Do you find it difficult to concentrate for long periods of time? Feel your career slipping away? Need constant distraction when waiting for the bus, a coffee or in a queue? This might be due to a particularly modern malaise: shallow work and shallow thought.
Cal Newport’s Deep Work: Rules For Focussed Success in a Distracted World is a book on how to get deep. He outlines what depth is, why it’s important, why we are failing at it, and then supplies the remedy: practical implications that work to fostering it within your own life.
As the term has been coined by Newport, it’s important to grasp his full definition of ‘deep work’:
‘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 necessary to wring every last drop of value out of your current intellectual capacity. We now know from decades of research in both psychology and neuroscience that the state of mental strain that accompanies deep work is also necessary to improve your abilities.’
Newport notes that many influential people employ deep work, including Bill Gates, Carl Jung, JK Rowling, Mark Twain and Woody Allen. But, he pointedly suggests that a significant proportion of knowledge workers are not appreciating the great value in working with depth.
In this climate of shallow work, he presents the reader with the tantalizing suggestion that deep work fosters work of real value, cultivates greater meaning, and allows you to reap economic benefits. In summation: A deep life is a good life.
On the academic side, Cal Newport earned his PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT in 2009. As of 2016, he has been Provost’s Distinguished Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University...
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