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Cal the Writer

New York Times Best Seller

Cal is the author of eight books, including, most recently, Slow Productivity, A World Without Email, Digital Minimalism, and Deep Work. His titles have cumulatively sold well over 2,000,000 copies, have been published in more than 40 languages, and include multiple New York Times bestsellers. In addition to his books, Newport is a contributing writer for the New Yorker and is the host of the Deep Questions podcast.

Cal the Academic

Georgetown Professor

Cal is currently the Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University. Before arriving at Georgetown, he earned his PhD from MIT. Cal’s academic research focuses on the theory of distributed systems, with a particular interest in what can and cannot be solved in challenging settings. More recently, he’s also become involved in the emerging discipline of digital ethics. In his academic career to date, Cal has published over 65 peer-reviewed articles that have been cited over 4,500 times.

Featured Articles

Cal writes for both general and academic audiences on a variety of topics. Here are two featured articles from both of these categories.

General audience
What Type of Mind Does ChatGPT Have?

In this long-form article for The New Yorker, Cal takes a close look at the technical operations of the large language model powering ChatGPT. He argues that it’s unproductive to imagine this technology as a black box “alien” intelligence, and that we should instead strive to understand what’s really happening underneath the hood. Read more

Academic audience
Smoothed Analysis of Information Spreading in Dynamic Networks

In this 2022 article, which won the Best Paper award at the International Symposium on Distributed Computing (DISC), Cal and his co-authors prove that information spreading in dynamic networks is perhaps not as hard as existing lower bounds imply. Read more

The Technology and Culture Trilogy

Between 2016 and 2021, Cal published three culture-shifting, bestselling books that dissected the rise of digital distraction at work and at home, and provided frameworks for combating these diversions. Start here if you want to understand how you lost your focus and learn what you can do to gain it back.

deep work
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
world without email
A World Without Email: Reimagining Work in an Age of Communication Overload
Digital Minimalism book cover
Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused
Life in a Noisy World