📙 Cal Newport: Deep Work (2016)

Wer es als Wissensarbeiter zu etwas bringen will, braucht die Fähigkeit, systematisch Deep Work zu betreiben. Dieses Buch zeigt, wie’s gelingen könnte.

Meine Notizen


Deep Work = eine Chance auf dem Markt

  • “Our culture’s shift towards the shallow […] is exposing a massive economic and personal opportunity for the few who recognize the potential of resisting this trend and prioritizing depth […].” (S. 8)

Gut ist in der Creator Economy nicht gut genug

  • “To succeed you have to produce the absolute best stuff you’re capable of producing — a task that requires depth.” (S. 13)

Deep Work ist die Superpower des 21. Jahrhunderts

  • “The growing necessity of deep work is new.” (S. 13)
  • “It’s [..] a crucial ability for anyone looking to move ahead in a globally competitive information economy that tends to chew up and spit out those who aren’t earning their keep.” (S. 14)
  • “Deep work is so important that we might consider it, to use the phrasing of business writer Eric Barker, “the superpower of the 21st century”.” (S. 14)
  • vgl. Anitra Eggler: Die Superpower des 21. Jahrhunderts

Chapter One: Deep Work Is Valuable

There’s a premium to being the best

  • Sherwin Rosen: “Hearing a succession of mediocre singers does not add up to a single outstanding performance.” (S. 25)
  • “In other words, talent is not a commodity you can buy in bulk and combine to reach the needed levels: There’s a premium to being the best.” (S. 25f)

Tangible results

  • “If you want to become a superstar, mastering the relevant skills is necessary, but not sufficient. You must then transform the latent potential into tangible results that people value.” (S. 31f)
  • If you don’t produce, you won’t thrive — no matter how skilled or talented you are.” (S. 32)

Chapter Two: Deep Work Is Rare

Neil Postman

  • “Postman argued that our society was sliding into a troubling relationship with technology. We were, he noted, no longer discussing the trade-offs surrounding new technologies, balancing the new efficiencies against the new problems introduced. If it’s high-tech, we began to instead assume, then it’s good.” (S. 67)
  • ““Technology eliminates alternatives to itself in precisely the way Aldous Huxley outlined in Brave New World,” he argued in his 1993 book on the topic. “It does not make them illegal. It does not make them immortal. It does not even make them unpopular. It makes them invisible and therefore irrelevant.” (S. 67)
  • “[…] our culture has developed a belief that if a behavior relates to “the Internet,” then it’s good — regardless on its impact on our ability to produce valuable things.” (S. 70)

Rule #1: Work Deeply

Ich lebe nun mal in einer shallow Welt

  • “As a reader of this book […] you’re a disciple of depth in a shallow world.” (S. 97)

Decide on your Depth Philosophy

  • You need your own philosophy for integrating deep work into your professional life.” (S. 102)
  • “You must be careful to choose a philosophy that fits your specific circumstances, as a mismatch here can derail your deep work habit before it has a chance to solidify.” (S. 102)
  • “The goal is to convince you that there are many different ways to integrate deep work into your schedule, and it’s therefore worth taking the time to find an approach that makes sense for you.” (S. 102)

Rule #2: Embrace Boredom

Productive Meditation (S. 169ff)

  • Bei einer manuellen Tätigkeit sich mit einem Problem auseinandersetzen. Richtig durch den Kopf gehen lassen. Sich daran abarbeiten, z.B. beim Spazierengehen.
  • Productive Meditation sind z.B. auch meine Rundgänge in der Gemäldegalerie des KHM. Das funktioniert wirklich gut für mich!
    • Vielleicht funktioniert es noch besser mit Notizbuch statt Handy — oder mit Handy im Flugmodus, sodass ich nur Notizen anlegen und nicht online gehen kann.

Rule #3: Quit Social Media

Ein erwachsener Umgang mit Social Media

  • “[…] accepting that these tools are not inherently evil, and that some of them might be quite vital to your success and happiness, but at the same time also accepting that the threshold for allowing a site regular access to your time and attention (not to mention personal data) should be much more stringent, and that most people should therefore be using many fewer such tools.” (S. 184)

The craftsman approach to tool selection

  • “The notion that identifying some benefit is sufficient to invest money, time, and attention in a tool is near laughable to people in his trade. Of course a hay baler offers benefits — every tool at the farm supply store has something useful to offer. At the same time, of course it offers negatives as well.” (S 190)
  • I propose that if you are a knowledge worker — especially one interested in cultivating a deep work habit — you should treat your tool selection with the same level of care as other skilled workers, such as farmers.” (S. 191)
  • “I call it the craftsman approach to tool selection, a name that empathizes that tools are ultimately aids to the larger goals of one’s craft.” (S. 191)
  • The Craftsman Approach to Tool Selection: “Identify the core factors that determine success and happiness in your professional and personal life. Adopt a tool only if its positive impacts on these factors substantially outweigh its negative impacts.” (S. 191)
  • “[…] it doesn’t ignore the benefits that currently drive people to network tools […]. It simply asks that you give any particular network tool the same type of measured, nuanced accounting that tools in other trades have been subjected to throughout the history of skilled labor.” (S. 191)
    • Das ist meine Aufgabe und Verantwortung als Wissensarbeiter.

Twitter is not useless

  • “These three writers don’t think Twitter is useless. They’re quick to accept that other writers find it useful.” (S. 193)
  • “At the same time, however, Gladwell, Lewis, and Packer don’t feel like the service offers them nearly enough advantages to offset its negatives in their particular circumstances.” (S. 193)

Would people really miss you if you were gone?

  • “[…] for some people another part of the delusion that binds them to social media is the idea that people want to hear what you have to say, and that they might be disappointed if you suddenly leave them bereft of your commentary.” (S. 206)
  • For most people and most services, the news might be sobering — no one outside your closest friends and family will likely even notice you’ve signed off.” (S. 208)

Cal Newports erster Blog

  • “In the early 2000s, for example, anyone could start a blog, but to gain even just a handful of unique visitors per month required that you actually put in the work to deliver information that’s valuable enough to capture someone’s attention. I know this very well. My first blog started in the fall of 2003. […] There were, I’m embarrassed to admit, long stretches where no one read it (a term I’m using literally). As I learned in the decade that followed, […] is that earning people’s attention online is hard, hard work.” (S. 207)
  • “Except now it’s not. Part of what fueled social media’s rapid assent, I contend, is its ability to short-circuit this connection between the hard work of producing real value and the positive reward of having people pay attention to you.” (S. 207)

Rule #4: Drain the Shallows

Scheduling enables creativity

  • “Without structure, it’s easy to allow your time to devolve into the shallow — e-mail, social media, Web surfing. This type of shallow behavior, though satisfying in the moment, is not conducive to creativity. With structure, on the other hand, you can ensure that you regularly schedule blocks to grapple with a new idea, or work deeply on something challenging, or brainstorm for a fixed period — the type of commitment more likely to instigate innovation.” (S. 227)

Shallow work erkennen

  • Die Faustregel: “How long would it take (in months) to train a smart recent college graduate with no specialized training in my field to complete this task?” (S. 229)
  • “If our hypothetical college graduate requires many months of training to replicate a task, then this indicates that the task leverages hard-won expertise. As argued earlier, tasks that leverage your expertise tend to be deep tasks and and they can therefore provide a double benefit: They return more value per time spent, and they stretch your abilities, leading to improvement. On the other hand, a task that our hypothetical college graduate can pick up quickly is one that does not leverage expertise, and therefore it can be understood as shallow.” (S. 231)

A job that doesn’t value deep work

  • “[…] a job that doesn’t support deep work is not a job that can help you succeed in our current information economy. You should, in this case, […] promptly start how you can transition into a new position that values depth.” (S. 235)


Deep work ist keine moralische Kategorie

  • “A commitment to deep work is not a moral stance and it’s not a philosophical statement — it is instead a pragmatic recognition that the ability to concentrate is a skill that gets valuable things done.” (S. 258)

Deep work is powerful and transformative

  • Deep work is way more powerful than most people understand.” (S. 262)
  • “To leave the distracted masses to join the focussed few, I’m arguing, is a transformative experience.” (S. 263)