Holger Matthies's Reviews > Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

Deep Work by Cal Newport
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did not like it
bookshelves: 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 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.
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Reading Progress

February 14, 2016 – Started Reading
February 28, 2016 – Shelved
February 28, 2016 – Finished Reading
March 6, 2017 – Shelved as: self-help

Comments Showing 1-12 of 12 (12 new)

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Willian Molinari Yes, managers are mentioned and the author says that in case you're in that position it may not work for you. :)


Azriel Odin But he mentioned them though


Elizabeth It's true. If you're an underling, you'll get an email, and one minute later, someone will be at your desk to talk to you about it.


message 4: by Youssef (new) - added it

Youssef Khaky I thought he addressed it when he mentioned the two hours in isolation in the morning.


Britten Thompson The number of times he holds himself up as a success and proof that his plagiarized theory of Deep Work is gospel, really pissed me off.


Piks Finally someone said it. Finally. I do not understand the high ratings. We get it you published a great number of papers. You achieved a high elo(whatever it is called) score.
The ideas in this book are not new neither are they ground-breaking. Books like this annoy me. Present plagiarized or old ideas as original ideas. The author repeats so many mundane points. He brags that he coined the term deep work. This is just another term for flow or task-focused attention.

The best part of this book is the author describing in detail the ideal building for productive work or as he calls it deep work.


Martin Ridgway Sort of agree; some of us HAVE to work in noisy open-plan offices and respond to others outside our own ideal timetable.


Christian I really don't see how Newport's self-references are over the top. Honestly, it seems he is relatively modest. His use of personal anecdotes gives the book more character.


message 9: by Alex Rhodes (new)

Alex Rhodes i thought the same…he also seems to take credit for some pretty common sense concepts.


message 10: by Cihan (last edited Jan 15, 2019 06:48AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Cihan I agree. This summarizes the book: "If you want original ideas, this is the wrong place." The book could be a really a good -surely long- blog post.

The author re-states what is already known or "obvious". The suggestions are mostly about utilization of the best known social platforms, which is partly boring.

On the other, it is a good reminder that we are really distracted by being exposed to many things! So-called little, unnecessary things can drain our time and attention and lead us to mess around rather than focusing on what is really important.


Alexander Burmistrov 100% percent agree. Returned the book which I rarely do.


message 12: by Elizabeth (new) - added it

Elizabeth Chabe The author spends a lot of time talking about middle managers and c-level managers, actually, and how to customize ideas in this book to those groups. The author's suggestions certainly go beyond filtering email and reducing social media use. I wonder if you read it deeply, or just skimmed?


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