Do you ever feel that you can’t get any work done because of the countless emails, calls, updates and web-meetings? Do you feel that you spend all day “communicating” without getting things done properly? Then this hugely topical book is for you.
In Deep Work Cal Newport argues that one of the key skills for productivity and success in such a “connected age” is the ability to focus on demanding tasks. He then brings this to life with science, stories, anecdotes and examples. Finally he then shares 4 “rules” for building habits and transforming your approach-
- Work deeply
- Embrace boredom
- Quit social media (see below)
- Drain the shallows
Check out the author’s excellent and generous blog to get a quick overview of the ideas. Then put your smart phone in a drawer, turn off the TV, pour yourself a glass of wine and make the time to read it.
Joseph L. Bardacco
In contrast to the previous “21st century” recommendation, the core themes of this book are timeless and universally applicable regardless of your situation. Every manager needs to accept and work with ambiguity. Do you support your manager when you know the decision is terrible – and your team know it too? Do you promote a driven and successful team leader who has regularly rubs people up the wrong way?
This book offers five deceptively simple questions to help you navigate through “gray areas”.
The questions are …
- What are the net, net consequences?
- What are my core obligations?
- What will work in the world as it is?
- Who are we?
- What can I live with?
These 5 questions provide an ethical compass. To quote the author “When you face a gray area problem at work, you should work through it as a manager and resolve it as a human being.”
Certainly worth your time, and it also provides an excellent framework for teams, talent programs and management training programs.
And finally, our third suggestion is perfect for December. As the year comes to an end. many of us will be reflecting on what we’ve achieved (or not), how we’ve achieved it, and what we should be doing more or less of. In How to Have a Good Day, Caroline Webb shares findings from behavioural economics, psychology and neuroscience and then shows how you can build on big “scientific” ideas to transform the quality of your everyday life. The book is divided into seven areas
And concludes with a transfer-oriented “Making it stick”.
Speaking openly, it can be a heavy read. There’s a lot of research and findings shared, BUT there’s a clear focus on your working life too. Don’t let the “self-help” moniker put you off reading this – the stories and examples avoid slipping into fantasy or “business book bullshit”.
The author’s excellent blog is also well worth your time.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Finally, I know we’ve shared our 3, but its Christmas so check out “HBR’s 10 Must Reads 2017: The Definitive Management Ideas of the Year from Harvard Business Review”. The summary of “Collaborative Overload” by Cross, Rebele and Grant connects back with Cal Newport’s Deep Work and is hugely relevant to anyone working in virtual teams. Plus check out the excellent summary of Erin Meyer’s “Getting to Si, Ja, oui, Hai and Da” if you need to negotiate across cultures.