Knowledge Work

A Conversation with Cal Newport

April 15, 2024

Sam speaks with Cal Newport about our use of information technology and the cult of productivity. They discuss the state of social media, the "academic-in-exile effect," free speech and moderation, the effect of the pandemic on knowledge work, slow productivity, the example of Jane Austen, managing up in an organization, defragmenting one's work life, doing fewer things, reasonable deadlines, trading money for time, finding meaning in a post-scarcity world, the anti-work movement, the effects of artificial intelligence on knowledge work, and other topics.

Cal Newport is a professor of computer science at Georgetown University, where he is also a founding member of the Center for Digital Ethics. In addition to his academic work, Newport is a New York Times bestselling author who writes for a general audience about the intersection of technology, productivity, and culture. His most recent book is called Slow Productivity: The Lost Art of Accomplishment Without Burnout. His books have sold millions of copies and been translated into over forty languages. He is also a contributor to The New Yorker and hosts the popular Deep Questions podcast. Newport lives with his wife and three sons in Takoma Park, Maryland.