‘Deep Work’ is a non-fiction book written by Cal Newport, an associate professor of computer science at Georgetown University. Besides this, he has also books focusing on issues pivotal for professional success.
The term ‘Deep Work’ is coined by the author himself and it refers to the ability to accomplish cognitively demanding activities by subsequently reducing the distractions that come in the way.
The author states that in the current ‘Information Economy,’ working long hours while not getting distracted has become exceedingly rare due to the rise of the internet and the increasing popularity of social media sites. And for this very reason, deep work has become instrumental for professional success as it will make one extremely competent in the current job market.
Examples of venerated and successful people of a lot of different fields have also been included in the book with Carl Jung and Bill Gates being among the few mentioned.
The author also argues that due to the increasing importance put on the ‘Shallow Activities,’ working without getting distracted has become quite hard. 'Shallow activities' is another term coined by the author which refers to activities that do not require much cognitive effort and generate low value (such as checking emails and using social media networks).
The book also discusses how multitasking might not be ideal from a neuroscientific point of view and explains how getting involved in a single cognitively demanding rigorous activity rather than more than one at a time can bring an astounding output.
The ways through which one can achieve focused attention in their work and bring out an optimal level of output have been discussed thoroughly by Newport with appropriate scientific and data-driven evidence.
A significant emphasis has been put on decluttering one's attention span by structuring as well as, if possible, decreasing the number of shallow activities from one's professional and personal life.
'Deep Work' can be regarded as a self-help book if we are to place it in a specific genre. But unlike other self-help books, it is extremely data-oriented and based on factual evidence which has impacted the lives of many people who have been successful in their work lives.
For someone looking to find focus on the distracting reality of the present work culture, 'Deep Work' is highly recommended.