What Am I Listening To This Week: Deep Work by Cal Newport read by Jeff Bottoms
It is somewhat ironic listening to a book about focus and the idea of undistracted work while I work, but debugging and unit test writing is not the “deep work” that the author is talking about. Deep work is any type of work that requires long stretches of uninterrupted focus. Things that are hard to do if you have people, email, twitter/facebook, instant messages, or whatever the next interrupt driven form of communication is next, constantly in your face.
It is the type of work that, in my own techno-babble, I think of as work that is expensive to page into or out of your brain, like opening a huge image to edit or a fancy game.
For me writing is the deep work I am most interested in improving and the book’s over use of marketing-speak and techno-babble is ignorable if I replace deep work with writing every time I hear it.
The first part of the book is justification and cherry-picking of examples to prop up those justifications, typical stuff for a book like this. The interesting parts are next, where the justification gives way to methods and ideas of how to improve and increase deep work, both in time for the work and the results of the work.
In some ways this book has some answers to the eternal question of how do you find time to write, as long as the presentation does not turn you off.
The voice work here is good, there is a bit of content in this type of book that is a hard to present in audio only form, but it done well here.
TL;DR: Mildly Recommended, if you can gloss over the marketing-speak and the techno-babble, the book has some interesting insights into focus and how to get more of it.