو منفعة كبيرة إن شاء الله

ثانيا من ناحيتكم أتمنى من كل قلبي أن لا تخلو مكتبة من مكتباتكم من هذا الكتاب وأشدد على أهمية اقتنائه ورقيا ولو اتيح لكم صوتيا أو بي دي اف
فلا تتوانو أن تقتنوه لاحقا ورقيا واجعلوه في مكان مميز في مكتباتكم

خلاصة الكتاب أنه يجب أن تكون على قدر عال من التركيز بكلمة آخرى اعصر مخك لآخر قطرة يمكن أن تستفيدها

الجزء الأول من الكتاب مخصص لعرض أهمية التركيز بأدلة فعلية وحقيقية تنطبق علينا جميعا واظهار أن ما نعيشه هو حالة تشتت و ضياع وقت وجهد بسبب المشتتات حولنا وعدم إدارتنا ليومنا بشكل صحيح

الجزء الثاني أدوات عملية تفيدك لتحقيق هذا التركيز الفعال
Profile Image for Angela.
124 reviews23 followers
November 10, 2016

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 the literature. He’s fun and easy to read. He is good at digesting big ideas.

Some of the most important ideas/literatures covered here:

- Getting COMFORTABLE with sustained depth of focus on a task, and how to wean yourself off dependence on distraction.

- Sustained discussion of what happens to those who are somehow uncomfortable or even afraid of going deep into non-distracted focus on their work

- Attention fatigue and the value of systematic idleness

- Attention residue - especially the work of Sophie Leroy. This is BIG! CHECK IT OUT.

- Deliberate practice. Also a big and important literature, wonderfully summarized here.

- A specific explanation for why internet is addictive, why it is pathetically easy to build an audience there, how it keeps you from having a full life, and how it exploits you.

- A fun-to-read, logical and convincing critique of social media use that everyone in the healing professions would do well to consider.

As part of this last item, Newport gives the best, most clear analysis I’ve seen of what happens when the energy flows around social media go awry. It’s cool that he can go back stage and see the social media industry for what it is. And it's ironic he doesn't have the same ability to see through the achieverist culture this book seeks to fuel. His central thesis is that because deep work is both increasingly rare and increasingly useful in the workplace, the few who learn and practice it will be poised to get the top jobs in their respective professions. The unnecessary driving force of the narrative, then, is all about scrambling your individual ass to the top of your particular heap.

You don't have to share a person's ideology to learn from them... so much the better if you take this books tricks for selfish gain and subvert them to an ideology of love and service. Because the book is so straightforward, it's easy to reverse-exploit it in this way.

So I suggest activists and those in the healing profession get on this and other stuff like it. You can scan it quickly - it's written simply enough that ironically you don't need to go as deep as I did to get the gist of Deep Work! It’s an easy a way to absorb the recent literatures on attention. It’s well written and quick and the author has covered the field.

The thing is, we in the healing professions and activism work with ATTENTION. Fundamentally. We know all about attention from the great books and from our personal practices, but also, the scientistic culture has actually discovered new things about attention in the last ten years. Patanjali and the Buddha aren’t everything specifically because they didn’t understand the challenges we face in the present day. It's worth knowing what the psychologists are saying about the effects of workplace design and the internet on fragmentation of attention. Their findings are kind of gross.

The background assumptions of this book, if seen clearly, offer a unique opportunity to see how the corporate-industrial achieverist mindset operates. For example, Newport likes to make fun of women for doing their jobs - see the comments on Jennifer Winer, on the Yahoo CEO, on the NYT journalist he assumes to be a twitter user not because she wants to be but because some boss told her to do it. That’s not actually Cal talking, it’s the background hum of the boys' club. Of course he has a hard time taking women in leadership quite seriously. On the masculine side, he expresses a slavish commitment to being at some sort of “top” of his field, to meeting the benchmarks, to being one of the top performers - this must be a very heavy load of anxiety and self-discipline for most in the boys club to bear. Newport has made a career of teaching people how to carry it, writing ultra-high-end self-help books for the status-anxious.

So he ends up extolling crazy selfish stuff like free-riding on all the committee work that goes with being an academic. Fully 50% of a pre-tenure professor’s work is contributing to a collective and educating young ones. Archetypically feminine work. But Newport finds himself worshipping the likes of diva Richard Feynman. Every department has divas like this, of course. They are old, white dinosaurs who still believe their “contributions to the field” and “making of their name” is more important than showing up like everyone else to help their institutions run smoothly. This is not an ideology of success, it’s just the purest expression of free-riderism that kept the last generation of divas at the top. The best organizations of the future, though, don’t want divas. They want team players. Deep working divas are well known, and they are stuck where they are, without close colleagues, without the other deep thing the rest of us enjoy in our professional lives: deep relationships.

Towards the end of the book, Newport coins the most neoliberal term I have ever encountered - “productive meditation.” The interiorization of spiritual capitalism par excellence! This is one of the techniques in Deep Work that I won't be carrying forward.

In summary, this book inspired me and verified suspicions I've had for a while about the nature of attention in the current economy. It is a perfect expression if its time. And it gives insight on the collective attentional neuroses we are currently generating.

We in the healing professions can very easily look askance at achieverists who haven’t figured out how to do truly meaningful work (i.e. service) that goes beyond the atomized self-promoting professional. But insofar as we uncritically fall prey to the zeitgeist produced by neoliberal culture, and insofar as we let ourselves become tools of the tools - instagram, Facebook, whathaveyou - then we’re actually in the most ironic position of all.

The meaning in our work involves the transmission of a grounded, peaceful awareness, and of an ethos of expanding and clarifying consciousness. And this doesn’t work if we are not smart about how and with what tools we work. We're not all that useful to others if we succumb to the vata-deranged distraction that surrounds us and that everyone we meet wants to escape, if only for a 90 minute session. We have to be stronger than the collective drive toward fragmenting attention. This book provides some good defensive armor against the unconsciousness and the selfishness that we all aim to transcend.
Profile Image for Hossein.
238 reviews39 followers
March 28, 2020
اگر 6 ستاره ای وجود داشت قطعا به این کتاب میدادم
بزرگترین مشکلی که من با بعضی از کتاب ها دارم اضافه گویی هست چیزی که این کتاب دقیقا نقطه مقابلشه
یعنی خط به خط و کلمه به کلمه این کتاب سر جای خودشه وهمین باعث شد که برای خوندن این کتاب حقیقتا به ذهنم فشار بیارم. چون اینقدر جذاب بود که نمیتونستم زمین بزارمش و از طرفی تمامش نکته و درسه
واقعا نمیشه حق مطلب رو ادا کرد فقط پیشنهاد میدم که حتما حتما بخونیدش مخصوصا اگر کار علمی می کنید
در مورد ترجمه
ترجمه نشر شمشاد خوبه ولی دو تا ایراد بزرگ داره که به همون خاطر توصیه میکنم سراغش نرید:
اول: کاملا مشخصه این اثر حتی یک بار هم ویرایش نشده. یعنی ایراداتی توش هست که خدا شاهده در هیچ کتابی ندیدم ( مثلا یک جا یک جمله از ترجمه حذف شده ناشر محترم به جاش 3 تا نقطه گذاشته) همچنین برای کم حجم کردن کتاب فاصله خطوط رو روی 0.5 تنظیم کردن که شاید چشم رو اذیت کنه
دوم: متاسفانه بعضی جاها نویسنده به سلیقه خودش متن رو ترجمه نکرده که برای من غیر قابل قبوله. مثلا یک جا در کتاب نقل قولی شده از فیلم گود ویل هانتینگ که نویسنده اصن ترجمه نکرده. یا در قسمتی که نویسنده بازی تمرین حافظه با کارت ها رو داره توضیح میده مثال کارت و دونالد ترامپ رو کلا حذف کره مترجم که به شدت باعث سردرگمی خواننده میشه.
پ.ن: واقعا دم علی بندری و پادکست بی پلاسش گرم که منو با این شاهکار آشنا کرد
Profile Image for Eva P..
9 reviews1 follower
September 8, 2016
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.
Profile Image for SeyedMahdi Hosseini.
119 reviews67 followers
April 4, 2020
تکنیکها و نکات کاربردی ارزشمندی داشت و مفید بود. با اینحال در خصوص فلسفه ی تمرکز، به پای کتاب اینترنت با مغز ما چه می کند نیکلاس کار نمی رسید
در انتهای کتاب دو سه صفحه نتیجه گیری داشت که تقریبا چکیده ی کل مباحث رو پوشش می داد. در مجموع از وقتی که گذاشتم و مطالعه کردم راضی هستم
Profile Image for Andy.
1,377 reviews467 followers
October 7, 2021
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 BS; it's just not new; e.g. Stop looking at your email all day. The part that seems like BS is the overselling of "Deep Work" as if it's a trick you can use to be as successful as Bill Gates; this seems to miss the directionality of the causation that allows someone to do original and productive work in an area.
August 25, 2018
“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 achieving individuals such as JK Rowling and Bill Gates where they each notoriously became obsessively focused when they needed to achieve the important deliverables or direction they needed in their professional goals.

In a world where information is coming at us in greater variety, velocity and volume, we find ourselves unable to consume enough of or the right information, amidst all the noise. In a contrary way, as the information availability accelerates the less we effectively absorb as valuable and usable content. To be expert or at least highly capable in our work area, we need to build on strong learned foundations so we can deal with the inevitable problems with much more confidence and resourcefulness.

I would be a strong advocate for subconscious processing of information, and deep though periods, as long as we can secure the undistracted downtime for it to be properly embedded into our thinking and rationalisation processes. Newport provides a framework for achieving this way of deep life, but it does require drastic changes to your lifestyle. This may not be for everyone and certainly seems to be more geared towards those in pursuit of academic accomplishment or specialised achievement.

Newport does suggest that to live the life of Deep Work we need to put the distraction of social media aside so we can deploy our minds to its fullest capacity to create things that matter. While I accept that social media can consume considerable time that is of little value, there are many roles in today’s society and workplace that require constant engagement with customers, suppliers, colleagues and online audiences. Like many things in life, it’s all about balance and I would recommend the Deep Thought approach as part of a daily regime but not to the exclusion of all other interactions. It is difficult to account for every minute of the day and attribute it towards a valuable contribution and I can imagine this will lead to frustration rather than reconciliation.
Profile Image for Ali.Deris.
83 reviews31 followers
August 19, 2022
✔️ ا�� نکات خیلی خوبی که این کتاب بهش اشاره میکنه : تکه تکه کردن زمان و وقتِ با ارزش با چک کردن مداومِ توئیتر و اینستا و غیره ست . برای جلوگیری از این مورد میشه ساعات خاصی رو برای اینکار در نظر بگیریم و فقط در اون ساعات از این شبکه ها و برنامه ها استفاده کنیم . (تمرین کنترل کردن خودمون!)

✔️ خیلی از مطالب کتاب مربوط به استفاده ی صحیح و کارمد از ایمیل ه به طوری که باعث اتلاف وقتمون نشه . که البته این روزا خیلی ایمیل پرکاربرد نیست و گرایش بیشتر به سمت شبکه های اجتماعی از جمله اینستا - واتس اپ و ...

✔️ روش دقیقی برای برنامه ریزی ارائه نمیده! (از نظر من البته) و فکر میکنم همگی اطلاعات خوبی از مدیریت زمان داریم اما چگونگی برنامه ریزی و عمل به برنامه ست که برامون اهمیت ویژه ای داره 👍

✔️ اشخاصی رو مثال میزنه (از جمله بیل گیتس) که همگی نخبه و نابغه هستند و میگه که با این روش (کار عمیق) به نتیجه رسیدن ... نمیشه اینو اثبات کرد! میشه ؟؟

✔️ خیلی زیاد در مورد کار عمیق توضیح میده 😪 و اگر مطالب تکراری حذف بشه شاید حجم کتاب ۱/۴ بشه! و چقدر موضوع ایمیل رو بررسی میکنه ...

✔️ پیاده سازی روش های گفته شده در کتاب راحت نیست ... همگی به روند کاری شرکت های کشورمون کم و بیش آشنایی دارید 🤭 معمولا به چیزی جز تولید و سود بیشتر فکر نمی کنن .. کتاب میگه که multitasking باعث عدم تمرکز و در نتیجه انجام نشدن کار به صورت عمیق ه . خب این درست اما در محیط های کاری ما و شرکت ها و ... میشه فقط یک کار رو انجام داد!؟

🗯 پ‌ . ن : برای من کتابی کارآمد و کاربردی نشد این کتاب اما اطلاعات مفیدی هم داشت انصافا . خوندنش خالی از لطف نیست اما با نخوندنش مطلب خیلی مهمی هم از دست نمیدید ... ترجیح میدم صادقانه بگم تا اینکه بیخود و بی جهت از کتاب تمجید کنم و مثلا بگم این کتاب باعث تغییر در رفتارهاتون میشه 😁

🗓 01/05/28
Profile Image for da AL.
366 reviews365 followers
July 16, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Shaya.
249 reviews320 followers
June 10, 2020
قسمت ايميل و توييترشو خيلي دوس داشتم👌🏻
Profile Image for David Rubenstein.
804 reviews2,538 followers
December 23, 2019
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 their goals.

The author mentions the concept of "Flow", introduced in the book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. It seems like "deep work" is almost synonomous to "flow". They both share some of the same characteristics; a state in which all distractions are removed, deep concentration is achieved over a long period of time, and working or deliberate practicing toward a specific goal.

So, it is not clear how "deep work" is different from "flow". Why write a book that seems to cover the same ground as another, very influential book? The approach is a little different for "deep work". The approach is to set aside a time or place when all distractions--especially Internet distractions--can be turned off. This is obvious common sense, but it is a prescription that many--or most--people do not follow.

In fact, most of the book is simply a recounting of common sense advice about getting rid of distractions in order to perform challenging work. I have read the advice in other places and books; so why another book on the subject?

So, this book is somewhat disappointing to me, especially when I compare it with the author's previous book So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love, which I really loved. But, if you have problems achieving your goals that you believe you are capable of, then this could be just the right book for you.
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