Cal Newport has found a way to be successful in his workplace. In his non-fiction book Deep Work he shares what he has learned. He writes about deep work which he describes as “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.” The opposite of deep work is shallow work which is “noncognitively demanding, logistical-style tasks, often performed while distracted. These efforts tend to not create much new value in the world and are easy to replicate.” In the first part of his book Deep Work Newport discusses what deep work is and why it is valuable in our lives. It’s easy to get distracted from doing deep work and Newport discusses the things that distract us and in the second half of his book shares strategies for overcoming these distractions.
Newport writes about knowledge work which “is not an assembly line, and extracting value from information is an activity that’s often at odds with busyness, not supported by it.” I often feel guilty for reading, or studying music or studying another topic I’m interested in. So many people are so busy and do so much while I’m sitting around reading or studying and I often wonder if I’m using my time wisely by not being busy accomplishing things. I felt that Newport gave the credit and value I needed to learning and taking time not to be busy but to do a work that is more knowledge based. I guess because of my love for this type of work already I found that I already do many of his strategies. Warning Newport does not like social media at all and does not seem to like the internet, email, etc very much either. I felt that at times he was a bit extreme in his strategies that dealt with those distractions. But he gave plenty of ideas to pick some that would work for you.
If you think you would like to change how you succeed in your work place and want some different ideas you will probably get a lot out of this book. If you think the internet and social media play to big of a place in your daily life and struggle to find ways to cut back you will also find some really good ideas for how to cut back. If you find you easily get distracted Newport will give you strategies for how to combat that.