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Deep Questions with Cal Newport

Author: Cal Newport

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Cal Newport is a computer science professor and a New York Times bestselling author who writes about the impact of technology on society, and the struggle to work and live deeply in a world increasingly mired in digital distractions. On this podcast, he answers questions from his readers and offers advice about cultivating focus, productivity, and meaning amidst the noise that pervades our lives.
310 Episodes
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Ep. 309: Deep Habits

Ep. 309: Deep Habits

2024-07-1501:03:001

On this show, we often talk about major overhauls to your work and life. In this episode, we go the other way and focus on the small habits that can make a big difference. In more detail, Cal describes eight surprisingly small strategies – four focused on work and four focused on life outside of work – for finding more depth in a distracted world. He then answers listener questions and reacts to a recent article about pushback to calls to limiting social media for kids.Below are the questions...
One of the trickiest aspects of new technology is that it can sometimes destabilize parts of our lives that we didn’t even realize existed and are important. In this episode, Cal talks about one such idea: the quiet mind. Our constant phone usage is eliminating this critical cognitive state, and by doing so is diminishing our humanity. Cal makes the case for the importance of the quiet mind, and then gives concrete ideas for cultivating it in a distracted world. He also answers questions from...
Why are we comfortable with the idea that ultra-processed foods are bad for us but feel somehow anti-technology to say something similar about the ultra-processed content generated by social media platforms. In this episode, Cal draws analogy to the food system to find a more sustainable and practical way to repair our relationship with various forms of media. He then answers questions and calls, shares an inspiring case study, and, due to popular request, gives his opinion on Jonathan Haidt’...
Ep. 306: Defusing AI Panic

Ep. 306: Defusing AI Panic

2024-06-2401:42:17

One of the simmering concerns surrounding the current AI revolution is the fear that we might accidentally create an “alien mind” smarter than we expected. In this episode, Cal puts on his Computer Scientist hat and directly addresses this potential by sketching his emerging concept of intentional artificial intelligence (or, iAI for short). He then answers tech-themed questions from listeners and reacts to an article that many, many different people sent to him last week.Below are the questi...
Oliver Burkeman recently noted that time blocking seems oppressive? In this episode, Cal responds to this reaction in a surprising way. He then answers questions from listeners and reacts to this podcast being featured at the recent Apple WWDC event.Below are the questions covered in today's episode (with their timestamps). Get your questions answered by Cal! Here’s the link: bit.ly/3U3sTvoVideo from today’s episode: youtube.com/calnewportmediaDeep Dive: Is Time Blocking Oppressiv...
In a recent interview, held to promote his new Netflix movie, Jerry Seinfeld went on a remarkable 10-minute run in which he rattled off one insight after another about deep work, procrastination, and the quest to live an intentional life in a distracted world. In this episode, Cal extracts four key lessons from this segment of Jerry’s interview. He then takes listener questions and ends with a segment in which he apologizes to an internet personality whom he incorrectly associated with the dr...
The desire to cultivate a more intentional and remarkable existence – what we call “the deep life” – is universal. In today’s episode, Cal talks about one of the most common traps in this pursuit: hoping that the achievement of a singular grand goal will make all parts of your life better. Cal discusses the problems with the grand goal approach and argues why the more systematic lifestyle-centric mindset will not only produce better results, but end up leading to remarkable opportunities anyw...
Ep. 302: Re-Enchanting Work

Ep. 302: Re-Enchanting Work

2024-05-2701:22:002

We talk a lot on this show about how to organize and execute your work, but not enough about where to do it. In this episode, Cal explores the theory and practice of “adventure working,” in which you escape to novel and inspiring locations to tackle your most demanding and interesting cognitive efforts. He then answers reader questions about habits and rituals, before ending with a critical look at a famous football club’s distressing embrace of pseudo-productivity.Below are the questions cov...
In this episode, the proverbial tables are turned, with Cal being interviewed by Jordan Harbinger about time, focus, and the quest for a slower notion of productivity. (This interview originally aired as episode 975 Jordan's can’t-miss podcast, The Jordan Harbinger Show).Below are the questions covered in today's episode (with their timestamps). Get your questions answered by Cal! Here’s the link: bit.ly/3U3sTvoVideo from today’s episode: youtube.com/calnewportmedia- INTERVIEW: Cal bein...
There has been a lot of attention paid recently to the impact of technology like social media on the mental health of young people. But this is not the only technology trap lurking for this generation. In this episode, Cal talks about three subtle but significant ways in which our current technology culture is setting up young people for professional failure in the years ahead. He then provides some advice for resisting this fate. In addition to this discussion, he answers questions from the ...
Cal has been writing professionally about issues related to personal productivity for two decades. In today’s episode, he provides a short history of what he’s observed during this period about out constantly shifting relationship with this topic, from the quiet optimism of the 1990s, to the techno-mania of the early 2000s, to the whiplash shift from anti-distraction to anti-work sentiments in the 2010s. He ends with a summary of where we are today and what he currently thinks matters in thin...
We think of information as something neutral; a spotlight that helps illuminate the reality of the outside world. Accordingly, more information is better than less. In this episode, Cal pushes back on this model, arguing that the form in which information arrives can strongly impact the understanding we extract. We must therefore be more intentional about what and how we pay attention. He then answers reader questions and surveys some unusual but entertaining stories about slowness.Below are ...
Why do you struggle with your grand attempts to escape distraction and aimlessness to make your life deeper? In this episode, Cal draws on an unexpected metaphor – Charles Babbage, Ada Lovelace, and the Analytical Engine – to help identify the subtle obstacle on your path to increase depth. With this new understanding in hand, he then details a specific gameplan to get around it. Later, he takes questions from the audience and reacts to the new AI Pin, a tool intended to render smartphones ob...
In the first ever live episode of Deep Questions, recorded at People’s Book in Takoma Park, MD, Cal extracts a modern productivity lesson from the tale of Jane Austen’s frustrated ambitions, before taking questions from the audience. Below are the questions covered in today's episode (with their timestamps). Get your questions answered by Cal! Here’s the link: bit.ly/3U3sTvoVideo from today’s episode: youtube.com/calnewportmediaDeep Dive: Jane Austen’s To-Do List [3:22]— Is Cal building...
In this episode Cal takes a closer look at a growing trend of artists quitting social media and instead reverting to old-fashioned websites. Are these acts of principled sacrifice or a sustainable way to be creative online? Cal argues for the latter, showing how the internet without social media curation algorithms can be a place of rich discovery and audience building. He then takes questions on similar topics and ends by playing a few rounds of “deep or crazy” during the final segment.Below...
One of the biggest problems afflicting knowledge workers in the digital age is frantic busyness; days filled with emails, chats, and meetings, without much to show for all the effort. In today’s episode, Cal dives into one of the most-discussed ideas from his new book, Slow Productivity, which offers a simple, tactical assault on this state of persistent busyness. He then answers listener questions about similar issues and lists the book he read in March.Below are the questions covered in tod...
Imagine a world in which AI could handle your email inbox on your behalf. No more checking for new messages every five minutes. No more worries that people need you. No more exhausting cognitive context shifts. In this episode, Cal explores how close cutting-edge AI models are to achieving this goal, including using ChatGPT to help him answer some real email. He then dives into his latest article for The New Yorker, which explains the key technical obstacle to fully automated email and how it...
On his recent book tour, Cal found great success using a small notebook dedicated to developing a single idea. In this episode, he explores this “single-purpose notebook” strategy, identifying when it makes sense and why it works. He also takes listener questions about his new book, “Slow Productivity,” and reacts to a recent article about TikTok’s stumbles.Below are the questions covered in today's episode (with their timestamps). Get your questions answered by Cal! Here’s the link: bit.ly/3...
Ep. 291: Do Better, Do Less

Ep. 291: Do Better, Do Less

2024-03-1101:08:476

What does the story of the rise of the singing superstar Jewel teach us about escaping busyness in our knowledge work jobs? In this episode, Cal makes the connection, extracting a key lesson about quality as an engine for slowness, and then providing concrete advice and examples for applying this lesson to your own professional life. Also: listener questions and the books Cal read in February.Below are the questions covered in today's episode (with their timestamps). Get your questions answer...
One of the most common strategies for achieving a powerful ideal lifestyle vision is to leverage entrepreneurial activities to find a stable source of income that allows autonomy and flexibility. To help understand how to succeed in such ventures, Cal interviews the entrepreneur and author Noah Kagan about his new book, "The Million Dollar Weekend." Recording on the road as part of his book tour for "Slow Productivity," Cal also shares some lessons about what he's been obs...
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Comments (43)

carrie Olaf

https://damatajhiz.com/en/categories/288/ducted-split ducted split

Apr 28th
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Feb 27th
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Jan 15th
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Jan 12th
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Raphaëlle Joffray

there is some problem With the audio in this episode (cal mic way to low)

Nov 10th
Reply

Bosya

You're podcast becoming meaningless Please,don't only ask-answer. Make a plan You're talking for 1 hour 30 min about nothing

Nov 7th
Reply

Fatemeh Hoseyni

It's kind of boring that the other hosts just says things like 'yeah cool' , 'interesting' , etc ... I mean you should either talk about a topic with him and include him or just host the podcast by yourself like before.

Aug 4th
Reply

John Barden

I think this has the best discussion about "how" you need to start your realistic time block planning. Face the productivity dragon, accept you may need more time than you are currently allowing for job demands than you may be assigning at present and are then going over the time you want to be working; effectively sacrificing you spare time.

May 15th
Reply (1)

22.05.13_today.is.the.day

can you make an app/website rather than a time block planner book... like the one similar to toggle but a it bit more flexible

May 14th
Reply

Todd Herzman

just a note, Patrick Rothfuss wrote Name of the Wind, not Sanderson.

Mar 4th
Reply

Shome Bhatt

Cal, can we get transcripts of these Podcasts in the description? If so, i would really appreciate it.

Mar 4th
Reply

Secretfly

The timestamps don't match the audio...

Sep 29th
Reply

Daniel Knob

Don't let them have one in the first place

Sep 13th
Reply

Simone

the quidditch shade lmao

May 7th
Reply

Chris Anderson (Greenwood Blacksmith)

Library Work 31:51

Apr 19th
Reply

Simone

i really like the ig for artists' idea

Apr 16th
Reply

Brian Perdomo

another great episode

Feb 16th
Reply (1)

Brian Perdomo

great episode

Jan 8th
Reply

sjdltft

i think im the first listener of this episode. thanks for your content

Nov 26th
Reply

Jason Finn

01:01:46 this part about the need for two clashing theories is very interesting! Noticing where this does not apply could help to discourage dogma in so many places.

Nov 19th
Reply