Full Length Episode | #173 | February 14, 2022

Transcription for the video titled "Full Length Episode | #173 | February 14, 2022".

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Introduction

Cal's intro (00:00)

I'm Cal Newport and this is Deep Questions, episode 173. I'm here in the Deep Work HQ, joined by my producer, Jesse, Jesse, I've been hearing feedback that these core idea segments that we're doing, people like 'em. - Yeah, we just got 'em published on YouTube today, so they can listen on the podcast and they can listen to it on YouTube as well. - I think the factor on YouTube now is a big deal. So for people who don't know the core idea segments, we've been doing these in recent episodes. It's where I do a deep dive on one of the basic core ideas I come back to again and again. I forget how used to I am with some of these notions 'cause I've been writing about 'em and talking about 'em for in some cases, decades. But I forget that not everyone is so familiar. So we're going through and taking some of the core ideas and let's just walk through it from scratch. Now these segments are beginning to appear on YouTube. You can actually now go back and reference a particular core idea segment without having to find the podcast episode in which I talk about it and fast forward to the part where I talked about it. So I believe as of the day we're recording this episode, we can find the on YouTube, the core idea segment on time management, on slow productivity, and on my thoughts around passion and career satisfaction. Going forward as you hear new core idea segments, those will go online pretty soon afterwards. What do we think Jesse? Usually a couple of days after the episode airs. - Yeah, be quick. - Yep. - Couple of days. - And they're in their own playlist. We'll put them in their own playlist so they will be easy to find. Now I'm gonna do a new core idea segment to start today's episode.


Discussion And Insights

Cal's announcement for Jamie Kilstein (01:56)

But first, I wanna do a quick plug and I will explain why I'm doing this plug here in a second because it's relevant to the show. But the plug is for my long time friend from when I was growing up in Pennington, New Jersey, Jamie Kilstein, he is doing a going away comedy show in Austin on February 24th at Creakin Cave, which is a cool venue. Jamie Kilstein, February 24th is doing a comedy show, Creakin Cave, go to creakincave.com to reserve tickets. A really talented, funny guy. He dropped out of high school to start doing comedy full time. And I've seen him off and on doing shows throughout his career. Real talent. Here's the backstory about why I'm talking about this on the show. Jamie has an interesting but also pretty complicated into much a life story. As I mentioned, he dropped out of high school, started doing comedy full time in New York as a teenager, ended up starting one of the very first political podcasts. And then that got really big and that blew up. He got tied up in scandals and had ups and downs. He would come back to comedy because he had a real natural talent there and then would go back underground, struggled with mental health issues. In all of this complicated story line, social media began to play an increasingly negative role in his life. So we recorded this two part podcast episode. And the first part we recorded in December, and Jamie just lays out, here's what, here's my life story and the struggles I'm going through. And then I gave him Dr. Phil's style, some advice. Here's what I want you to do about social media in your life. And then we came back 30 days later and recorded a follow up podcast where he reported back, this is what happened. And the idea here is, Jesse and I are going to edit these two things together because I think it presents a really interesting nuanced portrayal of the benefits and the extreme harms of social media. And this is a complicated person. So this is not just some simple story of, here's like this great guy and everything is going well. And then social media made it bad. It's a real story, it's gritty. But you also see in real time what it's like to try to disentangle your life. So we're working on this cool episode, but it requires a lot of editing. And we're not great at that, we don't ever act together. In that episode, we were promoting this going away show. And so we did not get the episode live in time for this promotion. So I'm just giving the promotion now. And you don't know what going away means or why it's important because we haven't played the episode yet. But I can tell you, if you're in Austin, Jamie is someone you shouldn't miss, February 24th, Creek and Cave. And stay tuned for that interesting, complicated Dr. Phil slash intervention slash reminiscing about Cowl's childhood episode that is coming soon. All right. So let's get onto the meat of our business today, which is our next core idea segment. And I thought I would tackle the topic for which I am probably best known, which is deep work.


Core Idea on Deep Work (05:00)

So I'm known for deep work because of the book I published in 2016 of that same name. This was a book that had a bit of a quiet launch. It was a Wall Street Journal bestseller for a week or so. And that was just off of the strength of my email list audience at that time. And it sort of went under the radar. And then a year or so later, something just started to happen. People kept buying it and they started buying it at a higher rate than they did before. And it's a book that never actually had a week in which it was gangbusters. It never had a week in which it was number two on the charts on Amazon. It never had a Mark Manson or James Clear moment, but this book has quietly moved into almost 40 languages. Now you can get this book in a lot of places. There is a Mongolian version of this book. We have a book being sold. There's a French speaking Africa version of the book. It's a lot of places. It's also quietly sold in English more than a million units. So it's just, it's out there. It's had an impact, but never, never loudly. It's a little background, little background. So let's talk about Deep Work. Let's talk about it. Three things, three things to cover here. Number one, what is it? Number two, why is it important? Number three, how do you do it better? Those are the three key points if we're gonna talk about Deep Work. Number one, what is Deep Work? It is an activity. People often explode or expand this definition to cover all sorts of different things, entire lifestyles, whole value judgment systems about what work is important and what's not. Deep Work is none of those things. It is a humble description for a very specific activity. It is when you are focusing without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. If you are doing that activity, you are doing Deep Work. Now let's unfold those two parts. The easy part of that is cognitively demanding. So you're working on something hard and you're thinking hard about it. There's a hard thing and you're thinking hard about it. That's the easy part of the definition. The more demanding part of the definition is that you're doing this without distraction. Now what I mean by that more technically is that you are doing this cognitively demanding work in the absence of context shifts. Now a context shift is when you turn the focus of your attention from one cognitive context to another for a session to count as deep work, you cannot be doing those switches. So if you're working on something non-cognitively demanding, let's say you're trying to format properly a chart in PowerPoint, that's not cognitively demanding, that's not deep work. But let's say you are doing something cognitively demanding. You are trying to write a strategy memo. It's hard. You gotta think about this. Like what are we trying to say here? I have to say this just right. But let's say while you're writing the strategy memo, every five to six minutes, you quick check your email inbox. You glance at your phone to see what's going on. That session also does not count as deep work because you are doing these context shifts which significantly degrades your cognitive effectiveness. So if you can avoid the shifts and you're working on something hard, you are doing deep work. Otherwise you're either doing shallow work, which is work that's not cognitively demanding or you're doing pseudo deep work, which is you're working on something hard, but you keep switching context so you are at a fraction of your capability of producing clean thought. So that's all deep work is. A particular type of activity. Among many types of activities you might do during a typical work day. Number two, why is it important? Well, I first wanna make clear that there's not a moral hierarchy here. There's not an argument that the only type of work that matters is deep work. We know in almost any professional context, there's lots of other types of efforts that are critical for those efforts. If you are not properly invoicing your clients, which is not a deep activity, but if you are not properly invoicing your clients, you're gonna get no money and your business is gonna go out of business. A couple years ago, I was to give another example, the director of graduate studies for the computer science department here at Georgetown and something we had to do each spring as part of that role is build a budget that talked about for every doctoral student we have. Where is the money coming from for the tuition, for the research assistantship, for the TA ship, for the health insurance? We had to work out this budget and there's nothing about this that was deep. It wasn't cognitively demanding. It was just a huge pain because as you can imagine, it's complicated, untangled. This is coming from a grant and this is coming from a fellowship and this is coming from the department funds. But you know what? It's critically important work without it. The students don't get paid and they can't do what they're trying to do. So deep work is not from a moral standpoint, the only work that matters. But in many professional contexts and this was the core concept for my book, Deep Work, it is the deep efforts that move the needle. Ultimately, the activity that produces the value that allows you to keep doing what you're doing, it allows you to get promoted in what you're doing that allows your company to grow or be more successful. Typically, these core activities are gonna have a foundation of deep work. So it's what moves the needle. This is particularly clear in knowledge work, where you're sitting at a computer screen all day. No one's gonna pay your company for how quickly you answer emails. No one's gonna pay your company because you are really rocking Zoom meeting after Zoom meeting. No one's gonna pay you or give money to your company because you're jumping on calls. No one's gonna pay you or your company because you're shooting around PowerPoint decks with rapid speed. What are they gonna pay your company for in a knowledge work context, adding value to information. This is almost always a effort of deep work, skilled thought on something. If it was not skilled thought or difficult, it would be easily replicatable and his value would plummet. You run the ad agency. There's a lot of stuff you have to do to keep the lights on, but it's coming up with the really good ad campaigns that gets you paid. You run the tech company. There's a lot you have to do to make sure that the code is released properly and marketed, but if you're not writing fantastic code, it gives you a good stable product, you're out of business. There's a lot that goes in the marketing books, but if you're not writing fantastic book, it doesn't matter how much of that you're doing. So in knowledge work, shallow efforts keep the lights on deep work moves to needle. It's important. It's at the core of what creates value. In other types of industries, this is even more clear. If you're an athlete, it's all about the deep efforts. The deep training and the deep performance. Training is a matter of deep work focused incredibly intensely on what you're trying to do, performing, you're on the court, you're on the field. Incredibly deep, focused effort, no distractions. So a deep work is clearly what moves the needle there. See this in art, you see this in the skilled crafts, if I'm an elite woodworker. Ultimately what matters more than anything else than my producing beautifully made very well constructed artifacts. So deep work is often what moves the needle. Not the only effort that matters, but it's what often moves the needle. The issue we got into, and this was the premise of the book deep work. The issue we have gotten into more recently is that we forgot that. We began to think about all work being work. It's all equal. Either you're doing stuff or you're not, and if you're doing stuff and working hard, that's good. And if you're not doing stuff and working hard, that's bad. We stopped differentiating between deep work and shallow work. And why was this a problem? Because we had developments in the digital world. Tools like low friction communication channels, email, slack. We got highly distracting entertainment like YouTube and social media pulling out our attention from the phones. We got zoom and PowerPoint slides and jumping on calls. And our work got more ambiguous. It became less clear exactly what it is that we do. And in this context, we fell into this mode where increasingly you could go through most of your day, never actually concentrating hard without distraction. Most of your day is now on calls in emails on zoom, changing those proverbial fonts and trying to get that chart to work in your PowerPoint slides. And we all padded ourselves on the back and said, look how busy we are. We're crushing it, we're getting after it. But we forgot that we weren't doing the actual underlying core deep work activities that was gonna allow this company to keep existing in the first place. It's gonna allow you to continue to keep your job in the first place. We were on the deck of the Titanic sending Instagram pictures of our deck chair arrangements, not even realizing that the ship underneath us was sinking. And so the core argument in the book is that is a problem, but it's also an opportunity. Because what we have is a situation where this really important thing is becoming more scarce. So guess what? If you are one of the few people, they prioritize it. If you're one of the few organizations to prioritize it, you are gonna get a disproportionate competitive advantage. If you prioritize depth in an increasingly shallow world, there is large reward that you are going to get. So we could see it as a negative. We are forgetting about deep work as we drown in the shallow, or you can see it as a positive. Everyone else is doing that, but I don't. And I'm getting wildly and disproportionately rewarded for that, 'cause the old saying, you don't have to be faster than a bear when you run into that grizzly in the park. You just have to be faster than the person who's there with you. Bear will get him first. So that's why deep work is important. So what we need is to make sure that it's something that we prioritize and it has a good presence, an intentional presence in our working life. All right, so the third idea here is how do we do that? How do we do deep work better? Well, that's most of my book. I have a keynote I've been giving for a long time where I spend 30 minutes going through examples about this. It's an endlessly rich topic. So let me just give you a sampling of some ideas here about what matters if you wanna take advantage of this reality that deep work is valuable, but becoming more scarce. One, just the finding it is critical. The fact that we have terminology is at the core of any change. Just knowing deep work is different than shallow work allows you to actually say, oh, I see what we're trying to do here. Otherwise, the only knob you have to turn is work harder or not. Stay up later, be on your phone more, as soon as the plane lands, whip it out, do those emails. If you don't know what it is you're trying to do better, you're not gonna actually do the right things better. So defining this key. Two, you need to measure it and you need to have goals. One of the most important ideas from that book, I believe, was the deep, the shallow work ratio. The concept is you figure out for your particular position, what is the ideal ratio of deep work hours to non-deep work hours in a standard work week? This will differ depending on your job, but you should know what the right answer is. And if you work for someone else, you should have this conversation with the person you work for, with your supervisor. Here's what deep work is, here's what shallow work is. Both is important. We have to get the invoices out the door, but if I'm not producing good ad copy, we're not gonna get any more money. What is the ratio in my job that I should do that will best serve this company and you get a number? And then you measure. And if you already time-block plan, you can just look straight on your time-block plan for the week and see all the blocks that you've marked off as deep work blocks. It's easy to actually get these numbers, but you measure. And you say, hey, here's how we're doing. You and I talked about this and said it should be 50/50. Guess what? I got two hours of deep work in last week. Remember, it does not count as deep work if it is not hard and if it's not with zero distraction. Now you're confronting a clear number. We decided 50/50 would best serve this company. We're nowhere near 50/50. We either have to say, you know what, Cal, I don't want you to do any deep work, which is crazy, because again, that's what creates the value. Or you say we're gonna have to make some changes. And then you get changes to the company culture. Then you get more flexibility or workload changes. It is a driver for change that comes from a place of positivity. If you work for yourself to do the same exercise, here's the ratio, I'm gonna hold myself to it. If I'm not hitting it, something has to change. Schedule your deep work time is another big one that's very important. Do not wait for the instinct to hit you. You know, I'm just in the mood to do some deep work and I have nothing to do. That's never gonna happen. If that happens, you're not working hard enough. That's not something that's gonna arise naturally. So you need to get it on your calendar one way or the other and treat it like you would any other meeting or appointment. That's time that is protected. That's time that you cannot over schedule. Have a philosophy for how you do this. Maybe it's the same time on the same days every week. Maybe instead when you do your weekly plan, it's more bespoke. Here's where I'm gonna fit it in this week. Maybe you take one day a week where you do just deep work and the other days you don't. However you wanna do it, but have a philosophy, schedule it, protect it. And if possible, have rituals surrounding these actual sessions that really helps your mind slip into the deep work mode. I do the same walk, I go to the same secondary office space, I make the very same cup of coffee and the same cup, have a ritual. So your brain knows, oh, it's time to do deep work. Finally, you have to train this ability. Concentration is hard. If you look at your phone in every single piece of downtime you have, you are out of cognitive shape. You're a cognitive slob. And if you give yourself a two hour window and say, let's go do some deep work, that's like taking the guy who is in terrible shape, you can be like, look man, we're gonna run some stadiums. It's not gonna go well. You are gonna be distracted, it's gonna be difficult. You are gonna literally be sweating. You're like, this is terrible. And that's because you haven't trained. So don't give up if it's hard. That just means you haven't been, you haven't been on your virtual peloton yet long enough to get those virtual lungs back in shape here. All right, so you have to train. Which means you have to spend time free from distractions on a regular basis, read books because that forces your mind to concentrate, do productive meditation where you try to work on a professional problem just in your head as you walk. That is fantastic training. Board games, any type of strategy game where you have to think hard about it. Do all these type of things. Complicated hobbies that require real focus and skill be it manual or physical. You have to get your mind in shape if you're gonna succeed at deep work. It's not enough just to say, I'm gonna do it. You gotta train for it. All right, so those are the main three ideas about deep work. What it is, why it's important and how to get better at it. And I'm gonna add a coda here that I think is also critically important which is once you are doing these things, you have to work the word deep into your everyday conversation as a prefix and adjective absolutely as much as possible. That's how people know you're awesome and people are gonna think you're really cool if you do it. And that's my final piece of advice. You need to just walk in and be like, "Hey guys, deep Monday, am I right?" Yeah, it's gonna get some a deep coffee break over there. No, you're doing a little deep urination or a good work with that. You come back, we'll deep it up, stay deep. Let's deep on over to the deep conference room man. We're gonna go deep on these type of things. This is gonna make you sound awesome and people are gonna love you. Jesse here will attest every time I see him. We fist bump and say, "Deeple meeple." You can attest to that. Just see each other in the street, "Deeple meeple," let it explode. But if you're gonna do all this work, you gotta let people know. It'll make you, trust me, I know from personal experience, people love it when you use the word deep all the time and they think you're awesome. So let's throw that in there. All right guys, that's it, core idea, work, deeply people meeple. All right, Jesse, we got a lot of good questions here, but we should probably pay the bills. If we're gonna deep up this episode, we gotta do some deep ad reads. We're gonna get deep on these. - Make sure that listeners use the promo code deep. - Yeah, it's promo code. You got promo code deep for these ads, people meeple meeple. All right, so we got a couple of sponsors here I wanna talk about. The first one is My Body Tutor. Adam Gilbert, who founded My Body Tutor, I've known for a very long time, long time readers of my blog, Study Hacks, would remember that Adam was actually the fitness advice guru in 2007, if you can believe it on Study Hacks. Oh, I would ask him questions about how to get in better shape and nutrition, especially for students, and he was our guru. So I've known him for a long time. He founded this company My Body Tutor, which is brilliant. It's 100% online fitness and health coaching. So you have a coach who's assigned to you, and you check in with this coach virtually. Here's what I did today. Here's what's going on with my exercise. Here's what I'm doing with my eating, and you get daily feedback from that coach. So the whole thing is virtual, but because it's virtual, you can actually get daily back and forth feedback with your coach, which is what you need. When it comes to major changes in health and fitness, the issue is not information, the issue is consistency, actually doing the work, having someone on the other side there who you know, who you've been working with week after week, who's on the journey with you, who is custom building your plan for getting where you specifically want to get. There's no better way to do this. I know My Body Tutor has been doing great, did great during the pandemic, because obviously virtual coaching made a big difference, and it's just a brilliant idea. I highly recommend it. So if you are serious about getting fit, go to mybodytutor.com. That's mybodytutor.com. Mention that you came from deep questions, and Adam will give you $50 off your first month. So that's mybodytutor.com. Mention deep questions and get $50 off your first month. I wanna talk about another sponsor here, Athletic Greens. Jesse, you can attest, I talk about this. I take Athletic Greens daily. This is actually the one type of supplement that I actually take. So I bother Jesse about these things because he knows about health and fitness things. Here's what it is. So it's a powder that you take with water, 12 ounces of water each morning, and that's it. Every morning I take this powder. It has 75 high quality vitamins, minerals, whole foods, source super foods, probiotics, and adaptogens. But the big thing is you don't have to worry about, am I getting the right mineral from my food? Do I have the right vitamin that has this thing I need? You just take the Athletic Greens and trust them. This is why, let me tell you personally why I landed on the Athletic Greens bandwagon. It's because I talked to someone from the company, had a good conversation with them when I was thinking about letting them be a sponsor. And here's what they explained to me to caught my attention. This is the only thing they do. They don't have a big line of, here's our shakes, and here's this type of pill and that type of pill. Athletic Greens says one thing, it makes this powder, and they think of it as a product that they upgrade every single year. So they're just obsessed with how do we get the very best versions of these vitamins, of these minerals, of whatever it is that's in there, how do we upgrade what we have in there, how do we improve it, how do we improve it? All they do is obsessively try to improve this one product. And now I don't have to worry about any of these other things. I don't have to walk into a GNC. If I walk into a GNC and say, deep will meeple to the person behind a counter, some guy with biceps, the size of a grapefruit, is gonna punch me in the stomach, and then another guy is gonna push me right back out of there. I don't wanna walk into a GNC, I don't wanna think about that. I just take the athletic greens every morning and it gets done what I need to have done, then I don't think about it. So right now, give you a little bit of call to action here, right now it's time to reclaim your health and arm your immune system with convenient, daily nutrition, especially heading into flu and cold season. I'll say I add their vitamin D, the vitamin D they have in separate drops, 'cause they studied it. Said you can't have powdered vitamin D, it's not as good. We need it with vitamin K, it has to be an olive oil immersion, that's the very best way to do it. So you add the vitamin D at the last minute, I'm big on that in the winter, it's not as much sun. It's just one scoop in a cup of water every day, that's it, no need for a million different pills and supplements to look out for your health. I'll also add there's no need to get punched in the stomach in GNC, which is 100% what will happen if you try to go in there, you have to use athletic greens instead. So to make it easy, athletic greens is going to give you free one year supply of immune supporting vitamin D and five free travel packs with your first purchase. All you have to do is visit athleticgreens.com/deep. Again, that is athleticgreens.com/deep to take ownership over your health and pick up the ultimate daily nutritional insurance. There we go, between my body tutor and athletic greens, Jesse, our listeners are going to be superheroes. They're going to be jacked, they're going to be good health, good shape, not sick, and then they're going to return to GNC and they're going to fight that guy. And that is ultimately what we're trying to do here is we're going to make our move on the over muscular guys at GNC. Wait, what's this note you just passed me? GNC is our next sponsor. Oh man, I got to read these things in advance. We're screwed, Jesse. All right, let's do some questions. I see I'm pacing myself now. Little insider view into the show for those who are new to it. But Jesse and I one take this. We just turn on the camera and we rock and roll. So I'm learning, yeah, I got to pace myself a little bit, catch my breath because we've got a lot of show to get through here. All right, so we'll start with questions about deep work. Our first such question comes from Tyler. Tyler says, "I'm a subscriber to top performer executive edition as well as a few other professional optimizing services."


How much should I care about promoting my work? (28:11)

All right, so just as an aside, top performer is one of two online courses that I offer with my longtime friend, Scott Young. So top performer is a course about applying deliberate practice to get better at your career. All right, back to Tyler's question. My understanding is that there is a lot of focus on building skills that move the needle in terms of hard skills, but I wanted to see if you could touch on developing projects around increasing your exposure and image alongside your deep work projects to build their impact and grow your CV. Tyler, be very wary here. This is a trap. There is a clear trap here that I'm talking to you about from personal experience. The trap of focusing on exposure, marketing, presentation. How do I get the word out about this? How do I get the message just right? It is a trap because those efforts are seductive. They're kind of hard, but not too hard, and it's something your mind would much rather do than the actual deep work to produce the stuff that you're producing trying to promote in the first place. You look at things like, what's my email funnel or my social media promotion plan? And what you see is what I used to call checklist productivity. This is something you can get better at by learning the right checklist. You know, I went and I learned how to do an online marketing and other people don't know this, did or just off the street. And now I have this insider knowledge and I follow this checklist and I have this funnel here and I have this social media strategy there and I'm spending some money on this graphic design here and it's all immensely fulfilling and it's not really challenging and it begins to take up all your time. But in the end, what matters? Producing something so good, it can't be ignored. So it is a trap. Now I said this is from personal experience, it's because this is where I was when I first began to develop my concept of deep work. I was relatively early in my graduate student experience at MIT doing research and was thinking too much about what's the topic of my research? Like, can I find a sexier topic? And if I promote it just right and talk about it right, you know, I was thinking too much about this. Like an idea for the research that would catch attention and get coverage. And it was then that I came across Steve Martin's professional autobiography, Born Standing Up. And it was then when I watched the Charlie Rose interview of Steve Martin, where he said the Charlie, my advice to people is be so good they can't ignore you. This was a huge turning point. Is what I learned was no, write papers to get cited, do really good work. It's really, really hard. And the rest will work itself out. That notion got ingrained in my book, So Good They Can't Ignore You. That notion got developed into my book, Deep Work As Well. Be So Good They Can't Ignore You. Don't worry so much about how you let people know. Now it's not to say that other stuff is not important, but you should just get some reasonable evidence-based practices for how you present stuff or how the promotion works. Set that on autopilot. So you're not making it unforced errors. You're not handing out flyers at the mall. Like, yeah, okay, figure out some reasonable stuff to do. Set it on autopilot and then get your attention back to producing stuff that's too good to be ignored. If you look at these two scenarios, I've produced something excellent and I have like a reasonable autopilot promotion machinery in progress. Compare that to another scenario where I produce something pretty good, but have a cutting edge, you know, promotional apparatus. I think all about it, that first scenario is going to dominate the ladder. People find good things. You can help them a little bit, but don't think too much about that step of actually making an impact.


When do you write your weekly plan? (32:14)

All right, second question. This comes from Jim, the CFO. It's a technical question. Jim asks, when you develop your weekly plan, do you do your written version first or do you update your Trello board first or do you do both simultaneously/innatively? So this is a great opportunity to plug our core ideas. We were just talking about this in the opening of the show. If you're wondering what Jim is talking about with weekly plans and Trello's and updates, go to the YouTube page, go to the core ideas, playlist, watch the core idea on time management and you'll know exactly what he's talking about. All right, so Jim, here's my technical answer. When I do my weekly plan, writing out the weekly plan is the last step. So I go through a bunch of things. I go through my Trello board and do organization there. I clean things up and move things around and take things off and see what's going on there. I go through my calendar for the week and I look through my semester plans, what other people would call quarterly plans, the remind myself what I'm working on. As I do this, I take notes. I take it in a text file on my desktop working memory.txt. I'm just taking a bunch of notes. Oh, here's some tasks as I was organizing my Trello boards. Here's some tasks that are important this week. I'm looking at my calendar. I got to remember these big things. Very unstructured here. I'm just taking notes of stuff I want to remember. And then I use those notes from the working memory.txt to write my weekly plan. So I do all the steps, look through all my systems, review all my stuff, take notes, use the notes to make the weekly plan. That is how that works. All right, what do we have here? A question from Ednan.


What does Cal think about digital notebooks? (34:00)

He says, does writing on digital paper, in your opinion, really have any advantage over conventional paper writing? And he points in particular to a product that I've heard a lot about called Remarkable. I guess there's, Darren I went to the Remarkable 2. I'll tell you, here's my, I have not yet tried Remarkable. It is very alluring. And I don't know if that's just branding or if it's actually useful. Because it's a cool thing. It's like a tablet and it uses an E-ink technology like a Kindle. So it's not a screen, it's not a backlit screen. It's actually, if you don't know how E-ink works, there's actually these teeny little disks that are black on one side and gray on another. And with an electrical impulse, you can switch it from one to another. So it's literally making a non-illuminated, just an actual physical picture that you're looking at. There's no light involved. This Remarkable tablet, you can write on it. So it sort of follows your special pencil. So you're writing on it and then it can save the pages. And you can go back to them. So it's like a notebook, except for it's all stored digitally. It's not actually a physical notebook. Anyways, it's a cool looking product. I like the Jesse's note. I think this tells you why it's so appealing. His note about the promotional video is really good looking people in rich places writing stuff. It's good branding. - I mean, it was a great video and it's, yeah, it's, it's just. - It's true though. I've seen this video and I'm like, A, I gotta go to Monaco. Like B, I probably need to dress better. And C, I need to be looking out over the bay. - Yeah, in your mansion. - And like, yeah, writing. Like, I don't know what, poetry or something. So I don't add, now if you use one, report back. I'm, this branding like hits me like an arrow. And I'm like, I really need one of these things. I mean, I suspect that, show you. This probably solves the same problem because it's analog. It's very easy to get to the pages you already wrote because you can just flip to them. It doesn't require batteries. But I see that ad and I want it to. So I don't know, try it. If any, my listeners out there have tried this and have a compelling use case for one of these E-ink notebooks like Remarkable, send me a note or send Jesse a note at jessie@countenuport.com because we're curious. Maybe it'll make us rich. I don't know, is that how it works? We'll be in a mansion. - Yeah, start writing. Your next book will be a poetry book. - Yeah, reflections from you staring at the waves from my mansion. Oh my. All right, what do we got here? Ali has a question.


Why is everyone so bad at email? (36:45)

Why are norms regarding maintaining email threads not wide spread? Then she goes on about like a very big frustration about email should be in one topic for a thread and people at my company don't do it, et cetera, et cetera. I'm gonna skip those details. I'm gonna skip those details to get to the bigger point here which is a point that I really learned working on my book, A World Without Email. Norms are not gonna save you from email problems. When I was working on that book and I would go give talks and I talk to executives or C-suites. I do this occasionally where I go talk to a small group of executives. They were so sure that email was the key to a productivity nirvana and the only thing holding them back was norms. It just gets some better norms about what should be in the subject line, how long you should expect for a response, what's appropriate in a thread or not a thread, CC versus BCC, then we would be in productivity nirvana. And the reality is that is not gonna solve the problems. Norms is not gonna solve the problems. The problem is that if your primary mode of collaboration is through ad hoc back and forth digital messaging, you are gonna have a large number of messages arriving at unscheduled times that require relatively prompt responses from you to keep the wheels of your business rolling. And that's gonna require that you send and receive emails all the time. And there is no norms that are gonna save you from that if that's the way that your business is organized. If this underlying what I call hyperactive high-line workflow is implicitly how work gets done, there's nothing you can tell me about response time expectations. There's nothing you can do with subject line edits. There's nothing you can do about what goes into a thread and what doesn't that will prevent me from needing to check this inbox or this instant messenger channel again and again and again because there's unscheduled messages coming in that I have to reply to quickly to keep the wheels of business rolling. So this is a distraction. Again, this is your on the Titanic deck and you're really upset that the people looking for lifeboats are messing up the deck chairs. You can get those deck chairs really nice. You can move them in a way so people can move around on the deck really well. What your problem is there's not nearly enough lifeboats. That is the issue with trying to tackle email overload issues from the top down. So what do you have to do instead? Well, you read my book, "A World Without Email" and what that will teach you is that you have to actually fix the underlying systems for how you collaborate. Instead of just allowing back and forth, let's just rock and roll on email, be your solution, you have to put in B-spoke explicit alternatives systems for each of the different types of work you do. Here's where the information comes in. Here's when and how we talk about it. Here's where we store things. Here's the process for getting this done. And you have to do that again and again and again for all the things you do regularly as a business. That's how you fix the hole that the iceberg made in the ship and stop it from sinking in the first place. It's processes and systems not norms. All right, so I've given that lecture a lot, but still want that message to get out there. Let's do one more deep work question. We got one here from Payton.


What is Cal’s advice for a distracted high school student? (40:00)

Payton says, "Do you have suggestions for high schoolers?" At my school, we have to check our email daily to receive updates from our teachers and we rely heavily on our computers. Are there tips you would have for students like me? I do have tips for students. The idea that you have to check your email once a day for updates from your teachers is not your problem. The fact that yes, there's work you do during the school day on your Chromebook is not your problem. Here's the things that I'm gonna tell you matter. It's what you were doing voluntarily with your time and how you were voluntarily engaging with the digital world that matter. So here are the rules, and I say rules. I mean, you can listen to them or you're not, but I'm saying this is what I would suggest. If I was a high schooler and I'm thinking, "I wanna deeper life, I don't wanna just be anxious "and lost in my screen all the time." Number one, don't play online video games. I'm not against video games in general as a distraction, but the ones where you're online, there's lots of other people on them. And Roblox, I'm looking at you. The, I don't know these things, Fortnite, I'm looking at you. World of Warcraft, is that still a thing? Look, I don't know games, but the ones in which there's lots of people who are online on a shared server are some of the most addictive technologies ever created by man. If you study digital addiction, these can be the worst. These are the worst. It's not social media. It's not, I'm on YouTube too much. The thing that can cause, I have to go to a rehab, center level of addiction is actually these massive multiple online games. It's gonna eat up your life. There's better things you can be doing with that time. You get very little return in the sense of connection, growth, resilience, character, skills. You get nothing out of the time you spend when you're five hours in Fortnite. Don't do online video games. Second, don't do social media. You can use your phone to communicate with your friends. And this is the good news. And this is a change that has happened since when I first started researching my book, Digital Minimalism, and today back then, social media platforms were critical to teen socialization. Snapchat in particular was really big. That has changed today. The socialization has largely migrated off of social media platforms, especially for teenagers. They use text messaging and instant messaging tools. The social media platforms are more about distraction, entertainment, keeping up with cultural memes. Just don't use those. Communicate with your friends on WhatsApp and text or whatever you need to do so you can make plans and know where the party is. But don't use the other ones. Yeah, TikTok is interesting. But TikTok is also designed from the ground up to be like one of those pods in the matrix where you're in a bathtub full of goo and a robot alien has stuck a needle straight into your spine. It's just engineered from the ground up that just press buttons and keep you looking at that screen. And God forbid, if you are posting on TikTok, they don't even try to hide what they're doing there. They are playing entirely with the weak spots of your adolescent brain to make you completely addicted. Here's what happens if you start using TikTok. You post a few videos. They have this all figured out. They will wait until your second or third video. And then the algorithm is going to expose that video to a bunch of people's feeds. And what do you see? You see a big burst of views. And you start to suspect, hey man, maybe I'm onto something. You know, maybe people dig what I'm doing here. I kind of have a bit of an audience and oh man, the next one didn't get that. The next one didn't get it. But then the algorithm gives you another burst of views. Oh, that one caught on. All right, man, this is important. Now, no, I got my audience. I got to be on there. People really care about me. You were being 100% manipulated. They control exactly how many views you get. The algorithm has figured out how to titrate burst of fake simulated popularity so that you think that you're one slot machine pull away from being an influencer. All the while they are just, here's your pocket. Money, money, money, money. So just don't use it, man. Just don't use it. Don't use social media. Don't use online video games. Counter this by aggressively going after autonomously chosen, positive social pursuits. If you're in any way athletic, get on a sports team and get serious about it. And you might have to do some exploration to find what sports team that is. I mean, if you look at my history, I played all the rec sports. I came from a family that said, you just, you've always got to be in a sport because otherwise you're bouncing out the walls into pain. And when I played soccer, I played basketball, I played baseball and I was terrible at all of them. But then at some point in high school, I realized I had the right type of leg muscle fibers to run. I got really in the track and track got me into crew. And that made a big difference. So if you can do anything athletic and it might take some discovery, do that. If you're not athletic, that's fine. Find something else. A team, you can be involved this when you work with other people towards building skills in the competitive situation where things could go wrong, but you feel the victories when you have the victories and you're working together on it. And you need this in your life. Positive skills, social pursuits that you can put a lot of energy into and give you a lot back in return. That's where you want to be spending your time. Do that and also spending time with your friends and figuring out how to be a social human being and going to those parties where you're not quite sure if you should be in the party and try to navigate that social difficulty. That's just calisthenics for your social brain. You need to do that so that you're not weird when you're in a dealt. That's all great. Don't spend five hours on an online video game. Don't be tricked by the TikTok algorithm and the thinking that you are six dance videos away from being Kim Kardashian. You're not, you're in the tub of goo and there's a thing in the back of your neck. And I think this is easier now than it was five years ago because socialization as a teenager does not require you to be on these services. That now happens separately. So that's what I would suggest. Honestly, even if you have a flip phone, get the phone where you can still text, but you can't go on apps. That's becoming the new countercultural thing, by the way, especially if you have some other thing you do really well, like you're an athlete or on the robotics team or something like this. You're like, yeah, I don't bother with that smartphone stuff. That doesn't make you the weird loner anymore. That makes you kind of the cooler guy. So if you're doing that and if you very strongly ignore my advice from earlier to say deep will meeple when you run into people, I think you'll be okay. Maybe they should do that more. I don't know, deep will meeple. All right, Jesse, I wanna move on here in a second to do some questions about the deep life, but first we should get some deep payment from some deep sponsors. I'll keep this show rolling. I wanna talk in particular about stamps.com. Now this is one of these companies that just makes sense. It's easy to pitch because it just makes sense. You've probably heard about stamps.com, but let me tell you from personal experience, it saves you the time, money, and stress that they claim it does because here's how it works. It allows you to access all of the post office or UPS shipping that you would do just from your home. You print the postage, you stick it on, you don't have to go to the post office. You can be up and running in minutes, you print postage for any letter, any package, anywhere you wanna send. All you need is a computer and a standard printer. We're right down the street here with the HQ from the Tacoma Park post office. And every time I see, especially during the pandemic with spacing, there would be this long line outside. So it just made really visible pre-pandemic the line and it would just be really scrunched inside. It made it super visible how long those lines are because it would stretch outside. And every time I would see that line and think about just waiting in that line, I would say I am glad that stamps.com exist. Now the other cool thing about it is you get discounts up to 40% off USPS rates and 76% off UPS rates. You pay a small monthly fee to be able to ship things straight from your home, the print post is straight from your home, but you get such big savings off of that that you are ending up making money not spending it. So save time and money this year with stamps.com. Sign up with promo code deep for a special offer that includes a four week free trial, free postage, and a digital scale, no long-term commitments or contracts. Just go to stamps.com, click the microphone at the top of the page and enter the code deep. I also wanna talk about one of the longest running sponsors of the deep questions podcast and that is Grammarly. You know, we're in it now. We're in that winter grind period. We're past the winter break, some are still far away. So we're busy, we're doing a lot of work. And when you're doing all this work, you wanna make sure above all else that you are communicating clearly with all of the different types of messaging that we have to do all day, these days. This is where Grammarly comes in. They can do stuff now. This Grammarly product, especially the Grammarly premium product, they can do stuff to improve your writing that absolutely blows me away. I mean, we thought about grammar support before, it used to be the grammar checker and word perfect. It could do two things. It could tell you that you spelled there wrong or that you did the possessive it's when you really meant the non-possessive it's. Here's what you can do today with Grammarly.com. They can adjust your tone. Hey, here is the tone. This is coming across like this. Maybe that's not what you meant. It can suggest full sentence rewrites. Let's redo this sentence in a way that's gonna be clearer. It can give you clarity suggestions. This is probably not the right phrase or word. Why don't you use this word instead? Look, I've tried this, it is eerie. It's like having an editor signal over your shoulder so that the stuff you send out there delivers the point with the right tone with a lot of clarity. You're not confusing people. You don't have people tricked in this and what do they really mean by this? Why is this so ambiguous? Really is an impressive product. We've really come a long way in this field. So get through those emails and your work quicker by keeping it concise, confident and effective with Grammarly. Go to Grammarly.com/deep to sign up for a free account and when you're ready to upgrade to Grammarly Premium you will get 20% off just because you are a listener of my podcast. So that's 20% off if you go to g-r-a-m-m-a-r-l-a-y.com/deep. All right, speaking of deep, let's do some questions about the deep life.


Does disconnection improve creativity? (50:53)

Sandy asks, "What were your thoughts "on the get back documentary?" She elaborates. "I've been watching the Beatles get back documentary "and one thing that strikes me is the novelty "of watching people just hanging out, "playing with creative ideas "and without distracting technology. "I wondered if you have any thoughts on it. "They spend a lot of time just hanging out, "apparently not doing much. "Is this important if you want to be as creative "as the Beatles were?" Do you think the lack of technology contributed to their brilliance? Yes. I think the answer is yes and yes. Creative work requires a lot of deep work. So there's a lot of moments of just being able to be very comfortable being very focused, but also a lot of what we can think of as cognitive wandering. It's the Beatles just hanging out, talking, messing around on their instruments, noticing things, wait a second, let me try about that, what if we did this. None of that can happen at a high level if you're constantly context switching. Look at a text message thread, look at a WhatsApp thread, look at social media to see what's going on. I can give you very specific case study from exactly this world. A couple of years ago, I was communicating with a very high level songwriter. So she's well known and she works on songs for some pretty famous pop stars. Not to spoil this for the kids out there, but unlike the Beatles, pop stars today don't write their own music. Some do, but a lot of them don't. Anyways, she wrote me because she was having a real problem. She was constantly on social media and she had told herself this story about people need to know who I am and promotion and it's gonna help me get work, but guess what was not happening? Songwriting, she wasn't writing songs. She was obsessed with posting, but did people like what I posted, what were people thinking about me, what are other people doing, what's happening in the world of the related pop star celebrity? And I talked to her and gave her some advice and said, "Don't worry about people finding you, man. What people worry about is are you writing killer hooks?" And she did pull back and it made all the difference. She's like, "Man, I'm back into it again. Like I just don't do this thing on my phone anymore." That's a direct example from this world. You also see this all the time with novelist. Novel writing is difficult, cognitively demanding work. It is very difficult. They don't mess around. I mean, some do, but there are so many novelists that say, "I don't want to have anything to do with this stuff." You know, I go, I disappear. I'm Dave Eggers, where I have a writing house with no wifi on an old laptop with no internet connection. In eight hours of time, you can't get to me. If John Grisham, who like the groundhog, comes out of his warren in the ground, you know, once a year to promote his book for two weeks and then disappears. It's like, I don't want to have anything to do with that, right? This is like, Aziz and Zari has a new comedy special out that was watching the other day on the rowing machine. And he uses a flip phone. He's like, "This just was killing me." And I'm supposed to create creative, interesting things. And I can't, if all I'm thinking about is what's happening on this little glowing piece of glass flip-floom, you know? I'm sure he could be on Instagram and Twitter and trying to get an audience back. And now he's like, "Forget it. I want to do this. And I don't care if I'm less successful at it. I can't do creative work with this." So I think it's a good point, Sandy. It's not compatible. You know, Jesse, I hear this with sports too. I've talked quite a bit of people within professional sports. I've talked with general managers of NBA teams. I've talked with people at national rugby teams. I've talked with people within football. I've talked with golfers. And this is like a real issue, is especially coaches and managers are very worried of the impact of the cognitive drain of looking at these things all the time on their athletes. And so it's another world. So forget creative stuff. What about physical high concentration physical stuff? The phones kill you. A lot of the coaches, general managers, they're on their phones all the time too, agents. Yeah. Well, the agents are part of the problem because the agents are talking in one ear, especially so the NBA is a real problem because these are the youngest athletes of any sport. It's the only sport where you can come out of high school into it really, right? I mean, you're not to play whatever, professional football, you got to grow, you know? And so typically you're going to come out of college for that baseball. You have a, you're going to have this 10 year path of the minors before like anyone cares. Basketball players, you could be 19 and on the national stage. And the agents are in their ears. People got to know, people got to know your brand, you know? You got to be on there, you got to be. And they get on the court and they can't, it's not that they can't play, but it is a, I've had this conversation with a really high level person in the NBA at that level it is a game of epsilence. If you are 3% off of your peak, you're on the bench because everyone is fantastic and everyone is playing at their fullest extent. There's really no room unless you're really, you know, Yannis or someone who has like a little bit of wiggle room here, it makes a huge difference. So these agents are in their ear, you got to be on your phone, you got to be on their phone. It destroys their concentration and then they're 5% worse and then they're out of the league in two years. - A lot of them start clothing lines too. - You know Aziz, I'm sorry I talked about this and that's special. He's like, yeah, a lot of comedians I know like have these other products and do these other things. He's like, it kind of makes me feel like a slacker, but like I just want to write comedy, basically. I saw a David Goggins video and he was talking about being in the gym at a hotel and like an NBA player came in with his coach. And I forgot exactly, it was a Goggins video. So you know, it was like really intense, but basically like the long and the short of it was like the NBA player was just going through the motions. And by coach, I mean trainer, not coach. The trainer was like, let's do 15 reps, not 12. And the player's like, nah man, just do my 12. And Goggins went off on like, you know, not pushing yourself, whatever. But that, it's like an example of what happens when you have this pull from you coming from the phone is like you're doing the 12 reps instead of the 15. It makes a difference when you're at a very high level. So yeah, I'm a big believer in that. I think it's a huge, it's a huge competitive advantage. Be the guy or the woman not on this stuff. It's a big advantage. - Yeah. - You're gonna produce better work. Nothing matters more than producing better work. Social media, and I don't mean to rant too much, but social media is great for spreading the word about you, but it's best when other people are doing it for you. So yeah, you should be happy that social media exists if you're doing something awesome. 'Cause it makes it easy for people to talk about it, but they don't need you on there saying look at me. That only helps a little bit. So there we go. All right, see what we got here. All right, so we have a question here from Alexis. Sort of similar to a question we did earlier, so we can come at it from a different angle. Alexis says, "How would you apply the concepts "of deep work to one's kids?"


How do I teach my kids to focus? [57:53] (57:57)

So she says, "I'm a parent and have noticed "that electronics generally reduce "our daughter's attention span. "As such, we band video games and social media, "but we do let her do protective activities on electronics. "Mostly require reading. "She gets to do TV movies as earned time for piano school, "accessor, what would you do? "Our daughter is 14 now." I mean, I think that's fine. So 14-year-olds are not gonna be fantastic at focus. It's a practiced art and their brains are scattered. So yes, avoid, as I talked about earlier in the show, avoid online video games, avoid social media for kids. My kids, I mean even adolescents. That's gonna be poison. I don't really mind TV. I don't mind your shows you watch. You obviously do the same advice we learned in the 1980s, have some control over it. So you can't just use the TV all the time. But I'm not one of these strict screen time zealots where like my 14-year-old gets to watch one minute of TV. I think some of that's more about like the parents wanting to feel like they're optimizing parenting, that it is like it's gonna make some big difference for the kid. It's a kid's kinda weird. So I don't worry about that too much. And then separately, you need to sort of introduce the notion that concentration on hard things is like an important respectable, really useful skill. So you can talk about this. It's examples of this. We're watching the Olympics. We're looking at this artist. We're went to this movie. This type of stuff that's really inspiring. How do you do that? You focus really hard on things. You're willing to do it even when it's hard. You push yourself, there's grace in that. There's something really deeply human in that. You demonstrate it. If you're walking around your house as a parent with your phone, looking on your phone all the time, doing all these text message threads, doesn't matter what you say, they see it. Like now, this is what life should be. So keep the phone in the foyer. Don't carry it with you throughout their house. Let them see in your life, hey, I prioritize other things. I'm not constantly distracted. And then you can literally just give them structures so they can practice it. All right, so you have some homework. Let's think through how we wanna do this. Let's schedule it on the calendar. Let's have set times we do it. Let's push ourselves, take a break. How do you organize your thoughts? Like you could literally work with and practice and help kids get more comfortable with this. I talked with my nine year old about this with math. Really walking him through, what are you doing in your head when you're trying to solve a hard math problem? Because we don't tell kids this and they don't know. Like I don't know, I just kinda hope it comes to me or something, really walking him through. Like your paper is an extension of your working memory. And it's a strategy and then you're recording your work. And then this is when you concentrate at very set leaps. Like it's not just random, it's not just you thinking and hoping something comes from it. So then you can practice, practice structured thinking. So do those three things. Get rid of the poison, which is the online video games in the social media. Demonstrate that you prioritize depth, talk about depth and concentration and how it's the key to a life well lived and then actually literally help them practice. And then don't expect your 14 year old to be Richard Feynman. It's a 14 year old brain, not a 34 year old brain. Not a 44 year old brain that's been doing this for a long time. So then have some flexibility on your expectations there. Kids are kids. They don't need to be, you don't necessarily want them to be super locked in. That's actually something I talk about a lot. I think, and we've talked about this on the show before, careful what you wish for. You get this around here in these competitive areas like the Washington DC area, this sort of underlying dream of like, man, I kind of wish my kid was a prodigy. Like just awesome at math or something and just, you know, because you get as a parent these victory points, these victories of like, they're the best and they're moving up and you somehow vicariously take these victories. And all I'm saying is be careful what you wish for. It's rarely the foundation of a good, meaningful, deep life. If you're too good at something like that early on. Be that physical or intellectual. Careful what you wish for. Find things you can do in your own life to feel good about yourself, not what did my kid do. 'Cause you didn't do that anyway, so you shouldn't feel good about that anyways. All right, enough about that. Let's see what we got here. We got a question from Abby. Abby says, how do you motivate unmotivated students to get to deep work?


How do I get my students off their phones? (01:02:22)

Abby says, I find my work to be of Cisaphis. So maybe she means like Cisaphian. I teach high school chemistry. We do lots of labs and discuss and construct concepts. Dot, dot, dot. However, since I started teaching five years ago, students have become less motivated and gross in their social media lives. Parentheses, I hate the phone. I want them to have a glimpse of the deep life and aspire to exercise and build their brains. Where do I start? Every day is the same thing. They do not pay attention. So they either do not grasp anything or forget immediately help they have the future of humanity. Abby, I feel your pain and you're not gonna be able to directly solve this problem like you are in these kids' lives for a period each day. But demonstrate the change you wanna see in the world, we were talking about this in the last answer as well. Discuss concentration, mental difficulty. I'm willing to stick with something hard even when it gets difficult and stick with it. Discuss that as a tier one skill. This is how these breakthroughs in chemistry happen. This is how athletes become fantastic athletes. This is how those movies your love are made. When you, this is how the rock, you know, molded his body and his character into being a international superstar. It, focusing on things when it's hard, keeping your intention on one thing, persisting through difficulty. Just giving this message, emphasizing this message, giving examples of this message, that does sink in. It doesn't mean it's gonna change people right away. It doesn't mean you can get them off their phones. I mean, a lot more has to be involved in getting that done. But you lay down the vision of what the alternative could be. You cannot escape from the trap of the shallows until the attraction of the depths is something that's even on your radar. And so that's one thing you could be doing. And there are schools, including some schools around here who, for example, teach deep work. And there are schools that teach my folk digital minimalism. Like there are schools that go at this straight on. Like we wanna give you a specific frame for thinking about these type of things. Otherwise, what's the model they have? It's like, well, if I'm on this phone a lot, maybe I'll be an influencer. It's the only model they have. And TikTok is tricking them into thinking that they're, you know, just one video away from that because it's giving them these fake view bursts. So you gotta give them the alternative. The deep life a life built on focusing on hard but meaningful things, staying diligent on that, being resistant to distractions. This is a very attractive, cool thing. 'Cause basically everyone out there who's really interesting that we admire almost always is doing that. And when that message gets through, you've planted the seed. And you might not be able to grow that seed tomorrow in your class, but those seeds have to be planted if they're ever going to grow. All right, I think we have time for one more quick question. Richie asks, have you read 4,000 weeks time management for mortals by Oliver Berkman? If so, what are your thoughts? Yes, Richie, I've read it. I blurbed it.


Responses On Topics And Book Review

What does Cal think about the book “Four-Thousand Weeks”? (01:05:25)

Yeah, look at the back of the cover. Does no one read the blurbs anymore? I gave it a nice quote. I then told Tim Ferriss about it and Tim read it on my recommendation and he actually excerpted the whole first chapter and played it on his podcast or wrote a blog post about it. So I've been trying to do what I can to spread the word. I like 4,000 weeks a lot. I think it's a great book. And the premise of the book is we have 4,000 weeks roughly speaking to live. You can't do all the things you think you want to do. So having a value-based system of productivity in which I got to nail all these different things done and that's where I'm going to get myself worth. Through the quantity of high-end accomplishment is a sucker's game because you can't do all those things. All right, so what next? And that's the question that Oliver addresses. Once you realize when your his age or my age or Jesse's age are all roughly the same age, that like, okay, well, I'm not going to do this and I ran out of time to do this. And if this was going to happen in my life, I already would have had the bin on the road to this about 15 years ago. So what next? And that's the question that he tackles. And I think it's a really big question. Most things he can't do. You got to choose a few that matter and do them and enjoy them and go along for the ride and be resilient when that ride doesn't go exactly where you think it would be. And of course, correct when you can, but also recognize that, you know, maybe this vision you had is not going to quite be that vision and still be able to enjoy the wonder and grace of life nonetheless. And I think that was the message Oliver was making and it's a message that a lot of people were ready to hear. Especially in this post-pandemic moment where everyone got disrupted and are asking these questions about what is the deep life, what do I actually want to do? So it was a perfectly time book. It did very well. If you have not read it, check it out, 4,000 weeks. And if you want to hear the first chapter, look at Tim Ferriss's podcast from last month, I believe. And you can actually hear the whole first chapter online. All right, well, speaking of not having enough time, Jesse, I think we should probably wrap up this episode. Thank you everyone who submitted their questions. Go to the YouTube page linked in the show notes. If you want to see videos of every question and segment done on this show, as well as video of the full episodes. If you like what you heard, you will like what you read on my weekly newsletter. You can sign up for that at calnewport.com. Back on Thursday with a listener calls episode and until then, as always, stay deep.


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