Deep Work Book Summary - Deep Work Book explained in key points
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Deep Work summary

Cal Newport

Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

4.3 (2286 ratings)
9 mins

Brief summary

Deep Work provides a comprehensive perspective on how to cultivate the ability for deep concentration to produce magnificent results. Through detailing how the most successful individuals maximize productivity and consistently deliver high-quality work.

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    Deep Work
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    Multitasking and distraction are the enemies of productivity.

    A lot of people think that doing tons of things at once is the most productive use of their time, but this logic is dead wrong. That’s because multitasking does not equal productivity. Sophie Leroy, a business professor at the University of Minnesota who conducted research on this phenomenon in 2009, shows why.

    She demonstrates that when switching from task A to task B, our attention stays attached to the first activity, which means we can only half-focus on the second, which hurts our performance. Her experiments utilized two groups: group A worked on word puzzles until she interrupted them to go on to reading resumes and making hypothetical hiring decisions; Group B got to finish their puzzles before moving on to the resumes.

    In between the two tasks, Leroy would give a quick test to see how many keywords from the puzzles were still stuck in the participants’ minds.

    The result?

    Group A was much more focused on the puzzle and therefore less focused on the important task of hiring the right person.

    The long and short of it? Multitasking is no good for productivity. Neither is being electronically connected all the time. In fact, while it might seem harmless to keep social media and email tabs open in your web browser, the mere fact of seeing things pop up on your screen is enough to derail your focus, even if you’re not immediately addressing notifications.

    For instance, a 2012 study by the consulting firm McKinsey found that the average worker spends over 60 percent of the workweek using online communication tools and surfing the internet with just 30 percent devoted to reading and answering emails.

    Despite this data, workers feel like they’re working more than ever. That’s because completing small tasks and moving information around makes us feel busy and accomplished – but it’s actually just preventing us from truly focusing.

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    What is Deep Work about?

    Deep Work (2016) is all about how the rise of technology has wrecked our ability to concentrate deeply on tasks – and how to overcome this blockade. These blinks illustrate different strategies that can help you improve the output of your work and get the most out of your free time.

    Deep Work Review

    Deep Work (2016) by Cal Newport is a book that explores the importance of focused concentration in an age of distraction. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It offers practical strategies for cultivating deep work, enabling people to accomplish more in less time and achieve greater success.
    • Through a combination of compelling research and real-life examples, it demonstrates the value of deep work in today's fast-paced, technology-dominated world.
    • With its accessible writing style and thought-provoking ideas, the book captivates readers, making it anything but boring.

    Best quote from Deep Work

    Instead of scheduling the occasional break from distraction so you can focus, you should instead schedule the occasional break from focus to give in to distraction.

    —Cal Newport
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    Who should read Deep Work?

    • Anyone trying to concentrate on cognitively demanding tasks
    • People whose days are consumed by email, social media and technology
    • Workers interested in learning tools to enhance their productivity

    About the Author

    Cal Newport is an assistant professor of computer science at Georgetown University specializing in the theory of distributed algorithms. Several publications, including Inc. Magazine, The Globe and Mail and 800-CEO-Read, have featured his most recent book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You, on their lists for the best business book of the year.

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    Deep Work FAQs 

    What is the main message of Deep Work?

    Deep Work highlights the importance of focused concentration for productivity and success.

    How long does it take to read Deep Work?

    Reading Deep Work will take a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Deep Work a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Deep Work is a valuable read. It offers practical strategies to enhance focus and achieve meaningful work.

    Who is the author of Deep Work?

    Deep Work is written by Cal Newport.

    What to read after Deep Work?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Deep Work, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Make Your Bed by William H. McRaven
    • Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy
    • The ONE Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
    • So Good They Can't Ignore You by Cal Newport
    • Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport
    • The 12 Week Year by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington
    • Happier by Tal Ben-Shahar
    • The Procrastination Cure by Damon Zahariades
    • Atomic Habits by James Clear
    • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman