Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World with Cal Newport

Cal Newport, Georgetown professor, and author of of So Good They Can’t Ignore,  and Deep Work joins us to talk about how to produce work of real of value while training your ability to focus.


  • How positive serendipity pays dividends going forward
  •  Exposing yourself to positive randomness
  • The issues with “follow your passion”
  • The role of engagement, craftsmanship
  • Why deliberate practice is the byproduct of hard work
  • Applying systematic thinking to our work
  • The 3 keys to becoming a straight A student
  • The increasing value of deep
  • Training your capacity for deep work,
  • The danger of giving into distraction even when we’re not trying to get work done
  • 3 Types of deep work philosophies
  • Scheduling time for deep work in your life
  • The pitfalls that can cause you to fail at incorporating these practices into your life
  • The importance of confident, competent focus on your energy
  •  Moving beyond the any benefit mindset


Just like a professional athlete is worried about they’re diet, I’m worried about sources of distraction.

If you can replicate something yourself, you can understand it so much better than if you just consumed it.

We put the cart before the horse when it comes passion.

You don’t follow passion, passion follows you.

Both our personal and professional lives are increasingly built around these sources of distraction. From a cognitive perspective, that’s like being an athlete who smokes.

Books and Resources

So Good They Can’t Ignore You

Deep Work

How to Become a Straight-A Student



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Cal Newport is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University, who specializes in the theory of distributed algorithms. He previously earned his Ph.D. from MIT in 2009 and graduated from Dartmouth College in 2004.


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