Review: Cal Newport – Deep Work ‘rules for success in a distracted world’

Following my recent read “How to become a straight-A student“, I dove into another book by the same author: Cal Newport.

What type of book is it?

This is a facts/self improvement type of book, which is my favorite kind of books. I never read made up stories, since I consider it to be almost as wasteful of a persons time as watching TV. I prefer to read something that makes me better, teaches me a new skill or improves my life somehow. This book falls into that category!

Who should read it?

Anybody who is interested in developing habits that cultivate a great work ethic, laser sharp focus, improved thinking skills, problem solving, getting more stuff done in less time, and most important of all – limiting the stressful and negative impact that social media and email have on your brain. I would recommend it for workers as well as students in any white collar knowledge-field, but many principles also apply to all types of work. It’s good for advancing a career or improving study habits.

What’s bad about it?

Not much. The only thing I’d like to see is some sort of summary or cheat sheet on how to start implementing it to your own life. There are many rues, and I wish I would have taken notes as I read it because it will take some time to go back and try to summarize it to apply to your own life – but I think it’s definitely worth it.

What’s good about it?

The book is laced with Newport’s own personal anecdotes on how he implemented and tested the methods into his own life over several years. Everything is backed up by references to science, and he is good at drawing interesting parallels to other successful persons who in some way use the methods and how it has benefited them. Typical for a scientist (Newport holds a PhD in computer science from MIT), he examines popular beliefs from both angles and then breaks it down for the reader in very pedagogical way so that anybody can draw the conclusion that his arguments are well thought through. Several times in the book he addresses issues and worries that people might have about using his method. He even cites emails he has gotten from critics, and then breaks down his answer and solution in simple, logical and explaining way to eliminate doubt.

Final verdict

An excellent read! I think it’s a good follow up read after getting through Tim Ferris’s 4 hour work week. After those two books, you have many tools on how to skyrocket productivity, focus on important tasks and improve your career or grades. But! I do recommend you to take notes as you read and outline the most important concepts. Recommended!

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