Rework by Jason Fried: Book Review

Rework How You Get Things Done

Rework Book - Front CoverI’ve just re-read Re-work and thought a re-view would be useful. Sorry, couldn’t re-sist. Oops.

I first read this book a few years ago. And, to be honest I raced through it without taking it to heart. I fell for the trap that Seth Godin was talking about called ‘I Get It’.

Over the recent holidays, I’ve been re-thinking a few things. And, this book came to mind as a set of principles to re-consider how I do things. In particular, how to create products.

(In case you were wondering… Yes, I’m trying to add as many re-words in this post as I can. I’m currently upto seven.)

The Authors

Rework is written by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. They write the blog Signal Vs Noise which was started way back in the dark ages of the internet: 1999. It’s one of the most popular blogs on the planet.

Jason and David write about their experience as founders of 37signals – a super successful software company that produces Basecamp, Highrise, Backpack, Campfire and others. Basecamp is the world’s #1 Project Management App. They also created the open-source Web framework Ruby on Rails.

If you’re into software development for the web you’ll know all this. If not, believe me, these guys are world-class.

Conventional, Contrary or New?

One version of the book Rework is that it’s simply a contrarian view of how to get things done. Take conventional wisdom and do the opposite. And, this might be enough if you’re looking for alternatives to your current methods.

However, I think this is not about being contrary. It’s about reworking what you do. It’s about a whole new way of doing business that reflects the uncertainty, the complexity, the speed and the global nature of the internet world we live in.

Rework the book re-flects the way 37signals does business. And, when it reflects a super successful business it deserves to be considered as a set of successful work practices.

The Business and the Principles

Rework Book - Back CoverRework the book contains 80+ principles and re-flects the way the business is run. Here’s a snapshot:

  • They have intentionally kept their company small
  • They have staff scattered across the globe and not in a headquarters
  • They scratched their own itch and built products they needed to run their own business
  • They create lean products that deliberately have fewer features than their competitors
  • There is no advertising or hefty marketing budget – instead they built a great product
  • They ignored the real world and followed their own path
  • They do minimal planning preferring to make and test their presumptions and assumptions
  • They despise workaholics and enjoy life outside of work
  • They’ve grown successfully without outside money
  • They abhor meetings
  • They build their products on the fly – each piece is created as needed

And, perhaps the best demonstration of one of the principles is the book itself. ‘Sell Your By-Products’ suggests that whenever you make some thing there is always a by-product, a side-effect or a spin-off. This book Rework is that spin-off. The expertise they’ve gained from their experience is packaged and being sold separately.

[easyazon-link asin=”0307463745″ locale=”us”]Buy Rework if you want to get more done (Amazon affiliate)[/easyazon-link] It’s for artists, small business people, startups and managers.

PS: They also have a new book out: Remote: Office Not Required. I’ll read this shortly and let you know what I think.


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