Library Blog

Cal Newport's "Deep Work" - A Book Review by Yousaf Khan

Thursday, February 25, 2016

In a distracted world, many individuals regard busyness as an indicator for productivity. That may only be the case for those in charge of leading large organizations. Mr. Newport, on the other hand, does not work beyond 5:30pm. He has published over four books, graduated from Dartmouth College in 2004 and earned his PhD from MIT in 2009. Mr. Newport is currently the Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University and specializes in the theory of distributed algorithms. His new book, Deep Work, is for individuals seeking a craftsman sense of fulfillment from their work and becoming better at what they do. Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task, while shallow work is non-cognitively demanding, logistical tasks, often performed while distracted (by emails, social networks or text messages).

 

In the two-part book, he argues the importance of deep work as a rare but valuable commodity in the new economy and how to implement it immediately. The book focuses on eliminating distraction in order to achieve a mindset that caters to creativity and productivity. While he abides extremely by the work ethic for maximum productivity, one can still reap the benefits without deleting social networks or throwing away their smartphone. According to the law of productivity (Productivity = Time x Concentration), one can achieve maximum productivity and produce valuable work in the shortest amount of time through intense concentration. This book is not a call for a return to the pre-Internet days. Instead, it is a wake up call for most of us on how to thrive in this new technological and distracting world, where valuable and unique work comes about through habitual, distraction-free and intense focus.

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