Deep Work by Cal Newport (some quotes)

We all desire to be more productive in some way or another. To get into the holiday spirit, I have listed some notable quotes from a fascinating book about working productively in an increasingly distracted world:

14: 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.

40: High-Quality Work Produced = (Time Spent) X (Intensity of Focus)

58: The Principle of Least Resistance: In a business setting, without clear feedback on the impact of various behaviors to the bottom line, we will tend toward behaviors that are easiest in the moment.

67: Postman argued that our society was sliding into a troubling relationship with technology. We were, he noted, no longer discussing the trade-offs surrounding new technologies, balancing the new efficiencies against the new probelms introduced. If it’s high-tech, we began to instead assume, then it’s good. Case closed.

68: It’s this propensity to view ‘the Internet’ as a source of wisdom and policy advice that transforms it from a faily uninteresting set of cables and network routes into a seductive and exciting ideology.

69: Deep work is at a severe disadvantage in a technopoly because it builds on values like quality, craftsmanship, and mastery that are decidedly old-fashioned and nontechnological.

82: A workday driven by the shallow, from a neurological perspective, is likely to be a draining and upsetting day, even if most of the shallow things that capture your attention seem harmless or fun.

84: The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is strentched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile. …. Most people assumed (and still do) that relaxation makes them happy. But the results from Csikszentmihalyi’s ESM studies reveal that most people have this wrong: Ironically, jobs are actually easier to enjoy than free time, because like flow activities they ahve built-in goals, feedback rules, and challenges, all of which encourage one to become involved in one’s work, to concentrate and lose onself in. Free time, on the other hand, is unstructured, and requires much greater effort to be shaped into something that can be enjoyed.

201: The Law of the Vital Few: In many settings, 80 percent of a given effect is due to just 20 percent of the possible causes.

212: Every available trick of human psychology, from listing titles as “popular” or “trending,” to the use of arresting photos, is used to keep you engaged….These sites are especially harmful after the workday is over, where the freedom in your schedule enables them to become central to your leisure time. … they provide a cognitibe crutch to ensure you eliminate any chance of boredom. … such behavior is dangerous, as it weakens your mind’s general ability to resist distraction, making deep work difficult later when you really want to concentrate. …. Arnold Bennett identified the solution to this problem a hundred years earlier: Put more thought into your leisure time.

236: I fix the firm goal of not working past a certain time, then work backward to find productivity strategies that allow me to satisfy this declaration.





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