Deep Work is one of the best books I’ve read on productivity and the focused life. Cal Newport outlines what “deep work” can be in an age of shallow distractions and offers a worthy alternative. He issues the challenge to leave mediocrity behind and embrace the best possible work you can do.
Newport is fully aware that his position runs almost counter-intuitive to the “information & internet” age we all persist in. History backs him up on nearly every point if only tangentially, since the basis of his case rests on how “focused work, i.e., deep work brings about revolutionary solutions, products, and works of art that cut way above the rest.” He looks at figures like Carl Jung, Bill Gates, and others who took long breaks from either the social sphere or cultural sphere for periods of quiet and isolation. Often they would come back renewed and with brand new(and amazing) work in their hands.
Coming from a practitioner himself, Newport realizes his bias and calls it out immediately. It is also hard to argue with an MIT educated professor, who maintains a prolific output at George Mason University, while also teaching and writing books such as these.
For myself as a writer, I am required to pay attention to what Newport is saying because if I ever hope to “breakout” as an author, I will need to cultivate a habit of deep work. What that essentially means, is building the muscle to do focused tasks for periods of time. Newport outlines several strategies of not only how to do deep work but different ways it can be implemented based on your life situation.
All in all, Deep Work is a must read for any producer of artistic work, innovators, or even individuals in the business world. Newport may be the first figure of a new movement of quiet work, that may outlast our social media entrenched culture.