Amplifying Meaning with Environment by Cal Newport

Amplifying Meaning with Environment

April 7, 2020

In my recent post about work and the deep life, I mentioned that some practitioners of this philosophy seek ways to amplify the meaning they derive from their craft. There are many strategies to accomplish this goal. One that’s always intrigued me is the use of radical environments to induce more inspiration and extract more satisfaction from one’s work.

For example, Adam Savage’s cave:


Or Laird Hamilton’s house in Hawaii:


Or Killiechassie, J.K. Rowling’s Scottish country estate (on the grounds of which she supposedly built a replica of Hagrid’s Hut).

These are grand examples, but there’s a tractable principle lurking. A craft can be more than a way to make a living; if properly cultivated, it can also become central to your sense of meaning.


A couple logistical notes for those seeking high quality distraction:

  • My friend Scott Young just re-opened his popular course Rapid Learner. Seems like a smart time to brush up on your ability to learn hard things fast.
  • Last month I read a fascinating article in Smithsonian Magazine (yes, I subscribe) by a biomedical engineer named Rachel Lance about her quest to understand the final moments of the ill-fated confederate submarine, the HL Hunley. I was excited to find out she has a new book about this work titled In The Waves. I just ordered it. If you love these scientific-historical detective stories as much as I do, consider doing the same.
  1. Thanks for sharing this..
    Cal Newport’s Deep Work is an amazing book which highlights the merits of deep thinking and its relevance in creating something revolutionary..Inspired by his quotes I wrote a few blogs , hope this is helpful..



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