A gender analysis of Cal Newport’s “Deep Work”

These figures are based on a list I made which includes every named person (1) in the text of Deep Work by Cal Newport. The named people are categorised by gender (2).

I found that Newport mentions more men in the Introduction to Deep Work than he mentions women in the entire text.

Here are the total number of mentioned men and women in the entire book:

127 circles on the left representing the number of named men in the book Deep Work. 16 squares on the right representing the number of named women in the book Deep Work.

And here are the number of men in the Introduction compared to the number of women in the entire book:

17 circles on the left representing the number of named men in the Introduction to the book Deep Work. 16 squares on the right representing the number of named women in the book Deep Work.

To see that in context, here’s the cumulative number of men as the book progresses, with the total number of women being surpassed near the beginning, before the Introduction is over:

With framing

In a rough sense, I classified a person as positive if they were mentioned as an example of “what to do” and negative if they were mentioned as an example of “what not to do” (3). If there’s any point at which Newport approaches a gender-balanced portrayal, it’s in the negatively framed people:

Left top: 100 circles represent the number of positively frame men in the book Deep Work. Left middle: 21 circles for neutral men. Left bottom: 6 circles for negative men. Right top: 11 squares for positive women. Right middle: 1 square for neutral women. Right bottom: 4 squares for negative women.

Notes

(1) The guideline of “named person” is not perfectly objective. A different person compiling this list may get slightly different results (e.g would you consider mentioning the “Wright brothers” as two named men?).

(2) A person was classified as a man(woman) if Newport used he/him(she/her) pronouns for that person. If Newport didn’t associate that person with pronouns, it was determined by a quick Google search following the same guidelines.

(3) This classification of “framing” is quite subjective. A different person compiling this list would almost certainly get slightly different results. There are many situations that don’t fit into the rough description I give above. For example, if a researcher’s results were being cited as supporting Newport’s argument, I classified that researcher as being positively framed.

(4) The data visualization color scheme was inspired by these articles written by Lisa Charlotte Rost.