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Jorge Tovar
Jorge Tovar

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Deep Work - Book Notes

Deep work is valuable, meaningful, and rate

  • Requires long periods of uninterrupted thinking
  • Shallow work in contrast is non-cognitively demanding
  • You must master the art of learning quickly complicated things
  • The real rewards are reserved for those who are comfortable building the innovative distributed systems that run the services that people want and don't know how to get at scale

The idea ๐Ÿ’ก

Valuable, High skilled workers. Once the market is made universally accessible, these at the peak of the market will thrive while the rest suffer.

Digital technology reduces the need for labor in many industries, and the proportion of the rewards returned to those who own intelligent machines is growing. ๐Ÿ’ป

Two core abilities for thriving in the new economy

  • The ability to quickly master hard things
  • The ability to produce at an elite level, in terms of both quality and speed
  • You must learn to transform latent potential into tangible results that people value
  • To master your craft you have to embrace deliberate practice
  1. Your attention is focused on a specific skill to improve or an idea that youโ€™re trying to master
  2. You receive feedback so you can correct your approach to keeping your attention exactly where it is more productive
  3. High Quality work produced = time spent * intensity of focus

Deep work is rare ๐Ÿ’ถ

In the industrial age, productivity is measured by working hours, work is proportional to results (mostly linear)

Knowledge age productivity is measured by the outcome, not the inputs, and is not an assembly line.

Deep work is meaningful

Flow: when a person's body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile

The Rules

Rule 1: work deeply ๐Ÿ‹๏ธโ€โ™‚๏ธ

You must add rituals and routines to your working life designed to maintain an uninterrupted state of unbroken concentration

  • Discipline 1: focus on the wildly important, the more you try to do, the less you accomplish
  • Discipline 2: act on the lead measures
  • Discipline 3: Keep a compelling scoreboard
  • Discipline 4: create a cadence of accountability

1-4 Hours of extreme concentration a day seems to be the limit.

You need to shut down and rest
Committing to a specific plan for a goal may therefore not only facilitate the attainment of the goal but also free cognitive resources for other pursuits

Regularly resting your brain improves the quality of your deep work

Rule 2: Embrace boredom ๐Ÿ˜ด

Minimize the number of times you give in to distractions and by doing so, you let the attention selection muscles strengthen

Rule 3: Quit social media

  • Select the best tools to perform your craft and that all
  • Identify your main high-level goals in professional and personal life and select the tools that contribute to those goals

Rule 4: Drain the shallows

  • Shallow work is vastly overestimated
  • Adopt a result-driven approach -> let me know when you have made a significant progress
  • It's incredibly wasteful to pay a highly trained professional to send emails and attend meetings for 30 hours
  • You have to become hard to reach out
  • Finish your work at the same hour always, and create a routine


  • Focus is key, our ability to concentrate is a skill that gets valuable things done

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