Book Review: A World Without Email by Cal Newport

A World Without Email by Cal Newport
A World Without Email by Cal Newport, Book Lab Review

Imagine a world without email

What if Time Blocking, Email Free Thursday’s, and turning off notifications is not enough? What if we need to totally re-imagine how we work to reclaim our productivity?
This is the question that Cal Newport, of Deep Work and So Good they Can’t Ignore You fame, tried to answer in his new book, A World Without Email.

The Hyperactive Hive Mind

He argues that email and Slack (or “The bane of my existence”, as I call it.) has not only made communication fast and frictionless, it has also introduced some quite horrible side effects like growing anxiety, frustration, and loss of productivity among knowledge-workers.

He calls it The Hyperactive Hive mind: workplaces that let the email inbox dictate priorities. You jump between random task and get stuck in never ending email threads that seems to nowhere.

Mail and anxiety

A lot of things play into the feeling of dissatisfaction, frustration and guilt that electronic communication causes:

🔸A feeling that people are waiting for you to respond to messages.
🔹Uncertainty about when tasks are done.
🔸Scattered attention.

A video review of A World Without Email by Cal Newport. The author of Deep Work, Digital Minimalism and So Good They Can’t Ignore You.

Email Apnea

This book reminded me of this interesting expression– email apnea– I found in The Iconist:

“I’ve just opened my email and there’s nothing out of the ordinary there. It’s the usual daily flood of schedule, project, travel, information and junk mail. Then i notice… I’m holding my breath.” – Linda Stone


-I Implemented Personal Work Board: Started to experimenting with focusing on certain work on certain days to reduce the draining effect of switching between tasks of unrelated nature.


The book is new, but feels a bit dated— I mean, who is organizing task management though email these days?! or maybe I just working at a company that is ahead of the curve. I have been using Agile frameworks like Kanban and Scrum for a decade, which is what book suggests as an antidote to email chaos. That’ being said, I’m implementing a few ideas from this book and it feels like they might revolutionize the way I’m working! If you’re still heavily reliant on email for your daily work, then definitely check out this book! 👌

Books like A World Without Email

Cal Newport is a master of productivity, so it might not come as a surprise that this is not the only book he has published. If you like A World Without Email then you might also enjoy Deep Work and Digital
(Review by Timos Notes)

Find more great reads on my book reviews page and the Great Books List

One thought on “Book Review: A World Without Email by Cal Newport

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts

Begin typing your search term above and press enter to search. Press ESC to cancel.

Back To Top