Deep Work — Book Summary

Deep Work Book Cover

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

by Cal Newport

Published: 2016 | 304 pages
Rating Amazon:  stars rating 4.6 
Rating by reviewer:  stars rating 4.5 
Author of the article: Rafael Peduti
Date of the summary: Nov 30, 2020

Feel that you're not productive enough? The book Deep Work will show you some techniques and teachings that can improve your productivity and focus.

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We live in a world of many distractions. The ability to focus has become a key skill for achieving higher productivity and high goals in life. People that manage to cultivate this culture will be valued more than ever.

Interesting quotes from the book

Clarity about what matters provides clarity about what does not.

— Cal Newport, Deep Work

An interruption, even if short, delays the total time required to complete a task by a significant fraction.

— Cal Newport, Deep Work

Two Core Abilities for Thriving in the New Economy 1.) The ability to quickly master hard things. 2.) The ability to produce at an elite level, in terms of both quality and speed.

— Cal Newport, Deep Work

Summary of the book Deep Work

It's Necessary to Eliminate Distractions

Focus is necessary for any professional to achieve their goals. Currently, the modern world has several distractions such as video games, social networks and trivial conversations, something that will hinder your ability to focus on your projects.

Multitasking will confuse your brain, making you more likely to make mistakes. Therefore, it is essential to eliminate distractions such as cell phones and the use of social networks during work hours, since the alternation of activities reduces productivity significantly.

Don't think about work all the time

For the brain to achieve high levels of productivity, there must be rest from work. Therefore, it is essential to define a post-work routine, so that the brain understands that it is time to rest. In order for your brain to understand that you left work, establish a transition routine when you leave work. This activity can be listening to a song, calling a friend or even reading a book. When you get home, take a moment to spend with your family, take a relaxing bath, listen to music, watch a movie and meditate! Meditation is an activity that is able to decrease stress and anxiety, being able to increase productivity and strengthen the nervous system. If you are a person who follows deadlines and schedules, applying this technique will greatly increase productivity at work.

Reward yourself after doing hard work

After encountering adversity, it is difficult to stay motivated, as difficult goals require sacrifices. But how to stay motivated during adversity?

Simple! Create a reward system.

This is a factor of very great importance, as it acts directly on your level of motivation. Rewarding people is the act of recognizing their efforts and discipline.

It is important to define rewards, as this is what motivates you to continue with the hard work.

Quit Social Media

What keeps you from focusing on your projects? Have you ever thought that the lack of concentration can be associated with the excessive use of smartphones? How many times did you pick up the phone to take a quick look at social media, but ended up wasting a lot of time, which could be used tohit goals?

Currently the overuse of social networks is one of the biggest problems in society. Many people use social networks inappropriately, wasting time on something non-productive and becoming dependent on them. Even on the streets, we notice that most people don't even pay attention around them because they're focused on their cell phones.

Another factor not mentioned by the media is how social networks increase depression and anxiety. Despite increasing the interaction between people, social networks are responsible for negatively impacting sleep, self-esteem and self-image of users, in addition to creating a physical and psychological dependence due to the high amount of dopamine that is released in the brain when using it them.

Set Online Time

To stay focused, keep your electronic devices out of your reach. Those short breaks in the day to look at a notification turn into unproductive hours at the end of the month.

If you work using the computer, during work hours use it only for work. Switching tasks reduces productivity significantly.

In addition, quiet location is essential for achieving high levels of concentration.

You Need a Good Lifestyle

In order to achieve high levels of performance in life and work, it is necessary to take care of the body and mind. Most successful entrepreneurs cultivate the following habits to increase personal and professional performance.

Balanced diet

Having healthy eating habits is essential, as food is the body's main source of energy. Avoid eating processed foods or eating excessive meals.


Known as a thousand-year-old technique, meditation helps to improve the individual's focus, enabling him to better shape his thoughts and emotions. Statistics show that the practice of meditation can increase productivity by up to 30%. In addition to increasing productivity, meditation reduces stress levels, reduces anxiety, increases creativity and the ability to memorize.

Physical activity

The practice of physical activity is essential to improve quality of wellbeing. The practice of sports and physical activities prevents diseases and improves the disposition to carry out daily activities. Physical activities generate benefits for the body and also for our brain. In addition to being fun, it has several health benefits such as weight control, increased sleep quality and better cognitive performance.

It is easier than you think to adapt these routines to your life. If you wish to improve your lifestyle, it's never too late to start. The most important thing is always to seek balance. This is the best way to a healthier and longer life.

You Need an Efficient Routine

Efficiency is about performing activities in the best possible manner with the least waste of time and effort. Efficiency is necessary to be productive and is a characteristic that some entrepreneurs learn over time and with experience.

Anyone who wants to be effective needs to focus on the key things. Planning time, tasks and goals is important. Think about how you can simplify something, automate it, speed it up.

Remember: time is your most valuable asset. Treat it like money. Thinking in this way, you will give it more value and use it more efficiently.

Stop Dreaming, Start Acting

Most of us dream of something big. It is also important for us to achieve the set goals. However, we can't just dream, we have to act! First, it is necessary to set goals! After that, it is necessary to be disciplined to achieve the goals. The recipe for success is simple, it's up to you to decide whether to use it. Sometimes we feel insecure when we try something new, and this is normal! But that should notee stop us from taking action.

Learn to Control Negative Thoughts

Emotional stability and a positive mindset are important for success and happiness in life. Negative thinking is something that you should avoid at all costs at any stage of life. Avoid thoughts like "I can't" or "I'm not good at it." And if you happen to be unable to reach your goals after a lot of hard work, don't be sorry. Take the situation as a learning experience and try again.

Review of the book Deep Work

I found this book very interesting! I agree with several points cited by the author, mainly with regard to social networks. I was a user of Instagram and I thought that people's lives were better than mine. The constant use of social networks made me devalue my family and friends. With the teachings of this book, I have been able to improve many aspects of my life.


For those who have problems with concentration and self-esteem, this book will be of great help. The techniques taught by the author will increase the productivity and confidence of the reader. Some teachings can be controversial, but all are useful for personal and professionalimprovement.

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