Week 8 to Week 10: Deep Work 🧠



Book 5: Deep Work

Here’s the link to Amazon:
Deep Work by Cal Newport :brain:*

Just 19 pages a day to finish this one. It’s definitely a lighter read than Thinking, Fast and Slow.

I’ve read it, and really enjoyed it (so I’ll be reading) a book about punctuation marks instead! I’ll let you know how it goes.

*Amazon Affiliate Link

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Which book is that ? I may read it as well. I read Deep Work already too.


This guy really hates emails. He talks like he gets more emails in 20 minutes than I’ve had my whole damn life.

The book seems to be split in half though. He spends the first half talking about these people who block off society and the internet to go on a retreat for an extended period of time to do deep work. Then the second half is about how the most deep work you can do a day is 4 hours if you are an experienced expert or 1 hour if you’re normal.

Some good ideas throughout but generally I think a lot is common sense.


It’s called Shady Characters by Keith Houston, it’s pretty interesting so far. I’m just one chapter in.


Carl Newport just did an AMA today.


Agreed. It’s a real bummer that large parts of this book are about managing email. In 15 years of my working life, email never was a big problem.


I’m done with the book and posted my review here: https://mbrochh.io/deep-work/

It’s a flawed book, but I fully agree with the general premise:

  1. Distractions will get worse, most people in the next two decades will basically grow up with damaged brains
  2. If you want to perform at elite level, you MUST shield yourself from all that bullshit, you must protect your brain
  3. Thanks to peer pressure and the fact that seemingly all of society embraces these distractions, you need some kind of personal philosophy to stick to your own path
  4. With the lack of religion and patriotism in our modern lives, craftsmanship will become the driving force that gives us meaning (I also subscribe to the philosophy of Stoicism, so I naturally agree with this notion)

When no one else around you has such a philosophy, you will feel like some weirdo–and as we have learned from Atomic Habits, if you have no support group, getting new good habits is much much harder.

A book like this, even if it is a flawed book, helps to be my “support group” and for that alone I’m grateful that I got to read this. I’m already implementing this in my work and life habits and am advocating it to the other developers on my team.

  1. We are already taking long walks through parks after lunch. We are still trying to find good routes. Once we have that, I will pitch the idea to learn a deck of cards while walking or to productively meditate on a deep topic while we walk.
  2. we now have made it a policy to plan every minute of our days as the first thing in the morning. We write each item into a checklist on Trello, including time estimations
  3. we document all distractions and struggles that pop up and add them as additional items to our initial day-plan.
  4. at the end of the day we re-view how much of our plan we got done, what distractions and struggles hit us and write it down as a comment in the Trello card as a little “diary” entry

I’m reading his new book “Digital Minimalism” now, it’s basically a sequel to “Deep Work”. Both books are short, I can recommend to just read both back to back. So far, that one seems to be equally flawed, though. I think Newport is a bit of a hack… :wink:


by the way, is the title of this thread wrong? shouldn’t it be “Week 8 to Week 9”? all the other threads have “Week X to Week X+1”.

8-10 probably is more correct, “Weeks 8 and 9” would probably most intuitive to understand.


Love this already! :green_heart:

Please report on your observations after time passes.


I actually love this book! Especially the concept of Eudaimonia machines were really interesting to me. I could see myself designing our whole house like that if we didn’t have kids because it’s a single-story, small and narrow house which would fit something like that very well.

I’m one of those who frequently dread emails too, because I hate how a single message can upset both my mood and schedule for the day. It’s a source of much stress in my life. At the moment I have four different adresses which is definitely more than I want to deal with every day.


Oh boy. Some of the premises of the book were really good. Problem is, I think the author simplified a few things which resulted in a book that is not coherent. The writing style as well looks like a few blog posts pasted together, rather than an actual book. The flaws were too numerous to forgive, so even though I agree with some of the advices, I couldn’t give more than 3 stars on Goodreads.

It may also be the case that I was already familiar with many things mentioned there and I didn’t need 100 pages of telling me how email is bad. I typically check email once a day. I think it is still worth recommending this book to people as it aims to prove that not all busyness is created equal. There is good busy and there is bad busy and we often find ourselves stuck in the latter. Like posting on forums instead of writing inspiring articles :wink:


I think this book is okay. I read it before but I read it again just to review it. Deep work is important and we all know that. I feel this book could be much more shorter. I liked Atomic Habits for this reason.


I think it’s going to be interesting to see if our impressions of these books depend on what order we read them in. The more books we end up going through, the more background knowledge we’ll have accumulated and as such might view the later books as too simplistic or beginner level.

I enjoyed this book, was clear with concise tips on how to improve although I’m not sure how effective some strategies would be if you were relatively new to your career outside of academia (particularly developing a reputation for not relying to email).

Really looking forward to Sapiens, listened to the audiobook in Jan but happy to actually read a physical copy now.

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I notice many of these books are covering similar, and sometimes the same ground. This was at least the 3rd book to mention Malcolm Gladwell. Mentioned Richard Feynman the author/topic of our 2nd book. 2nd book to mention Mihaly Csikszentmihaly. (There is a name that sticks out.) Not the first book we have read that talks about the benefits of ritual and habit tracking…

So are seeing multiple viewpoints of a Universal truth?

Or to play Devil’s advocate, is this a sign of confirmation bias in our book selection?


@TmthyPatrick I’m reading “Drive” by Daniel Pink at the moment. Mihaly Csikszentmihaly ist there as well. Then again in many books I’ve read recently Kahneman was frequently quoted.

Universal truth or confirmation bias, that’s a good question!


Was ok. Funnily, while reading, I often wished James Clear (Atomic Habits) would have written the book. Allthough there were subheadings, I felt that the book was not well structured and that the content could have been shortened.

But I found the topic very exciting and important. A lot of it has already been integrated into my lifestyle (partly because of common sense, partly because of other books). But it was a reminder to really apply what I already know about deep work strategies.

Talked with the team about the book and how we could more strictly try to get into deep work - some of our measures (already applied or in test-mode):

  • All PC and Notebooks set silent
  • Email Pop up notification is off for all mails except mails sent with “high priority” (we did this with outlook rules)
  • Coffee-breaks should be taken together with colleagues and not while sitting in front of Notebook and doing shallow work (Facebook,…)
  • All phones on snooze except the “office phone”
  • Go outside for phone calls if possible
  • If possible combine calls with a walk and take notes on paper if needed (works best with hands-free calling like using bluetooth earplugs,…)
  • we use pomodoro timers (chrome extension) for our deep work slots, most colleagues use 35min work and 7min rest
  • we use Trello for managing our to-dos, their priorities (with labels and sorting) and for the “end-of-workday-routine” Newport mentioned
  • we pay for the headspace-account of our employees if they want to use it to learn meditation
  • we will build a book-shelve where our employees can put books in (business, self-help,…) borrow books or request new books to buy, which they can read at home instead of watching too much tv or facebook-entertainment

Regarding the part that was about office design, I would be very interested in a book about office design and team culture (in startups), I haven’t read much about it yet apart from blog posts. Maybe someone has a recommendation?


Haven’t finish yet, but I’ve been loving this book, now my sessions are mostly of 90 minutes of work, and I really like the idea of the Deep Work Chamber, I’ll try to structure my study place like that.