Study Hacks Blog Decoding Patterns of Success About the Blog

What is Study Hacks?

Study Hacks was launched in the summer 2007 by me (aka., Cal Newport). At the time I was a computer science Ph.D. candidate at MIT. Now I’m an Assistant Professor at Georgetown University.

I’m interested in why some people end up leading successful and meaningful lives, while so many others do not. Being a geek, I’m not satisfied with simplistic slogans (e.g., “follow your passion!”) or conventional wisdom (e.g., “student success requires stress!”). Instead, I dive deeper, looking to decode underlying patterns of success.

When I started this project, I was a student. Therefore, much of my early writing concerns the patterns of success followed by remarkable students. I reject the idea that doing well in school requires stressful overwork, and instead promote a philosophy of simplicity: do less, but do what you do much better.

During this period I also wrote three books on my student philosophy: How to Be a High School Superstar (Random House, 2010), How to Become a Straight-A Student (Random House, 2006) and How to Win at College (Random House, 2005).

As I’ve moved beyond my student years, I’ve turned my attention toward decoding patterns of success in the working world.  In September 2012, I published my first book on this topic, So Good They Can’t Ignore You (Grand Central, 2012). This book lays out my case for why “follow your passion” is a dangerous suggestion and then chronicles my quest to figure out what works instead (spoiler: start by getting good at something valuable; the passion will follow).

Since that book, I’ve turned more of my attention to the benefits of living deeply in a distracted world. I’m increasingly convinced that cultivating the ability to concentrate on hard things without distraction is a skill that’s becoming increasingly rare at the same time that it’s becoming increasingly valuable in our economy.

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Here is a collection of popular posts on patterns of success for the working world (last updated on Oct. 2013):

Here is a collection of popular posts on patterns of success for students (last updated on Oct. 2013):