BOOK REVIEW: “Deep Work” by Cal Newport

 

Deep Work praises the lost art of long, focus-intensive work. Cal Newport clearly defines the difference between “busyness” and concentrated work leading to notable advancements.

This book has captured my attention entirely. I’ve read it all in one evening!

We currently live in a bustling world of multitasking. Studying nowadays consist of occasionally glancing over notes for an upcoming test while watching The Life of Kylie with a group of friends. The failing test grade answers the accomplishments.

Next, there are work places glorifying multitasking. The ideal employee constantly checks e-mails, accomplishes many trivial tasks around the office, and attends meetings with minimal “call to action” results.

Really? Research reveals multitasking harms our brains!

I learned from Deep Work being that kind of busy isn’t remarkably as important as society points it out to be. There’s “busyness” aka shallow work then there’s deep work.

Shallow Work

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“Shallow work” is labor of little to no value to your major goals.

Let’s say you’re a blogger planning to post ten blog articles within a month. You want to complete your first blog post on the first day of the month.

On the first day, you search for the perfect WordPress theme for your blog, comment on other people’s blogs, write notes from a book about blogging, and watch dozens of YouTube videos on creating blog content.

Close to midnight, you’re too tired to start your blog post. You decide to do it tomorrow and go to bed.

The day wouldn’t have flown by if you’ve only given yourself a few hours in the morning writing your first blog post. All the blog post commenting and WordPress theme searching is shallow work. They mean little to writing!

Now, you can’t avoid shallow tasks forever. It’s best to schedule your deep work first and the shallow work later.

Deep Work

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“Deep work” is tending on a goal from start to finish in a dedicated number of hours. The more focus on a project, the more it will likely be produced.

University of Pennsylvania professor Adam Grant (introduced in Deep Work) formed an excellent “deep work” formula that has helped him reach astounding success in his teaching career:

(Time Spent) x (Intense Focus) = High Quality Work Produced

Back to the blogger example, it would’ve been best to give yourself two hours to blog content creation with no distractions. The first draft would’ve been completed with a brief outline for the next blog post.

Now, Newport mentions big goals are best when they’re cut down into small, manageable steps. One can’t simply publish the next great American novel of 100,000 words within a day. Set up how many hours a day you’re planning to work on the novel and see what happens.

Better luck having the novel all set and ready within six months than twenty-four hours.

How to Start Deep Work

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Did you know J.K. Rowling wrote the last Harry Potter book exclusively at an Edinburgh hotel?

Mark Twain isolated himself in a cabin to get some work done. His family blew a horn to get his attention when it was time for dinner.

These famous authors have created time for deep work and steered away from any distractions for their projects. That’s how you can get started.

Distractions include:

  • Phones
  • Tempting internet
  • TV
  • Small talk with people disrupting “deep work” time

Some of you who may read Deep Work may be thinking: “I can’t do deep work, I have kids!”

Along with being an active writer and associate professor, Newport mentions his deep work routine with the addition of his two kids. He has established time blocks for himself to get work done and a shutdown time.

Shutdown is a set time when you stop everything and chill. Your willpower can go on for so long until it runs out and it needs to be recharged.

After a couple of hours of deep work, parents can conveniently use shutdown mode as precious time to spend with their kids (if their little ones can understand that).

However, I’m a single gal with no experience with parenting whatsoever. I don’t know much about the hustling parent world balancing family and work life except for what I’ve seen my parents do. Check out this Motherly article about doing deep work from a parent’s perspective.

In short, to start deep work:

  1. List your top goals
  2. Create time blocks for those goals and a shutdown time
  3. Clear distractions
  4. Execute deep work within time blocks
  5. Shutdown after you’ve completed blocks

The Benefits of Deep Work

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Deep work creates flow and flow leads to happiness.

Surprisingly, work flow leads to more fulfillment than free time.

Work flow happiness comes from the structure of a planned goal. When you set an intention, and put forth action until you reach your goal, the euphoria of achievement (thanks to dopamine) overcomes you. You’ll want reach the pleasure of success repeatedly.

Free time is always fun. You get to break free from structure once for a while to do the spontaneous. People go on vacations to take a break from their everyday routines and do whatever they want in a new landscape.

Eventually, vacation mode gets dull and it’s time to return to work mode.

Happiness is found in whatever meaningful creation you contribute. Chinese philosopher Confucius once said: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work again.”

Vacations aren’t necessary to finding happiness but they’re worthy rewards for hard work.

My Deep Work Relationship

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I’ve changed a couple of my daily habits after reading Deep Work. I shortened time from less important tasks and added it to more important ones. Exercise, a very important habit to me, has been reduced from an hour to thirty minutes. My hour of writing I do most days increased to ninety minutes.

Plus, I changed my wake-up time from five in the morning to four. My body is not used to it yet so I take a nap or two during the day to work diligently with much energy as possible.

Video games, social media, and TV have all been placed after my shutdown time around five in the evening. However, I’ve end up writing and reading more after shutdown simply for leisure more than I already do for deep work.

Great things happen when you sharpen your habits!

Conclusion

Newport has indeed written a remarkable book on the joy and great outcomes of focused creations. Deep Work offers readers a “deeper” look on what needs to be done to get ahead.

If you want to stand out for your steel discipline and ceaseless production, please do read this book!

Other Book Recommendations:

  • The 80/20 Manager: The Secret to Working Less and Achieving More by Richard Koch (review)
  • The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller & Jay Papasan (review)
  • Do Less, Get More: How to Work Smart and Live Life Your Way by Shaa Wasmund (review)

(Pic Sources: Amazon, Giphy)

 Had a “deep work” experience? Share your story in the comments below!

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The Millionaire Fastlane Review

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The Millionaire Fastlane is one of the best books for aspiring entrepreneurs I’ve read so far this year! The title appears scammy but the book covers clearly authentic material.  The book was an immediate reliever after reading the unsettling Automatic Millionaire. Author MJ DeMarco offers a “no BS” guide to the millionaire lifestyle of your dreams. Take note: it’s a long path of dedication and hard work.

DeMarco began his self-made millionaire journey after his encounter with his dream car: a Lamborghini. What surprised him even more than the car was the owner, a young inventor. DeMarco thought if the young man could afford a Lambo, he could too. He built and sold a highly successful limousine directory website and the rest was history.

The Millionaire Fastlane is a wake up call to readers to take a leap of faith, acknowledge their own power to create money, and work like it’s nobody’s business. DeMarco states there are three paths of wealth people take: the Sidewalk, the Slowlane, and the Fastlane. Sidewalkers are always broke, Slowlaners depend on retirement wealth, and Fastlaners build money systems (multiple passive incomes, businesses, etc).

Here’s a closer look at the three:

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Sidewalkers

  • Complete consumers
  • Dependent on people to give them money all the time
  • Look rich but completely broke
  • Sometimes steal
  • Scheme people for money
  • Spend their entire paycheck on crap on payday then complain about not being paid enough

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Slowlaners

  • More productive than the Sidewalker but still tend to consume useless liabilities. Even go into debt for it.
    • Example: Going into credit card debt for a rarely used boat
  • Hoping to earn millions through a decent full-time job with low to average pay with an annual 1% salary increase
  • Returning to college (and further debt in the process)  for an advanced degree in hopes of receiving a higher paying job
  • Working for an employer for forty-five years and contributing money for a 401k in order to retire rich (if they don’t die first)

 

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Fastlaners

  • Complete producers
  • Creates businesses
  • Own multiple streams of passive income

 

This book shatters the old beliefs about becoming a millionaire. There’s no age or career requirements to be one. The only tools you need are your ideas, passion, and commitment.

Now, DeMarco states passion alone isn’t enough to gain ultimate wealth. I was confused by this statement until he presented an example of a woman’s passion for art. She was so enthralled with art that she opened up an art gallery/cafe. The business shut down a few months after it opened. The problem: it didn’t answer to people’s needs.

If you can figure out how your passion can solve problems, you have a successful business!

I loved how DeMarco pointed out the difference between being “interested” in creating a business and being committed. The person interested in making a business would only work on the idea for an hour a day twice a week while the committed one works seven hours a day, seven days a week.

The committed individual will go farther financially than the interested one. Staying committed is part of the millionaire fastlane process.

The Millionaire Fastlane has done a great job guiding readers out of the outdated financial beliefs that wealth is only reserved for the naturally talented and retired old folks.

Please read this book along with other “millionaire” books you may find and see which ones you should keep. Not long before I’ve created this review, I purchased my own copy. The notes I’ve written down from my previous library copy wasn’t enough. I had to have a copy of my own because I know for sure I’ll be reading it again and keeping it as my personal strategy guide.

(Pics: Getty Images *via Bustle* and Tumblr *Sponbebob skelelton & Great Gatsby DiCaprio*) 

Comment below if you’ve read this book or have any related book recommendations!

 

 

The Automatic Millionaire Review: “Be a Millionaire by Skipping Starbucks?”

The Automatic Millionaire, Expanded and Updated: A Powerful One-Step Plan to Live and Finish Rich by [Bach, David]

 

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Don’t know your way to a millionaire future?

Does climbing the corporate ladder lead you to being a millionaire? Maybe. Do you have the patience to find out?

What about having two or three jobs? Sounds stressful.

David Bach’s The Automatic Millionaire offers the stress-free solution to your millionaire goals: compound interest and cutting out your morning Starbucks latte. Now, these steps are great ideas until I realized it’s not the financial route I’d take for the long run. Kudos to Bach, they’re smart moves, but not something I would depend on for the rest of my life. There has to be more than watching my baby dollar grow into mega millions when I’m 85.

The Automatic Millionaire presents a luring cover promising readers a life filled with financially free paradises if they follow the book’s monetary guidelines. I was excited to read this book when I picked up my library copy then disappointed. This book reveals you’ll become a millionaire by the automation process of repeatedly paying yourself 10% of your paycheck, putting a couple of bucks into a 401k, and investing in a few mutual funds.

C’mon, that can’t be it!

This book is for those who don’t mind becoming millionaires when they reach their sixties and seventies. Try reading another book if you have decided to retire while you’re still young.

Parts of the Automatic Millionaire path is throwing out hard-to-keep budgets and morning lattes to save money. Sure, lattes are not necessary like bread and water, but you can simply learn how to make more money enough to keep buying lattes. Either way, deleting unnecessary expenses is a good start to greater financial awareness.

From previous financial books I’ve read, the key to making more money is to keep purchasing assets that’ll you give more money repeatedly. To me, that’s the “real” millionaire route. That way, you don’t have to think about trading your precious hours away for an average pay working for somebody else for thirty years.

There’s little in this book teaching readers how to make millions getting out of the employee mentality. An employee’s wage runs on a fixed income under a fixed time. Plus, Uncle Sam (the government) takes a bite out of your paycheck before it passes over to you.  Adding more income streams like real estate investments and businesses are solutions to a full, happy financial life.

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Money can be transformed into an unlimited supply. Your limited human lifespan can’t be extended while you wait for your millions to manifest.

Overall, The Automatic Millionaire is a great book for crazy spenders who want to be millionaires but have no concept how to use the money to invest in themselves first. This is not the book for those striving to be millionaire entrepreneurs.

One more tip: don’t use this book as your only “how to be a millionaire” book.  Please read more. Keep yourself financially educated.

Personal book recommendations:

(Gifs & Pic Sources: tenor, totalpeople, giphy)

Please comment below if you read this book or you have any personal financial book recommendations!

Be Obsessed or Be Average Review: “Obsession Is Good.”

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Be Obsessed or Be Average by Grant Cardone (Amazon) (Goodreads)

 

  • Title: Be Obsessed or Be Average
  • Author: Grant Cardone
  • Publication: Portfolio (October 11, 2016)
  • Genre: General, Business/Finances
  • Pages: 240 pages
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Source: Library
  • Rating: 5/5

Grant Cardone’s notion of obsession as a good quality impressed me. He transmutes the common negative imagery surrounding the term into something positive. For example:

Obsession with drugs? Not cool.

Obsession with positive career goals? Very cool.

Be Obsessed or Be Average is a fast-paced 200+ page read. There were a few repetitive passages in the book but I took them as friendly reminders to stick with your “positive obsessions” or else. Remaining average is like wandering around in the circles in the middle of nowhere. You don’t want to be doing that until you die.

Here are ten tips from Cardone for staying in the “obsessed zone”:

1. “Network”

You’re obsessed with a certain interest? Your next mission is to find people who are just as obsessed as you are. You can find them on Facebook, LinkedIn, and more.

Now, don’t network exclusively online. Go out and meet actual living, breathing people. Find local clubs and attend conventions related to your interests too.

2. “Focus on Increasing Income”

How can you use your obsession to increase your income? Discover ways you can get that done asap! You want to do what you love and get paid for it.

3. “Complete Every Task From Start to Finish”

You wouldn’t stop a multi-million dollar movie production only because of one iffy scene (that’s expensive).  Finish it! There will be some days you don’t want to do it but you’ll thank yourself once it’s done.

4. “Never Settle”

Congrats, you’ve accomplished a goal! Now, create a new one and finish that one.

Plan. Achieve. Repeat. Don’t stop.

5. “Always Raise and Refuel Your Obsession”

You love food. You love taking food photography. You attend dozens of cooking classes.

You do all sorts of cool hobbies related to food until one day, you’re not in the “foodie mood”. The thought of food makes you want to puke.

The remedy: the cooking channel. All of those inspiring cooking shows refuel your passion for food. Now you’ve set up an Instagram account for your foodie photos, sell your higher quality food photography, and blog about your favorite foods at your local restaurants. You even have risen to Youtube stardom thanks to the Youtube cooking channel you’ve filmed from the comfort of your own home.

That’s what raising and refueling your passion is all about.

6. “Stick and Stay, It’s Bound to Pay”

You love to play video games so you started an affiliate marketing aside from working full-time at a boring corporation. Problem: you’re only making three dollars a month from your site.

Don’t freak out!

Find out what you’re doing wrong, sort out possible solutions, and get back to work. Months later, after a couple of tweaks with your site, you make enough money to quit your corporate job and deal with video games 24/7.

Persistence is key!

7. “Make Time for Your Obsessions”

If you don’t start out with an hour with your obsession due to your super busy lifestyle, why not start out with fifteen or thirty minutes? That’s still time. Don’t starve your obsessions.

8. “Be Charitable”

It’s good to make loads of money but it’s better to share some of it too.

9. “Avoid Those Who Don’t Talk about Money”

I found this to be a little mean at first but I understood later the context Cardone was pulling. If you’re serious about bringing in more financial success in your life, you have to surround yourself with people who are the same boat.

Stay clear of those who complain about money 24/7 and don’t do anything about it. You’re not about that life.

10. “Don’t Worry about Haters”

Haters hate while you continue to create. It only reveals you’re doing something right. Haters will do anything to slow you down. Don’t let them waste your time.

*~*~*~*~*~*

There are definitely more tips Cardone provided in Be Obsessed or Be Average. I recommend reading this book along with The 10x Review.

Obsession can lead you to amazing abundance. However, the kind of obsession when you’re snorting pounds of cocaine every day or stalking one of the Kardashian sisters is not okay.

Don’t do it. That’s not cool.

Comment below if you’ve read this book or you have any book-related recommendations! 😉

BOOK REVIEW: “The Science of Getting Rich” by Wallace D. Wattles

 

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The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles (Amazon) (Goodreads)

There’s nothing crazy or difficult to understand The Science of Getting Rich. There is no overdrawn, absurd formula, no nonsense. Wallace D. Wattles’ simple core concepts to massive abundance are imagination and action. When I think about it, creative people who consistently execute their creations are the most successful.

Wattles desires readers to dump their poor beliefs about wealth including competition and and limited resources. Competition only leads to creative misdirection. To Wattles, the thought of “limited” resources is invalid because the physical is the reflection of the spiritual and the spiritual is infinite:

Never look at the visible supply, always look at the limitless riches in the formless substance and know that they are coming to you as fast as you can receive and use them.” – Wallace D. Wattles, The Science of Getting Rich

Imagination is also infinite. Therefore, everybody has a never-ending gold mine in their minds; they just need to learn how to use it more often.

I loved Wattles’ rich teachings in this book! The Science of Getting Rich is fairly short, straight to the point. Like I said before, no nonsense! This is one of those books I purchased immediately after reading the library copy. It’s amazing how something so simple is overlooked.

 

BOOK REVIEW: “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg

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The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg (Amazon) (Goodreads)
  • Title: The Power of Habit
  • Author: Charles Duhigg
  • Publication: Random House (Feb. 28. 2012)
  • Pages: 371
  • Genre: Business, Self-Help
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Source: Library
  • Rating: 4.5/5 stars

I thoroughly understand the basic cycle of habits and how I can modify them thanks to Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit. Duhigg explains how habits run over very lives. When we have a desire, we proceed through a repeatable routine until we obtain it. An employee goes through a series a challenging assignments and promotions until the desired top position is fulfilled. A drug addict wants to get high so he takes LSD to achieve it. A bit extreme but it’s another example of a habit.

Duhigg presents real-life narratives and neat visuals how habits work and the changes made for better results. Life is made up of many habits.

 

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A “Habit” Visual (via Goodreads)

 

The Power of Habit is a highly applicable book. I recommend it for anybody who has any habits to change from”bad” to “ok” to “good” to “better”. Some days, I tend to play video games the first thing in the morning when I could be doing more productive tasks. I could be reading a new book, exercising, or cleaning my room. Nope, I must build a new house and tend to my wheat farm in Minecraft! That counter-productive routine has changed since Duhigg’s book. Now, I reward myself with Minecraft after doing my important duties first.

Thanks Charles Duhigg!

Have you read this book?

BOOK REVIEW: “The One Thing” by Gary Keller & Jay Papasan

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The One Thing by Gary Keller & Jay Papasan (Amazon) (Goodreads)
  • Title: The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results 
  • Authors: Gary Keller & Jay Papasan
  • Publication: Bard Press (April 1, 2013)
  • Pages: 240
  • Genre: Non-Fiction, Business
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Source: Library
  • Rating: 5/5 stars

The work/life balance isn’t real. Multi-tasking is a joke. Gary Keller and Jay Papasan makes it clear to readers focusing on one simple goal is the path to utmost success. The One Thing presents the high value of simplicity. The book lays out tips to become more productive in life with focus on health, work, relationships, and life in general. Important passages readers can take from are even underlined throughout this book (how thoughtful).

Become a focus master and the rewards will certainly follow!

The One Thing has automatically become my “must buy” book as I was reading it. I’ve already put the book’s method into practice. For instance, one chapter mentions dedicating four hours a day to an important goal. Of course, I’ve chose reading, and I felt ten times more accomplished than I ever had before.

Why successful people are so successful? The answer lies within this very book: The One Thing. This book is a keeper!

Have you read The One Thing?