Nobel Prize winner, J. K. Rowling was famously absent from social media while she was writing Harry Potter novels. In 2009, her staff opened a Twitter account and for one and a half year her only tweet read- “This is really me, but you won’t be hearing from me often I am afraid, as pen and paper is my priority at the moment.”
Why? To indulge herself in deep work. Or in other words, an extended period of time stretched for uninterrupted thinking to push our cognitive limits and produce the best we can!
This skill is highly critical for people like you and me, aka knowledge workers! Even though we are losing our familiarity with deep work due to the prevalent network tools. With ubiquitous connectivity, we are moving towards fragmented attention which cannot accommodate deep work at all.
In the upcoming decades, 3 type of people are going to survive in the talent market:
1. The High skilled workers- people with the oracular ability to work with and tease valuable results out of increasingly complex machine will thrive. The key question would be, how good are you in working with the intelligent machine?
2. The Superstars- with the onset of remote jobs, talent market is universally accessible. Knowledge workers (like you and me) are in a marketplace, where everyone’s value is clear, and hence employers will choose the best. Those who are at the peak of the market will thrive, while rest suffers. In this economy, we all are competing with the rock stars of our own sectors.
3. The Owners– aka Venture Capitalists.
But How do We Join these Winners?
I definitely don’t have the secret to amass a capital and become a next VCs. But the rest two options seems accessible. How to access them is what this book discusses:
Deep Work- Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
There are core two abilities to thrive in this new economy:
- The ability to quickly master hard things. If you can’t learn, you can’t thrive.
- The ability to produce at an elite level, in terms of both quality and quantity. If you can’t produce, you won’t thrive, no matter how skilled or talented you are.
To cultivate any of these things, you need to work deeply.
If you’re comfortable going deep, you’ll be comfortable mastering the increasingly complex system and skills needed to thrive in this economy.
On the other hand, if you instead remain one of the many for whom depth is uncomfortable and distractions ubiquitous (social media, calls, emails, notifications), you shouldn’t expect these systems and skills to work for you.
The book is divided into two parts:
- Part 1: why deep work is rare, meaningful and valuable.
- Part 2: how you can inculcate deep work into your profession and daily rituals.
You’ll come across tons of anecdotes and practical pieces of advice when you’re reading this book. To me, this is an indispensable guide and I’d recommend it to anyone who not just want to survive, but thrive!