Deep Work by Cal Newport

Deep Work by Cal Newport – Productivity Book Group

Productivity Book Group [ http://productivitybookgroup.org ] discussed Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World [ http://amzn.to/2hECDsQ ] by Cal Newport.

Deep Work, as defined by Cal Newport is

Professional activities performed in a state of … concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate.

In contrast, Newport identifies Shallow work as

[Cognitively undemanding], logistical-style tasks, often performed while distracted. These efforts tend to not create much value in the world and are easy to replicate.

Further, he then proposes a Deep Work Hypothesis:

The ability to perform Deep Work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy. As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive.

Two core abilities for thriving in the new economy:

  1. The ability to quickly master hard things.
  2. The ability to produce at an elite level, in terms of both quality and speed.

He comes up with several other pseudo-principles and terminologies, including The Principle of Least Resistance and Busyness as Proxy for Productivity. So, that’s enough to give you a concept of what Deep Work is. Let’s get the conversation started with a basic argument of the veracity of Deep Work itself.

Do you agree with the author’s concepts of Deep Work and Shallow Work? And, his Deep Work Hypothesis? Was he able to convince you that Deep Work is vital to the present and burgeoning New Economy?

Cal Newport presents himself as particularly anti-Twitter. Why do you think he points out Twitter specifically and is he right about Social Media? Should you quit Social Media?

Let us know in the comments! Enjoy the discussion!

Our next reading selections are:

Paradox of Choice

One Year to an Organized Financial Life


The callers you hear in this episode are readers just like you, and you are more than welcome to join us on the live calls to discuss productivity books too! Please visit ProductivityBookGroup.org and find out the details and the schedule for upcoming book discussion calls. If you plan to read ahead or read a little more slowly, please visit ProductivityBookGroup.org and check out the schedule on the “Upcoming Books” page.

Please feel free to visit iTunes, Stitcher or whichever podcast directory or app you prefer to access Productivity Book Group…and feel free to review us there! This helps expand our readership and bring new discussion callers into the fold. Thank you.

Finally, all podcast episodes are archived at ProductivityBookGroup.org under “Episodes” so if you missed a call and want to review it, feel free to head over and give them a listen.


Note: All registered service marks, trademarks and other copyrighted materials mentioned on the podcast are that of their respective owners. This group is not affiliated with or officially endorsed by those copyright owners.

SuperBetter - Jane McGonigal - Productivity Book Group

SuperBetter by Jane McGonigal, PhD – Productivity Book Group

Productivity Book Group [ http://productivitybookgroup.org ] discussed SuperBetter: A Revolutionary Approach to Getting Stronger, Happier, Braver and More Resilient–Powered by the Science of Games, [ http://amzn.to/2jh5Q2D ] by Jane McGonigal, PhD. Enjoy the discussion!

The Amazon book description states:

An innovative guide to living gamefully, based on the program that has already helped nearly half a million people achieve remarkable personal growth

… In this book, McGonigal reveals a decade’s worth of scientific research into the ways all games—including videogames, sports, and puzzles—change how we respond to stress, challenge, and pain. She explains how we can cultivate new powers of recovery and resilience in everyday life simply by adopting a more “gameful” mind-set. Being gameful means bringing the same psychological strengths we naturally display when we play games—such as optimism, creativity, courage, and determination—to real-world goals.

Our next reading selection is:

Transitions - William Bridges - February 2017 - Productivity Book Group

Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes, Revised 25th Anniversary Edition, by William Bridges, PhD. Join us on February 25, 2017 at noon Eastern Standard Time for our live discussion!

Winter February 2/25/17 Transitions: Making Sense Of Life’s Changes William Bridges, PhD http://amzn.to/2hIzVqU
Spring March 3/25/17 Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time Brigid Schulte http://amzn.to/2kD36Nk
Spring April 4/22/17 Path of Least Resistence Robert Fritz http://amzn.to/2jCjOuy

Show Notes:

(Please listen to understand the context of the resources provided. If we missed something, please comment on the episode and let us know!)


The callers you hear in this episode are readers just like you, and you are more than welcome to join us on the live calls to discuss productivity books too! Please visit ProductivityBookGroup.org and find out the details and the schedule for upcoming book discussion calls. If you plan to read ahead or read a little more slowly, please visit ProductivityBookGroup.org and check out the schedule on the “Upcoming Books” page.

Please feel free to visit iTunes, Stitcher or whichever podcast directory or app you prefer to access Productivity Book Group…and feel free to review us there! This helps expand our readership and bring new discussion callers into the fold. Thank you.

Finally, all podcast episodes are archived at ProductivityBookGroup.org under “Episodes” so if you missed a call and want to review it, feel free to head over and give them a listen.


Note: All registered service marks, trademarks and other copyrighted materials mentioned on the podcast are that of their respective owners. This group is not affiliated with or officially endorsed by those copyright owners.

Switch - How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Switch by Chip Heath and Dan Heath – Productivity Book Group

Productivity Book Group [ http://productivitybookgroup.org ] discussed Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard [ http://amzn.to/1P3mbA6 ] by Chip Heath and Dan Heath (authors of Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die and Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work). Enjoy the discussion!

(Sorry about the audio…for some reason the teleconference recording clipped/distorted some of the audio!)

The Amazon book description states:

Why is it so hard to make lasting changes in our companies, in our communities, and in our own lives?

The primary obstacle is a conflict that’s built into our brains, say Chip and Dan Heath, authors of the critically acclaimed bestseller Made to Stick. Psychologists have discovered that our minds are ruled by two different systems—the rational mind and the emotional mind—that compete for control. The rational mind wants a great beach body; the emotional mind wants that Oreo cookie. The rational mind wants to change something at work; the emotional mind loves the comfort of the existing routine. This tension can doom a change effort—but if it is overcome, change can come quickly.

In Switch, the Heaths show how everyday people—employees and managers, parents and nurses—have united both minds and, as a result, achieved dramatic results:

●      The lowly medical interns who managed to defeat an entrenched, decades-old medical practice that was endangering patients.

●      The home-organizing guru who developed a simple technique for overcoming the dread of housekeeping.

●      The manager who transformed a lackadaisical customer-support team into service zealots byremoving a standard tool of customer service

In a compelling, story-driven narrative, the Heaths bring together decades of counterintuitive research in psychology, sociology, and other fields to shed new light on how we can effect transformative change.Switch shows that successful changes follow a pattern, a pattern you can use to make the changes that matter to you, whether your interest is in changing the world or changing your waistline.

From the Hardcover edition.

Our next reading selections are:

6/25/2016 Resilience: Facing Down Rejection and Criticism on the Road to Success Mark McGuinness http://amzn.to/1NQ6Z8w
7/30/2016 Stuffocation: Why We’ve Had Enough of Stuff and Need Experience More Than Ever James Wallman http://amzn.to/1PTjBwv

PBG - Resilience - June 2016 - Mark McGuinness

PBG - Stuffocation - July 2016 - James Wallman

Show Notes:

(Please listen to understand the context of the resources provided. If we missed something, please comment on the episode and let us know! Thanks to Bonnie B. for helping out with the Show Notes!)


The callers you hear in this episode are readers just like you, and you are more than welcome to join us on the live calls to discuss productivity books too! Please visit ProductivityBookGroup.org and find out the details and the schedule for upcoming book discussion calls. If you plan to read ahead or read a little more slowly, please visit ProductivityBookGroup.org and check out the schedule on the “Upcoming Books” page.

Please feel free to visit iTunes, Stitcher or whichever podcast directory or app you prefer to access Productivity Book Group…and feel free to review us there! This helps expand our readership and bring new discussion callers into the fold. Thank you.

Finally, all podcast episodes are archived at ProductivityBookGroup.org under “Episodes” so if you missed a call and want to review it, feel free to head over and give them a listen.


Note: All registered service marks, trademarks and other copyrighted materials mentioned on the podcast are that of their respective owners. This group is not affiliated with or officially endorsed by those copyright owners.

Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter C. Brown, et al.

Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning – Productivity Book Group

Productivity Book Group [ http://productivitybookgroup.org ] discussed Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning, [ http://amzn.to/1P3lZkr ] by Peter C. Brown, et al. Enjoy the discussion!

The Amazon book description states:

To most of us, learning something “the hard way” implies wasted time and effort. Good teaching, we believe, should be creatively tailored to the different learning styles of students and should use strategies that make learning easier. Make It Stick turns fashionable ideas like these on their head. Drawing on recent discoveries in cognitive psychology and other disciplines, the authors offer concrete techniques for becoming more productive learners.

Memory plays a central role in our ability to carry out complex cognitive tasks, such as applying knowledge to problems never before encountered and drawing inferences from facts already known. New insights into how memory is encoded, consolidated, and later retrieved have led to a better understanding of how we learn. Grappling with the impediments that make learning challenging leads both to more complex mastery and better retention of what was learned.

Many common study habits and practice routines turn out to be counterproductive. Underlining and highlighting, rereading, cramming, and single-minded repetition of new skills create the illusion of mastery, but gains fade quickly. More complex and durable learning come from self-testing, introducing certain difficulties in practice, waiting to re-study new material until a little forgetting has set in, and interleaving the practice of one skill or topic with another. Speaking most urgently to students, teachers, trainers, and athletes, Make It Stick will appeal to all those interested in the challenge of lifelong learning and self-improvement.

About the Authors

Peter C. Brown is a writer and novelist in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Henry L. Roediger III is James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis.

Mark A. McDaniel is Professor of Psychology and Director of the Center for Integrative Research on Cognition, Learning, and Education (CIRCLE) at Washington University in St. Louis.

Our next reading selections are:

PBG - Switch - May 2016 - Chip and Dan Heath

5/28/2016 Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath, Dan Heath

PBG - Resilience - June 2016 - Mark McGuinness
6/25/2016 Resilience: Facing Down Rejection and Criticism on the Road to Success by Mark McGuinness

PBG - Stuffocation - July 2016 - James Wallman

7/30/2016 Stuffocation: Why We’ve Had Enough of Stuff and Need Experience More Than Ever by James Wallman

Show Notes:

(Please listen to understand the context of the resources provided. If we missed something, please comment on the episode and let us know!)

Education concepts:

  • Common Core
  • Montessori schools
  • PBL = Project Based Learning

Media/Books:

[Thanks to Bonnie Bouman for the Show Notes for this episode!]


The callers you hear in this episode are readers just like you, and you are more than welcome to join us on the live calls to discuss productivity books too! Please visit ProductivityBookGroup.org and find out the details and the schedule for upcoming book discussion calls. If you plan to read ahead or read a little more slowly, please visit ProductivityBookGroup.org and check out the schedule on the “Upcoming Books” page.

Please feel free to visit iTunes, Stitcher or whichever podcast directory or app you prefer to access Productivity Book Group…and feel free to review us there! This helps expand our readership and bring new discussion callers into the fold. Thank you.

Finally, all podcast episodes are archived at ProductivityBookGroup.org under “Episodes” so if you missed a call and want to review it, feel free to head over and give them a listen.


Note: All registered service marks, trademarks and other copyrighted materials mentioned on the podcast are that of their respective owners. This group is not affiliated with or officially endorsed by those copyright owners.