February 5, 2017

Book Review - Deep Work

One of my goals for 2017 was to read more nonfiction books. I wanted to use time that had previously been spent on wasteful things to read books that would broaden my perspective and make me better.

In an effort to keep myself focused on what I am reading I also have the goal to write about those books. This will be my first post.

Deep Work starts off by making the case that “deep work” is valuable. It doesn’t really define the concept of deep work other than describing the act of thinking really hard about something without being interrupted.

I chose this book because I often feel distracted. I wanted to read something that would help me focus on what is important. Deep Work seemed like a great choice to start out 2017. January was all about focus for me. Deep work requires focus, so this seemed like a great book for me to read to begin the year.

The book talks about how easy it is to be distracted in the age of the internet. Most people are distracted. Our culture is distracted. Being distracted is easy. Focusing is hard.

Deep Work makes the case for why it is so important to achieve that focus. However, it doens’t really tell you how or what you should be doing. The book gives you tips on how to remove distraction. It makes the case for why you should delete your social media accounts. However, “thinking really hard” about things still seems like an elusive goal after I was finished reading. The way the book describes deep work is almost like an act of meditation.

Overall I enjoyed reading the book and thought it had valuable insights. You should not expect a playbook of how to achieve “deep work”, but rather a theoretical analysis of why you should strive for it. There isn’t a whole lot of practical advice, but it doesn’t mean that the ideals of the book are not without merit.

Deep Work set the tone my 2017. I have been striving to remove distraction from my life, and Deep Work reinforced why that is important. I think I will try to read this book again, which is very rare for me to say.

I am not sure what I expected out of this book, but I feel a little disappointed by it. I feel like it basically told me I need to “think harder”, but it didn’t really tell me what that means or how to do it. It seems like if I build a cabin in the middle of the woods isolated from all of the distractions of our current society I should be able to think the deepest thoughts I have every conceived of in my life. However, that is not something that is in the budget right now. I guess I will feebly try to think deeply at my own cubicle for now.