25 Quotes from Deep Work book by Cal Newport

Hello friends. This post is a collection of quotes from the book - Deep Work by Cal Newport.

Deep Work has been described as an indispensable guide for anyone seeking focused success in a distracted world.

Introduction Quotes

Deep work is not some nostalgic affectation of writers and early-twentieth-century philosophers. It's instead a skill that has great value today. - Deep Work, Introduction

Whether you're a computer programmer, writer, marketer, consultant, or entrepreneur [...]: To succeed you have to produce the absolute best stuff you're capable of producing - a task that requires depth. - Deep Work, Introduction

As we shift to an information economy, more and more of our population are knowledge workers, and deep work is becoming a key currency - even if most haven't yet recognized this reality. - Deep Work, Introduction

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. - Deep Work, Introduction

Part 1 Quotes

Talent is not a commodity you can buy in bulk and combine to reach the needed levels [...]. Even if the talent advantage of the best is small compared to the next rung down on the skill ladder, the superstars still win the bulk of the market. - Deep Work, Chapter 1

This ability to learn hard things quickly, of course, isn't just necessary for working well with intelligent machines; it also plays a key role in the attempt to become a superstar in just about any field - even those that have little to do with technology. [...] If you can't learn, you can't thrive. - Deep Work, Chapter 1

If you want to become a superstar, mastering the relevant skills is necessary, but not sufficient. You must then transform that latent potential into tangible results that people value. - Deep Work, Chapter 1

To learn, in other words, is an act of deep work. If you're comfortable going deep, you'll be comfortable mastering the increasingly complex systems and skills needed to thrive in our economy. - Deep Work, Chapter 1

If you're not comfortable going deep for extended periods of time, it'll be difficult to get your performance to the peak levels of quality and quantity increasingly necessary to thrive professionally. Unless your talent and skills absolutely dwarf those of your competition, the deep workers among them will outproduce you. - Deepak Work, Chapter 1

In the absence of clear indicators of what it means to be productive and valuable in their jobs, many knowledge workers turn back toward an industrial indicator of productivity: doing lots of stuff in a visible manner. - Deep Work, Chapter 2

Knowledge work is not an assembly line, and extracting value from information is an activity that's often at odds with busyness, not supported by it. - Deep Work, Chapter 2

A deep life is not just economically lucrative, but also a life well lived. - Deep Work, Chapter 3

To build your working life around the experience of flow produced by deep work is a proven path to deep satisfaction. - Deep Work, Chapter 3

To embrace deep work in your own career, and to direct it toward cultivating your skill, is an effort that can transform a knowledge work job from a distracted, draining obligation into something satisfying - a portal to a world full of shining, wondrous things. - Deep Work, Chapter 3

Part 2 Quotes

Your will is not a manifestation of your character that you can deploy without limit; it's instead like a muscle that tires. [...] The key to developing a deep work habit is to move beyond good intentions and add routines and rituals to your working life designed to minimize the amount of your limited willpower necessary to transition into and maintain a state of unbroken concentration. - Deep Work, Part 2

When it comes to deep work, consider the use of collaboration when appropriate, as it can push your results to a new level. At the same time, don't lionize this quest for interaction and positive randomness to the point where it crowds out the unbroken concentration ultimately required to wring something useful out of the swirl of ideas all around us. - Deep Work, Part 2

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. - Deepak Work, Part 2

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. - Deep Work, Part 2

Willpower is limited, and therefore the more enticing tools you have pulling at your attention, the harder it'll be to maintain focus on something important. To master the art of deep work, therefore, you must take back control of your time and attention from the many diversions that attempt to steal them. - Deep Work, Part 2

Throughout history, skilled laborers have applied sophistication and skepticism to their encounters with new tools and their decisions about whether to adopt them. There's no reason why knowledge workers cannot do the same when it comes to the Internet - the fact that the skilled labor here now involves digital bits doesn't change this reality. - Deep Work, Part 2

(Talking about Social Media) These services aren't necessarily, as advertised, the lifeblood of our modern connected world. They're just products, developed by private companies, funded lavishly, marketed carefully, and designed ultimately to capture then sell your personal information and attention to advertisers. They can be fun, but in the scheme of your life and what you want to accomplish, they're a lightweight whimsy, one unimportant distraction among many threatening to derail you from something deeper. - Deepak Work, Part 2

Addictive websites [...] thrive in a vacuum: If you haven't given yourself something to do in a given moment, they'll always beckon as an appealing option. If you instead fill this free time with something of more quality, their grip on your attention will loosen. - Deep Work, Part 2

If you give your mind something meaningful to do throughout all your waking hours, you'll end the day more fulfilled, and begin the next one more relaxed, than if you instead allow your mind to bathe for hours in semiconscious and unstructured Web surfing. - Deep Work, Part 2

The shallow work that increasingly dominates the time and attention of knowledge workers is less vital than it often seems in the moment. For most businesses, if you eliminated significant amounts of this shallowness, their bottom line would likely remain unaffected. - Deep Work, Part 2

Decide in advance what you're going to do with every minute of your workday. It's natural, at first, to resist this idea, as it's undoubtedly easier to continue to allow the twin forces of internal whim and external requests to drive your schedule. But you must overcome this distrust of structure if you want to approach your true potential as someone who creates things that matter. - Deep Work, Part 2

Cited Quotes

Let your mind become a lens, thanks to the converging rays of attention; let your soul be all intent on whatever it is that is established in your mind as a dominant, wholly absorbing idea. - Antonin-Dalmace Sertillanges, as quoted in Deep Work, Chapter 1

Men of genius themselves were great only by bringing all their power to bear on the point on which they had decided to show their full measure. - Antonin-Dalmace Sertillanges, as quoted in Deep Work, Chapter 1

Who you are, what you think, feel, and do, what you love - is the sum of what you focus on. - Winifred Gallagher, as quoted in Deep Work, Chapter 3

The best moments usually occur when a person's body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile. - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, as quoted in Deep Work, Chapter 3

Email is a wonderful thing for people whose role in life is to be on top of things. But not for me; my role is to be on the bottom of things. What I do takes long hours of studying and uninterruptible concentration. - Donald Knuth, as quoted in Deep Work, Part 2

Waiting for inspiration to strike is a terrible, terrible plan. In fact, perhaps the single best piece of advice I can offer to anyone trying to do creative work is to ignore inspiration. - Mason Currey, as quoted in Deep Work, Part 2

Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets ... it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done. - Tim Kreider, as quoted in Deep Work, Part 2

It's amazing how overly accessible people are. There’s a lot of communication in my life that’s not enriching, it’s impoverishing. - Michael Lewis, as quoted in Deep Work, Part 2

Fewer official working hours helps squeeze the fat out of the typical workweek. Once everyone has less time to get their stuff done, they respect that time even more. People become stingy with their time and that’s a good thing. They don’t waste it on things that just don’t matter. When you have fewer hours you usually spend them more wisely. - Jason Fried, as quoted in Deep Work, Part 2

Develop the habit of letting small bad things happen. If you don't, you'll never find time for the life-changing big things. - Tim Ferris, as quoted in Deep Work, Part 2

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