It would be easy to be dismissive of this book:
Its 270 pages are mostly white space and tangential illustrations;you get about 100 pages here. It doesn't go into any depth, simply skimming the surface of very many different notions. Nothing here is new, it is 80% common sense and you can read most of it for free on the Signal vs Noise blog.
And yet I highly recommend buying and reading it. It will only take you a few hours and will enrich your business life. Why? Because you are stupid.
Its okay though, I'm stupid too; we are all stupid. We constantly forget what we know; we backslide; we lose courage. We listen to overpaid overfed corporate execs and their ghost-writers and don't listen to what our sensible grandmothers tell us, and heck those grandmothers would never have let the economy go crunch.
So we need books that remind us what we already know to be true, and reiterate it a distinctive and friendly way so that remember it for a little while longer than normal.
This book does this so well that it sets the benchmark for slapping yourself in the face. Along the way it reminds you that you wasted several hundred dollars on wordy business books that told you what to do and how to do it, by authors who did a 180 a couple of years later.
Put simply this book reminds you to be free. Think freely, march to your own drummer, don't do stuff because it worked for someone else, and ignore any doomsayer who says 'that will never work'. Perceived wisdom is dangerous; real wisdom involves having an open mind with plenty of room for new thinking.
It is motivational more than informative, but that is what you need. Your business will be unique, every business is, so why copy someone else?
For the cost of lunch for two at Timmy's, this book will shake off all the nonsense you read in the newspapers and in business books, and set you free to build something really wonderful.
This book won't tell you anything new. This book is the best purchase you will make this year. Go figure.
on June 26, 2012
This book gave me some good advice that wasn't overly wordy. It got me into actually making things and making a profit. It gave me comfort knowing I don't have to be big overnight. I don't need to be a great artist right now. I just have to work with what I've got right now. I like how the authors say, "Everything is marketing."
on March 21, 2010
Yes, the book has it's downfalls.
1. Every second to third page is a picture(filler).
2. All of the points are vague and only touched on in 1 to 2 pages.
The concepts behind the book are good. I've read hundreds of business/finance/self-dev/entrepeneur books, and this one DOES have stuff that other books don't. If you can pick just a single page and say that you ACTUALLY implemented it the $20-$30 you paid for the book will be returned to you in unmeasureable amounts. I've implemented some of them and I actually do own and run my own business. It's made a difference.
on May 31, 2011
Thinking I could chip away reading this book, I brought this master piece into the bathroom with me and sat down on the porcelain, after reading 2 pages I immediately closed this book and put it down until I was done! If there is one thing this book requests, it's the respect it demands on not being labelled 'bathroom material'
my apologies Sir.
I Read this book in 2 days....super addicting....like crack on paper!
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 difficult, as their success with 37signals clearly indicates, and they probably have more confidence in their readers' (as yet) unfulfilled potentialities than most of those readers do.
Consider this passage in Chapter FIRST: "There's a new reality. Today anyone can be in business. Tools that used to be out of reach are now easily accessible. Technology that cost thousands is now just a few bucks or free. One person can do the job of two or three or, in some cases, an entire department. Stuff that was impossible just a few years ago is simple today." That said, Fried and Hansson realize that many people who read that passage will heartily endorse its spirit but decline to embrace and leverage the opportunities that the new reality offers. For them, the "real world" is defined by what James O'Toole so aptly characterizes in his book, Leading Change, as "the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom."
This so-called "real world" has advocates who, Fried and Hansson observe, "are filled with pessimism and despair. They expect fresh concepts to fail. They assume society isn't ready for or capable of change. Even worse, they want to drag others down into their tomb. If you're hopeful and ambitious, they'll try to convince you your ideas are impossible. They'll say you're wasting your time. Don't believe them. That world may be real for them, but it doesn't mean you have to live in it." By now you have at least a sense of the thrust and flavor of Fried and Hansson's perspectives on how (literally) anyone can rework what she or he does...and rework how she or he does it...to achieve and then sustain success in all dimensions and domains of one's life. Indeed, one of the most important insights shared in the book is that the most valuable business lessons are also the most valuable life lessons. For example, here are ten of several dozen that Fried and Hansson discuss:
Learning from mistakes is overrated.
Planning is guessing.
Scratch your own itch.
Not enough of [fill in the blank] is a cop-out.
Be a curator, not a custodian.
Reasons to quit.
Note: The material in this chapter is wholly consistent with the gambler's adage, "Know when to hold `em, know when to fold `em" as well as with Seth Godin's observations in The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick).
Long lists don't get done.
Emulate great chefs.
ASAP is poison.
Granted, the tone of Fried and Hansson's narrative is sometimes confrontation, in-your-face, but I think that is necessary because their separate but related purposes are to challenge their reader to "rework" or, in some instances, "blow up" assumptions and premises about business success that are no longer true (or never were), and, to encourage their reader adopt a new mindset, then formulate and execute new strategies and tactics that will achieve sustainable business success.
If you need some fresh perspectives on how to get more done with less, including less stress, and with more joy, look no further. And if you share my high regard for this book, I highly recommend Godin's Linchpin, Guy Kawasaki's Reality Check, Scott McLeod's Ignore Everybody, and Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths and Total Nonsense co-authored by Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert Sutton.
on June 2, 2012
Rework is one of my favourite books of all time. It is concise, edgy and full of great practical advice for anyone who wants to start and succeed in a business. The best part about this book is it is fun to read and you actually remember their advice!!! I have bought so many copies of this book for gifts (for friends of all ages,)and I have heard nothing but rave reviews. Whether you are 20 or 60 or somewhere in between this book rocks.
on August 10, 2013
As a manager, a student and a passionate on the subject, I will only tell you this much; buy this book now. This book reads all by itself. Once you start, you won't be able to finish it. I don't enjoy reading normaly, but the way this book is written is purely brilliant. Not one page is wasted, it's direct and simple but real stuff. Read this book if you wan't to be the best!
on May 16, 2011
This book is an easy read full of brief concepts which are refreshing. You don't have to follow all of them, but it's good at breaking your routine and trying something new. I highly recommend to read through it and try to incorporate some of it into your current business and career. I spent a lot of time discussing and quoting parts of it with my friends and coworkers.
on November 13, 2013
The whole thing is so common-sensical that it's easy to overlook the fact that there's some great inspiration to be found in this book. At times it's feels like you're having a conversation with the authors, and like real conversations, you find yourself recounting what was "said" to you long after putting the book down. I enjoyed how the scenarios presented are so "every day" that they are easily applied to all manner of real world situations. I confidently recommend this whenever I get the chance.
One word of caution though... Fried and Hansson do a great job of demonstrating how fluid a working environment can be, and this is a good thing. However, I read this book while working at a large, slow-thinking, slower-moving organization and it was actually a bit disheartening to return to the real world after finishing the book. I wasn't even halfway through Rework and I felt like quitting my job out of sheer principal. If this happens to you, you might want to take a breath before making any big decisions.
on August 17, 2011
Rework is a book about how to rethink business'how to rethink your job, how to rethink your colleagues, how to rethink success. So what's wrong with business in the first place?
Well, like how many pursuits go awry in life, the emphasis of image over substance (like in Mastery) is the killer. So how does this come across in business? The desire to have a cool business card is one way, the desire to get big fast is another, the desire to use 'bizspeak' words when plain English will do is another. There is this temptation to very quickly overcome your small size and limited experience, with a veneer of cheesy tacked on 'professionalism,' which really stinks because, of course, everyone around you can smell it. It's a turn-off. And if you're being dishonest about your size, your success and your persona, is it possible you're being dishonest about your products too? Of course.
And so this book is actually an antidote for that reckless egotism: rather than emphasize methods to grow big, strong, rich and famous fast (see 99% of Business Books next time your at the Airport), it pursues great products, and emphasizes the varied advantages of actually being small, nimble, and unknown. Instead of fighting against yourself, or chasing a ghost called 'credibility', you use your newness and small size to your advantage. Furthermore, by adopting this 'alternate' route to success, your customers, suppliers, partners and fans, can fall in love with the real you, instead of that guy from Wall Street (or worse, American Psycho).
There is a great expression, often used in the tech industry: Eating your own dogfood. If you eat your own dogfood, it means you actually use the products your company makes'all the time. There is a fundamental difference here between great companies, and good profitable businesses: some of the best companies in the world were started just because the founders wanted to buy their own product but couldn't find it on the market. Nike started this way, as did Apple, as did 37signals. What's the advantage here? The advantage is a keen awareness (sometimes neurotic is a better word here) and insane obsession with perfectionism. Steve Jobs has famously barked at his designers because the original iPod took too many clicks to get the music to come on. He's not tapped in to what the consumers want, and famously abhors focus groups. What Jobs wants isn't an awesome music player/phone/laptop for you, but for himself.
Why doesn't every company do this? Because frankly some companies are just set up to make money. There's a hole in the market,there's an arbitrage opportunity, and there's money to be made. But you don't get fans for being interested in arbitrage. And without fans, you don't get the free advertising. You don't get recommendations. And you sure don't get people carving your company logo into the back of their head.
More reviews like this at 21tiger