Deep Questions with Cal Newport


Cal Newport is a computer science professor and a New York Times bestselling author who writes about the impact of technology on society, and the struggle to work and live deeply in a world increasingly mired in digital distractions. On this podcast, he answers questions from his readers and offers advice about cultivating focus, productivity, and meaning amidst the noise that pervades our lives.

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Recent Reviews
  • Michelle VanCura
    Beacon of Light
    I appreciate when content flows effectively and efficiently from a creator (but is still packed with research, interesting insights, and problem-solving tactics). In other words, some real magic is being pumped out consistently here and a lot of it is original and hard to find on other podcasts. I love hearing about the tid-bits of Cal’s personal life in order to feel a human connection, and I think this element is balanced perfectly with the information, motivation, and knowledge I am craving. Even when the information repeats itself it is because SIMPLE is not EASY. I need to hear the repetition for myself (and because I condense a lot of Cal’s information and offer it to my own student’s consistently). While I don’t always have time to implement what I have learned right away, the podcast is organized very well and given great titles so I can find what I need and go back to it when I am ready. Also, Jesse is great:) Thank you for all you do!!!!
  • natecoumbe31
    Productivity (and depth) eluded me until now
    I thought it was the tool. I thought the next planner or the next piece of software would make work better. More manageable. More tolerable. I was wrong. I didn’t have systems in my life that worked. I didn’t have a WAY of working and thinking that adequately addressed the modern workplace. Thanks to Cal’s podcast and writing, my life is deeper, more meaningful, more effective, and genuinely more enjoyable. Work is improving as well. Especially my thinking on what makes a career great.
  • Megs508
    Worthy of your time & attention
    A fantastic podcast. Cal values his time and his audience’s. There’s not a lot of fluff here or meandering tangents. He gets right to the crux of the problem, addressing questions, providing insights, and useful tips. I appreciate the timestamps, too, which further prove he not interested in wasting your time. Creating a deep life is a goal we should all strive for.
  • Alex48733
    Exceptional productivity / life advice without being overwhelming, toxic or clickbait
    Cal’s advice manages to feel modern, wise, cutting edge, relevant and timeless without gimmicks and, importantly, without being contradictory. So much online “productivity advice” feels gimmicky, shallow(!), and more about shiny tools and marginal gains for clicks which, ultimately, cause more distraction and worsens the problem. Cal avoids this and brings his listeners along for the ride (maybe you could say he brings us along for the “Deep Ride”, as he navigates the Deep Stack…?! IYKYK). I wish he’d do some guest interviews (maybe with folks like Andrew Huberman, and others) to discuss how the processes and advice might change or could be adapted for people who have conditions that may make achieving a Deep Life harder. An episode on how to adapt for Autism, ADHD, etc. would be interesting.
  • mahdikarimi199978
    Life changing podcast
    As a knowledge worker, his books and podcasts helped me a lot. Thank you Cal ❤️
  • NLNReviews
    Clear and insightful!
    Cal Newport simplifies complicated subjects while adding depth. Absolutely brilliant! The only podcast I usually listen to at normal speed because his pace is perfect and he’s serving up way too much to take in at 1.5x or 2x. At first I thought I’d never listen to the same person talk for an hour and a half, but Cal keeps me engaged. Even if I listen a little at a time, I almost always finish the entire episode. Highly recommend!
  • Apollo133
    First podcast I’ve found that truly helps with non-teaching part of being a Professor
    I have learned a lot from reading Deep Work and SGTCIY, but it’s this podcast that has really helped me learn about or validate my intuition about how to prioritize my time - even though I’m at a primarily undergraduate/teaching university. Time blocking for my research is the only way to move my research projects forward during the semester. It’s really the only way I can get non urgent but important things done as a tenure track professor mom of four.
  • Lexy17515
    Great benefit to full time working parents
    I am a full time remote working Director for my company and a mother of two young kids. Implementing Cal’s strategies have taken me out of being the middle man and saved me so much grief. Specifically, using Smartsheet to manage team project communications, referring any external persons to Calendly, and the time block planning method. Thanks to Cal’s advice, I actually have time for *gasp* hobbies, walking my kids to and from the bus, and I enjoy my work days.
  • Arizona ron 82
    Long overdue five star rating
    I’m a physician and father of young kids. I have looked around for different sources to help improve productivity; decrease over-scheduling, distraction, and stress; and focus on the more fulfilling things in my life. Deep Questions and Cal’s books have provided the most useful guidance I have come across in years, even though I am not a modern knowledge worker. Thank you for excellent evidence-based ideas and concrete advice on applying them. The regular weekly newsletters and podcasts help me feel continuity and some sense of community. Keep up the good, slowly productive work.
  • jmvideos
    Good Insights
    Cal Newport has good insights.
  • show stopper69
    Is Jesse necessary ?
    Look,if it was only Cal I would’ve rated this a 10 out of 5 but i come checking on the podcast after some time and there’s this new guy Jesse who hasn’t written any books,who isn’t an MIT professor, who hasn’t done anything “so good that it can’t be ignored” and is given me his opinion on what Cal is saying,it’s almost like Cal took a random guy out of nowhere and decided to record with him from then.
  • Bonnie Wojcik
    Being Intentional
    I discovered Cal Newport’s body of work at Powells bookstore in Portland, Oregon, where “So Good They Can’t Ignore You” was featured as an Employee Favorite. Later, I found Cal’s Deep Questions podcast, where he enjoyably(!) unfolds his personal pursuit of what he calls Lifestyle Centric Career planning. The basic idea is that your life plays out in real places among real people, and these affect your ability to live well and grow - to do purpose-driven deep work rather than shallow work, to attend to all areas of life, not only work. When I listen to Cal, these Somerset Maugham story lines come to mind: "Most people, the vast majority in fact, lead the lives that circumstances have thrust upon them, and though some repine, looking upon themselves as round pegs in square holes, and think that if things had been different they might have made a much better showing, the greater part accept their lot, if not with serenity, at all events with resignation. They are like train-cars traveling forever on the selfsame rails. They go backwards and forwards, backwards and forwards, inevitably, till they can go no longer and then are sold as scrap-iron. It is not often that you find a man who has boldly taken the course of his life into his own hands. When you do, it is worthwhile having a good look at him.” I had the good fortune to actually live a Lifestyle-Centric-Career-Plan life, and I highly recommend it! So, I hope you tune into Deep Questions podcast. And, on occasions when you’re trying too hard, loosen up the gears with a dose of calm perspective-shifting via Reveri self-hypnosis app, developed by Stanford MD, Dr. David Spiegel, whose own body of work exemplifies working deeply.
  • Cpm815
    Just wow
    It’s hard to believe that this is free. Cal, the wisdom that you offer, with a lighthearted and kind spirit, is wonderful. I’m constantly sharing episodes with colleagues, friends and family. Pure gold! If David Allen and Andrew Huberman had a baby … it might be a lot like you! Thank you for all your hard work on our behalf.
  • Codemaster919
    All the cheat codes here
    Cal Newport is a well-oiled machine and has the tips and tricks one needs to leverage their brain at ultimate capacity. His methods allow for insane productively in small amounts of time. Must listen podcast
  • Mj97843
    Great ideas explained - to improve your life
    This podcast is great. I have been listening to it for a year or so. If you are a knowledge worker and you are looking for ways to improve your life through productivity and mental shifts, I think this is one of the best places to go. I just love Cal's energy and the way he explains concepts. He also has a good amount of humor thrown in to keep it fun and not too dry. His books are great as well.
  • G Stuart
    Good content but . . .
    This is my revised review, after the initial one was removed. There is some good content here but the host comes off a bit preachy and full of himself. And the office video tour, which featured his books on every wall of the space, was perhaps a bit much.
  • Hilary Foote
    So Good It Can’t Be Ignored
    I love this podcast (along with Cal’s incredible body of work) and am so grateful for the deeper insights, reminders, recommendations and new information. An added bonus: Cal is HILARIOUS! Keep up the good work! P.S. Cal, please don’t EVER stop talking about baseball… even if your team is the Nats. Go Giants!
  • Earnhar768
    Great podcast
    Cal Newport’s advice is great. Love the podcast.
  • Toddman127
    Two issues
    Good content here but two things I wish would change—one is that Newport seems to be doing an impression of talk radio hosts he has listened to, with long pauses between words, etc. He should just use his natural voice. The other is that he overdoes it with the self-deprecating humor, and jokes in general. Not his fault, he’s just not that funny. If I want self-deprecating humor I can listen to Conan O’Brian, who is funny. Let’s focus here on the substance instead.
  • Dr. Zoltan
    My Favorite Podcast
    I love this podcast so much that I could listen to a new episode every day. Thanks for the excellent work, Cal.
  • awprc
    Podcast encapsulates the Cal
    I’ve been following Newport’s work since 2012. I love that he has found some time to podcast his thoughts because it’s awesome to see how even though 10 years have elapsed, the principles remain unchanged.
  • Dave Zuverink
    A Deeper Dive into Deep Work
    Whether you’re a fan of Deep Work and want to learn more… or you’ve read all of his books already, this is a great listen because it ties all of his concepts together. It’s a glimpse into the lab where his concepts are being put to work to help people. The first part of the shows often touches on new ideas he’s exploring. This is followed by listener questions which help to sharpen how various ideas and tools can be applied. Highly recommended.
  • Readbooks13
    Growing Alongside Cal Newport Since 2011
    From 2008-2012, Cal helped me earn a high GPA in college via his “Zen Valedictorian” philosophy. After that, his book “So Good They Can’t Ignore You” helped shape my work life. As I went through my 20s and into my 30s, his books “Deep Work” and “Digital Minimalism” helped me navigate the digital tsunami engulfing my life. This podcast is weekly access to Cal and his current cutting edge thoughts. He is a remarkable off-the-cuff speaker and has a tremendous sense of humor as well. This podcast is the epitome of digital “health food.”
  • James Picarello
    Life Changing
    Cal’s ideas range from everyday experiences of smartphone use, exercise routines, and family admin, to surviving hardship, finding meaning, and career planning, to broader societal critiques and questions of digital ethics. These ideas have deep philosophical underpinnings, and are conceptually connected to form a coherent and beautiful philosophy known as the Deep Life. This podcast is a place to witness cutting edge ideas being formed in real time, and to receive advice from a pioneer of the self-help genre. Cal and his producer Jesse also make a hilarious duo, and have somehow managed to make ad-reads of Athletic Greens and Zoc Doc Dot Com enjoyable. Listen to each episode in order, take notes, and share with everyone you know.
  • DWise12
    Skills to develop yourself
    Love the podcast. Cal talks about many topics that have applicability in many industries. Started with the books and now love getting a weekly dose of Cal’s insights.
  • PariTeh
    New format not working
    Big fan of this podcast but this new format doesn’t work. Really not interested in how your office/HQ looks and where you and Jesse are sitting. Please let’s get back to the substance
  • OneNoteTrier
    No deep thinking just a rehash of news
    I go to podcasting to escape the news and stretch my mind. So you can imagine how excited I was to listen to this podcast. Until I realized what they really planned to talk about were not ideas and how to manage them but news. And specifically the most talked about man: Elon Musk. So the episode was a rehash of opinions on Elon. As if we didn’t hear enough about him. So much for deep thinking.
  • Washington Kat
    Deep dive—Starting from episode 1
    Red Deep Work a couple years ago, and it spoke to me, but I find it hard to put the important lessons into practice (brain wants to do fun easy things). I’m finding daily inspiration from listening to Cal’s advice. Highly recommend.
  • kaaylo
    Re Shop Class as Soulcraft episode
    Ok, I have to admit I found your podcast because I searched to see if any podcasts had discussed the book. I think I found SCAS in 2018 when I read an article in the LA Times about a furniture maker that was inspired by reading it. Totally spoke to me as I’d worked in corporate world for 15 years, Fortune 500 Cos, meetings, meetings about meetings, reports about productivity, made to read management books like “who moved my cheese,” (🙄)& I left to have my own design firm & do lots of manual labor. SCAS came out in 2009 right after the mortgage/housing bust sent the economy into recession & we are currently in this Covid economic mess (not for all, obviously, but likely for the mid level managers SCAS speaks to). I found it kind of funny when you were talking about that this book didn’t inspire you to be an electrician or a motorcycle repairman, but you saw you it motivated people towards other measurable goals (I hope I’m gettin the general idea correct!). Anyway, this book totally inspired my inner handyman & explained to me why building, making fixing stuff is so soul satisfying. Matt Crawford put into words what I knew intrinsically already to be true. And, when the world finally does descend into complete chaos, you’re gonna want somebody that can fix stuff. 😄
  • Brachet
    Good show gone bad
    I had to unsubscribe after Cal decided to start featuring his new producer Jesse on the show. No offense to Jesse, I’m sure he’s a nice guy, but I didn’t subscribe to this podcast to listen to a rando’s opinions on things Cal is saying. It started getting more and more irritating, and in a world where there are too many podcasts and not enough time, I decided I would stick to Cal’s books.
  • angelica926
    Reinforces the tenets of living a deep life
    I’ve been a fan of Cal Newport’s books, blog and emails for some time now, and I’m happy to report that his podcast delivers the same high quality insights, thoughts and discussions as those he delivers through other platforms. Having read most of Cal’s books has introduced me to the overall themes discussed here (developing rare and valuable skills to create a meaningful career, aiming to use technology in ways that best serve what’s truly important to us, and overall managing life in such a way that what we value gets the attention it needs). I find this podcast reinforces those overall themes with listener questions and real world applications, which helps me make progress in my goal of living a deeper life.
  • malfoxley
    Great show!
    Cal, host of the podcast, highlights all aspects of tech and more in this can’t miss podcast! The host and expert guests offer insightful advice and information that is helpful to anyone that listens!
  • Jesse Bramhall
    Incredibly Useful!
    I’m very ADD and struggle to stay focused and this podcast really helps me!
  • Camille Virginia
    Cal's depth and insight is incredibly refreshing
    I've been following Cal's work for years, beginning with Deep Work - a book which helped me write three of my own book in under 6 month using the techniques from his. I even quote him in one, because he's that awesome. He brings deeply insightful questions (and holds the space for great answers from his guests) in every episode. No matter which topic comes up, he has a unique perspective that always gets me thinking a little differently from the norm - which is very refreshing. Highly recommended!
  • mateo36
    Perfect booster shot to reinforce lessons learned
    If I woke up tomorrow with photographic memory, I'd re-read all of Cal's books. In the meantime, I'll rely on the podcast to remind and reinforce all the lessons I've picked up over the years from Mr. Newport. It's also been the perfect artifical WFH-era commute podcast to help my brain shift from work-mode to home mode.
  • TiredSysadmin
    Digestible advice for a deeper life
    As a big fan of his bigs and a wannabe “Newportian” when it comes to my own attempts at a deep life, I was thrilled when I found out about the podcast. The twice weekly episodes of digestible advice, born out of listener questions, continues to give me the tools I need to persistently mold my own deep life habits. It’s like reading “Deep Work”, “Digital Minimalism”, and “So good they can’t ignore you” over and over again each week!
  • El Kabong 17
    All Academics, All the Time
    I recommend reading Cal Newport’s books (or listening to his audiobooks) over listening to this podcast, unless you happen to work at an institution of higher education. It just seems like most of the audience members asking the questions (or perhaps most of the ones Cal selects) happen to be either academics or students. Sure, some of Cal’s responses are generalizable, but many are targeted and as such are of limited use to those of us working the corporate grind. And for the academics reading this… I worked at more than one university before deciding to switch to the corporate sector, and I will be frank; if you are having so many productivity issues in academe, count your blessings that you’ve found an employer, because any corporation worth its salt would likely pulverize you to dust at your current output levels.
  • iamjacksconscience
    Conversation with John Mark Comer
    Hi Cal, got introduced to you through the BiggerPockets podcast. Really appreciate your work. I would really love to hear a conversation between you and Christian author John Mark Comer. You both have a lot of commonalities in your thinking, and I feel a conversation between the two of you would be fascinating. Best, Ian.
  • M. Langlois
    Very Effective
    The pandemic was difficult as a professional musician. This podcast kept me going. I credit it for helping to make me an order of magnitude more productive (in a healthy and sustainable way) and helping me live a more balanced life on the whole. The highest compliment I can pay is that I am now quite a few episodes behind (too busy GTD now). Thanks, Cal! Mike L. Ashburn, VA
  • jim20216
    I wish this podcast was shorter
    Thank you so much for this podcast. It is a huge help. Cal Newport podcasts and opinions have helped me a lot in my life. I just wish this was shorter. Sometimes questions are repetitive consequently answers are the same. If this was 40 minutes per episode it would have been better. I just have one other suggestion. I wish Cal Newport didn’t limit everything to US and UK demographics. Conditions are not the same every where and some of the advices are only relevant to these two countries. If you are from a relatively poor county some these ideas don’t even apply. Again Cal Newport books and ideas has been amazing and saved me from a shallow life. Thank you so much.
  • 9erSteve
    Stay Deep
    Listening to Cal is like eating your vegetables. It’s not always the most exciting part of your meal but you know they’re good for you. So, you stick with them and over time you learn to enjoy them more and more. It’s the same with Cal. Sticking with the deep life and it’s principals isn’t always easy but having Cal there consistently talking about these principals is so helpful. Thanks Cal!
  • SymmetricChaos
    Guests are bad
    I don’t find the guests to be any interesting at all - generally most of them are bad and talk on uninteresting topics. Cal should stick to the qna format, maybe bring in some academics we can relate to.
  • BookishHiker
    I could listen to 1,000 hours of Cal
    Found podcast after reading Digital Minimalism. Love how Cal’s brain works. Interesting ideas presented with a logical and engaging style. What’s not to love?
  • Claire mt
    Female guests?
    As of episode 116, there still hasn’t been any female voices featured on the podcast. I’d love to hear from a female guest soon and more discussion of female intellectuals, and to hear a bit less of somewhat repetitive discussions of time block planning.
  • harpermg
    This podcast is a perfect follow up to all of his books (which I also highly, highly recommend) where he addresses the nuances of his philosophy that occurs real life. I don’t usually listen to podcasts, but this is one that I listen to regularly.
  • Kamado Kaptain
    Top of my list
    Powerful strategies for school, work, and living a better life. Worth your time 10X.
  • delphil2019
    Very helpful but some issues
    Cal Newport has been around some time and written very influential books. He also had done this while being a successful professor at Georgetown. Both of these underline his credibility in helping people better their lives. Oh yeah, he is also married with three younger children ! Since he has written a number of books and articles many questions arise from readers which can particularly help their own lives. When Cal answers questions I find he genuinely cares and wants to help. Plus his answers are very enlightening. So why do I have issues I ask ? It may be hard for me to explain but it his stance on market capitalism vs public service. Here are some examples . One, he has said that the money you make is a good standard on measuring your worth in society but then he defends teachers of schools who as we know are paid very low. Two, he discusses many apps or products but never mentions the value. So to say if something is worthwhile as economists know we have to look at their marginal value per dollar, but that does not enter his choice decision. Three, tied to above he jokes in. funny way about his study and has an ongoing debate with someone on who has the better office but many of us again dont have that choice. Finally, the ads just cheapen the show, it sounds like he makes enough money so why does he need to ads . He has to completely say its a great product but who knows what he really thinks. He could maybe not have a beautiful office and use those savings to provide credible ad free content. Plenty of other podcasts dont have ads. o So it is very helpful but if it bothers you that he rails against facebook etc. but at the same time he himself uses ads to make more money this podcast will bother you. You will always wonder does Cal really have a public service, caring feeling or is he chasing $$.
  • setku
    Accessible, life affirming, nerdy goodness
    Cal Newport’s guidance and work method gives “permission” to the many of us who want to pursue a deeper life. It gave me the tools I didn’t know I needed to structure my work day. This podcast encourages strategic tech use in order to rebuild meaningful personal connections. All of his books are brilliant as well. If you want to step away from all the noise on social media, give this a listen. Or many.
  • Sean.albo
    Pragmatic with a deep philosophical undercurrent. Reconceptualizing “productivity”
    A podcast that has presented a very clear trajectory for improving one self through reflection and organization, establishing much needed clarity. Pragmatic yet with a deep philosophical undercurrent. It feels like exactly what our culture needs at this moment. I am so impressed by the wisdom and utility Cal provides that I share his insights often in my movement classes; when I bring up “my spiritual guru, Cal”, the students know exactly of whom I speak. I say that only partially tongue in cheek - the practices of resonance sampling, contemplation, etc, have profoundly influenced spheres that may seem far removed from “productivity” (a word I’m not even sure I understand anymore).
  • JP 0926
    Absolutely essential and entertaining
    In 2 weeks I’ve listened to 25 episodes. Cannot get enough. I’ve started to adopt a few of Cal’s practices which has greatly helped my work day and my general feeling of “am I doing everything I’m supposed to be doing? And how do I figure out what I even should be doing?”. I’ve read a few of his books so I know what he’s all about but only recently have I actually started implementing his suggestions. But more importantly I am absorbing the Deep Life way of life and thinking! That is the key. It’s so energizing and also so relatable. The viewer questions are thoughtful and difficult and Cal’s insight as he provides his responses is creative, honest and, most importantly, adoptable. He’s really doing a service to our work, life and mindset. Thank you, Cal!
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