Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

by: Cal Newport (0)

Master one of our economy’s most rare skills and achieve groundbreaking results with this “exciting” book (Daniel H. Pink) from an “exceptional” author (New York Times Book Review).

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.

1. Work Deeply 2. Embrace Boredom 3. Quit Social Media 4. Drain the Shallows

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.

An Amazon Best Book of 2016 Pick in Business & Leadership
Wall Street Journal Business Bestseller A Business Book of the Week at 800-CEO-READ

The Quotes

To learn hard things quickly, you must focus intensely without distraction.

In this new economy, three groups will have a particular advantage: those who can work well and creatively with intelligent machines, those who are the best at what they do, and those with access to capital.

The Deep Work Hypothesis: The ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy. As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive.

Human beings, it seems, are at their best when immersed deeply in something challenging.

To build your working life around the experience of flow produced by deep work is a proven path to deep satisfaction.

The Reviews

On page 136, the author says, "I discovered the gap between what and how was relevant to my personal quest to work more deeply." The first 135 pages of this book are the 'what'. I'll sum it up for you and save you some time: We're all distracted because our brains like distraction and also because our bosses like us to look busy." Pretty sure we all knew that by now. You still have to mine through the next 120 or so pages to get to the 'how' nuggets of deep work. The 'rules' that are mentioned in the title. I'll give you some hints - routine helps, facebook sucks, and boredom is the birthplace of creativity. I wanted to love this book. I'm a writer, and staying focused is tough. But I felt a lot of this book was redundant and finding the nuggets of help and inspiration was annoying.

Deep Work is the execution/tactical companion to Newport's last book, So Good They Can't Ignore You and it doesn't disappoint.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 You1. Rare and valuable skills (aka career capital)2. Creative control over projects3. Control over your time (which allows you to do deep work, virtuous cycle)4. Work that has a positive impact on the world5. Working with people you enjoy being withHere'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 Quickly2. Producing at an Elite LevelThis 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.Overall Thoughts: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.

Newport starts out with a good (albeit obvious) idea that one can get much higher quality work done by getting rid of the constant distractions and interruptions surrounding us -- like tv, smart phones, email, and social media. Thereby allowing your mind to become deeply focused on the task at hand. I think we can all remember times when we have achieved this state whether it was writing a paper, building a model, drawing a picture, reading a novel, writing a computer program, putting a puzzle together, etc. We can also all remember how good it felt to be that focused and that productive. So his premise for this book is a good one even if for no other reason than to point out how we have let social media take over so much of our time -- that we have become constantly `on call' and therefore don't think as deeply about things anymore. That we should force ourselves to disconnect once in a while.The problem with Newport's book is that the above ideas are not enough material for an entire book. So he needs to fill out the book with interesting stories and related facts. This is where Newport gets sloppy, goes off the rails, and ruins the book. He contradicts himself over and over. Starting out by saying one needs time isolated, undistracted, alone, to be totally focussed on a task for several hours at a minimum, and then contradicting this by saying we should work in teams, or first that we ignore the smart phone and later put a stop watch phone app on our desk which we can constantly glance at to make sure we stay there for a certain time, etc. He even inserts bizarre asides that are completely irrelevant to his `deep work' topic such as card memorization tricks that have nothing to do with deeply concentrating on a task and entering the `deep work' state. Newport's editors at the publishing company clearly didn't bother pointing out the many contradictions, irrelevant distractions, and non-sequiturs riddled throughout this book.`Deep Work', as Newport calls it, is sort of the work analogue of rem sleep, it is a state of concentration that only comes after you work undistracted for a certain amount of time. The amount of time needed to achieve this state differs between people and you get better at it with practice. In fact, contrary to what Newport says, some people can do it without the isolation. They can simply put their phone in airplane mode and shut everything out. Like the guy on the subway reading or writing who is completely oblivious to everything around him. A bomb could go off and he wouldn't even notice. In other words, contrary to Newport's initial (contradicted later) premise, we don't need to retreat to a proverbial `mountain shack' to achieve this productive state. In fact, I am in the state now, writing this. Yes, the mountain shack helps, but it is not required.It became clear by the end of the book that Newport has decided to write Malcolm Gladwell type `techno self help books' for two reasons: 1) to pad his resume, and 2) to make money.The first is clear by the importance he places on the number of books and articles people pump out (falling in to the `publish or perish' trap of academia) repeating yearly publication rates over and over for himself and others -- quantity not quality; and the second is clear by the importance he places on riches and rich people. How rich you will get, how irreplaceable and therefore highly paid you will be, etc., if you are a deep worker guy. Although this may just be his awareness of the values driving his target audience -- i.e. tech entry level programmers types or software sales types who went into CS or business school to make money. In otherwords the type of high level software tech guy who idolizes Bill Gates and has never heard of Dennis Richie or Richard Stallman. (Newport himself not have heard of them either)It is also annoying that he talks forcefully about deleting your twitter or your facebook account and then reveals later that he has never even had a facebook account! That is like complaining about the number of people addicted to `game of thrones', saying it is a worthless waste of time and they should stop watching it, only to reveal he has never seen an episode of the show!Look, I agree that social media is a distraction and one should not allow it to constantly interrupt your concentration throughout the day, but lets not start deleting every modern tool just because they can be addicting. Instead learn moderation! Alcohol can be addjcting too, but there are 10 people who enjoy relaxing with a scotch or glass of wine in the evening for every addicted alcoholic. Facebook provides pleasure and relaxation to people -- which is exactly why it can be addicting. The secret is moderation, not elimination.Also, all of his talk about how long your mind can remain in `deep work' mode per day is pure made up nonsense. Four hours? He has no clue. Nor should he. In fact, it is likely different for different people and completely dependent on how long you have practiced it. People have gone for weeks, months, or even longer in that state (when proving Fermat's Last Theorem, Andrew Wiles went for 7 years!) Isaac Newton for example, would work so hard on a problem that he would forget to eat, he would dream about it, and it would totally consume him for weeks at a time. I heard a story, written by a fellow Cambridge professor and fellow member of the Royal Society who said Newton would emerge from his rooms, ostensibly to get some dinner, and would walk a certain distance lost in thought and completely oblivious to his surroundings. He would then suddenly stop and look around. Clearly having forgotten why he had left his rooms and he would then turn around, go back to his rooms, and continue working. Now that is what I call prolonged `deep work' -- forget about social media, not even hunger could interrupt Newton .Anyway, I could go on but I won't bore you with further complaints.Read "On Writing" by Stephen King and you will get a much more substantial and informative discussion of how to work, to create, and to go 'deep'. King's version of "deep work" is outlined beginning on page 151 (sections 2, 3, and 4 of the part entitled 'on writing') and I think he really nails it. Stephen King is both prolific and humble (he is also filthy rich for those of you who think that fact is important), and he certainly proven he knows how to achieve deep concentration. Search "22 lessons by Stephen King" sometime. They apply equally well to any 'deep' creative task in my opinion.Summary: Make time in your life to go distraction free when you have an important creative endeavour to work on. Put your devices in airplane mode and retreat to your proverbial `mountain shack'. Do it as often, as for as long, as it takes to finish that creative endeavour. Then turn your devices back on and rejoin the rest of us out here in social media land. Tell us about your cool creation so that we can enjoy it as well and we can compliment you on how cool it is and how much hard work you did to accomplish it. However, don't brag too much or toot your own horn too much okay? Let us do that. Your creation shows your value without needing adornments about your publication rate, your million tasks accomplished -- and with children in their terrible twos!, your MIT education, your Georgetown professorial eliteness, and the rest. All that tooting just makes you look insecure.In fact, by the end of Newport's book, it made me want to read a book written by his wife. I bet she would tell a revealing tale.

If you've never heard that concentration on a task leads to better outcomes, by all means buy the book.If you're searching for strategies to accomplish concentration, you might find help here, but you'll be trawling through an ocean of tangentially relevant opinions.If you are curious about the author's psychology and life world, there's an abundance of insight.But for most of us there's little new here and very little that's applicable outside of common sense: if you're distracted, you loose concentration. If you've lost concentration, it will be harder to deliver results. To deliver results, set time aside, even if it's only 30 minutes a day. And go work hard.But please don't spend money on this book!

I have generally been a fan of Cal's work, but had a mixed view on this book. TL DR: It has some good actionable steps, but with a lot of fluff about being more counter-culture and revolutionary than it is or needs to have.The Good1. Cal highlights actionable ways to 1) increase concentration and focus and 2) produce more work output. He specifically delineates between "shallow" low priority work and "deep" high-priority, high-payoff work and ways to identify which types of work fall into which category.2. Cal anticipates more of the (valid) objections and nuances to his thesis than I've seen him do previously. I thought his discussions on professions like CEOs that might not be deep-work appropriate, different ways to think about what social media improves your life, and going off-schedule to pursue an insight made the book much more well-rounded and connected to life.The Not-so-good1. The book is written as if it's presenting "a new, flashy, grand theory of everything". It's not that. The idea of working in a deep, focused manner isn't a new one or one that would shock people (as the book's extensive citations show). But the book puts up a very intense battle against an army of straw men. I don't think you'd find anyone who disagrees with the general notion of working intensely on your priorities; it's making your life conducive to it (and getting done what you aim to get done when you sit down) that's the hard part. So the book feels more to me like ideas you'd share with friends about how to be more productive than a revolutionary new idea, but you have to wade through *pages* of why this is *life-changing* and *flashy* to get to the more useful actionable steps.2. I think that deep work is a very large umbrella term that could be broken down. For example, the way in which brainstorming or writing an academic paper stretches your brain is very different from the way in which editing a paper (p. 228) stretches your brain. Cal identifies all of these as deep work, but more thought on how you attack very different types of deep work would be helpful. For example, the open-ended process of generating an idea and getting it on to paper requires a different process than the mind-numbing tedium of final paper edits. I would have liked more thinking through the "initial attack" and then the "follow-through".

Cal Newport gives us a very specific definition for the “Deep Work” in his title. Here it is.“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.”Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World is based on what the Cal Newport calls his Deep Work Hypothesis:“The ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy. As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive.”Why do the hard work of deep work?Newport believes that the ability to do deep work will help you master hard things quickly and perform at an elite level. And he thinks that those skills are key to success in the coming decades. This book is about wringing the most value you can out of your time by spending some of it on deep work.Not a new idea, but an important onePeople have been writing about working in long, uninterrupted stretches of time for quite a while. You’ll find it in Peter Drucker’s book, The Effective Executive, written in the 1960s. Then it might make you more successful. Today, Newport thinks it’s a survival skill. He thinks that the world will be divided into two kinds of performers in the future. One group will not master deep work and will slide down the performance curve. The other group will master deep work and will be more successful and more satisfied.An important idea that pushes back against our work cultureWhat Newport is calling for in terms of concentration and effort goes against the grain of the current work culture. Today we think that being connected 24 hours a day and 7 days a week is normal. We don’t see anything strange about a person stopping in the middle of a dinner conversation to check email. Yet, that’s exactly the opposite of the behavior that Newport recommends.How to get the deep work doneThe author suggests six strategies for getting the deep work done. I found those interesting reading but not particularly helpful, with one exception. That’s the advice to: “Decide on your in-depth philosophy.”That will be particularly helpful for you because it gives you different ways to approach the idea of doing deep work, no matter what kind of situation you’re in. My only quibble here is that I don’t think you just decide and do it. I think you’ll try things out, find what works, and maybe combine the philosophies so that they work best for you.After going through some of the basics, Newport defines the problem accurately by noting that it is a problem of execution, not a problem of understanding. Knowing that deep work is important and understanding how it works won’t make a pinch of difference without an execution strategy.He recommends the strategy from a 2012 book called The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals. That book lays out four specific disciplines that Newport applies one after another to the process of doing deep work.Focus on the wildly important. Not just “important,” “wildly important.” Pick one or two things that will make the biggest difference for you and work on those. As many authors have said, you will accomplish more with a few goals that you concentrate on rather than with many goals that distract you and suck up your energy.Act on the lead measures. Measure what you need to do to get the results you want. Do that and the results will take care of themselves.Keep a compelling scoreboard. Keeping score and keeping records keeps you honest and helps you make more progress.Create a cadence of accountability. This is a lot like scrum. Don’t just do deep work. Have someone or a team that you’re accountable to and to whom you report regularly.Is this book for you?This is a good book, especially if you are new to the idea of what deep work represents: long, uninterrupted stretches of work that push you to your limits. The material on execution includes ways to work in teams and to mix creativity and innovation to produce more and better work.There are some things that you should be aware of before you consider buying the book. The first part of the book seems very helpful, but then effectiveness tails off. That’s not unusual in business books, which tend to start strong and then peter out. This one keeps going, but the second half of the book is not nearly as sharp or as helpful as the first.There are lots of powerful insights in the book. Even if you don’t buy the entire process, or if you buy it but don’t entirely put it to work, you’ll pick up some tips and tricks that will make you more productive. There’s one, for example, about not taking breaks from the distractions, i.e. checking your email. Instead, take breaks from your deep work. You work, you take a break and you do the distractions then.There was another one that was particularly helpful for me about developing a shut-down ritual at the end of the day. I’ve been working on things in a kind of deep work way for years, it’s what writers do. What I had not mastered was the ability to shift from my work day to home without a fairly long transition period. The close-out ritual has helped with that, though I’m still struggling to master it. The problem is with me, not the concept.On a personal note, I would have liked the book better if there were more business examples as opposed to academic examples of ways to make this work. In fact, I’d have preferred more examples from someone other than Cal Newport.Bottom lineThis will be a good book for you if you want to improve the amount and quality of your personal work. It will help you get things done with teams. It will give you a number of productivity tips, whether you go for the whole book or not.On the downside, the book is probably longer than it needs to be. The most important “downside” has nothing to do with the book. If you don’t put what you learn to work, it will have no value for you. In the case of deep work, that means making changes to your work routines and habits. It will take you months or years, not days or weeks, to get the value that’s here for the taking.

I came across Deep Work as a recommendation by someone on Hacker News. It was a thread on the best books read recently, and I forget which exactly… so I can’t post the referral link here…The reason why I decided to get this book was mostly that I wanted to take a break from the glut of technical reading I had been doing at the time. I also tend to like to read self help books, so it’s very fitting that I had gone with this particular piece.Deep Work definitely resonated with me as with all self-help books tend to do IF you already buy into everything a self-help books already suggests. As it turns out, I had already practiced most of the philosophies Professor Cal already advises.In summary, the deep work philosophy requires one to be very disciplined with their limited time and use that time effectively to get non-trivial work done. The non-trivial work in this case tends to be work that does not give one immediate satisfaction of productivity, but rather a sense of satisfaction of working towards a bigger goal or completed work with more meaning.How that gets done is mentioned by Newport in that to become effective and deep work we must:We live in an economy where we now need to possess a certain set of qualities to be successful. There are 3 categories: First the people who can use their tools effectively to do more than the people who are in the same position to innovate. Second, the people who possess highly technical skills who are sought after to contribute to the economic machine and finally the people who have enough capital to use to get things done. Most people can work to bring themselves into the first two categories.Treat our task and job as if completing it brings innovation to the world. Become a craftsman at what you do.Gauge whether or not the use of social media is actually necessary. They tend to be distractions.Plan and schedule effectively. Know when you are productive and take advantage of that time.We can only be productive for so long. (1–4 hours) Knowing this fact will let us know when to call it quits.Know when to call it quits. Don’t stress about the things that can happen after the work day. Just create a game plan for how to solve the outstanding issues for the next time you pick up your tasks again and come to admit that you are “at a good place”.Deep Work: LEARN NEW THINGS QUICKLY and BECOME AN EXPERT AT NEW THINGS.I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to become more productive, or needs confirmation if one already believes they are productive. For me, it was the latter. I wanted to make sure that I was on the right track personally for my own growth. This book did just that.If you’re not into self-help books, I would probably go to the local book store and give this one a skim anyway. :)

This book has assisted me greatly in improving my focus and work. I found the advice so important that I wrote a one-pay summary that I provide others when I recommend the book to them. Here is that summary.Deep Work: Activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive abilities to their limit. These efforts are crucial to accomplishing difficult tasks and improving abilities.Shallow Work: Non-cognitively demanding, logistical-type tasks, often performed while distracted.Network tools work against deep thinking/work. Connectivity creates little tasks that upon completion falsely result in a productive feeling. Our brain always responds to distractions. Multi-tasking has attention-residue that causes inefficient performance and thwarts deep-thinking. Depth-destroying instances are difficult to detect. Behaviors that are easiest at the moment interfere with deep thinking/deep work. Busyness is not nor does it promote deep thinking/work, but is a seductive substitute for productivity. The least resistance is short-term satisfaction that avoids the discomfort of concentration that leads to real meaning and long-term satisfaction.Focus requires reducing and, for extended periods, eliminating distraction. The benefits are professional (more meaningful thinking and work) and personal (more meaningful thinking and time with those who matter). Deep thinking is connected to a good life.Let your mind become a lens, thanks to the converging rays of attention; let your soul be all intent on whatever it is that is established in your mind as a dominant, wholly absorbing idea (Antonin-Dalmace Sertillanges, Dominican friar & professor of moral philosophy)To learn requires intense concentration (an act of deep work). Deliberate practice focused attention and feedback to maintain focus.Replacing distraction with focus is difficult. Execution is more difficult than strategies.Work with others, but then often retreat to work alone. Deep thinking/work can occur with others (Collaborative deep work), but everyone must be committed to such efforts. Even then, the individuals often retreat to work alone.You must batch hard important intellectual work into uninterrupted stretches. Sometimes days, but never less than an hour. Establish times and distraction-free environments. The following are strategies. The bimodal and rhythmic strategies require great discipline!Monastic strategy – two or three times a year go to a quiet location for deep thinking, work, and relaxation.Bimodal strategy – dedicate clearly defined periods of time to deep thinking/work (e.g., one 8-hour day each week).Rhythmic strategy – set hard stretches of time each day for deep thinking/work (no shorter than 1-2 hour stretches).Journalistic strategy – shift into deep work on a moment’s notice.Routines and rituals are absolutely required (the most important meta strategy) for deep thinking/work. Establish:• Where you will work and for how long (schedule 30-minute blocks all day, batching similar things, particularly shallow tasks):• How you will work once you begin; and• Efforts you will make to support your deep thinking/work time.Create a stake (grand gesture) that makes more likely you will follow through with your effort at deep thinking/work.• Focus on what is extremely important. All activities require time. Spend 80% of your time/attention on high impact activities.• Act on lead measures; behaviors that will drive success on lag measures (what you are seeking to improve).• Maintain a scoreboard of hours spend deep thinking/working and link to accomplishments.• Establish regular accountability checks.• Establish downtimes. Put more thought into your leisure time and make purposeful choices.• Finish your work day at an established time. Create a shutdown ritual that includes (a) quickly reviewing email inbox to ensure urgent messages have been addressed; (b) transfer new tasks onto your task list; (c) skim task list and calendar for the upcoming days to be mindful of important deadlines/obligations and time-frame for completing tasks; (d) plan the next day; and (e) say out loud “shutdown complete”.• Wean yourself from distractions. Humans are suckers for irrelevancy. We struggle to stay on task. Fight against distractions.• Fight against looping (thinking repeatedly about what you already know). To do so, identify the relevant variables, then identify the next step. Consolidate your gains and being the process again.• Take breaks from focused thinking/work rather than breaks from distraction. Schedule breaks from deep thinking/work. Schedule internet breaks, but keep the times short.• Email promotes shallow thinking/action. Place out-of-office auto-responder on email during periods of lengthy deep work.• Establish self-imposed deadlines at the edge of feasibility. This will push you to focus.• When walking, record on my phone my thinking regarding deep thinking/work efforts.• Identify your tech/media use and remove those whose positive outcomes don’t substantially outweigh the negative outcomes.• Cognitive capacity is limited. Reflect on shallow activities and make wise choices when you must turn away from deep work.• Limit professional travel as it is disruptive to deep thinking/work.• Say “no” to most all requests that do not align well with your deep tasks.

Ordered this 48 hours ago on a whim has consumed me.First off, howdy Cal! We're neighbors! Loved the recommendation for Smith Meadows grass fed meat.Love the vernacular as well. Cal is an outstanding writer, and from one writer to another, superbly impressed by this. Favorite word I think is heuristic.I purchased the kindle version and actually got so, so much from this book that I copied into "Notes" for personal review that eventually I got a message error saying "copy limit reached"!There is just so much use included in this book, backed by an entirely action-driven plan complete with science-backed evidence. Cal stays clear more or less of the political and philosophical debates (he dabbles, but not much at all)I'm not a fan of people including summaries in their review, I think that's wildly unethical actually, so all I will say is you're looking for a way to become more efficient and successful, this book is not to be missed. Only regret not reading it sooner.P.s. During the reading thought of the potentiality of using Pavlovian cues to start/end blocks of deep work...perhaps a series of bells or sounds, each individual to the start or end of a particular area of deep work. This could potentially help the mind become more accustomed to the start and stop of said work.Love, love, love this book. Will re-read often! Thanks, Cal!

Most personal development books advocate secret shortcuts to success. The 4-Hour Workweek, an extremely popular title from author Tim Ferriss, detailed strategies for “joining the new rich” and traveling the world by working as little as possible. Cal Newport’s latest book entitled Deep Work by contrast is refreshing in its emphasis on extremely cognitively demanding work as the key to success and personal fulfillment.Deep Work is defined 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.” Deep Work is contrasted with Shallow Work, defined as “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.” Newport’s thesis is that the ability to actually concentrate on hard stuff is becoming rare due to addictive and distracting technologies from Facebook to Buzzfeed to email. Meanwhile, any job that can be replaced by a computer or someone in a developing nation will be, so deep work is actually more valuable than ever.Deep Work is the knowledge workers’ version of “deliberate practice,” the sort of which leads to expertise as found by K. Anders Ericsson in studies of violin players, golfers, chess grandmasters, and so on. Sheer number of hours of very challenging practice with the aim to deliberately improve one’s skills correlates with the greatest expertise, hence the "10,000 hours rule" popularized by Malcolm Gladwell. Expert violin players practice 3-4 hours a day, whereas mediocre players practice only 1 hour a day or less. Similarly, knowledge workers who spend 30-50% of their work day in completely focused concentration on important, difficult projects produce more value than knowledge workers who spend most of the time checking email, sitting in meetings, and distractedly trying to get a few things done each day.While Newport emphasizes the benefits in productivity and job security from Deep Work, I think the real benefits are in meaningfulness and life satisfaction. Newport has given a name to something vague I’ve felt was missing in my life. Now I not only have the vocabulary to talk about it, but also a model of how to live a deeply meaningful life in a sustainable manner.I’ve had a belief that to do a high volume of good quality work, it was necessary to be a workaholic, a belief supported by the exemplars of high achievement in my life. Not wanting to experience the obvious negative effects of workaholism, I’ve instead chosen to be a slacker. Newport presents a golden mean between the extremes of workaholism and slacking, activity and rest; that of spending 3 or 4 hours a day sequestered in highly concentrated periods of challenging mental labor, 90-120 minutes at a stretch, never working after 5:30pm, and managing all this by ruthlessly eliminating the inessential.This is a noble use of ruthlessness, versus Tim Ferriss’ ethic of ruthlessly cheating-within-the-rules or exploiting international labor markets for personal gain. The inessential ought to be eliminated; doing so ensures room for deep and important work. While Ferriss sometimes talks about eliminating the inessential, he frequently contradicts himself by recommending many unimportant things like expensive and needless supplements, or worthless accomplishments like setting a “world record” for number of tango spins in 1 minute, or cheating at kickboxing. Ferriss emphasizes laziness (“the 4 hour X”) and hacks that allow one to skirt effort, while Newport advocates hard, hard work for which there is no shortcut.Ultimately Newport’s Deep Work is not simply about doing better work, it’s about living a better life, balancing many competing priorities, determining which technologies aid your most important labor, and valuing your energy and your time as the precious and non-renewable resources they are.This book a must-read for anyone who does knowledge work of any kind and wants to live a meaningful life in our age of distraction.That said, this book leaves me with some questions.Deep Work is a book about finding meaning through work as well as success in life in Late Capitalism. The proposed solution to being outsourced or automated in a hyper-competitive global marketplace is to become indispensable by practicing in a way that leads to profound expertise. However, most new jobs in the economy are in the service sector. Quite a few service jobs won’t allow for Deep Work, for example Starbucks baristas, Amazon warehouse workers, Bus/Uber drivers, call center employees, administrative assistants, and so on. Do these workers have any opportunities to practice Deep Work on the job in a way that cannot be commodified?Newport at one point suggests that these entry-level jobs do not, therefore the worker should develop deeper skills to increase their opportunities for deep work. But when and where can a service industry worker develop their skills, especially if they are already working full-time or more? The best time to develop skills is while you are being paid, and Newport advocates not doing anything work related after 5:30pm. It seems that the only way for such a person to get ahead would be to add an additional 3-4 hours of deep work into their schedule on top of their 8+ hours on the job, but this would necessarily lead to lower cognitive performance from overwork and inferior rest. Since expertise is about total hours spent in deep work or deliberate practice, an economy where the deepest workers thrive rewards the privileged.Also by definition if rockstars are some of the only people in a field who will thrive, the system is inherently unjust, privileging a tiny minority while the overwhelming majority suffers. Is Deep Work only for the 1%, and therefore the 99% are destined to lead meaningless and shallow lives? Will Deep Work counter the trend towards increasing inequality, or will it further this disturbing phenomenon, or neither? Is there a way we can increase the opportunities for Deep Work for all workers, not just the professional elite?Shallow Work is defined as basically busy work that presents a veneer of being productive, whereas Deep Work is the opposite: focusing on very cognitively demanding work that is personally and socially important. But some of the examples of Deep Work involve very showy displays of work such as number of published papers or (I imagine) lines of code written. Everyone knows it is easier to write 5 shallow books than one truly deep one. Could one be a better researcher by publishing fewer, higher quality papers? Does “publish or perish” really create better academic institutions? Does number of published papers make for a good researcher or professor? Does number of citations even make for a good paper?Many paradigm-changing papers or works were ignored at first. As physicist Max Plank allegedly said, "Science progresses one funeral at a time." Is high craftsmanship always valued and appreciated in a field, or do other values make something more popular or financially lucrative? For instance, a better program might be one which is more elegant, requiring fewer lines of code to do the same thing. But lines of code is a showy metric that appears to be better, despite being more shallow. While Newport's official "lead" metric for success is hours spent in deep work, he also emphasizes the metric of number of academic papers published. Newport’s previous books were on academic success, which is largely defined as getting straight A’s in difficult classes. Is Deep Work just trying to get an “A” in life, or is it truly working on what is important, even if one is not rewarded externally as much as the person who plays to the crowd/rules? Is it “he who dies with the most published and cited papers wins?” or is it “he who writes the most meaningful and deep papers wins?” What if the crowd's values for success in your field are wrong or shallow?Is Deep Work actually deep, or is it merely technical? It seems like many of the examples involve learning a highly specialized technical discipline, and/or perhaps inventing something new in a highly specialized technical discipline. But is technical skill and proficiency what truly matters in life? To take the example of masterful musicians who K. Anders Ericsson studied: is mastery in musical performance merely a matter of technical proficiency? Clearly without technical proficiency, one cannot reach a level of mastery in music, so some high degree of technical proficiency is necessary. But just as clearly, musical performance that only contains technical mastery is missing something equally as important, making this technical ability insufficient. Newport’s previous book was about developing skill instead of following your passion, but a technical musician who lacks passion makes for a cold and unmoving performance. Is Newport underestimating the importance of passion or heart in expertise because it is more challenging to measure or teach?I know several people who are back in school right now. All of them spend many hours a day studying very cognitively demanding material in a highly focused manner, but none are superstars. Why is this? One (my wife) doesn’t even have a Facebook or Twitter account, and studies in a very focused manner for hours at a time, and yet is still very slow compared to her son, who can write a nearly good paper in literally 1/10th the time. (He plays hours of video games every day.) Is she lacking some crucial study skill? Another is a PhD candidate in the biological sciences and basically works round the clock. Why isn’t she a superstar in her field given her long hours of difficult study? (She is doing well, but not head-and-shoulders above similar PhD students.) Is she not resting enough or focused enough while she works? Hours spent in a highly focused manner on cognitively demanding tasks is clearly an important thing, but also clearly not the only relevant variable in producing outstanding results. What are those other factors that determine extreme results and are they learnable?Is Deep actually compatible with More and Fast? In this book, Newport emphasizes being able to produce high volume of work quickly in order to survive and thrive in Late Capitalism. But does this emphasis on More and Fast sacrifice some level of depth that is only possible with Less and Slow? For example, in the psychological sciences as well as in pharmaceutical drug trials, it is difficult to get funding for longitudinal studies that track individuals over long periods of time, but deep and important information is found from these studies that cannot be replicated through short-term studies alone. Because of the lack of these studies (and their expense), we have lots of data on short-term effects of drugs but little information about the effects of these drugs after years of use…and many of these drugs continue to be used for years, such as SSRIs and other anti-depressant drugs. Deep Work does seem to eliminate much of what is unimportant, specifically mindless entertainment and needless technology. A life of Deep Work is certainly more focused and meaningful than one without. There are also some advantages to More and Fast. But what other Deep things are we missing out on by focusing on More and Fast work?Despite my questions, I found the book very moving and important, and I highly recommend it. In my own life, I will be seriously considering ways to make my daily work life revolve around as much Deep Work as I can sustain.

The original SP33 was a great flashlight but Sofirn continues to improve their models. Much has been changed with version 3. That includes the body, reflector, UI, output, charging system, and compatible batteries.I have a good number of Sofirn lights. I’ve never received a faulty one and have never had one fail. All are well-built with flawless machining and anodizing, well-cut square threads, and a solid feel. The SP33V3 is no exception.The online description is misleading. Features are missing. Light levels are incorrect as of this writing. Hopefully, Sofirn will have that corrected as you read this. However, the manual is excellent and I’m rating the light, not that description. I’ll give the correct the light level data and discuss features not covered. I will not dwell on information correctly covered online. You can get it there.The light has 5 light levels , not 4, and are different than listed online. The levels, lumens and runtimes are: (1) Moonlight/1/31 days (2) Low/150/26 hr. 36 min. (3) Med/450/9 hr. 21 min. (4 )High/1600/2 hr. 21 min. (5) Turbo/3500/ 1 hr. 53 min. It does have strobe. It has step down thermal protection. Note: Time in step down is counted until output falls below 10% of rated output. That’s why Turbo has such a surprisingly long runtime.I really like the UI. The light has memory…it will remember the last setting used. The light turns off and on with a single click. While on, hold the switch down and it steps up from low to high and then repeats. The higher quality Sofirn lights, such as the SP33V3, have a lower setting mode and Turbo. For the lower setting (moonlight)… from off, hold the button down and it will access it. Double click from either off or on and you have Turbo. For both levels a single click reverts to the previous setting. The light also has a ramp mode. 4 very rapid clicks while the light is on and you change modes between ramp and step. Hold the button down in ramp mode and you can select any light level you want…from 1 to 3500 lumens. To change the direction of the ramp, simply release the button and hold down again. 3 quick clicks gives strobe.It comes with an adapter for 18650 batteries. Flashaholics, me included, will likely have a good collection of 18650s…so you’ll already have spare batteries.I expected that version 3 would use the SP33 body for the upgrade. Not so. It has a new bezel which is longer in length…and thinner in cross section making for a slightly larger diameter reflector. The front cooking fins have been moved forward allowing a broader area for the switch…making it easier to find. The cooling fins are also deeper for improved cooling. The charging port is directly opposite the switch. This, again, makes the switch easier to locate by feel. The body is also a couple of millimeters shorter in length and a few grams lighter in weight but that is of little consequence.This light has some heft to it…it’s about twice as heavy as most tube lights and 50% larger in diameter. In the hand, it’s a comfortable slip-free carry with its well textured grip. It’s not a light to carry in your pocket. It lends itself to hand carry, backpack carry, or use at a fixed base such as in a camp or a home. Sofirn apparently shares that opinion as they do not offer a belt clip or holster. However, I have found that, although a bit bulky in carry, it will fit in the XTAR holster for 6 to 8 inch lights.The version 3 has a shade over 900 ft. of throw…that’s an increase of 190 feet over the original SP33. The XP50.2 is a large LED. With the SP33V3 reflector diameter and design, it results in a large amount of flood. It truly will light up your entire backyard…and then some…even ifs a big back yard.. The hotspot is relatively large but the massive output on turbo still yields plenty of throw. Both SP33 versions indicate a color temperature of 6000-6500k. However, my light is noticeably more of a neutral than the cool beam of my old SP33.I have a high quality lithium battery charger so never felt the need to have USB charging. However, after purchasing the Sofirn SC31, I began to appreciate the advantages. While traveling, I always carry a USB cable and power supply for my smart phone. To no longer have the need to carry a dedicated charger or extra batteries for my light is a major plus.I have only one nitpick and that’s the 1 lumen moonlight setting. For relatively close in work, it’s near useless and the next highest setting at 150 lumens is too bright. I would much prefer a setting in the range of 5 to 15 lumens. Granted, the moonlight does help preserve night vision but 5 lumens does a pretty good job as well. However, with ramp mode, you can still find a level that works so it’s far from a major issue.The “Wow” factor definitely deserves a mention. 3500 lumens is nearly 3 times the output of a standard automotive high beam headlight. It’s truly impressive!The SP33V3 is a major upgrade with many added features. It has a huge output and the increase in throw over the old SP33 is readily apparent. It costs a bit more, but, even without the 1000 lumen boost, I would still consider the upgrade to be a worthy investment. It’s a winner!

Very nice flashlight and as the title mentioned it is bright with a semi floody beam pattern but intense hot spot in the center which tosses the lumens a goodly distance. The control is straight forward and EZ to operate. I dropped it medium hard already but did not phase it. The only bug which is personal preferance is the on off button on the side and fairly flush makes finding it in pitch black one handed not so eazy. Every flashlight I have with a side button I have that problem. It's EZ to mount a steel rod or wire like 1/16" with epoxy on each side of the switch or just below it for some thing to feel for with the thumb. Just need to get a little creative and can come up with something nice looking and functional. Having a 26650 li ion is great for run time(provided). Price point is good. Liked it so much bought a second one for gifting. It's nice the battery can charge with usb power, Makes giving a flashlight as a gift more affordable as for the first time high brightness led flashlight owner not having to get a battery and charger as well. I have a few Sofirn flashlights and all good lights no failures and oldest one is two years,

I'm always suspect with books that authors or reviewers claim to help you become more productive, better manage time or in some way, improve the currrent version of you. Many of these books, which might be classed personal development, self improvement or productivity boosters, are nothing more than someone attempting to regurgitate principles that have already been better stated, for decades or centuries. But with Deep Work I give Cal kudo's for delivering original, relevent concepts that you can easily put into practice. Some, it may not be like you've never heard them before or thought of it yourself, but it makes the connection by the idea or reminder of, for example, "It's ok to not reply to an email." Yea, I know. A no brainer, but for many of us in the professional or service or sales world, there is some attempted brain-washing going on out there to teach us it's not ok. That if we are not checking for and responding to emails and messages immediately, we may end up in the destroying our careers and tossed into the industry abyss. Cal just reminds us to be selective, carefully. And that not only is it ok to do that but that ultimately, even if you lose the battle with the colleague that thought you died because you didn't reply to a text in 30 seconds, you will win the War of a Better Life and Career, Better Work, by opening the door to higher quality, smarter Deep Work, by doing so. Thanks Cal. Nice Job!

Happy with magnification good

I bought this for when I travel. It was little hard to work with when putting on my eye make-up. I did attach it to the mirror, but maybe the magnification was too high. I had to get right up to it for it to be clear. Unfortunately I left it on the mirror on the cruise ship. I'll probably try a different one to replace this item.

At almost 69 years old, I am very grateful for a mirror of this quality to help me see much better when plucking facial hairs, trying to remove something from my eye or applying makeup. The first one I bought kept slipping out of my hand and finally ended up on the tile floor- cracked. This time I bought 2 so I would never be without one. I read someone elses review to leave the mirror on the cardboard it comes on. What a fantastic idea!! I haven't dropped it at all since! The cardboard acts like a handle ''. Thanks a million times over!!

Ms. Mike here. I needed another super magnification mirror, and this was the most magnification I could find. Presbyopia sucks! This is one is fine. The price was right, but I can't tell any difference between it and my 18x mirror.

I wasn't using these as mirrors, but as curved surfaces for a project. I can say, however, that they had better magnification then some other supposedly 20x mirrors being sold on Amazon. My feeling is that these are true 20x and the others are not. In any case, the only real problem is that they charge different amounts for different colors and limit you to purchasing only 2 of the less expensive colors. That is just being ridiculous and a little nasty. I now have several colors in my project instead of one and had to get them in batches at different times and, in some cases, pay more ... from the same seller for the same item. Minus 3 stars for being such a pain to deal with, charging more for the exact same thing in a different color, and for limiting your purchase to only 2 for the less expensive ones.

Nice sized mirror, great for travel! I would have given it five stars but the suction cups aren't that great!

Had a Zadro 20X mirror this size & dropped it in the sink which made a crack right down the middle. Almost bought another Zadro but seen this Danielle 20X mirror for half the price and thought what the heck...I'll buy it and save $ glad I did cuz I put them side by side & this Danielle mirror kicks butt on the Zadro one! Buy this won't be sorry!

Not truely 20x, it's more like 15x or just a little above; but good to use with no distortion and it's just the right weight and size for travels.

Cal is obviously a thinker. And I mean that as a compliment and as a good thing. He no doubt has worked very hard to get to where he is and deserves any rewards and recognition that he receives.This book will tell you, in so many words, how to get things done. Some are obvious, such as turn off the email, lock yourself into a quiet room, and concentrate like you have never concentrated before. As Cal states however, this is much easier said than done.Why I think this book will work for some and not for others is that I really do think it depends on what your occupation is and if it makes sense for you to literally disappear from others while you are working. Many of us do not have this luxury. For instance, if you are in sales, and you are constantly being barraged by coworkers, customers, etc., you really are not going to have the luxury during the daytime of shutting everybody out. I can see how this would be OK if you are a professor or say an accountant, where perhaps you can have stricter deep work hours of study and where there are times where human interaction is not necessary. But trust me if you’re in sales and you are getting back to customers several hours later, they’re not going to be your customers for very long.Other occupations where deep work would be hard to accomplish would perhaps be the hospitality industries, manufacturing industries, service industries, etc. All of the workers in these jobs either have immediate customer needs to attend to or in the case of manufacturing, deadlines to meet, which would require you to be running around the production floor making sure product is getting out the door, not sitting quietly in a room alone. Having said that, I can certainly see where the deep work philosophy would come in handy for say a new production manager, who is trying to figure out better ways to operate the equipment, the workflow, production schedules, etc. If this manager does have the luxury of some downtime from the floor, certainly brainstorming some better ways of how to get things done can take place. This, of course can also apply to the hotel or restaurant manager, who during off hours can try to think of better ways to improve their business. But the point is that during normal business hours, some workers are not going to find the time to shut everyone out.Lastly, I really did not get the sense of there being any levity at all allowed during these deep work moments. Perhaps I missed something in reading the book, but I personally need to have a laugh here or there during the day to keep my sanity. The story of Bill Gates, when he first started, literally working for weeks on end with barely any sleep, frankly did not appeal to me at all. This is where I think the phrase “moderation in everything” is a good to follow. Nothing wrong with being serious about your work, but it would be hard to find someone on their deathbed regretting that they wish they would’ve spent more time in the office.

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
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