Cal Newport researches cutting-edge technology and writes about the impact of these innovations on society. He is the New York Times bestselling author of Deep Work, So Good They Can’t Ignore You, Digital Minimalism, and his latest, A World without Email: Reimagining Work in an Age of Communication Overload.
What We Discuss with Cal Newport:
- What is the hyperactive hive mind, and how did the collaborative nature of email communication give rise to it?
- Why checking our email an average of every six minutes is, as Cal puts it, “a terrible way to extract value from human neurons.”
- How so-called multitasking takes its toll not only on our individual capacity to focus, but on the prosperity of society as a whole.
- Why debuzzing the hyperactive hive mind can’t be done from the inbox, but by replacing the rules for how we collaborate.
- How we can set the rules, guidelines, and systems by which we agree to communicate without succumbing to the collective pull of the hyperactive hive mind.
- And much more…
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Modern knowledge workers communicate constantly. Our days are defined by a relentless barrage of incoming messages and back-and-forth digital conversations — a state of constant, anxious chatter in which nobody can disconnect, and so nobody has the cognitive bandwidth to perform substantive work. There was a time when tools like email felt cutting edge, but a thorough review of current evidence reveals that the “hyperactive hive mind” workflow they helped create has become a productivity disaster, reducing profitability and perhaps even slowing overall economic growth. Equally worrisome, it makes us miserable. Humans are simply not wired for constant digital communication.
We have become so used to an inbox-driven workday that it’s hard to imagine alternatives, but they do exist. Drawing on years of investigative reporting, our guest for this episode — author and computer science professor Cal Newport — makes the case that our current approach to work is broken, then lays out a series of principles and concrete instructions for fixing it. In A World without Email: Reimagining Work in an Age of Communication Overload, he argues for a workplace in which clear processes — not haphazard messaging — define how tasks are identified, assigned, and reviewed. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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Thanks, Cal Newport!
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources from This Episode:
- A World without Email: Reimagining Work in an Age of Communication Overload by Cal Newport | Amazon
- Other Books by Cal Newport | Amazon
- Cal Newport | Website
- Cal Newport | Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World | Jordan Harbinger
- How Did Email Grow from Messages between Academics to a Global Epidemic? | The Guardian
- Attention Residue: The Costly Side Effect of Switching Tasks | StrongerHabits
- Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport | Amazon
- Slack Is the Right Tool for the Wrong Way to Work | The New Yorker
- You’ve Got Mail | Prime Video
- Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen | Amazon
- Henry Ford: Assembly Line | Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation
- Marshall Myth: Marshall and Vacation | George C. Marshall Foundation
- 3 Habits Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Others Use to Go from Feeling Overwhelmed to Empowered | Forbes
- The Biggest Problem with Email? It’s Way Too Convenient | Quartz
- Why the CEO of Basecamp Only Allows Employees to Work 32 Hours a Week | CNBC
- Combating Zoom Overload with Reverse Meetings | Cal Newport
- “Everyone Is Now Dumber” | Billy Madison
- ‘HR Is Not Your Friend’: Employees Share How They Learned This Lesson the Hard Way | Bored Panda
- The Rise and Fall of Getting Things Done | The New Yorker
- Do Smartphones Make Us Dumber? | Cal Newport
- Was E-mail a Mistake? | The New Yorker
- Difference Between Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Communication | Hyperinbox
- George Bernard Shaw | The Nobel Prize
- Write Longer Emails | Cal Newport
- Email Autoresponders That Work | Tim Ferriss
- The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss
- How to Build a World-Class Network in Record Time | Tim Ferriss
- Going Out on a Limb | Lessons from Adam Grant’s Originals
- Digital Nomad | Investopedia
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