The Superstar Effect

There are a bunch of reasons why Deep Work is as or more important now than ever. In an age where access to talent isn’t really an issue, access to the most talented becomes more important.

First, let’s remember Cal Newport’s definition of Deep Work – essentially, deep work is work which requires consistent, focused effort. It’s work that can’t be easily automated, and can’t be easily replicated by others. Because of this, deep work tends to be the work that sets you apart in the marketplace, whatever marketplace that is – deep work is the foundation that your reputation, your ‘brand’, is built on. It’s not easy work to complete, and it takes significant effort and sustained focus, but it becomes the work that defines your work and career.

And that’s a key point in the book – namely, as stated above, access to talent really isn’t the issue that it used to be. Today, any business and individual can gain access to a huge range of talent in almost any field, either in the form of employees, contractors, suppliers or partners. And when access to talent is no longer a differentiator, then talent itself becomes a much larger selling point.

Newport talks about this concept in Deep Work – his contention is that, once access to talent is basically universal (as it is today), those that show the most talent in a given field tend to thrive while everyone else, even those that appear only slightly less talented, don’t.

The book points to a landmark study by economist Sherwin Rosen, who created some of the first models to illustrate this effect. What Rosen found was that talent is a quality unto itself, and you can’t necessarily make up for a lack of it by hiring bigger numbers of more mediocre talent. At some point, the thinking goes, true talent becomes a quality that moves past anything that can be achieved by quantity. As stated in the book, “There’s a premium to being the best.”

That’s one of the key messages of the book – if you want to differentiate yourself, one very effective way to go about doing that is to focus on the right work, and take that work further than your competition.

Wanna learn more? Why not go to the source? Buy Deep Work by Cal Newport on Amazon.

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