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Cal Newport Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Books

How to Win at College (2005) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
How to Become a Straight-A Student (2006) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
How to Be a High School Superstar (2010) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
So Good They Can't Ignore You (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Deep Work (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Digital Minimalism (2019) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Cal Newport is an American non-fiction self-help author and associate professor at Georgetown University. He’s also a computer science professor and has authored several books centered on career development and debunking some of the beliefs that have left many in unsatisfying careers. Newport has also written books that offer unconventional advice to students. The tips provided in these self-help books are practical and have the potential to improve the lives of those who embrace them tremendously.

Deep Work

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World is one of the books in the Deep Work series. Deep work is the capacity to concentrate on a demanding task. With this skill, anyone can master complex information within a short duration. Professionals can perform activities in a distraction-free state and push their cognitive capabilities to the limit. Deep work translates to enhanced performance and efficiency that gives them an edge over others in their field. It is also true that when you perform better, you experience enhanced fulfillment. In a world filled with social media, among other distractions, deep work is more of a superpower that is beneficial to an individual as well as the economy.

Newport highlights the effects of distraction in the digital era, for example, social media, and its distractions. The connection that comes with this age has many benefits, but if not controlled, it can hurt productivity at an individual and corporate level. Today, information is available in high volume, velocity, and variety. Understandably, we cannot consume it all amid all the distractions hence the need to focus only on tasks that can benefit us at the end of the day. To advance in your career, you need to organize periods where you can concentrate on specific tasks and plan ahead of time to prevent distractions.

The Deep Work story splits into two parts. The first part highlights how deep work can massively benefit individuals in any profession. It is only by concentrating on the things one needs to advance in their career that real growth is achievable. The second part covers a training regimen that people who want to adopt Deep Work can use to reach their goal. The training regimen comes in the form of four rules designed to transform the mind and habits to support this feat. The rules are easy to understand, and with discipline, anyone can adopt them.

When using Deep work, it is possible to have shorter workdays and still perform better than before. Three in-depth sessions of 90 minutes are adequate to accomplish the right amount of work in a day. The book highlights stories of people who have achieved great things while maintaining a 4-hour workday. The book also explains proper shutdown procedures that you can adopt to mark the end of a productive day, among other essential rituals.

Aside from the core content, this book comes with anecdotes and stories that work to drive the message home. There are stories about highly successful individuals like JK Rowling and Bill Gates, highlighting how they become obsessively focused when they undertake important career-developing tasks. The book is written in simple language and divided into easy to digest sections and subsections. While the message is quite basic, it helps you understand why many people today have a hard time staying focused. This piece is crucial for anyone looking for practical ways to enhance their focus in a highly distracted world.

So Good They Can’t Ignore You

So Good They Can’t Ignore You book aims to debunk the belief that success will automatically come when you follow your passion. The author points out that preexisting passion is rare, as most people do not know what they want. Many people love their jobs, even though they did not start them out of passion. When you think that you have to be passionate about a particular field, you will only feel anxious and keep on jumping from one job to another.

The author’s case against passion comes with facts gathered through interacting with people in different careers. The author spent time with venture capitalists, computer programmers, and organic farmers, among others. All these people admitted to deriving a lot of satisfaction in what they do. The book also highlights the different strategies and pitfalls that these people in diverse fields used to develop their careers.

Newport says that matching a job with a preexisting passion is not necessary. Passion comes once you have put in the work that will make you excel in whatever field. In short, what you do is not as imperative as to how you do it. The best approach that ensures success in any field is mastering skills that people value. Career satisfaction comes after mastery of whatever skills are needed to get the job done. Instead of focusing on what the world can offer, you will be more satisfied if you focus your efforts on finding what you can offer the world.

The author gives measurable strategies that people can use to increase their career capital. There are enlightening and inspiring stories of people who had the right approach when pursuing their goals and those that worked blindly. Those who followed a systematic and logical approach were more successful at the end of the day. The book also encourages readers to push themselves instead of just coasting along. If you could learn a new skill every day, you will slowly gain the expertise needed to succeed in any career.

So Good They Can’t Ignore is an excellent read if you have no idea what you want to do with your life. The book provides an evidence-based blueprint to help you love what you do. Whether it is in a career or your happiness, this piece will offer tips to make whatever situation you are in work to your advantage. You will also get tips on how you can push yourself beyond your comfort zone and achieve skills that will take your career to the next level.

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