Book Review: Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted WorldDeep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was insightful and practical. Shallow work has the more immediate appeal in today’s economy and even the appearance of productivity. Deep work is undervalued and underpracticed. Of course, we have constant distraction today, which is the enemy of deep work. Anyone who wants to best their time to do meaningful work needs to wrestle with ever-present distraction.

Newport gives many practical steps to think through and adapt to your own needs. He seemed to strive for a balanced approach between connectivity and deep work, which requires less connectivity and more isolation. The implications for deep work are ubiquitous across all industries and disciplines, so everyone could benefit from it. I appreciated the brief section he had thinking about the relationship we have with our tools. It something that needs more thought.

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Book Review: Living Life Backward: How Ecclesiastes Teaches us to Live in Light of the End

Living Life Backward: How Ecclesiastes Teaches Us to Live in Light of the EndLiving Life Backward: How Ecclesiastes Teaches Us to Live in Light of the End by David Gibson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is a commentary and study of Ecclesiastes. The author takes a practical approach to the book’s message of living life with the end of life in view. He focuses on that main theme and gives us a helpful and accessible look at the book of Ecclesiastes that Christians probably don’t pay enough attention to.

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Book Review: Hamlet’s Blackberry: A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life in the Digital Age

Hamlet's BlackBerry: A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life in the Digital AgeHamlet’s BlackBerry: A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life in the Digital Age by William Powers
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is an interesting read. It written ten years ago and is a little dated in some ways. New technologies have always had an upside and downside. Powers goes back through history to discover how thinkers have thought about the new technologies in their day and the effect they had on society. There really is nothing new under the sun. Our day is always on and always connected. There is quite a bit of talk about the problems, but not as much in terms of actual solutions. Technology has developed so quickly, we don’t know the ramifications. Powers offers a few thoughts and talks about his own attempt at combating the overload. I’ve done a few things of my own in this regard. I enjoyed the book.

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Review: The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do

The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to DoThe Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do by Jeff Goins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My thoughts on this book are mixed. It is well-written in terms of craft. The human interest stories are compelling. It does have some useful suggestions and advice, but I don’t know that it accomplished its own expectation. I am probably cynical when it comes to pursue-your-dreams and live-a-radical-life messages. So, keep that in mind.

The idea of selfless service was not absent, but it wasn’t prominent enough. There wasn’t any effort to resolve tensions. For example: it could be an act of complete selfishness and self-centeredness to leave everything and move to Burundi. It might not be so, but the tension wasn’t explored. Being published by Thomas Nelson, I expected more of a Christian worldview on vocation–finding our purpose in life is found in pursuing God’s kingdom and his righteousness first and the greatest is the least and servant of all. It seemed that kind of message was watered down and, instead, there was some fuzzy, mystical stuff about “calling” and some near motivational guru speak. The message comes across as your failing unless you’re living in some radical, unconventional way. Where does this sort of message leave the Bible’s idea of a blessed life as being a quiet peaceable life with loving family?

Again, it wasn’t all bad. Apparently, many have read it and profited from it.

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