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

Deep Work by Cal Newport
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it was ok

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. (view spoiler)

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 (view spoiler) 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.
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Reading Progress

February 13, 2017 – Started Reading
February 18, 2017 – Finished Reading
February 22, 2017 – Shelved

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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Rishi Shukla Thanks for putting your thoughts (that make a lot of sense) on this book here. I had ordered it anyway let's see it would be of any help to me or not.

Andrea Rishi wrote: "Thanks for putting your thoughts (that make a lot of sense) on this book here. I had ordered it anyway let's see it would be of any help to me or not."

Hey. Did you have a chance to read it? Leave a review? I'm curious how you perceived it. Let me know if/when you do.

Andrei GUDIU I am thinking of going through this but I still have/had mixed feelings. I felt it was really about "you need to quit social media" in all of it's forms and formulas. So that's for your review on that but listed in the "what annoyed me" section is the women examples, so I have a question: is the fact that he only "found" or listed two women really a problem ? I mean really really a problem ? Because I'm starting to feel a trend around me, women in desperate search of "women" filled magazines, prints, books, etc. Are we going to read gender literature in the near future ? (please don't take this question as an offence, it's more like a discussion opener)


Andrea Hey Andrei, sorry for the late reply, I haven't checked Goodreads in a while, I was caught in work :wink, wink:

I can't make anyone do anything, so it's your choice if you read it (did you, by the way?). It's quite a fast read, despite the length. Did I mention it's repetitive? Yes, well...

If you use "women in desperate search for", you'll get some people offended (and no, I don't mean desperate women). I just wish the book was a bit more balanced, that's all. I'm a woman and I'd like to see examples of other women who use deep work. Maybe I'll write them an email and congratulate them for being able to concentrate on one thing at a time in such a chaotic world. Maybe I'll just be happy that I'm not the only crazy person who needs to sit down and do only one thing at a time to actually get results.

Just because something annoys me, it doesn't mean it's a problem. It sometimes means that I'll try to not do that in my own work. Who do you think I write these reviews for anyway? They're for my brain when I'm older and I forgot most of what I read already :))

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