Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World Hardcover – January 5, 2016
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Book recommendations, author interviews, editors' picks, and more. Read it now
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
"DEEP WORK accomplishes two considerable tasks: One is putting out a wealth of concrete practices for the ambitious, without relying on gauzy clichés. The second is that Mr. Newport resists the corporate groupthink of constant connectivity without seeming like a curmudgeon."―Wall Street Journal
"As automation and outsourcing reshape the workplace, what new skill do we need? The ability to do deep work. Cal Newport's exciting new book is an introduction and guide to the kind of intense concentration in a distraction-free environment that results in fast, powerful learning and performance. Think of it as calisthenics for your mind-and start your exercise program today."―Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and To Sell Is Human
"DEEP WORK makes a compelling case for cultivating intense focus, and offers immediately actionable steps for infusing more of it into our lives."―Adam M. Grant, author of Give and Take
"Cal Newport is a clear voice in a sea of noise, bringing science and passion in equal measure. We don't need more clicks, more cats, and more emojis. We need brave work, work that happens when we refuse to avert our eyes."―Seth Godin, author of What to Do When It's Your Turn
"Cal Newport offers the most well-informed and astute collection of practical advice I have seen for reclaiming one's mental powers."―Matthew B. Crawford, author of The World Beyond Your Head
"Just when you think you already know this stuff, DEEP WORK hits you with surprisingly unique and useful insights. Rule #3 alone, with its discussion of the 'Any-Benefit' mind-set, is worth the price of this book."―Derek Sivers, founder, Sivers.org
"Here lies a playbook for professionals of all stripes to achieve true differentiation in a crowded talent marketplace. Cal Newport's latest shows why he is one of the most provocative thinkers on the future of work."―Ben Casnocha, co-author of The Start-Up Of You
"In this strong self-help book, Newport declares that the habits of modern professionals-checking email at all hours, rushing from meeting to meeting, and valuing multitasking above all else-only stand in the way of truly valuable work."―Publisher's Weekly
"[A] worthwhile distraction."―ValueWalk
About the Author
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
1. Spend enough time in a state of frenetic shallowness and you permanently reduce your capacity to perform deep work.
2. I build my days around a core of carefully chosen deep work, with the shallow activities I absolutely cannot avoid batched into smaller bursts at the peripheries of my schedule.
3. Two Core Abilities for Thriving in the New Economy 1. The ability to quickly master hard things. 2. The ability to produce at an elite level, in terms of both quality and speed.
4. High-Quality Work Produced = (Time Spent) x (Intensity of Focus)
5. Busyness as Proxy for Productivity: In the absence of clear indicators of what it means to be productive and valuable in their jobs, many knowledge workers turn back toward an industrial indicator of productivity: doing lots of stuff in a visible manner.
6. Depth-destroying behaviors such as immediate e-mail responses and an active social media presence are lauded, while avoidance of these trends generates suspicion.
7. “Who you are, what you think, feel, and do, what you love— is the sum of what you focus on.”
8. You don’t need a rarified job; you need instead a rarified approach to your work.
9. You have a finite amount of willpower that becomes depleted as you use it. …The key to developing a deep work habit is to move beyond good intentions and add routines and rituals to your working life designed to minimize the amount of your limited willpower necessary to transition into and maintain a state of unbroken concentration.
10. … the minimum unit of time for deep work in this philosophy tends to be at least one full day. To put aside a few hours in the morning, for example, is too short to count as a deep work stretch for an adherent of this approach.
11. Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets… it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.
12. At the end of the workday, shut down your consideration of work issues until the next morning— no after-dinner e-mail check, no mental replays of conversations, and no scheming about how you’ll handle an upcoming challenge; shut down work thinking completely. If you need more time, then extend your workday, …trying to squeeze a little more work out of your evenings might reduce your effectiveness the next day enough that you end up getting less done than if you had instead respected a shutdown.
13. for a novice, somewhere around an hour a day of intense concentration seems to be a limit, while for experts this number can expand to as many as four hours— but rarely more.
14. The ability to concentrate intensely is a skill that must be trained.
15. So we have scales that allow us to divide up people into people who multitask all the time and people who rarely do, and the differences are remarkable. People who multitask all the time can’t filter out irrelevancy. They can’t manage a working memory. They’re chronically distracted. They initiate much larger parts of their brain that are irrelevant to the task at hand… they’re pretty much mental wrecks.
Dr. James T Brown, Author, The Handbook of Program Management, McGraw-Hill
These books should be taken together as a whole because they give you the WHAT, the WHY and the HOW for being an elite knowledge worker.
So Good they Can't Ignore you shows you why building valuable and rare skills, which Newport calls "career capital" is the number one most important thing for finding a job you love (not "finding your passion"). Building that capital allows you to find a job where you can have creative control over your work and more control over your time, which allows you to do "deep work," aka deliberate practice (and the 10,000 hour rule for expertise, Gladwell, Ericsson and others). There are also 2 other factors, choosing a domain or mission or project where you will have a postive impact on the world, and choosing to work with people who you like being around, which aren't covered much but Newport assumes you should be able to figure out on your own.
Summary of what you need to be So Good They Can't Ignore You
1. Rare and valuable skills (aka career capital)
2. Creative control over projects
3. Control over your time (which allows you to do deep work, virtuous cycle)
4. Work that has a positive impact on the world
5. Working with people you enjoy being with
Here's the formula:
-Use deep work to learn fast and build up rare and valuable skills.
-Then apply these rare and valuable skills to the right projects so that you can build up career capital.
-Then cash in the career capital to get more creative and time control over your job.
-All the while, try to pick jobs and projects that have a positive impact and allow you to work with good people.
-However, these are usually also things that you need to trade in your career capital (rare skills and experience using them) in order to maximize.
-Don't try to save the world or have a big impact until you have the career capital to match. Otherwise you will probably fail. You have to earn all these perks via building career capital by using deep work.
So Good They Can't Ignore You doesn't spend much time explaining how to actually implement deep work (deliberate practice) into you life. It tells you to focus deeply, stretch yourself cognitively and get constant high quality feedback on your work/output.
That's where Deep Work comes in. Deep Work shows you exactly WHY deep work is so important (as opposed to Shallow Work), especially for modern knowledge workers, and why the way most people work, with constant interruptions from social media, email and their phones, is holding most knowledge workers back from being successful and competitive in today's job market.
The first part of the book argues for why Deep Work is important. If you have already bought into the idea, you can skim this part, but I found the examples and people he featured to be very interesting so it's worth a read. Just don't expect a lot of tactics until part 2.
Chapter 1 explains why deep work is VALUABLE. Our economy is changing, and the days of doing the same thing over and over for 40 years until you retire are over. Newport lays out an interesting theory for 3 types of workers, Superstars, Owners and High Skill Workers and makes a convincing and important argument for the importance in the future of being able to work at higher levels of abstraction and work with intelligent machines.
In this chapter he also makes a case for the two critical skills for knowledge workers:
1. Learning Quickly
2. Producing at an Elite Level
This conclusion informs the rest of the book. If you want to be good at these two skills, the most important thing to be good at is deep work.
Chapter 2 focuses on why deep work is RARE. He shows how distractions are becoming more and more common for knowledge workers, and that attention is becoming more and more fractures. Newport makes a good case for how complex knowledge work is often hard to measure, so managers measure busyness instead of output that relates to bottom line results (KPIs). Busyness as a vanity metric. People end up optimizing for looking busy instead of getting real work done, and everybody plays along with this charade.
Chapter 3 goes into why deep work is MEANINGFUL. Meaning is a key part of Newport's argument because the whole book links back to the Passion vs. Rare Skills debate…which is a better strategy for finding a job you love? If the job isn't meaningful, then deep work doesn't fully answer the question of how to best find a job you love. Newport give 3 theories on why deep work is meaningful, a psychological, neurological and a philosophical reason.
That's it for part 1.
In Part 2, Newport tells you how to implement deep work into your day to day life with 4 rules.
Rule 1 gives you a bunch of strategies and examples of how to integrate deep work into your schedule. He offers different strategies depending on what kind of work you do. The Grand Gestures part of this chapter is really good, you learn about Bill Gates Think Week and same famous authors who go to secluded islands or build cabins to get a lot of deep work done when necessary. There is also a section here on execution using the 4 Disciplines from Clayton Christensen's work. The point on lead vs. lag measures is really good.
Rule 2 covers the idea of embracing boredom. Newport gives a number of strategies for doing two important things: improving your ability to focus and eliminating your desire for distraction. At first these seem like the same thing but Newport explains why they are actually two different skills. For example, someone who is constantly switching between social media and infotainment sites can block off time for deep work but they won't be able to focus if they can't control their desire to always have instant gratification and constant stimulus. The point about making deep work your default, and scheduling shallow work in between is also a game changer.
Rule 3 is about social media sites and infotainment sites. This rule isn't as strategic as the other ones, it's mostly about making a side argument that these networking sites aren't as important is you think they are. He gives some good strategies for measuring what sites and services you should include in your day to day life based on the total collection of all the positive and negative effects. This sort of critical thinking and measurement usually doesn't get applied to these kind of sites.
Rule 4 is about draining the shallows, meaning going through the process of eliminating as much as possible shallow work from your daily schedule. This is more tactical chapter, (This and Rule 1 are the most useful of the 4) you learn how to plan out your day, how to stop from bringing your work home with you with an end of day ritual and how to manage your email so that you cut down on the amount of time you spend in your inbox each day. There is also a strategy for how to talk to your boss about deep work so you can get permission to re-arrange your schedule to be more productive.
This book, and Newport's previous book So Good They Can't Ignore You, are some of the most important books you will read on planning your career.
Most people spend little to no time on these decisions, or just go with the flow or with how other people approach things, even though this planning process will affect the next 4 to 5 decades of their life.
Most people's thinking is still stuck in the industrial economy way of thinking…it makes sense thought, our education system is also stuck in this way of thinking. Deep work gives you a solid, actionable plan and doesn't leave anything out that I can think of.
Top international reviews
The book does point out that deep work genuinely isn't for everyone - for different but related reasons, CEOs of huge corporations and carers of young children might be better off entirely working at the 'shallow' level. However, it does make excellent points about how routine administration, productivity checks and social discourse, especially using social media, are vampires of time and attention like nothing else. As well as being very useful for individuals, many managers could usefully read this book, to help empower workers to achieve more of real value and - and this point is not unrelated - stop constantly harassing them with administrative requests of little or no real importance. One important facet of this is it shows very persuasively how deep work is almost the opposite of long work, or overwork - working better decreases working time overall, with much better results. For employees, and intelligent employers, what is not to like about that? It really chimed in with my experiences in the organized working environment.
So highly recommended for anyone interested in how to work better on an individual level, or how work might be done better on an organizational level. I suppose I can't say better than that I actually made one set of the recommended changes immediately on finishing the book...
Deep Work is a common sense book than a self-help book. The crux of the book is that there are two kind of work we do. One is Deep work and the other is shallow work. Deep work is rare and hard. Shallow work is easy and ubiquitous.
What is Deep Work? Deep work is concentrating on a cognitively demanding work with zero distractions to produce quality work. Its demanding and helps provide valuable things to society that are hard to replicate or replace.
What Shallow work? Any work we do on auto-pilot. Replying emails , social media presence etc. These work are easy to replace and not valued much in society.
The book is dividend into two parts. Part I is about why Deep work matter and its scientific backing. Part II is how to achieve Deep work.
Part I doesn't have to try hard to convince us about the internet chipping away our ability to concentrate and contemplate. And provides all the necessary studies and research on internet and its effects on attention. Most of the critique are well ground and rational, and definitely not a luddite rant on the internet.
Part II is how to achieve Deep Work.
Discusses on what type of Deep work philosophy to choose.
Ritualising Deep work: Identify Location and time to do deep work. Adhere to rules and process to deep work. (like no internet)
4DX fundamentals: Focus unimportant things, Act on measures, Keep a scorecard, Create accountability.
Embrace Boredom:Don't take break from distraction. Instead take breaks from Focus. Schedule your internet usage. Structure your deep thinking.
Quit Social Media.
Drain the Shallows: Schedule your day in blocks in advance to focus on Deep work.
Although it follows the typical science/self-help format with familiar paragraphs like 'The Study conducted by University of X researchers on group of people in Y of the age Z in ABC environment agrees with my thesis', this is a potent work with strong common sense solutions to the ubiquitous problem of shallow work. My thoughts on self-help books remains unchanged. However I would highly recommend this book.
Highly recommend to anyone, and it has wide relevance across many fields. Also very readable and entertaining. It is a joy to read and has plenty of interesting tales and case studies to make the book flow perfectly, whilst imparting the necessary wisdom.
To those saying that it is repetitive in the first part, I believe it is really necessary to convince us in all ways possible. Because everyone knows deep work is good just like everyone knows exercise and eating balanced diet are good but no one does them. You really need to be convinced in order to make permanent lifestyle change.
I bought it after reading the kindle sample. If you've read the kindle sample, you've read the whole book - nothing else is added.
I'm not sure if I've learned something new that I haven't already read or watched from 5-15min reviews of the book.
In my opinion it could have been much shorter. I felt like I was wasting my time reading a lot of it as it was repeating examples and concepts.
very interesting about open plan offices which I have to suffer. It explains why I have become so frustrated.
Cal Newport offers a very compelling argument as to the value of 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.
I have started reading this book and I am still on page 72, but the style and examples are so awkward that, I decided to write a review now (the "it's ok" passport for all distracted CEOs, Furrer the craftman etc).
I decided to skip these repeating examples and concepts he is using to convince you and try to make the point. This book could have been much shorter.
> Easy to read any follow as a beginner, anyone could pick this one up and understand it.
> Techniques are easy, understandable and detailed so which is great for beginners who try to avoid shallow work
> The size is great and the cover looks fantastic
To be completely honest Part 1 / 2 felt pointless and kind of repetetive after a while and e especially after reading part 2 the reader most likely doesn't care about the content of part 1 since most readers want to know how to know techniques to avoid shallow work and conduct deep work which part 2 sort of achieved.
Why not replace part 1 with content that actively helps the reader to achive deep work rather than trying to explain over and over again why deep work is important which the reader, judging by selecting this book, is already aware of.
> Long series of repetetive unnecessary text about why email is dangerous, why shallow work is dangerous and worse of all, dry pages of unnecessary situations experienced by the writer or his colleagues with deep work.
Great and all but the most important reason why many reader picked this book is because they want to achieve deep work and focus, not how someone else perceives / experienced deep work.
> Could've been compressed to fewer but more meaningful pages / techniques to achieve deep work and intense concentration. In fact after reaching pg.263 I was expecting around 30 more pages judging by the amount of pages this book has and the remaining pages I saw. What I saw shocked me: 27 pages of notes or more accurately sources (excluding 10 remaining pages of the index)
Conclusion / Recommendation ?:
Kind of. To be honest if you can get it used for half the price or get it as a gift then absolutely go for it. But to be honest this book felt more like a motivational push towards deep work and the importance of it rather than a concentrated crafted piece of literature that actively wants the reader to become concentrated / focused and experience deep work. Honestly I think get a book that gives you more techniques and explanations than reasons.
One of the best book READ in recent times.
I felt so scattered and I saw how distracted I was. I was given proof and reason for my lack of concentration, attention and focus. How constant notifications, beeping and pinging can really affect my brain. To be very honest, I was given a gentle wakeup call about how damaging doing “shallow” activities constantly can be. I was also shown that in order to do some real meaningful work without being overworked or stressed, working with intense focus is an absolute necessity.
What I found particularly interesting about this book was the rules for creating and maintaining depth. They were somewhat obvious at first, however, when explained in more detail, it really practical in practice. The author made it easy for me to bring this skill into my life. My favourite was to “Embrace Boredom” which was surprisingly easy to put into practice!
Both sides of the argument were played for “shallow” activities which also showed that it is necessary and for some jobs, it is essential. However, for knowledge-based work, depth is more so. As the working world has shifted from crafts and hard labour to offices and the internet, every “tool” is something we “must use” and “must have”. However, this doesn’t mean that we have to use every “tool” available to us. Social media, emails and other activities aren’t a bad thing, it just depended on whether they would add value to my life or if I would abuse them?
Overall, I have gained a bit more clarity in my mind and in my life. I will look to continue building my deep work skill and maintaining this all-important depth in my life 🤓
Instagram (Book Blog) - 52and1