Mr. Newport offers a surprisingly zippy history of email and notes how suddenly it changed the way workers worked ... About email’s flaws, Mr. Newport is persuasive, though less so when it comes to finding an alternative ... he has smart recommendations for individuals and organizations[.]
As with most books of this genre, some of Newport’s observations feel like statements of the bleeding obvious dressed up in jargon ... Yet there’s an urgency to his argument and some of his illustrations are fascinating ... Oddly, while Newport has much advice for businesses that want to change their ways, he makes no mention of the pandemic and the effect it might be having on working practices ... this seems like a pretty big hole ... Newport’s advice on organising working teams holds, but still it’s a surprise to read a book about work published in 2021 that doesn’t even name-check Zoom.
Newport, 38, is an interesting voice on technology, with an outlook that often runs contrary to prevailing opinion, but one who makes persuasive arguments, nevertheless. He is worth reading—he also has a fantastic podcast—even if you don’t agree with all of his ideas. The key to his value as a thinker is that he makes you think about ideas that you would normally dismiss ... the argument is...complex and compelling ... While we maintain that Newport’s arguments are compelling, you can imagine that business owners might be somewhat more skeptical as to how his solutions are implemented ... The problem is that these ideas might be fine for a cash-rich software development company with a beanbag-laden office in Brooklyn, but they seem impractical for the average business ... Then again, as we mentioned, you don’t need to completely agree with Newport to enjoy the book.