Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

Cal Newport

Language: English

Pages: 304

ISBN: 1455586692

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


One of the most valuable skills in our economy is becoming increasingly rare. If you master this skill, you'll achieve extraordinary results.

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.

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.

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medium, they note, the craftsman has stumbled onto something crucial in a post-Enlightenment world: a source of meaning sited outside the individual. The wheelwright doesn’t decide arbitrarily which virtues of the wood he works are valuable and which are not; this value is inherent in the wood and the task it’s meant to perform. As Dreyfus and Kelly explain, such sacredness is common to craftsmanship. The task of a craftsman, they conclude, “is not to generate meaning, but rather to cultivate in

about the idea that this return home might be long-term. Benn needed to learn a hard skill, and needed to do so fast. It’s here that Benn ran into the same problem that holds back many knowledge workers from navigating into more explosive career trajectories. Learning something complex like computer programming requires intense uninterrupted concentration on cognitively demanding concepts—the type of concentration that drove Carl Jung to the woods surrounding Lake Zurich. This task, in other

freezing in the winter.” When the war ended, however, the influx of scientists to Cambridge continued. MIT needed space, so instead of immediately demolishing Building 20 as they had promised local officials (in exchange for lax permitting), they continued using it as overflow space. The result was that a mismatch of different departments—from nuclear science to linguistics to electronics—shared the low-slung building alongside more esoteric tenants such as a machine shop and a piano repair

Maryland, where the Smith Meadows stand does good business. To see Pritchard, usually standing a foot taller than most of his suburbanite customers, wearing the obligatory faded flannel of the farmer, is to see a craftsman confident in his trade. I introduced myself to him because farming is a skill dependent on the careful management of tools, and I wanted to understand how a craftsman in a nondigital field approaches this crucial task. “Haymaking is a good example,” he told me, not long into

decision: Keep using this tool only if you concluded that it has substantial positive impacts and that these outweigh the negative impacts. To help illustrate this strategy in action, let’s consider a case study. For the purposes of this example, assume that Michael Lewis, if asked, would have produced the following goal and corresponding important activities for his writing career. Professional Goal: To craft well-written, narrative-driven stories that change the way people understand the

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