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Deep Work - Book Summary

Updated on June 6, 2020
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Vikram Brahma is a Digitalpreneur, Author, Blogger, Writer, & YouTuber. He loves to write content & spend time working from home.


In this article, I am sharing a summary of a book called Deep Work, written by Cal Newport. It has been observed that those tasks which humans can perform by getting distracted and semi distracted will be replaced by machines, robots, software or artificial intelligence in future.

It is also observed that if you don’t have the ability to do deep work then your tasks will be done by others, even in less amount. And there will be many people ready to take your place due to overpopulation and unemployment.

So, today I want to share what I have learned from this book and what does deep work means.

Deep Work by Cal Newport
Deep Work by Cal Newport

What Does Deep Work Mean?

In simple words, work can be divided into two types. One type of work is known as shallow work and other is deep work. Shallow works are those task which we perform even when we get semi-distracted. For example, listening to songs while working, checking mobiles in between of your task etc. In this type of work, we tend to do multitasking. It is said by doing shallow work our productivity goes low and we need more time to complete the task.

Now, on the other hand, deep work is those work which is done under distracted free environment by professionals. It is said these are those task which needs the right amount of intellectual capacity. And since we will be working in the distracted free environment, no one can copy our working techniques and waste our time.

For example, one of the richest men in the world, Bill Gates uses this deep work technique. As per the information, two times in a year Bill Gates takes a complete holiday from his daily task. During those weeks he spends his isolated time in his private place without any internet, mobile and heavy staff. And during this time he read books and thinks of new business ideas. Plus, there are many high profile successful people who use these deep work techniques.

Shallow work = multitasking
Shallow work = multitasking

Why Shallow Work Is Consider As Bad?

Shallow work is also known as multitasking. To make us understand this point the author shared the concept called “attention residue”.

For example, the author says suppose you are working with full concentration on some project and then suddenly you get a few mobile notifications. And it took five minutes to check those notifications.

Now, when you will come back to your work then your concentration will be only up to 70% to 80%. And if you will be doing multitasking for a few projects at that time your attention span will be even less for each work. That’s why it is advisable to stop multitasking and concentrate only on one task at a time.

That’s why the author suggests if you want to become successful and rare people then you will have to learn what deep work is. And due to digitalization people are losing their attention span. But if you have the ability to do deep work then you will be counted among the rare individuals. And definitely this will give you the ability to produce world-class work.

Three Types Of People Will Survive In Future

As per the author due to changes in the economy in future only three types of people can survive and prosper.

These people are:
a) Those who have lots of funds and money. They have already established their big businesses and currently earning a lot of money. They have the potential to survive almost any bad situation. For example, the owner of Amazon company, Jeff Bezos.

b) In the second criteria, there are those people who understand how technology will change in future. Because they know whatever changes will come in future in that technology will play a major role. For example, a technology giant like Elon Musk.

c) And in the third category, there are those people who are experts in their respective domains.

But since many of us are from the middle class and we don’t have funds like Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk we need to become the expert in our respective domains. And we can become the expert in our field only if we have the ability to work with full concentration i.e deep work.

Four Methods Of Deep Work

The author has suggested four methods of deep work and we can choose as per our capacity. So, let’s understand them one by one.

Monastic Deep Work
Under this method, you cut yourself completely from the rest of the world and go somewhere in isolation to complete your task or goal. For some time no one is going to know the whereabouts about you. This is also known as meditating like a monk, giving your full concentration towards your project and goals. It is considered the most difficult among all the methods of deep work.

Bimodal Deep Work
This is considered the second method. Under this method, you act like monastic deep work for some time or for a few hours and then you return back to your normal life. For example, many authors find it difficult to write while staying at home with their family. So, they go to some nearby hotels where there will be less distraction and when they complete their task and they return to their normal life.

Rhythmic Deep Work
According to this method, we need to set some hours every day for deep work. For example, we can decide that from 9 am to 2 pm we will be working every day without any distraction. And then for the rest of the hours, you can do the shallow work. Currently, I use this technique only.

Journalistic Deep Work
Under this method, deep work is done as per the available schedule and can be changed daily according to the need of the day. For example, you know that from 2 pm to 5 pm you will have some free time than during those hours you switch off your mobile and fully concentrate on your task.


There is no hard and fast rule but you can select any method as per your choice. But we must learn to do the deep work. It has many benefits which we have seen in the above cases. I hope my article will inspire you to start doing deep work from tomorrow. And definitely present and the future will reward you in abundance.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Vikram Brahma


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