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Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World PDF, ePub eBook

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Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World PDF, ePub eBook One of the most valuable skills in our economy is becoming increasingly rare. If you master this skill, you'll achieve extraordinary results. Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It's a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Deep work will make you better at w One of the most valuable skills in our economy is becoming increasingly rare. If you master this skill, you'll achieve extraordinary results. Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It's a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Deep work will make you better at what you do and provide the sense of true fulfillment that comes from craftsmanship. In short, deep work is like a super power in our increasingly competitive twenty-first century economy. And yet, most people have lost the ability to go deep-spending their days instead in a frantic blur of e-mail and social media, not even realizing there's a better way. In Deep Work, author and professor Cal Newport flips the narrative on impact in a connected age. Instead of arguing distraction is bad, he instead celebrates the power of its opposite. Dividing this book into two parts, he first makes the case that in almost any profession, cultivating a deep work ethic will produce massive benefits. He then presents a rigorous training regimen, presented as a series of four "rules," for transforming your mind and habits to support this skill. A mix of cultural criticism and actionable advice, Deep Work takes the reader on a journey through memorable stories-from Carl Jung building a stone tower in the woods to focus his mind, to a social media pioneer buying a round-trip business class ticket to Tokyo to write a book free from distraction in the air-and no-nonsense advice, such as the claim that most serious professionals should quit social media and that you should practice being bored. Deep Work is an indispensable guide to anyone seeking focused success in a distracted world.

30 review for Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

  1. 5 out of 5

    Adam Zerner

    Overview: the thesis is that deep work is both rare and valuable in todays world. That's about 1/3 of the book. The rest of the book is practical advice on how to pursue deep work. Part of me feels like a lot of what was said in the book is common sense. Particularly things that people know but can't find the willpower to do. I think that there is some truth to this. But there's also a difference between "knowing", and *knowing*. I think this book can help take a lot of people from "knowing" to * Overview: the thesis is that deep work is both rare and valuable in todays world. That's about 1/3 of the book. The rest of the book is practical advice on how to pursue deep work. Part of me feels like a lot of what was said in the book is common sense. Particularly things that people know but can't find the willpower to do. I think that there is some truth to this. But there's also a difference between "knowing", and *knowing*. I think this book can help take a lot of people from "knowing" to *knowing*. Additionally, there were also a good chunk of things that I didn't know before reading this book. I gave this book a 5 star rating primarily because of how important I think the topic is. By following the advice, I think it could be genuinely life changing. Things I personally am planning to change after reading the book: - A rekindled commitment to eliminating distraction/shallow work from my life. I'm willing to be ruthless in this pursuit. Ex. no more reading marginally useful articles. - A rekindled commitment to seek out hard things. As Paul Graham puts it, "run uphill". - Research says that 4 hours is sort of the limit for how much legitimate deep work a human can do in one day. There are also tons of examples of successful people who only put in ~4 hours of deep work per day. So I don't feel (as) guilty anymore about the amount of actual work I get done each day. - Setting a cutoff point each day. "I don't do any work after 7:00pm". Your brain needs to recharge, and before it can recharge, it needs the confidence to know that there won't be any more incoming work requests until morning. I've noticed that being "constantly on" really stresses me out and makes me less productive, so it needs to stop. - To end the day, a shutdown ritual is useful. Particularly to make sure there's nothing urgent left to do, and to organize your tasks. This way, your mind won't be worried that it shut down too early and needs to get back to work. - Previously I was skeptical about the limits of willpower and thought I could just "wing it". Overall I'm still skeptical, but I'm less skeptical and I plan on taking advantage of things that reduce the need for willpower. - In particular, I plan on sticking to a schedule. If I'm explicitly scheduled to be working from 10am-noon, I'll be less inclined to come up with excuses to procrastinate. - The idea isn't to constrain yourself though; the schedule can be flexible. The idea is that by putting deliberate thought into what you do, you'll be less inclined to procrastinate. - It's important to plan ahead so that things like hunger don't interfere with your work. - Perhaps the most important thing I learned from this book is how dangerous it is to constantly cave in to procrastination cravings. Ex. needing to check your phone for the 30 seconds you spend waiting in line. Doing this basically atrophies your willpower muscles and makes it harder to engage in deep work. Next time you're working on something but are tempted to check Facebook, you won't be able to resist. You're too used to caving in. And even if you do resist, the temptation itself will be distracting. I've actually noticed that these sorts of things happen to me and I hate it. So I'm serious about following the advice to cold turkey eliminate procrastination during designated deep work periods, and to not be constantly occupied. Ex. I don't need to watch YouTube videos while I brush my teeth and get dressed in the morning. - I'm quitting Facebook. To me, the upside is clearly not worth the downside of having that temptation. - Productive meditation: take a period where you’re occupied physically but not mentally - walking, jogging, driving, showering - and focus your attention on a problem. Aside from the core content of the book, I really enjoyed all of the stories and anecdotes. There are a lot of interesting tidbits about the lives of famous and successful people. Overall, I thought the book was extremely well written. It was very clear and understandable. It was broken down into understandable sections and subsections. And I thought Cal (the author) did a *fantastic* job of using stories to illustrate his points. I've noticed that a lot of writers struggle with this and spend too much time in the abstract. Cal made everything very concrete (in addition to making the abstract point clear). I should note that almost none of the arguments in this book are air tight. You could poke holes at them. But if he were to make them air tight, the book would be thousands and thousands of pages long.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Bayles

    If you do one thing to improve your life this year, subscribe to Dr. Newport's blog and start reading his books. I would suggest starting with "So Good They Can't Ignore You" and then read "Deep Work." They compliment each other. The first helps you sort out what you should be focusing on, and the second one tells you how to make sure what's important gets done. Over the years I've read lots of productivity books, and the related literature. But his approach to work impacts me everyday, and noth If you do one thing to improve your life this year, subscribe to Dr. Newport's blog and start reading his books. I would suggest starting with "So Good They Can't Ignore You" and then read "Deep Work." They compliment each other. The first helps you sort out what you should be focusing on, and the second one tells you how to make sure what's important gets done. Over the years I've read lots of productivity books, and the related literature. But his approach to work impacts me everyday, and nothing has done more to change how I work and how I define success.

  3. 5 out of 5

    SR

    Worth reading. Helped me make some drastic changes in my schedule. I will post an update how these changes went after six months. What I learned: (spoiler alerts) 1. Figure out what is most valuable to your success. 2. Spend most of the time on it, mostly in the early hours of your day where your attention span is long. 3. Try to spend at least 3 deep sessions on it approx. 90 min each. 4. Almost anything other than your main task is a shallow task. 5. Bunch all the shallow tasks into one deep task. 6. Worth reading. Helped me make some drastic changes in my schedule. I will post an update how these changes went after six months. What I learned: (spoiler alerts) 1. Figure out what is most valuable to your success. 2. Spend most of the time on it, mostly in the early hours of your day where your attention span is long. 3. Try to spend at least 3 deep sessions on it approx. 90 min each. 4. Almost anything other than your main task is a shallow task. 5. Bunch all the shallow tasks into one deep task. 6. Nature helps to retain your attention span. 7. Email and Internet in general is a huge attention sucker. What I disliked: 1. It is hard to remember what the rules are after reading the whole book. "So good they cannot ignore you" did a better job at this. 2. I did not like the way the content is organized. Three/four huge chapters. 3. Some places it felt like fillers.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Holger Matthies

    It is easy to lose yourself in shallow work - I'll agree with the author. Other than that, there is very little of value or substance in this book. You might want to review your excessive tweeting. You might stop using Facebook altogether. You might abandon email. The problem is that the real ideas (have sender filter their own email, take time away from office, take email sabbaticals) might work for specialists, freelancers, entry-level workers or academics, like the author. But not once does th It is easy to lose yourself in shallow work - I'll agree with the author. Other than that, there is very little of value or substance in this book. You might want to review your excessive tweeting. You might stop using Facebook altogether. You might abandon email. The problem is that the real ideas (have sender filter their own email, take time away from office, take email sabbaticals) might work for specialists, freelancers, entry-level workers or academics, like the author. But not once does the book mention managers or Cadre positions, who drown in email but are required to respond fast and to use email as the primary tool. Another problem is that the author continously touts his own horn. How many grants he got. How many children he fathered. How many books he wrote. How much he travels. If you want original ideas, this is the wrong place. Read David Allen instead, whose ideas permeate this book to a degree, but who cannot be quoted every second page although he should be.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Paras Kapadia

    File under - Shallow writing that should have been a blogpost at best. This book is mostly random commentary on other people's work and content. Almost nothing is original and no studies have been conducted by the author himself. The author's contribution is simply - this researcher found this, I do it this way and you should do it too. The irony of this book is that the subject matter expert on deep work has produced such shallow content.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    This had a lot of valuable ideas about the importance of deep work and how to do it. Most people are going to buy into this concept easily enough, but Cal did a nice job further arguing it with some examples, various research, and so on...but this book also felt like a very good 100-page book that was stretched into a mediocre 260-page book. It's repetitive. And his research often relies on the "correlation = causation" mistake. For example, someone gives up social media, so instead of writing 4 This had a lot of valuable ideas about the importance of deep work and how to do it. Most people are going to buy into this concept easily enough, but Cal did a nice job further arguing it with some examples, various research, and so on...but this book also felt like a very good 100-page book that was stretched into a mediocre 260-page book. It's repetitive. And his research often relies on the "correlation = causation" mistake. For example, someone gives up social media, so instead of writing 4 papers in a year, they now can write 9 papers, so the clear reason is because they gave up social media (and other shallow things), right? ....Hmm, not exactly. That probably does play a part, but someone naturally gets smarter as their career progresses (at least in the beginning), so the speed and quality of their work likely improves. Plus, researchers build off their previous research, which I assume makes it easier for them to publish more, more easily. As well, in the world of academic publishing, you might get asked to be a co-author on a paper (such as the 4th or 5th author), especially as your stature in the discipline grows, and when you're a 4th or 5th author, your contribution might be very little, thus taking very little of your time. In this book, Cal implies that Bill Gates is as successful as he is, because of his commitment to deep work. Well...sure, but also a "right place at the right time" situation, right (see the Malcolm Gladwell essay about this in "Outliers"), as well as just natural intelligence and aptitude--things that Cal kind of ignores or shrugs off. An author like Jonathan Franzen can more easily shrug off Twitter and other social media, and instead engage in mostly deep work, because anything he writes gets a lot of attention already, because he's a famous/popular author. A less well-known author does need to prioritize deep work, but also probably has to tweet and do some of these other "shallow tasks," as that's how people build up attention for their product/brand, when the world won't automatically pay attention to it. Yes, the actual work itself should be more important, but this other component is also (unfortunately) important to the success (money/attention) of their deep work. These are things Cal seems to mostly ignore (in between reminding you every five pages that he published 9 papers in a year). So I found some of his conclusions slightly flawed (in their methods or their data to back it up), even if the point of the conclusions (that you will be more productive if you eliminate shallow tasks), I did buy.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Manuel Antão

    If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. Dilettantes at Heart: "Deep Work" by Cal Newport D Work? E E P Hang on a second, I just need to head over to RTP1 channel to check on the weather. The rain that was forecast ten minutes ago might not be coming after all. Oh look, there's a cat juggling mice. I wonder what Donald Trump is up to. And there's someone talking shite about gun laws in the USA. He's wrong, he needs to be corrected. He's wrong again. And again. And again. What do y If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. Dilettantes at Heart: "Deep Work" by Cal Newport D Work? E E P Hang on a second, I just need to head over to RTP1 channel to check on the weather. The rain that was forecast ten minutes ago might not be coming after all. Oh look, there's a cat juggling mice. I wonder what Donald Trump is up to. And there's someone talking shite about gun laws in the USA. He's wrong, he needs to be corrected. He's wrong again. And again. And again. What do you mean, it's tea time? Focus on what? Oh, look, a squirrel!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kony

    Ideal advice for folks whose top priority is to achieve elite levels of professional success by capitalistic metrics -- namely by jumping through golden hoops very swiftly. The author, for one, is a professor whose goals are to secure tenure, publish a ton of highly cited academic papers, and win the equivalent of a Nobel prize. If your life goals sound similar, he's got tips for making it happen. This book is less useful for people whose priorities include critiquing/reforming elitist institutio Ideal advice for folks whose top priority is to achieve elite levels of professional success by capitalistic metrics -- namely by jumping through golden hoops very swiftly. The author, for one, is a professor whose goals are to secure tenure, publish a ton of highly cited academic papers, and win the equivalent of a Nobel prize. If your life goals sound similar, he's got tips for making it happen. This book is less useful for people whose priorities include critiquing/reforming elitist institutions, cultivating deep and meaningful relationships (and not sacrificing these for worldly success), practicing forms of love that don't necessarily advance one's career, and mentoring others who have grown up with fewer privileges than your typical "knowledge worker." The author isn't offering advice about how to keep and nourish the relationships that, for some, make professional "success" worth pursuing. That said, he smartly describes the kind of tunnel vision and hard-nosed decision making that constitute an *efficient* path to capitalistic success for aspiring elite experts.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    OVERVIEW: Deep Work was a solid self-help/productivity book. Being a podcast junkie, I had heard the majority of things that Newport preaches in his book. However, I really appreciated his practical applications of how to enter into Deep Work, or 'the zone' as I call it. STORIES TOLD: In Deep Work, the author tells a story of a young consultant who automates his work responsibilities using Excel macros. He then studied computer programming to increase his worth in the workforce. I, too, am a cons OVERVIEW: Deep Work was a solid self-help/productivity book. Being a podcast junkie, I had heard the majority of things that Newport preaches in his book. However, I really appreciated his practical applications of how to enter into Deep Work, or 'the zone' as I call it. STORIES TOLD: In Deep Work, the author tells a story of a young consultant who automates his work responsibilities using Excel macros. He then studied computer programming to increase his worth in the workforce. I, too, am a consultant, and this is exactly what I'm doing with UX design. I'm getting myself out of the mundane work of project management, and moving toward the thought-provoking and challenging field of design. TRUTHS TAUGHT: - Deep work is a skill that can and must be developed to be successful in knowledge work. Leaders in the next generation will have the power to put away distraction and enter into deep work. - Working creatively with machines is one of the three types of people who will success in the new economy. UX designers are right in line with this thinking. AN added benefit is being able to work remote and control your work environment. - Knowledge work is not supposed to be shown through producing X amount of widgets. It shouldn't be solely measured by quantity of hours worked or public messages/deliverables sent. Quality is what really matters. - When telling people that you're busy, they will respect it. Deep work stretches are always understood if they are well defined, and well communicated to those trying to get your attention. -3 Methods of Deep Work: The habitual 'rhythmic method' of deep work is more sustainable and actually produces more hours of deep work cumulatively. It becomes engrained in us as scheduled thinking time. Try waking up early and starting your day with a few hours of deep work. Over times, this habit will increase your ability to think deeply (work it out just like a muscle). By and large, most jobs don't allow you to disappear for large chunks of time. The 'monastic method' of deep work is rarely doable. Fitting in deep work whenever you can into your schedule is called the 'journalistic approach'. Walter Isaacson exemplified this method in writing his novels on the side of his job as the NY Times lead editor. ACTIONABLE STEPS: - To learn quickly, you need to study for long periods of time consistently. This is neurologically proven. - Force yourself to concentrate by locking away digital distractions. To write comprehensive thoughts, put away and limit distractions, interruptions, and constant checking of messages. -Perform a 'shut down' complete action that signifies the end of your professional work day -Regularly rest your mind to improve frequently and intensity of deep work (e.g. short walks, water breaks) - Embrace boredom - Don't flee from being bored! Allow your mind to relax and be un-stimulated. Your mind cannot come up with creative solutions and personal insights if it is constantly bombarded with digital stimulus. If you cannot allow yourself to be bored for more than a few minutes without mindlessly swiping around on your phone, then you are not ready for deep work. Your mind has been conditioned for distraction. It's being rewired. - Study like Theodore Roosevelt - Focus in short intense bursts of deep work, not long drawn out marathon study sessions filled with interruptions - The 'any benefit' reason for using social media platforms is not a good reason for using them. This reason essentially says that if something provides 'any benefit' then it is worth using. This is a trick! We must focus on the best uses of our time, not merely on good uses of our time. - Get off social media, cold turkey. Don't announce it. See who actually notices that you're gone. You'll be surprised by how many won't miss you from social networks. Sad, but true. QUOTES: "I'll live the focused life, because it's the best life to live." - Winfield Gallagher

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lara

    Many good pts, but barely any women and a single unneeded Trump reference

  11. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    Focus “Deep Work is the 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.” Cal Newport offers a very compelling argument as to the value of finding organising those periods when we all need to focus on the work/knowledge we need to obtain to further our professional goals and ambitions. Newport cites examples of key influential and high Focus “Deep Work is the 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.” Cal Newport offers a very compelling argument as to the value of finding organising those periods when we all need to focus on the work/knowledge we need to obtain to further our professional goals and ambitions. Newport cites examples of key influential and high achieving individuals such as JK Rowling and Bill Gates where they each notoriously became obsessively focused when they needed to achieve the important deliverables or direction they needed in their professional goals. In a world where information is coming at us in greater variety, velocity and volume, we find ourselves unable to consume enough of or the right information, amidst all the noise. In a contrary way, as the information availability accelerates the less we effectively absorb as valuable and usable content. To be expert or at least highly capable in our work area, we need to build on strong learned foundations so we can deal with the inevitable problems with much more confidence and resourcefulness. I would be a strong advocate for subconscious processing of information, and deep though periods, as long as we can secure the undistracted downtime for it to be properly embedded into our thinking and rationalisation processes. Newport provides a framework for achieving this way of deep life, but it does require drastic changes to your lifestyle. This may not be for everyone and certainly seems to be more geared towards those in pursuit of academic accomplishment or specialised achievement. Newport does suggest that to live the life of Deep Work we need to put the distraction of social media aside so we can deploy our minds to its fullest capacity to create things that matter. While I accept that social media can consume considerable time that is of little value, there are many roles in today’s society and workplace that require constant engagement with customers, suppliers, colleagues and online audiences. Like many things in life, it’s all about balance and I would recommend the Deep Thought approach as part of a daily regime but not to the exclusion of all other interactions. It is difficult to account for every minute of the day and attribute it towards a valuable contribution and I can imagine this will lead to frustration rather than reconciliation.

  12. 5 out of 5

    da AL

    Practical how-to's as well as researched encouragement to be wary of how much time we give away to anything other than our true passions. By working hard and then playing hard, we can achieve better focus in less time. Audiobook performer Jeff Bottoms reads well.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Amir Tesla

    Amazing, amazing. This book is going to drastically help me reach the optimum level of productivity I've been seeking. This marvelous book provides you with a great mindset, valuing deep work resulting in astonishing achievements. The deep work book is organized in two sections: 1. The first convinces you of the importance and necessity of deep work in order to live a fulfilling and productive life. 2. The second part of the book begins to offer practical advices on cultivating a deep work rout Amazing, amazing. This book is going to drastically help me reach the optimum level of productivity I've been seeking. This marvelous book provides you with a great mindset, valuing deep work resulting in astonishing achievements. The deep work book is organized in two sections: 1. The first convinces you of the importance and necessity of deep work in order to live a fulfilling and productive life. 2. The second part of the book begins to offer practical advices on cultivating a deep work routine along with tactics to refine and preserve it constantly This book was really amazing, incredibly well written, enriched with great amount of refined experience and I absolutely recommend it to any one who longs productivity and achievement of gigantic results and accomplishments.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mary-ellen

    A shallow, poor quality book about deep work. The central idea is about scheduling distraction free blocks of time to help you reach a state of flow with your work so you can achieve more. The useful content could be summed up in about 10 pages. The rest of it is mind-numbing padding. For a guy who doesn’t want his time wasted, he wasn’t exactly respectful of his reader’s time. I grew quickly tired of hearing about how awesome this author is. Some of his comments on business versus academia are A shallow, poor quality book about deep work. The central idea is about scheduling distraction free blocks of time to help you reach a state of flow with your work so you can achieve more. The useful content could be summed up in about 10 pages. The rest of it is mind-numbing padding. For a guy who doesn’t want his time wasted, he wasn’t exactly respectful of his reader’s time. I grew quickly tired of hearing about how awesome this author is. Some of his comments on business versus academia are arrogant - especially his assumptions about how long it would take the average grad to learn various business tasks. While I agree with the value of deep work, it’s not a new idea. And there’s nothing new here. I closed this book wondering if Cal Newport has it all wrong. I think he might do better to get off the academic publishing treadmill he has shackled himself to and prioritise quality over quantity in future.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    Say you were shoring up an ideology of service. Where besides abstract idealism would you draw from? Well, America's "me first" set has some very practical things figured out. Habits of mind that help them get "ahead" in the workplace. This book is a great example of the kinds of literature they produce - it contains important information and some actually good critiques/ techniques for sharpening attention and the effectiveness of one's work. Newport is a very clear writer with a vast view of t Say you were shoring up an ideology of service. Where besides abstract idealism would you draw from? Well, America's "me first" set has some very practical things figured out. Habits of mind that help them get "ahead" in the workplace. This book is a great example of the kinds of literature they produce - it contains important information and some actually good critiques/ techniques for sharpening attention and the effectiveness of one's work. Newport is a very clear writer with a vast view of the literature. He’s fun and easy to read. He is good at digesting big ideas. Some of the most important ideas/literatures covered here: - Getting COMFORTABLE with sustained depth of focus on a task, and how to wean yourself off dependence on distraction. - Sustained discussion of what happens to those who are somehow uncomfortable or even afraid of going deep into non-distracted focus on their work - Attention fatigue and the value of systematic idleness - Attention residue - especially the work of Sophie Leroy. This is BIG! CHECK IT OUT. - Deliberate practice. Also a big and important literature, wonderfully summarized here. - A specific explanation for why internet is addictive, why it is pathetically easy to build an audience there, how it keeps you from having a full life, and how it exploits you. - A fun-to-read, logical and convincing critique of social media use that everyone in the healing professions would do well to consider. As part of this last item, Newport gives the best, most clear analysis I’ve seen of what happens when the energy flows around social media go awry. It’s cool that he can go back stage and see the social media industry for what it is. And it's ironic he doesn't have the same ability to see through the achieverist culture this book seeks to fuel. His central thesis is that because deep work is both increasingly rare and increasingly useful in the workplace, the few who learn and practice it will be poised to get the top jobs in their respective professions. The unnecessary driving force of the narrative, then, is all about scrambling your individual ass to the top of your particular heap. You don't have to share a person's ideology to learn from them... so much the better if you take this books tricks for selfish gain and subvert them to an ideology of love and service. Because the book is so straightforward, it's easy to reverse-exploit it in this way. So I suggest activists and those in the healing profession get on this and other stuff like it. You can scan it quickly - it's written simply enough that ironically you don't need to go as deep as I did to get the gist of Deep Work! It’s an easy a way to absorb the recent literatures on attention. It’s well written and quick and the author has covered the field. The thing is, we in the healing professions and activism work with ATTENTION. Fundamentally. We know all about attention from the great books and from our personal practices, but also, the scientistic culture has actually discovered new things about attention in the last ten years. Patanjali and the Buddha aren’t everything specifically because they didn’t understand the challenges we face in the present day. It's worth knowing what the psychologists are saying about the effects of workplace design and the internet on fragmentation of attention. Their findings are kind of gross. The background assumptions of this book, if seen clearly, offer a unique opportunity to see how the corporate-industrial achieverist mindset operates. For example, Newport likes to make fun of women for doing their jobs - see the comments on Jennifer Winer, on the Yahoo CEO, on the NYT journalist he assumes to be a twitter user not because she wants to be but because some boss told her to do it. That’s not actually Cal talking, it’s the background hum of the boys' club. Of course he has a hard time taking women in leadership quite seriously. On the masculine side, he expresses a slavish commitment to being at some sort of “top” of his field, to meeting the benchmarks, to being one of the top performers - this must be a very heavy load of anxiety and self-discipline for most in the boys club to bear. Newport has made a career of teaching people how to carry it, writing ultra-high-end self-help books for the status-anxious. So he ends up extolling crazy selfish stuff like free-riding on all the committee work that goes with being an academic. Fully 50% of a pre-tenure professor’s work is contributing to a collective and educating young ones. Archetypically feminine work. But Newport finds himself worshipping the likes of diva Richard Feynman. Every department has divas like this, of course. They are old, white dinosaurs who still believe their “contributions to the field” and “making of their name” is more important than showing up like everyone else to help their institutions run smoothly. This is not an ideology of success, it’s just the purest expression of free-riderism that kept the last generation of divas at the top. The best organizations of the future, though, don’t want divas. They want team players. Deep working divas are well known, and they are stuck where they are, without close colleagues, without the other deep thing the rest of us enjoy in our professional lives: deep relationships. Towards the end of the book, Newport coins the most neoliberal term I have ever encountered - “productive meditation.” The interiorization of spiritual capitalism par excellence! This is one of the techniques in Deep Work that I won't be carrying forward. In summary, this book inspired me and verified suspicions I've had for a while about the nature of attention in the current economy. It is a perfect expression if its time. And it gives insight on the collective attentional neuroses we are currently generating. We in the healing professions can very easily look askance at achieverists who haven’t figured out how to do truly meaningful work (i.e. service) that goes beyond the atomized self-promoting professional. But insofar as we uncritically fall prey to the zeitgeist produced by neoliberal culture, and insofar as we let ourselves become tools of the tools - instagram, Facebook, whathaveyou - then we’re actually in the most ironic position of all. The meaning in our work involves the transmission of a grounded, peaceful awareness, and of an ethos of expanding and clarifying consciousness. And this doesn’t work if we are not smart about how and with what tools we work. We're not all that useful to others if we succumb to the vata-deranged distraction that surrounds us and that everyone we meet wants to escape, if only for a 90 minute session. We have to be stronger than the collective drive toward fragmenting attention. This book provides some good defensive armor against the unconsciousness and the selfishness that we all aim to transcend.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Chris Porter

    The ability to focus is the new IQ. I heard that somewhere, from someone smart (or someone with a low IQ who was over compensating). I realised my ability to focus on one task had degraded horrendously since getting a new smartphone. Since December I've been enjoying this smooth user experience by paying constant homage to the little screen of joy. The day my usage hit 4 hours I knew I had a problem. Then I started reading Deep Work. In a world of distraction the ability to deep work is king. It is i The ability to focus is the new IQ. I heard that somewhere, from someone smart (or someone with a low IQ who was over compensating). I realised my ability to focus on one task had degraded horrendously since getting a new smartphone. Since December I've been enjoying this smooth user experience by paying constant homage to the little screen of joy. The day my usage hit 4 hours I knew I had a problem. Then I started reading Deep Work. In a world of distraction the ability to deep work is king. It is in these deep periods of concentration that knowledge workers create the most value. The barometer of success in our culture has become your level of business. The busier you appear, the harder you must be working. We've embraced shallow work that creates the illusion (to us and others) that we are being productive. If you agree that the most value you can create is done when you laser focus in on one task, then Cal Newport's Deep Work has some rules for you. Rule #1: Embrace Deep Work Stick to a routine and create rituals. Work in the same place, at the same time, in the same clothes with the same coffee. These kind constants help you get it to the deep work state quicker. Rule #2: Become comfortable with boredom. The enemy of deep work is your mind's desire for distraction. That moment when you hit a mentally taxing part of your work you're going to feel the desire to check your facebook, have a chat with a colleague or open up your phone. This moment is crucial. Ignore the desire, fight through it, train your mind to laser focus. You should partake in this mental training throughout your day. When you're on the subway you usually reach for your phone, right? Identify those moments of "boredom" and endure them. Sit still with your own thoughts. In the beginning this will be difficult as we're so used to constant mental stimulation. Here is a handy hack: When you have a moment of boredom, and the desire to check your phone arises say this to yourself: "I can play with my phone, but only after I've waited 5 minutes". This detaches the reward from the desire. Rule #3: Quit Social Media 'nuff said really. At the very least, schedule your social media. There is an idea that our constant interconnectedness bring value to our lives and the counter argument is that social media has instead detached the production of value from attention. We now have a "you like mine, I'll like yours" agreement with our social network. Rule #4: Drain The Shallows Shallow work (as opposed to Deep Work) is nearly everything other than the specific task which you are uniquely suited to do that brings maximum value in to your would. A writer writes books. Their shallow work would be: tweeting, email, meetings and book tours. Be merciless in cutting the shallow work from your life. To identify how shallow a piece of work is ask yourself this question: How long would it take (in months) for a recent college grad (i.e somewhat smart) with no specialised training in my industry to do this job? Those four rules and hundreds of other ideas and tips make up the book. As a result of taking this concept serious in my own life, I now take the task that can add the most potential value to my life and I work on it in an un-interrupted session of deep work daily. Brown noise headphones on, pomodoro timer open, facebook blocked and phone in airplane mode. And most importantly of all: my phone usage is now 30 minutes daily.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Vance

    Cal Newport provides insight from his experience, research, and lessons from others on how to get in the flow of your work to be the most productive. I read this after his first book “So Good They Can’t Ignore You” and “Deep Work” helped to build on the lessons in the first book. In general, the key is to find a good work flow by stimulating you in whatever works best and finding blocks of time without interruption to get deep work done. This seems like a good way to be most productive and is on Cal Newport provides insight from his experience, research, and lessons from others on how to get in the flow of your work to be the most productive. I read this after his first book “So Good They Can’t Ignore You” and “Deep Work” helped to build on the lessons in the first book. In general, the key is to find a good work flow by stimulating you in whatever works best and finding blocks of time without interruption to get deep work done. This seems like a good way to be most productive and is one that I generally try to do but will practice more after reading this book. I give this book 4 stars as it is better than his first book but still lingers on too long on particular subjects. Check it out so you can get more deep work done.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    Background: Read this during the evenings while attending a scientific conference where I had to concentrate on lectures that I didn't understand 90% of, but still seemed fascinating. This is not a masterpiece, it's not even a self-help book. You would expect someone that advocates deep work to have put a little bit of deep work into a book about it. It doesn't seem so. Maybe the author was too busy writing and publishing the nine peer-reviewed articles that he keeps claiming to have published wh Background: Read this during the evenings while attending a scientific conference where I had to concentrate on lectures that I didn't understand 90% of, but still seemed fascinating. This is not a masterpiece, it's not even a self-help book. You would expect someone that advocates deep work to have put a little bit of deep work into a book about it. It doesn't seem so. Maybe the author was too busy writing and publishing the nine peer-reviewed articles that he keeps claiming to have published while writing this book. (view spoiler)[ In what research field are you able to write and publish nine peer reviewed articles in a year? I'm asking the wrong question - it should be: how big is your group? (hide spoiler)] What annoyed me about this little book: - It's too long for its content - concentrate on your work and you'll get results. Thank you, captain. - It considers its readers pretty much idiots, by assuming that they are addicted to social media and email, which might not exactly be the case, since people that read books in general are not the type that spend their days texting and writing long, pointless emails. - It assumes that being on social media equals spending your entire waking hours tweeting and sharing pointless content, not taking into account the impact it has on small business owners that rely on social media to grow their businesses and communicate with their audiences. It also has this all-or-nothing attitude that never helps. - In the whole book there are two (!!) examples of women who use deep work successfully in their lives. Really, Cal, you could only find two women in the whole world to use as examples? - There's an extreme emphasis on programming and research in programming and how useful deep work is for that. I have a hunch that most people who want/wanted to read this book have no interest in either programming (view spoiler)[because programmers have no time for books, also they already know how to do deep work because that's how you become a programmer in the first place (hide spoiler)] or scientific research on programming related matters. - It's repetitive. What I liked about this book: - The idea that you can train yourself to increase your capacity for concentration and your attention span by deliberately working on something cognitively difficult (or even physically difficult, why not) every single day. As paradoxically as it sounds, I'd only recommend this book to those people who won't read it anyway.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Carol (Bookaria)

    In a world filled with constant distractions and interruptions, our ability to focus deeply and produce quality work has become affected. This book discusses the importance of deep focus and concentration in creating results at work. I value the author's ideas and found them helpful. My perspective regarding interruptions has shifted and I'm working on managing distractions better which in turn will improve overall efficiency. Overall, a great book about productivity.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Emma Sea

    One of Newport's main building blocks here is the concept of ego depletion: that our willpower runs down the more we use it. More recent research has cast doubt on the original framing of ego depletion, but still it holds a deep sense of truthiness. Still, Newport's suggestions of ritualizing behaviors in order to minimize my likelihood of slipping into shallow work resonates with me. It's noteworthy that the book is written for people whose day job involves deep work. If you're a peon during the One of Newport's main building blocks here is the concept of ego depletion: that our willpower runs down the more we use it. More recent research has cast doubt on the original framing of ego depletion, but still it holds a deep sense of truthiness. Still, Newport's suggestions of ritualizing behaviors in order to minimize my likelihood of slipping into shallow work resonates with me. It's noteworthy that the book is written for people whose day job involves deep work. If you're a peon during the day and trying to engage in your own creative deep work in the evenings then many (most?) of his suggestions wont be applicable.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Eva P.

    The ideas - as far as I read- were good. But the too many examples of white men that have used those ideas first and succeeded, plus the fact that the writer disregards other variables (like all kinds of privilege, economic status, personal preferences etc) made me lose interest to even skim it to the end.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mario Tomic

    Deep work is probably my favorite book I've read this year, and I can't recommend it enough. In the age of knowledge work, with so many things going on, the ability to do focus and do deep work is a precious asset to have. As Cal says: "Focus is the new IQ." We can all agree that there's just too many distractions happening around us, smartphones, apps, social media and all the things we're enjoying today have turned us into multi-tasking machines. Unfortunately for us, our brains aren't designe Deep work is probably my favorite book I've read this year, and I can't recommend it enough. In the age of knowledge work, with so many things going on, the ability to do focus and do deep work is a precious asset to have. As Cal says: "Focus is the new IQ." We can all agree that there's just too many distractions happening around us, smartphones, apps, social media and all the things we're enjoying today have turned us into multi-tasking machines. Unfortunately for us, our brains aren't designed for multitasking while simultaneously being able to produce very deep meaningful work. As I said above, this is a very valuable book for the age we live in. Highly recommended!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    Wholly convincing exploration of why focus is valuable, why it has become rare, and how to cultivate it. Worried that you're an Old Person in an employment sector overrun with Millenials like software tech? You won't be after reading this. The perfect complement to It Doesn't Have to be Crazy at Work. While that book focuses on the org, this is completely focused on the individual. I'm excited to try out the suggested techniques and will report back in a few months on what I've seen in practice. Wholly convincing exploration of why focus is valuable, why it has become rare, and how to cultivate it. Worried that you're an Old Person in an employment sector overrun with Millenials like software tech? You won't be after reading this. The perfect complement to It Doesn't Have to be Crazy at Work. While that book focuses on the org, this is completely focused on the individual. I'm excited to try out the suggested techniques and will report back in a few months on what I've seen in practice. NPR's Hidden Brain: interview with the author from 2017

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mike Vardy

    Deep Work is an incredibly well researched and insightful book. Cal Newport has upped his game as an author — which is no small feat considering his past work has been phenomenal – with this latest effort. The practical insights and thought that has gone into this book is well worth your time and energy. Newport has painstakingly crafted a tremendous arguments that proposes we spend more time on work that has greater impact in our lives (and the lives of others) and he also offers some tactical w Deep Work is an incredibly well researched and insightful book. Cal Newport has upped his game as an author — which is no small feat considering his past work has been phenomenal – with this latest effort. The practical insights and thought that has gone into this book is well worth your time and energy. Newport has painstakingly crafted a tremendous arguments that proposes we spend more time on work that has greater impact in our lives (and the lives of others) and he also offers some tactical ways to make that happen. As expected, this is a deep read. It's not something that you can just cruise through in one sitting. It requires a lot of thought and mindfulness — it took me almost a month to get through it – but it was well worth the time spent. I highly recommend Deep Work. It's a monumental book that will really help change the way people work...and live.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Philippe

    Over the last years I have been on a quest to develop a more naturally flowing and productive way of life. The ability to focus, to prioritize and to rest is essential for someone who is engaged in an intellectually demanding job, has an unquenchable curiosity, and leans towards ambitious goal setting. A first breakthrough came in the shape of the Personal Kanban approach. In contrast with a primitive and myopic to do-list driven routine, PK gave more context to time management decisions, provide Over the last years I have been on a quest to develop a more naturally flowing and productive way of life. The ability to focus, to prioritize and to rest is essential for someone who is engaged in an intellectually demanding job, has an unquenchable curiosity, and leans towards ambitious goal setting. A first breakthrough came in the shape of the Personal Kanban approach. In contrast with a primitive and myopic to do-list driven routine, PK gave more context to time management decisions, provided me with more flexibility and offered a platform to retrospectively assess allocation patterns over longer periods of time. Useful as it is, PK is not perfect. If one is not careful, it can be twisted into a to do list-like routine. And it’s not making one immune to multitasking. The latter is a particularly important point given the incessant pressures and temptations of email and internet consumption. So while PK offers a compelling overall canvas for time allocation, it needs to be supported by strategies to reprogram deeply seated behavioral patterns. I have been experimenting with a mindfulness technique (‘Time Surfing’, developed by Dutch coach Paul Loomans) that fits hand in glove with Personal Kanban. Its reliance on intuition and quality of attention nicely complements PK’s panoptic approach. Cal Newport’s Deep Work is another useful PK plug-in. The aim is strengthen our ability to perform high-quality intellectual work over long, uninterrupted stretches. There’s nothing particularly new about this idea. We all know from experience that demanding tasks require sustained focus. And given the prevailing ‘culture of connection’ we also appreciate that the ability to focus is becoming increasingly rare in today’s workplace. And, finally, intuitively we also sense that a life built around ‘deep work’ - whether intellectual, manual or emotional - is also likely to be a good and satisfying life. So it’s easy to go along with Cal Newport’s argument in the first part of his book. But how to put this into practice? I found out that first I needed to be clear what qualifies as ‘deep work’. Newport provides a generic description: “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.” Reflecting on it, I realized that the distinction between shallow and deep is less obvious then it seems. Newport acknowledges this and suggests to assess the depth of a given activity by asking the following question: “How long would it take (in months) to train a smart recent college graduate with no specialized training in my field to complete this task?” From this perspective, while a lot of email correspondence obviously qualifies as shallow, there are messages that require sustained attention to compose. This is deep work. Browsing a newspaper is likely a shallow task, but reading and digesting a difficult book is not. Some meetings will be shallow, but leading a workshop is deep. So starting from one’s own professional orientation and intellectual temperament, one needs to assess what belongs to one’s personal ‘deep work’ category. Then comes the challenge of routinization. Research has shown that we have a finite amount of willpower at our disposal. When we use it, it becomes depleted. So rather than to rely on good intentions we need to build routines for our working life that minimize the amount of willpower to transition into and maintain a state of unbroken concentration. A routine is an overall deep work strategy. It hinges on the nature of our professional responsibilities (for instance, researcher vs sales person) and on our personal predilections. Newport proposes four deep work scheduling routines. They differ by the relative weight of deep work and the frequency with which users move from shallow to deep and back: - The monastic philosophy radically minimizes shallow obligations; - The bimodal philosophy modulates between deep and shallow activities but at a very low frequency; the minimum unit of time for deep work in this approach tends to be at least one full day; - The rhythmic philosophy modulate between deep and shallow over shorter time intervals. Adherents of the Pomodoro Technique (not mentioned by Newport) will recognize this; - The journalistic philosophy which pivots on individuals’ abilities to shift very rapidly between deep and shallow modes. Next comes the tactical challenge of ritualization: elaborating and training ourselves in a distinctive protocol to weave deep work into our daily lives. The ritualization of deep work is hard to standardize. Where and how people like to focus tends to be a very idiosyncratic affair. I like to work in splendid isolation but my kids go and sit in a crowded library when they are studying for their exams. Similarly we might have very different predilections when it comes to working with or without background music, with or without internet, at an empty or cluttered desk, etc. One of the interesting concepts discussed by Newport is the ‘grand gesture’: introducing a radical change to our normal working environment to support a deep work task. I have long known that long-distance travel by plane or train is, for me, a particularly effective setting for deep work. The cocoon effect of an airliner seat or a train compartment combined with a sense of being in motion and the absence of internet and other distractions never fails to produce a state of deep concentration. So I was in total sympathy with Newport’s story about a guy who booked a return ticket from the US to Tokyo to get a piece of writing done. The key is, of course, to be able to recreate this setting in a less onerous and costly way. I have now gravitated towards the following approach to routinize and ritualize deep work: First I feel like the bimodal strategy is the one that fits best with my work and my natural rhythm. However, I have settled on a minimum stretch of four hours, as opposed to the full day proposed by Newport. I have taken to keeping a Deep Work Savings Account. This allows me to keep track of the number of units collected, and hence of the total amount of time spent on deep work over a longer period of time. Just as I’m challenging myself to cycle 8000 km per year, I have now formulated a realistic mid-term goal of collecting 100 deep work units of four hours over a 12 month period. That amounts to 400 hours, or 50 full days of deep work. It’s not overly ambitious, but then it’s also much more than what I would accomplish without a dedicated deep work strategy. A key part of the deep work ritual is to block access to the internet. I am resorting to full spectrum blocking, including email, rather than selective blocking. On two days a week I grant myself full day access to internet (usually Tuesdays and Fridays). On the other days the time window is restricted to one hour. I use this for a quick sweep of the inbox, to reply to urgent messages and perform internet searches I kept track of during the day. Finally, I practice the mindfulness-oriented Time Surfing rituals (no multitasking, clear start and end of tasks, include ‘white spaces’, etc.) to enhance my experience of both deep and shallow work. So my working rhythm is governed by three layers of practice, ranked from the strategic to the tactical: - Visualization mainly based on the Personal Kanban approach; - Routinization mainly based on the Deep Work approach; - Ritualization mainly based on the principles of Time Surfing. Finally, the whole flow is embedded in a ’monitoring and control’ set of activities based on PK and my Deep Work Savings Account. To sum up, Cal Newport’s book has been very useful to help me develop a more effective work routine. I have come a long way from the dreary tunnel vision induced by to do-lists. Having said that, there is one point where I deviate from Newport’s advice and that is where he suggests to be very rigorous in scheduling every minute of a work day (in half hour blocks). This, I am sure, does not work for me. When a deep time block starts I want to have the liberty to zoom in on what at that point feels I’d like to work on. At regular intervals I resort to the PK canvas to assess what next steps could be. Strict a priori scheduling is also at odds with Time Surfing, which aims to enhance our capacity to ‘surf’, i.e. to navigate intuitively and guided by what gives energy at a particular moment in time. To conclude, I’d like to recommend ‘Deep Work’ to anyone seeking to develop a more productive work routine. The book does not offer revolutionary insights. Most of what it offers will be known from elsewhere. Also it is a little bit too long. Newport could have shaved off 25% of the page count without compromising the scope of his argument. Finally, as can be deduced from the above, in my opinion Deep Work is not a stand alone approach but needs to be practiced in synergy with other techniques. Nevertheless, this is a valuable contribution. I particularly like the book’s earnest and no-frills dedication to developing an increasingly scarce and increasingly valuable skill of performing deep intellectual work.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Willian Molinari

    re-reading 2017 I will work on a new project and this book will be a perfect fit for the new work environment, so I decided to revisit it. I wrote my book (Desconstruindo a Web: As tecnologias por trás de uma requisição) using Deep work and it was an amazing experience. Embrace boredom is the most difficult practice from this book. I use my phone a lot but most of the time I'm listening to audiobooks or podcasts. Instant messengers are still part of my daily life, I have to schedule some time to us re-reading 2017 I will work on a new project and this book will be a perfect fit for the new work environment, so I decided to revisit it. I wrote my book (Desconstruindo a Web: As tecnologias por trás de uma requisição) using Deep work and it was an amazing experience. Embrace boredom is the most difficult practice from this book. I use my phone a lot but most of the time I'm listening to audiobooks or podcasts. Instant messengers are still part of my daily life, I have to schedule some time to use them. A good quote for that: "Don't take breaks from shallow work, take breaks from focus!" review 2016 This book is awesome! It summarizes what I think about concentration and the "new" concept of open offices that we have today. I have a big problem to concentrate when there is too much noise or when people could not stop talking to me. Unfortunately, this is part of the "culture" where and sometimes people came to just say "hi" and break my concentration entirely. I'm not a big fan of social networks, so I'm not using them in the last years. Sometimes I decide to get back to some of them just to realize that this book is right on everything about useless time spending. As an experiment I've been trying deep work on my weekday mornings and for my personal project on weekends. Most of the time I'm using 3-4 hours on the task and it really work the effort. No communication, no social networking, no random internet surfing and more work done. There is some really good information that bases deep working and helps you to apply it to your life. It will definitely change the way I work.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dillon

    I enjoyed this book as a pragmatic guide to ordering work and study. Having come of age during the mid-2000s when Facebook was just getting its wheels, I definitely allowed myself to be blindsided by the seduction of constant social updates. I probably spent the better part of the past decade somewhat handicapped by some form of addiction to notifications and updates of some kind. College for me was a time of near-constant distraction. I found that the only way to truly study was to print out th I enjoyed this book as a pragmatic guide to ordering work and study. Having come of age during the mid-2000s when Facebook was just getting its wheels, I definitely allowed myself to be blindsided by the seduction of constant social updates. I probably spent the better part of the past decade somewhat handicapped by some form of addiction to notifications and updates of some kind. College for me was a time of near-constant distraction. I found that the only way to truly study was to print out the pages I'd need in advance and visit the library without my laptop. Even then I would find it was difficult to focus, and I thought that studying into the early hours of the morning were merely par for the course in engineering. In the years since I started working I realized that my habits were basically foolish. Like Dr. Newport says, focused work - "deep work" - is orders of magnitude more effective than the distracted alternatives which I had previously adopted. Consciously working to improve my focus has done wonders for my ability to get work done and to absorb information in less time than it would have taken in college. So that's where I'm coming from. From that vantage point, this book was helpful in affirming the importance of focus and the dangers of distraction. It also provided some very useful tips - for example, only using those digital tools (like Goodreads!) which add more utility than they take away, time-blocking a day's work in advance, and utilizing a shutdown ritual and a hard stop to end a day's work. All useful suggestions in doing the work aspect of life well, while not allowing it to intrude on the other things we do. From this perspective, if you are in a knowledge field, deep work is essential to living a balanced life. Too much shallow work will only provide the illusion of productivity while withholding the fruits.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Meagan

    So this is a 4 because this book is my mantra and my holy book in the War Against Open Offices. It wasn't super convincing (as I already believe in the God of Personal Privacy), but I did really like the bits about constructing your entire day and making your evening after work productive. And yes, I picked it up because I am not achieving any of my non-work/non-reading goals and need Life Structuring advice. I have been preaching the gospel to my colleagues. (thanks netgalley!)

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I give the content a 4. Many good things to consider and shift. Many concepts I want to discuss and implement. Unfortunately, Newport only interviews men. It's so frustrating and the book loses value. It would have been so easy to interview some women about their deep work. Could have been so much more.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kate ☀️ Olson

    5 stars for a book that I can NOT stop thinking about. It's a book I don't necessarily fully agree with, but it's also a book that has changed my life in numerous ways in the past few weeks since starting it. My reflections and life changes are ongoing and I have already recommended this title to my entire school district staff because of the massive implications it has on student learning as well as adult success. Someday I want to sit down with Cal and try to convince him that Instagram isn't 5 stars for a book that I can NOT stop thinking about. It's a book I don't necessarily fully agree with, but it's also a book that has changed my life in numerous ways in the past few weeks since starting it. My reflections and life changes are ongoing and I have already recommended this title to my entire school district staff because of the massive implications it has on student learning as well as adult success. Someday I want to sit down with Cal and try to convince him that Instagram isn't ALL bad, though ;-)

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