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, even if you work for a large company. Many of the ideas presented can be used in a small group setting.
Each of the major chapters are broken down into topics, which are only a few pages each. As an example, the chapter on Competitors has topics on "Don't Copy," "Decommoditize your product," "Pick a fight," "Underdo your competition," and "Who cares what they're doing?" The topic on "Don't copy" tells the reader that while copying a competitors product is a good way to learn, in the business world it is usually bad. Copying a product puts you and your company behind the company that originally created it. You forego the knowledge of actually creating something, you miss the reasons why it is the way that it is, and you will never catch up. You are in a reactive mode.
Every chapter is laid out in a similar fashion; A major heading and several key points that drive the idea home. It is a very effective teaching tool for the reader. Instead of wasting time to get to the "good parts," Rework is all "good parts." There is no filler; Fried and Heinemeier Hansson are very direct. The book is listed as having 277 pages, however not all of it is stocked with words. Rather, they make liberal use of graphics, which removes probably 100 pages of text. You could probably finish the book in a couple of hours. Despite that, the lessons and philosophies that they impart will stay with you.
While all of the lessons cannot be applied to every business, especially large organizations, many of them are applicable to every organization. Some of the lessons are shown on the back cover: ASAP is poison, meetings are toxic, fire the workaholics, planning is guessing. One of the lessons that is needed, but rarely used is "Interruption is the enemy of productivity." All day long you are bombarded with e-mail, instant messages, phone calls, chatty colleagues. You lose productivity. So, what happens? You stay late, you work when you get home, you spend part of your weekend "catching up." The authors recommend "alone time." Set aside specific time every day just for you; no e-mail, no instant messaging, no phones, no talking. During this time, you have an unbroken period where you can actually get your work done. During the work day. Imagine that! This isn't so far fetched, either. There are people that refuse to answer e-mail between 10AM and 2PM, or only at set times during the day. Others close their instant messaging software for a few hours. All of these people have one thing in common, they want, need, and have the ability to create "alone time."
Open-minded managers would do well to give some thought to the lessons contained in Rework, it has the opportunity to make your team much more effective, productive, and valuable. Small business owners; this could be your Bible. Highly recommended.
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 … more
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 … more
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 … more
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 … more
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 … more
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 … more
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, … more
It never ceases to amaze me how many doors have opened up for me since I started reviewing the books I read. Publishers now send me free books to read and review. Authors contact me. Kind folks at Lunch … more
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