Top positive review
A manifesto and a how-to in one. Cal Newport delivers.
4 February 2016
A manifesto and a how-to in one. Cal Newport delivers a stand-out guide for anyone who has struggled with distraction from deep work.
Bear in mind, this book isn't for everyone. If you are an academic, writer, or any other kind of deep problem-solver, then big blocks of uninterrupted time for thinking are essential. But this isn't true of all occupations. Some of the guidelines for avoiding distraction will be useful for a wider range of readers, but we should understand that the need for deep work is not uniformly distributed.
I got a lot out of this book. If there is one criticism I had, it's that he seems to assume that it's ok for executives to be always "on", available to their teams and the firehose of information. (He is an academic, after all, where you can get away with avoiding admin work as a strategy to increase research output.) But strategic thinking IS deep thinking, and many senior people in public policy, especially, need to find the balance between the always-on mode and the deeper work that brings the analytical insights needed in that realm. People in those positions might want to complement Newport's book with "Paid to Think" by David Goldsmith.