My highlights from Slow Productivity by Cal Newport

Slow Productivity by Cal Newport
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  • “It doesn’t matter that something you’ve done before worked out well. Your last piece is never going to write your next one for you.”
  • SLOW PRODUCTIVITY - A philosophy for organizing knowledge work efforts in a sustainable and meaningful manner, based on the following three principles:
      1. Do fewer things.
      1. Work at a natural pace.
      1. Obsess over quality.
  • A focus on impressive quality, not performative activity, should underpin everything.



What Does “Productivity” Mean?

  • Book to read: Thinking for a Living: How to Get Better Performance and Results from Knowledge Workers.
  • Farmers care about bushels per acre, while factory owners care about automobiles produced per paid hour of labor.
  • The story of economic growth in the modern Western world is in many ways a story about the triumph of productivity thinking.
  • It was from this uncertainty that a simple alternative emerged: using visible activity as a crude proxy for actual productivity. If you can see me in my office—or, if I’m remote, see my email replies and chat messages arriving regularly—then, at the very least, you know I’m doing something.
  • PSEUDO-PRODUCTIVITY: The use of visible activity as the primary means of approximating actual productive effort.


The Slowness Revolution

  • Petrini didn’t simply write a sharply worded op-ed about the corruptive forces of McDonald’s, he instead promoted an appealing new relationship with food that would make fast food seem self-evidently vulgar. “Those who suffer for others do more damage to humanity than those who enjoy themselves,” Petrini explained.
  • Petrini’s two big ideas for developing reform movements—focus on alternatives to what’s wrong and draw these solutions from time-tested traditions—are obviously not restricted to food in any fundamental sense. They can apply to any setting in which a haphazard modernism is conflicting with the human experience.

In Search of a Better Alternative

  • KNOWLEDGE WORK (GENERAL DEFINITION): The economic activity in which knowledge is transformed into an artifact with market value through the application of cognitive effort.
  • If we can get over our frustration that these traditional knowledge workers enjoyed privileges that we don’t have access to, we might find in their experience the foundations for a conception of productivity that makes our harder jobs more manageable.

A New Philosophy

  • To embrace slow productivity, in other words, is to reorient your work to be a source of meaning instead of overwhelm, while still maintaining the ability to produce valuable output.
  • slow productivity doesn’t ask that you extinguish ambition.
  • Few people know, for example, how long it actually took Isaac Newton to develop all the ideas contained in his masterwork, the Principia (over twenty years). They just know that his book, once published, changed science forever. The value of his ideas lives on, while the lazy pace at which they were produced was soon forgotten.



The First Principle of Slow Productivity

  • recall that busy Jane Austen was neither happy nor producing memorable work, while unburdened Jane Austen, writing contently at quiet Chawton cottage, transformed English literature.
  • PRINCIPLE #1: DO FEWER THINGS - Strive to reduce your obligations to the point where you can easily imagine accomplishing them with time to spare. Leverage this reduced load to more fully embrace and advance the small number of projects that matter most.

From Chawton Cottage to the Cubicle; or, Why Knowledge Workers Should Do Fewer Things

  • we don’t need science to convince us of something that we’ve all experienced directly: our brains work better when we’re not rushing.
  • We’ve now refuted a common confusion about the first principle of slow productivity: it’s easy to mistake “do fewer things” as a request to “accomplish fewer things.” But this understanding gets things exactly backward.
  • It’s not just because overload is exhausting and unsustainable and a miserable way to exist—though it certainly is—but because doing fewer things makes us better at our jobs; not only psychologically, but also economically and creatively.
  • Focusing intensely on a small number of tasks, waiting to finish each before bringing on something new, is objectively a much better way to use our brains to produce valuable output.
  • In a factory, pushing employees to work longer shifts might be directly more profitable. In knowledge work, by contrast, pushing employees into larger workloads can decrease both the quantity and quality of what they produce.
  • the informal manner in which we manage our workloads ensures we always have dangerously too much to do.
  • “I find that I’m able to produce nearly as much as before only working fifty percent of the hours because my focus is narrower,” he explained with evident surprise.

Proposition: Limit the Big

  • Wiles began serious work on Fermat’s last theorem in 1986. For five years, he toiled in secret, often in his attic office, systematically avoiding larger projects and obligations. Starting in the early 1990s, as he got closer to a solution, he began to once again attend some elliptic curve conferences to refresh his mathematical toolbox with new techniques.
  • To prepare himself to focus on a single large and meaningful project, Wiles limited large pursuits and commitments that would compete for his time.
  • There’s a romance to focusing on a single pursuit, but this level of simplicity is typically accessible only to the most purely creative fields—Hemingway
  • Two or three missions are more tractable and still quite minimalist. When I graduated from college, for example, with a major in computer science and a book deal with Random House, I decided to keep my work intensely focused on just these two missions: academic research and writing.
  • it’s hard to maintain five or more missions without the feeling you’re drowning in unavoidable work.
  • Missions require that you initiate “projects,” which is my term for any work-related initiative that cannot be completed in a single session.
  • Projects create many of the concrete tasks that take up your time during the day. It follows that limiting them is critical to limiting your overall work volume.
  • If you instead have a reputation as someone who is careful about managing their time and can quantify your busyness more concretely, you have a better chance of avoiding the new work.
  • To gain this credibility, I recommend, at first, when considering a new project, you estimate how much time it will require and then go find that time and schedule it on your calendar. Block off the hours as you would for a meeting. If you’re unable to find enough blank spaces in your schedule in the near future to easily fit the work, then you don’t have enough time for it. Either decline the project, or cancel something else to make room.
  • There exists a myth that it’s hard to say no, whether to someone else or to your own ambition. The reality is that saying no isn’t so bad if you have hard evidence that it’s the only reasonable answer.
  • My recommendation here is simple: work on at most one project per day.
  • when it comes to expending efforts on important, bigger initiatives, stay focused on just one target per day.
  • I was convinced that the slowness of working on just one important thing per day would hold me back. Fueled by the impatient ambition of youth, I wanted to make progress on as many things as possible at the same time. I was, of course, wrong and she was right.
  • There’s a calibrated steadiness to working on just one major initiative a day. Real progress accrues, while anxiety is subdued.

Proposition: Contain the small

  • Not surprisingly, one of these virtues was “industry,” which Franklin defined in his autobiography by the resolutions to “lose no time” and to “be always employed in something useful.”
  • When I go up north, I write in a room at the top of the house. If it’s cold, I’ll light the wood-burner. When the sun’s out, I often go for a walk and do my writing in the late afternoon or evening. When I hit a wall or a problem, a walk often brings sudden illumination.
  • Small tasks, in sufficient quantity, can act like productivity termites, destabilizing the whole foundation of what you’re trying to build. It’s worth going to great lengths to tame them.
  • “Once you get to the point where your regular work is getting done with minimum of thinking,” I wrote in one of my early articles on this topic, “you’ve hit that low-stress sweet spot where you can start turning your attention to the bigger things.”
  • In the context of knowledge work, it turns out, autopilot schedules provide an effective means to contain tasks.
  • Once you get used to accomplishing a specific type of task at the same times on the same days, the overhead required for their execution plummets.
  • If you can connect a regularly recurring task block to a specific location, perhaps paired with a little ritual that helps initiate your efforts, you’re more likely to fall into a regular rhythm of accomplishing this work.
  • Containing tasks is not about escaping the small. It’s instead about making these efforts as painless as possible.
  • If much of your perceived busyness comes from talking about tasks instead of actually executing them, you might be less overloaded than you realize.
  • A direct strategy for reducing collaboration overhead is to replace asynchronous communication with real-time conversations.
  • If someone sends you an ambiguous message, instead of letting it instigate yet another stretched-out volley of back-and-forth missives, reply, “Happy to help! Grab me during one of my upcoming office hours and we’ll figure out the details.”
  • When you separate work from the ad hoc conversations that surround it, what you’re left with might not be all that intimidating.
  • Reverse task lists require people to spend more time specifying exactly what they need from you, which simplifies the later execution of their requests. You can also use these public lists to keep people updated on the status of the tasks you’re currently handling, saving them from having to bother you with “How’s it going?” messages.
  • these lists clearly communicate your current workload. If a colleague encounters an overstuffed reverse task list, they might think twice about giving you something new to do.
  • When selecting new projects, assess your options by the number of weekly requests, questions, or small chores you expect the project to generate. Prioritize options that minimize this number.
  • I pay an accountant to manage my books, a professional agency to handle everything related to my podcast advertising, a web consultant to keep all of my online properties humming, and a lawyer to answer the many small questions that pop up in the normal course of running my writing-related business.
  • Don’t spend more than you can afford. But recognize that a practitioner of slow productivity cannot afford to spend nothing.

Interlude: What about Overwhelmed Parents?

  • Early in her 2014 book, Overwhelmed: How to Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time,
  • Schulte’s daughter complains about how much time her mom spends on the computer. She tells Schulte that when she grows up, she wants to be a teacher, explaining, “because then at least I’ll be able to spend time with my kids.”
  • To be overloaded is not just inefficient; it can be, for many, downright inhumane.
  • If your job, like so many in the era of pseudo-productivity, leaves it up to you to manage your own load, then you have every right to step up to this challenge with intention and determination.

Proposition: Pull Instead of Push

  • In a push-based process, each stage pushes work onward to the next as soon as it’s done. In a pull-based process, by contrast, each stage pulls in new work only when it’s ready for it.
  • The improvements yielded by this approach were quantifiable. The usage rate of the institute’s expensive sequencing machines more than doubled, while the average time to process each sample fell by more than 85 percent.
  • If you’re in a position to change the way your company or team organizes its work, moving to a pull strategy, similar to that deployed by the technology development group at the Broad Institute, can yield spectacular returns.
  • What follows is a three-step strategy for implementing a simulated pull system as an individual without control over the habits of your colleagues or clients.
    • The first step in simulating a pull-based workflow is tracking all projects to which you’re currently committed on a list divided into two sections: “holding tank” and “active.”
    • When a new project is pushed toward you, place it in the holding-pen section of your list. There is no bound to the size of your holding tank. The active position of the list, by contrast, should be limited to three projects at most.
    • When scheduling your time, you should focus your attention only on the projects on your active list. When you complete one of these projects, you can remove it from your list.
    • For example, if “write book” is in your holding tank, and a free slot opens up on your active list, you might pull in “write next chapter of book” to work on next. In this case, the larger project, “write book,” would remain in the holding tank until completely finished.
    • When adding a new project to your holding tank, it’s important to update the source of this new obligation about what they should expect. To do so, send an acknowledgment message that formally acknowledges the project that you’re committing to complete, but that also includes the following three pieces of extra information: (1) a request for any additional details you need from the source before you can start the project, (2) a count of the number of existing projects already on your lists, and (3) an estimate of when you expect to complete this new work.
    • After sending this message, label the project with the time estimate you included in your acknowledgment message so you won’t later forget.
    • If you fall behind on a project, update your estimate and inform the person who originally sent you the work about the delay.
    • If your colleagues and clients don’t trust you to deliver, they won’t stop bothering you.
    • A secondary benefit of a good intake procedure is that it often leads people to withdraw their requests.
    • Sometimes, a little friction is all it takes to slow down a torrent of incoming work.
    • You should update and clean your lists once a week. In addition to pulling in new work to fill empty slots on your active list, you should also review upcoming deadlines.
    • Prioritize what’s due soon, and send updates for any work that you know you’re not going to finish by the time promised.
    • Finally, when cleaning your lists, look for projects that have become redundant or have been rendered obsolete by subsequent developments.
    • In these cases, remove the outdated projects from your lists. But before you do so, send a quick note to their original source letting them know. Simulating a pull-based workflow works only if you maintain transparency.


The Second Principle of Slow Productivity

  • The great scientists of past eras would have found our urgency to be self-defeating and frantic.
  • Curie wasn’t unique in her decision to retreat for a summer of reflection and recharging. Galileo enjoyed visits to a villa owned by his friends in the countryside near Padua.
  • Aristotle identified deep contemplation as the most human and worthy of all activities.
  • It’s true that many of us have bosses or clients making demands, but they don’t always dictate the details of our daily schedules—it’s often our own anxieties that play the role of the fiercest taskmaster.
  • In the sixteenth century, Galileo’s professional life was more leisurely and less intense than that of the average twenty-first-century knowledge worker. Yet he still managed to change the course of human intellectual history.
  • PRINCIPLE #2: WORK AT A NATURAL PACE - Don’t rush your most important work. Allow it instead to unfold along a sustainable timeline, with variations in intensity, in settings conducive to brilliance.
  • Slow productivity emphatically rejects the performative rewards of unwavering urgency.
  • There will always be more work to do. You should give your efforts the breathing room and respect required to make them part of a life well lived, not an obstacle to it.

From Foraging to the Invisible Factory; or, Why Knowledge Workers Should Return to a More Natural Pace

  • Equally striking was the observation that the Ju/’hoansi appeared to work less than the farmers around them. According to Lee’s data, the adults he studied spent, on average, around twenty hours a week acquiring food, with an additional twenty hours or so dedicated to other chores—providing abundant leisure time.
  • “The group engaged entirely in foraging spent forty to fifty per cent of daylight hours at leisure,” Dyble told me, when I asked him to summarize his team’s results, “versus more like thirty per cent for those who engage entirely in farming.”
  • The powered mill, followed by the factory, made every day a harvest day—continuous, monotonous labor that never alters.
  • Marx, for all his flaws and overreach, hit on something deep with his theory of Entfremdung (estrangement), which argued that the industrial order alienated us from our basic human nature.
  • unlike in the industrial sector, in this invisible factory we’d constructed for ourselves we didn’t have reform legislation or unions to identify the most draining aspects of this setup and fight for limits.
  • Working with unceasing intensity is artificial and unsustainable. In the moment, it might exude a false sense of usefulness, but when continued over time, it estranges us from our fundamental nature, generates misery, and, from a strictly economic perspective, almost certainly holds us back from reaching our full capabilities.

Proposition: Take Longer

  • Frequent cold starts can inject more creativity into your efforts,
  • College sophomore Miranda wasn’t confident, experienced, or interesting enough to produce a Broadway-caliber version of his show. His greatness needed to take its time before it could fully emerge.
  • I suggest, however, also crafting a plan that covers an even larger scale: what you would like to accomplish in the next five years or so.
  • The idea that adding more plans to your life can help you slow down might seem paradoxical. The magic here is in the way that this strategy expands the timescales at which you’re evaluating your productivity.
  • take whatever timelines you first identify as reasonable for upcoming projects, and then double their length.
  • A reality of personal productivity is that humans are not great at estimating the time required for cognitive endeavors.
  • The fear here, of course, is that by doubling these timelines, you’ll drastically reduce what you accomplish. But your original plans were never realistic or sustainable in the first place.
  • To create more reasonable workdays, I have two suggestions: first, reduce the number of tasks you schedule, and second, reduce the number of appointments on your calendar.
  • The first suggestion is simple to implement: apply the heuristic of reducing whatever task list you come up with for a given day by somewhere between 25 and 50 percent.
  • When it comes to taming appointments, a good target is to ensure that no more than half of the hours in any single day are dedicated to meetings or calls. The simplest way to meet this mark is to declare certain hours to be protected (e.g., no meetings before noon).
  • (“What do you mean you don’t take meetings before noon? That’s when I’m available!”) A subtler alternative is to instead implement a “one for you, one for me” strategy. Every time you add a meeting to your calendar for a given day, find an equal amount of time that day to protect. If I schedule thirty minutes for a call on Tuesday, I’ll also find another thirty minutes that day to block off on my calendar as protected for myself.
  • The key to meaningful work is in the decision to keep returning to the efforts you find important. Not in getting everything right every time.

Proposition: Embrace seasonality

  • This seasonal approach to work, in which you vary the intensity and focus of your efforts throughout the year, resonates with many who encounter it.
  • for most of recorded human history, the working lives of the vast majority of people on earth were intertwined with agriculture, a (literally) seasonal activity. To work without change or rest all year would have seemed unusual to most of our ancestors. Seasonality was deeply integrated into the human experience.
  • An advanced tactic here is to take on a highly visible but low-impact project during this season that you can use to temporarily deflect new work that comes your way: “I’m happy to lead that internal review project, but I’m really focused this month on mastering this new marketing software, so let’s wait until the New Year to get started.”
  • Fleming made a deal with Kemsley that required him to work only ten months each year. The other two months would be taken as an annual vacation.
  • Nothing terrible happened to Fleming, Blake, Sullivan, or Young when they decided to step back from their normal work for extended periods. They may have earned somewhat less money in the short term, but I’d wager that, to a person, they found this sacrifice to be very much worth it.
  • There’s something about entering a movie theater on a weekday afternoon that resets your mind.
  • My suggestion is to try to put aside an afternoon to escape to the movies once per month, protecting the time on your calendar well in advance so it doesn’t get snagged by a last-minute appointment.
  • How will I ever get this all done? A clever way to balance this stress is to pair each major work project with a corresponding rest project.
  • The idea is simple: after putting aside time on your calendar for a major work project, schedule in the days or weeks immediately following it time to pursue something leisurely and unrelated to your work.
  • One of Basecamp’s more striking policies is the consolidation of work into “cycles.” Each such cycle lasts from six to eight weeks. During those weeks, teams focus on clear and urgent goals. Crucially, each cycle is then followed by a two-week “cooldown” period in which employees can recharge while fixing small issues and deciding what to tackle next.
  • If Basecamp demanded that employees work with focus and urgency without break, their overall intensity would drop as exhaustion set in. When they instead regularly take time off between cycles, the work completed within the cycles achieves a higher level of quality. This latter scenario can end up producing better overall results than the former. It’s also more sustainable for the employees involved.
  • you can quietly implement cycles without anyone knowing. The two-week cooldowns are too short for you to develop a reputation for shirking major initiatives. If anything, your increased intensity during the cycles themselves will probably be noticed more, shifting your employer’s opinion of you toward the positive.

Proposition: Work Poetically

  • sometimes cultivating a natural pace isn’t just about the time you dedicate to a project, but also the context in which the work is completed.
  • As the French philosopher Gaston Bachelard argues in The Poetics of Space, we shouldn’t underestimate the ability of our surroundings to transform our cognitive reality.
  • The stairway is not simply a collection of raised steps, arranged in a regular order, but instead where you played as a child with your siblings on rainy summer afternoons. Its surfaces and details are tangled into a complicated web of human experience.
  • Benchley isn’t the only author to abandon a charming home to work in objectively worse conditions. Maya Angelou, for example, would rent hotel rooms to write, asking the staff to remove all artwork from the walls and to enter each day only to empty the wastebaskets. She’d arrive at six thirty in the morning, with a Bible, a yellow pad, and a bottle of sherry.
  • The problem is that the home is filled with the familiar, and the familiar snares our attention, destabilizing the subtle neuronal dance required to think clearly. When we pass the laundry basket outside our home office (aka our bedroom), our brain shifts toward a household-chores context, even when we would like to maintain focus on whatever pressing work needs to get done.
  • Strange is powerful, even if it’s ugly. When seeking out where you work, be wary of the overly familiar.
  • My advice here has two parts. First, form your own personalized rituals around the work you find most important. Second, in doing so, ensure your rituals are sufficiently striking to effectively shift your mental state into something more supportive of your goals.


The Third Principle of Slow Productivity

  • For her first performance at the coffeehouse, Jewel managed to persuade only a handful of surfers to attend. The minuscule size of the crowd didn’t stop Jewel from “bleeding my heart out.”
  • The first performance might have been to an audience of only two or three surfers, but the audiences began doubling week after week. It took only six months before fans were crowding the sidewalk outside the café.
  • She adopted a motto for her intentional approach: “Hardwood grows slowly.”
  • Jewel’s strategy of prioritizing art over fame provides a nice case study of the third and final principle of slow productivity: obsess over quality.
  • PRINCIPLE #3: OBSESS OVER QUALITY -Obsess over the quality of what you produce, even if this means missing opportunities in the short term. Leverage the value of these results to gain more and more freedom in your efforts over the long term.

From Record Deals to Email Freedom; or, Why Knowledge Workers Should Obsess Over Quality

  • Just as Jewel had to be a great singer, the graphic designer ultimately has to produce effective artwork, the development director has to bring in dollars, the marketer has to sell products, and the manager has to lead a well-functioning team.
  • you should be focused on the quality of what you produce because quality turns out to be connected in unexpected ways to our desire to escape pseudo-productivity and embrace something slower.
  • This same effect applies to many different fields: obsessing over quality often demands that you slow down, as the focus required to get better is simply not compatible with busyness.
  • My reader survey included numerous case studies of individuals who discovered that the pursuit of quality demanded simplicity.
  • A consultant named Chris, for example, pushed the quality of his team’s client work “much higher” by relegating email to one hour in the morning and a half hour in the evening, while also demanding that his team observe a three-hour deep-work period each afternoon with no meetings, messages, or calls allowed.
  • As he summarized, “A little quality work every day will produce more and more satisfying results than frantic work piled on top of frantic work.”
  • Once you commit to doing something very well, busyness becomes intolerable.
  • “When you’re remote, there’s nobody to do things for you, so you have to do a lot for yourself,” Jarvis explained.
  • Both Jewel and Paul Jarvis discovered a similar lesson in their careers. The marketplace doesn’t care about your personal interest in slowing down. If you want more control over your schedule, you need something to offer in return. More often than not, your best source of leverage will be your own abilities.
  • We’ve become so used to the idea that the only reward for getting better is moving toward higher income and increased responsibilities that we forget that the fruits of pursuing quality can also be harvested in the form of a more sustainable lifestyle.

Proposition: Improve Your Taste

  • Your taste can guide you toward the best work you’re capable of producing at the moment, but it can also fuel a sense of disappointment in your final result. Glass argues that it’s in our desire to squelch this uneasy self-appraisal—to diminish the distance between our taste and our ability—that improvement happens. His exhortation to those just beginning their careers is to keep putting in the work, as it’s only through this deliberate effort that the gap will close.
  • It’s more exciting to focus on effort, drive, and diligence—but no amount of grinding away at your proverbial radio program or novel manuscript will lead to brilliance if you don’t yet have a good understanding of what brilliance could mean.
  • The bigger observation is that there can be utility in immersing yourself in appreciation for fields that are different from your own.
  • When you gather with other people who share similar professional ambitions, the collective taste of the group can be superior to that of any individual. This follows, in part, from the diversity of approaches that people take toward creation in a given field.
  • When you want to impress other people, or add to the conversations in a meaningful way, your mind slips into a higher gear than what’s easily accessible in solo introspection. Forming a group of like-minded professionals, all looking to improve what they’re doing, provides a shortcut to improving your taste, an instantaneous upgrade to the standard of quality that you’re pursuing.
  • Lab scientists take these notebooks seriously. The records of their experiments and results not only organize their work but also can be key evidence in patent disputes. (Alexander Graham Bell’s carefully maintained lab notebooks, for example, played a critical role in his successful patent dispute with rival telephone inventor Elisha Gray.)
  • Though I don’t remember exactly how much I paid in 2010 for that notebook, I remember it was a lot for me at the time—probably somewhere around fifty dollars. This cost, however, was part of what attracted me to it. Knowing how much I had spent, I figured, would make me more careful about what I wrote on its archival-quality pages, which would force me to be more structured and careful in my thinking.
  • The general idea that quality tools can increase the quality of your work is not unique to my early academic career. Novelists find a burst of energy when they switch from a generic word processor to professional writing software like Scrivener, just as screenwriters feel more capable when they buy Final Draft to compose their movies.

Interlude: What about Perfectionism

  • Here we find as good a general strategy for balancing obsession and perfectionism as I’ve seen: Give yourself enough time to produce something great, but not unlimited time.
  • Focus on creating something good enough to catch the attention of those whose taste you care about, but relieve yourself of the need to forge a masterpiece. Progress is what matters. Not perfection.

Proposition: Bet on Yourself

  • This proposition argues that betting on yourself in this manner—with nontrivial stakes for failure but attractive rewards for success—is a good general strategy for pushing the quality of your work to a new level.
  • Betting on yourself need not be as dramatic as losing a record deal or walking away from an Ivy League school. Simply by placing yourself in a situation where there exists pressure to succeed, even if moderate, can provide an important accelerant in your quest for quality.
  • The need to work on a passion project after hours, of course, is not unique to parents.
  • For a young Stephenie Meyer, for example, it likely wasn’t fun to squeeze so much writing in between kid activities or into tired stretches late at night. Given the sacrifices this goal demanded, she was motivated to not waste time on a half-hearted effort.
  • Don’t haphazardly quit your job to pursue a more meaningful project. Wait instead to make a major change until you have concrete evidence that your new interest satisfies the following two properties: first, people are willing to give you money for it, and second, you can replicate the result.
  • A natural third option is to leverage your social capital. If you announce your work in advance to people you know, you’ll have created expectations. If you fail to produce something notable, you’ll pay a social cost in terms of embarrassment. Not surprisingly, this, too, can act as a powerful motivator.
  • Assault on Precinct 13 is a cool film, but Halloween is great. The difference was the scale of investment supporting Carpenter.
  • The pressure and drive to satisfy Akkad, who had invested serious money in the project, helped push Carpenter’s craftsmanship to new levels.
  • When someone has invested in your project, you’ll experience amplified motivation to pay back their trust.
  • Attracting other people to invest in you and your idea is a dramatic bet on yourself and your ability to not let others down. In the drive to avoid this disappointment, greatness can be found.


  • Slowing down isn’t about protesting work. It’s instead about finding a better way to do it.
Disclaimer: I don't always agree with the content of the book, the purpose of sharing my highlights is to help you decide whether to buy the book or not.