7: Deep Work by Cal Newport

7: Deep Work by Cal Newport

Mike has a new Apple device despite his minimizing efforts and Joe has finally done something about his email issue.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://joebuhlig.com/7-deep-work-by-cal-newport/


For those interested, here’s my outline of this great book.


  • Deep Work Definition:

    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.

  • Shallow Work Definition:

    Non-cognitively demanding, logistical-style tasks, often performed while distracted. These efforts tend not to create much new value in the world and are easy to replicate.

  • 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.

Part 1: The Idea

  • Deep Work is Valuable

    Three groups having a particular advantage. – How to Become a Winner in the New Economy. – Deep Work helps you quickly learn hard things. – Deep Work helps you produce at an Elite level. – Counterexample of success without deep work.

  • Deep Work is Rare

    The Metric Black Hole. – The Principle of Least Resistance. – Busyness as Proxy for Productivity. – Internet-centrism and technopoly.

  • Deep Work is Meaningful

    A Neurological Argument for Depth. – A Psychological Argument for Depth. – A Philosophical Argument for Depth.

Part 2: Rules

  • Rule #1: Work Deeply

    Depth Approaches: Monastic philosophy / Bimodal philosophy / Rhythmic philosophy / Journalistic philosophy. – Ritualize. – Make Grand Gestures. – Don’t Work Alone. – Execute Like a Business: Focus on the Wildly Important / Act on the Lead Measures / Keep a Compelling Scoreboard / Create a Cadence of Accountability. – Be Lazy. – Downtime Aids Insights. – Downtime Helps Recharge the Energy Needed to Work Deeply. – The Work That Evening Downtime Replaces Is Usually Not That Important

  • Rule #2: Embrace Boredom

    Don’t Take Breaks from Distraction. Instead Take Breaks from Focus. – Working with Great Intensity (like Teddy Roosevelt). – Meditate Productively: Be Wary of Distractions and Looping / Structure Your Deep Thinking. – Memorize a Deck of Cards.

  • Rule #3: Quit Social Media

    The Craftsman Approach to Tool Selection. – The Law of the Vital Few, or 80/20. – Quit Social Media. – Don’t Use the Internet to Entertain Yourself.

  • Rule #4: Drain the Shallows

    Schedule Every Minute of Your Day. – Quantify the Depth of Every Activity. – Ask Your Boss for a Shallow Work Budget. – Finish Your Work by Five Thirty, or Fixed-schedule productivity. – Become Hard to Reach.


Nice work! This is similar to how we try to cover a book. :clap:

Thanks, Joe. This is based on a mindmap I created for the book.

1 Like