Cover art for podcast Curious Minds at Work

Curious Minds at Work

220 EpisodesProduced by Gayle AllenWebsite

Want to get better at work? At managing others? Managing yourself? Gayle Allen interviews experts who take your performance to the next level. Each episode features a book with insights to help you achieve your goals.


CM 028: Cal Newport on Deep Work

Should we expect distractions at work? Or are we unwittingly cooperating in our own ineffectiveness?

In this conversation, Cal Newport, bestselling author of Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, shares how deep work has become the superpower of the 21st century. Cal argues that today’s workplace is a minefield of distractions. With email, open floor plans, and instant messaging systems, we’re continually pulled away from meaningful, productive work. And the very tools our workplaces rely on to promote productivity are actually contributing to increased distraction and inefficiency.

Learning to take control of our own attention is not only the key to a meaningful life, but it is the key to economic viability in a distracted age.

Cal is Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University, as well as the bestselling author of five books. His ideas and writing are frequently featured in major publications, and he is author of the popular blog, Study Hacks.

In this episode, we talk about:

What makes deep work so valuable
How deep work makes life more meaningful
What deep work looks like and how little distraction it takes to ruin it
Why boredom is actually the key to doing deep work
Why relationships hold the key to deep work
Why we should be teaching young people to engage in deep work
The value of being lazy when it comes to deep work
Why you need a philosophy for doing deep work

Cal also shares his deep curiosity to rethink cognitive workflows in a post-industrial age.

Episode Links


Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

Georgetown University



Eric Barker

The Second Machine Age by Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson


Adam Grant

Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Sophie LeRoy and attention residue

Jack Dorsey



Industrial Revolution

Henry Ford

Scientific management

Assembly lines

Knowledge worker

Wilhelm Hofmann

Roy Baumeister

How to Live on 24 Hours a Day by Arnold Bennett

Downton Abbey

The Collaboration Curse in The Economist

If you enjoy the podcast, please rate and review it on iTunes. For automatic delivery of new episodes, be sure to subscribe. As always, thanks for listening!

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