Deep Questions with Cal Newport podcast

Ep. 273: A Deep Response to Distraction

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A viral video making the rounds recently argues that the key to promoting learning is to deliver education in apps that are equally addictive as social media. Cal takes a closer look at the brain science behind this claim and argues why it is fundamentally impossible to beat attention engineered apps at their own game. We shouldn’t, however, give up hope, as our brain has a completely unrelated motivation system, built on a behavior called episodic future thinking (EFT), that we can leverage to make deep activities like learning seem more rewarding than the short term distractions beckoning from our phones. Mastering the EFT system is indeed critical to cultivating a deep life. 


Below are the questions covered in today's episode (with their timestamps). Get your questions answered by Cal! Here’s the link: 


Video from today’s episode: 


Deep Dive: Can we make learning as addictive as social media? [2:33] 


- Can I be happy in a job that doesn’t require me to learn? [33:44] 

- How can I fight deep procrastination to learn better? [40:52] 

- How can I identify the school for my kid to learn better? [47:11] 

- How can I reflect on work concepts without feeling the urge to work? [51:48] 

- How does Ultralearning apply to Slow Productivity? [55:36] 

- CALL: Recommendations on learning [58:02] 


CASE STUDY: Designing a system to learn [1:00:50] 


The 5 books Cal read in October 2023 [1:10:14] 





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Thanks to Jesse Miller for production, Jay Kerstens for the intro music, and Mark Miles for mastering.

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