Ayush Antiwal

Ayush Antiwal

A Quick Summary of “Deep Work” By Cal Newport

The Deep Work book Author says deep work is 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.


The Summary of Deep Work By Cal Newport
Deep Work Summary


Summary of Deep Work By Cal Newport

Deep work is necessary to wring every last drop of value out of your current intellectual capacity. Deep work, in other words, was exactly the type of effort needed to stand out in a cognitively demanding field like academic psychiatry in the early twentieth century.

Author says If you study the lives of other influential figures from both distant and recent history, you’ll find that a commitment to deep work is a common theme. Deep work is necessary to wring every last drop of value out of your current intellectual capacity.

The ubiquity of deep work among influential individuals is important to emphasize because it stands in sharp contrast to the behavior of most modern knowledge workers—a group that’s rapidly forgetting the value of going deep.

Author says in an age of network tools, in other words, knowledge workers increasingly replace deep work with the shallow alternative— constantly sending and receiving e-mail messages like human network routers, with frequent breaks for quick hits of distraction.

Deep work is not, in other words, an old-fashioned skill falling into irrelevance. It’s instead a crucial ability for anyone looking to move ahead in a globally competitive information economy that tends to chew up and spit out those who aren’t earning their keep.

Deep Work is Rare

Author says when we look closer at why we embrace distraction in the workplace we’ll find the reasons are more arbitrary than we might expect—based on flawed thinking combined with the ambiguity and confusion that often define knowledge work.

Deep work should be a priority in today’s business climate. If you believe in the value of depth, this reality spells bad news for businesses in general, as it’s leading them to miss out on potentially massive increases in their value production

The connection between deep work and flow should be clear: Deep work is an activity well suited to generate a flow state (the phrases used by Csikszentmihalyi to describe what generates flow include notions of stretching your mind to its limits.

Those who deploy the bimodal philosophy of deep work admire the productivity of the monastics but also respect the value they receive from the shallow behaviors in their working lives. Perhaps the biggest obstacle to implementing this philosophy is that even short periods of deep work require a flexibility that many fear they lack in their current positions.

Work Deeply

Author says your ritual needs to specify a location for your deep work efforts. This location can be as simple as your normal office with the door shut and desk cleaned off (a colleague of mine likes to put a hotel-style “do not disturb” sign on his office door when he’s tackling something difficult).

Your ritual needs to ensure your brain gets the support it needs to keep operating at a high level of depth. For example, the ritual might specify that you start with a cup of good coffee, or make sure you have access to enough food of the right type to maintain energy.

To maximize your success, you need to support your efforts to go deep. At the same time, this support needs to be systematized so that you don’t waste mental energy figuring out what you need in the moment.

The relationship between deep work and collaboration is tricky. It’s worth taking the time to untangle, however, because properly leveraging collaboration can increase the quality of deep work in your professional life.

You need your own philosophy for integrating deep work into your professional life. You must be careful to choose a philosophy that fits your specific circumstances, as a mismatch here can derail your deep work habit before it has a chance to solidify.

Embrace Boredom

Author says decades of work from multiple different subfields within psychology all point
toward the conclusion that regularly resting your brain improves the quality of your
deep work. When you work, work hard. When you’re done, be done.

To succeed with deep work you must rewire your brain to be comfortable resisting distracting stimuli. This doesn’t mean that you have to eliminate distracting behaviors; it’s sufficient that you instead eliminate the ability of such behaviors to hijack your attention.



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