Quality Time with… Cal Newport (Study Hacks), Ep. #19

Cal NewportThis is one of those interviews where I realize after the fact, “this dude has been BUSY.”

It’s like when you’re at a party, having a great conversation with a stranger, and when they leaves, your friend rushes up to you, demanding “do you know who you were just talking to?” Yeah, I feel a bit like that. On a gorgeous afternoon in Boston, I hung out and chatted with the exceptional Cal Newport.

I recently “learned” about Cal via Derek Sivers on Twitter. I should have known something was up: Derek isn’t exactly willy-nilly with his tweets. He linked to Cal’s brilliant Pyramid Method post. I noticed Cal was at MIT, knew that I’d be in the Boston area, and simply seeing he was another blogger with awesome ideas, I shot him an email to see if he might want to meet up. Cal was extraordinarily open to the idea, even with his PhD schedule.

It turns out we have many similar views and philosophies on life, not to mention a mutual penchant for daily walks! I think we took in about three miles or so along the Charles River, adding to Cal’s normal schedule of about seven or eight miles each day.

It wasn’t until I was doing the research for this post when I stumbled onto Cal’s guest post for Tim Feirriss (which I read at some point a while back yet didn’t remember the author – sigh), resulting in my best Keanu Reeves “whoa” impression. Yeah, I don’t think Tim hands over the reigns to just anyone.

I must admit that I even referenced Cal’s post on Zen Habits in my eguide, yet failed to mention him (sadly, I didn’t even notice it was a guest post) – d’oh! Well, in part to make up for all that buffoonery, I’m providing lots of links here – Cal’s been writing some very cool stuff, so after the video below, check it out if you like!

What we chat about:

  • His very cool focus at MIT (the way he phrased it – perhaps a good pick-up line…?) :-)
  • Cal’s counter-intuitive approach for success in high school, college and beyond
  • Why, on the day we met, he was up at 5 AM watching television



More on what Cal is up to…


What was your takeaway from my chat with Cal?

I’d love to hear your answer along with any other comments you have below.

Until next time,


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Former life: actor/office worker/virtual assistant; lived in Los Angeles for 11 years. Since then: sold nearly everything, took a $5 flight to Hawaii, lived there for 3 months, wrote an eGuide about all of it, and still traveling. Currently: digital nomad – looking to improve myself, have fun and serve others.