Book Review: Rework

In my internet scanning to increase my abilities in computer graphic design, I was pointed at a few (several) [many] resources to help grow my skills and usefulness. A couple were interesting enough to see if they were available at the local library. I found three quickly and put holds on them to grab them next time I passed by. Later I collected one of them (in stock, the others will be when they come back into circulation) and spent part of the day reading it.

Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson is a collection of practical ideas about business success, gathered from their own experience in running their own successful business (37Signals).

It’s an easy read, in part because it is written in seat of the pants language and in part because each chunk is small. I has 94 articles in 14 chapters within the span of just 280 pages (by their own count only about 27,000 words total). REALLY small chunks. I read it in about an hour, waiting for the evening news to start.

The first pass through was not revelational (to me, at least) as this was pretty much a collection of things I had discovered or determined over my 30+ years in the workforce. It was during the second reading the scope and power of the book came into focus. It was precisely because it took me three decades to accumulate the wisdom contained in this book that makes this a great read. The proverb “experience is the best teacher” may be true, but better is the idea it doesn’t have to be YOUR experience. You should leap at the chance anytime you can pickup tips that work by spending an hour or two reliving another person’s experience (rather than paying years of effort yourself).

I originally intended on picking a couple of articles to point out as areas of wisdom to share (and cling to).  After the third read of the book I gave up. In essence I’d have to include everything (a low productive use of time). So, instead I will point out several chapters for first consideration and review (although you should probably just read cover to cover anyway).

The chapter Takedowns provides a different paradigm to view work through, debunking many traditional ideas about what it takes to start. Progress articles shift towards quality versus quantity in overall focus, that the goal is to “build half a product rather than a half-assed product.” Productivity includes the best synopsis of why meetings are a horrible waste of time I have read.

Then there’s the chapter Hiring. Every single place I have ever worked (including BNI/SAR, my own consulting firm) would benefit from making EVERYONE involved in the process read this chapter. Read it over and over again, until it is burned on the backs of the eyeballs of the whole group. Then another read just for good measure. This one section would result in game-changing results for the company bold enough to apply it.

I highly recommend this book (if you haven’t figured that out by now), giving it a rating of 37 out of 39. While I don’t think I will add a copy of this to my personal library, I will keep it in my reference list of go-to places for inspiration.

Why else have nine (9) library cards in my wallet?

Phred

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3 thoughts on “Book Review: Rework

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