Summary of Deep Work

Looking for the book?
We have the summary! Get the key insights in just 10 minutes.

Deep Work book summary

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable


Professor Cal Newport presents a multipart argument for deep, concentrated work. He explains that work that demands your full focus is intrinsically valuable and rewarding. You need to be able to handle “deep work” to succeed in an information economy. Yet people face increasing distractions or social pressure that drive them toward shallow work. Newport develops his ideas with a blend of formal research, stories and personal accounts about the challenges and rewards of deep work. He provides tips for arranging your life to support deep work, which he sees as valuable, productive and rare. He makes his case persuasively and even poetically. getAbstract recommends his guidance to knowledge workers and anyone else who is seeking flow, creativity or focus.

About the Author

Cal Newport teaches in Georgetown University’s computer science department. He also wrote So Good They Can’t Ignore You: How to Win at College.


“Deep Work” and Why It Matters

Deep work is professional work that requires complete focus and full concentration. Deep work pushes your creative and analytical abilities to their limits. For real achievement in art, science, business or other fields, you must work deeply. To understand deep work, compare it to ordinary, “shallow work.” Shallow work is work you can do while you’re distracted. It doesn’t ask much of your mind, and contributes little that’s new or valuable.

Current trends push you – and the rest of the world – toward shallow work. This push to network, tweet, respond quickly and multitask can fill your days with shallow work. But, that’s dangerous. Often, people automate shallow work or skip it. Putting shallow work at the center of your professional activity puts your career at risk. Shallow work has limited value; deep work offers profound value. Being able to do deep work is becoming increasingly important.

Technology places new demands on workers, and many struggle to keep up. Among other challenges, technology is splintering and restructuring the economy. This eliminates some jobs, but rewards others. Firms need “high-skilled workers” who ...

Comment on this summary

  • Avatar
  • Avatar
    J. W. 8 months ago
    Learned quite a lot
  • Avatar
    N. J. 2 years ago
    This summary articulates the essence of the book very well.
  • Avatar
    B. S. 3 years ago
    I read the book and this summary captures the key ideas and concepts in a consumable format.

More on this topic

By the same author

Digital Minimalism
So Good They Can’t Ignore You
The Acceleration of Cultural Change
The Power of Virtual Distance
Eat Sleep Work Repeat

Related Channels