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Rework

A book by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried

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Nobody Likes Plastic Flowers

  • Jan 10, 2011
  • by
Rating:
+5
Business and branding books glut the market. In fact, I have dozens. But the only one that I consider my "biz Bible"? Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, the brilliant founders of 37signals (Basecamp, Highrise, etc.)

I read Rework early last year and benefited enormously. Under pressure by co-workers and colleagues to "tone it down" (paraphrase), my intensity and originality were stifled, and the gradual sacrifice to "fit in" within a small niche culture eroded my sharpness.

For a few months, I lost my way. Lost my "voice" as a respected, honest reviewer and blogger. My bleeding edge that makes me unique, unparalleled and in demand dulled.

A few days ago, I picked up Rework once again. The no BS "cookbook" that the authors freely share in this book nudged me back on my path, realigned my focus and honed my communicative blade.

In short, it reminded me that I'm responsible for my own dreams, my own brand and my own integrity. "Playing nice" didn't earn me my current following, and it sure won't increase it. In fact, Fried and Heinemeier Hansson agree. They write in Rework:

"Strong opinions aren't free. You'll turn some people off. They'll accuse you of being arrogant and aloof. That's life. For everyone who loves you, there will be others who hate you. If no one's upset by what you're saying, you're probably not pushing hard enough. (And you're probably boring, too.)"

And some other gems from Rework?:

* "When you want something bad enough, you make the time--regardless of your other obligations."

* "Workaholics aren't heroes. They don't save the day, they just use it up. The real hero is already home because she figured out a faster way to get things done."

* "When you don't know what you believe, everything becomes an argument."

* "A business without a path to profit isn't a business, it's a hobby."

* "The easiest, most straightforward way to create a great product or service so to make something you want to use. That lets you design what you know--and you'll figure out immediately whether or not what you're making is any good."

* "If you think a competitor sucks, say so."

* "Policies are organizational scar tissue. They are codified overreactions to situations that are unlikely to happen again. They are collective punishment for the misdeeds of an individual."

* "Clear writing is a sign of clear thinking. Great writers know how to communicate...Writing is making a comeback all over our society...Writing is today's currency for good ideas."

With provocative chapter titles like "Emulate Drug Dealers", "Planning is Guessing", "Meetings are Toxic", "Pick a Fight" and "You're Better off with a Kick-Ass Half than a Half-Assed Whole", Rework delivers bare-bone brilliance and common sense remedies for tangled bureaucracy, analysis paralysis, waiting for perfection, disseminating information, standing out and relating to customers.

At 273-pages, Rework is for every innovator, business owner, startup and freelancer wanting to create smart, simple and authentic work. As the authors say, "Nobody likes plastic flowers".

So what are you waiting for? Buy Rework and get out there--cracks, scratches, warts and all--and make it happen.

-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot

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More Rework reviews
review by . November 03, 2010
Counter-intuitivism has never been this appealing or enlightening. Following uncommon, adverse advice and tips normally would seem as crazy talk, but in Rework, the approach and delivered goods are well worth the look on the naysayers' faces when you're successful from heeding said advice.      From burgeoning entrepreneurs to weathered corporate managers alike, this book works for either as a new approach to obtaining the same goal: success, and its myriad of definitions …
review by . May 05, 2010
Prior to reading Rework, I was unfamiliar with Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson, or their company 37signals. One book, however, provides the reader with the insight into the attitudes of the founders and a basis for the reasons for their success. However, if you subscribe to "conventional wisdom," this book may not be for you. The authors tend go against your experience and what has been instilled into you during your college and graduate work. Nonetheless, this is a worthwhile book, …
review by . May 26, 2010
A compendium of ideas, suggestions, do's & don'ts, warnings, tips and personal experiences.
From the opening pages of "Rework' it becomes quite apparent that Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson are not your typical enterpreneurs.  As founders of the trailblazing software company "37signals" Fried and Hansson turn conventional business wisdom on its head by pursuing rather unorthodox strategies and techniques.  They have little use for planning and detest meetings. They view the world of business through an entirely different paradigm than …
review by . June 02, 2010
These are the two chaps of 37 signals who started Basecamp and a host of other tools. They were also early advocates of Ruby on Rails. A breathless book that runs through the gamut of pragmatic business advice. You will find your self agreeing with them much more than disagreeing. Their comments on software design ( It should be simple, practical, easy to use but often is not) resonated today as I was running through Microsoft Office 2010. sigh, I can see why Open Office is attractive - Microsoft …
review by . April 11, 2010
After the buzz I've seen generated by this book, I needed to read it to find out what it was all about... Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. They are the guys who started the web company 37signals, a company that has found a sizable niche with software products that are simple and basic. There are enough features to get the job done, and no more. In Rework, they share their philosophy on how a company should be started and run, based on how they've run their own company. While I …
review by . April 10, 2010
I'd expected a book of substance, and instead I got a book of aphorisms.    As the founder of a startup, I was hoping to get some insights into how 37signals has achieved so much success. I'd hoped for stories and details. Rework consists entirely of grandiose statements ("Don't be a hero," "Ignore the real world," "No time is no excuse") followed by a couple of pages of explanation in large type. In other words, the purpose of the book is to inspire, not to inform.    That's …
review by . March 24, 2010
If Joseph Schumpeter were to design a "creative destroyer," he would probably come up with a business thinker who bears a striking resemblance to Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. To me, they seem to be iconoclasts who are impatient to build rather than anarchists whose objective is chaos. They quickly indicate a healthy respect for the nature and extent of difficulty when challenging the status quo. But they are not deterred by that difficulty, as their success with 37signals clearly indicates, …
About the reviewer
Janet Boyer ()
Ranked #198
Author of The Back in Time Tarot BookandTarot in Reverse. Co-creator of theSnowlandDeck. Amazon.com Hall ofFame/ VineReviewer; Freelance Writer/Reviewer; Blogger; Professional Tarot Reader/Teacher; Lover … more
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ISBN-10: 0307463745
ISBN-13: 978-0307463746
Author: Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson
Genre: Business & Investing, Health, Mind & Body
Publisher: Crown Business
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