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Getting Real: The Smarter, Faster, Easier Way to Build a Successful Web Application Paperback – Dec 22 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 187 pages
  • Publisher: Lightning Source Inc (Nov. 18 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0578012812
  • ISBN-13: 978-0578012810
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.1 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #110,495 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

Chicago-based 37signals ( is a team of web design and usability specialists dedicated to simple, and usable, customer-focused design. 37signals popularized the concept of contingency/defensive design in various articles and white papers and via the web site The team also has conducted workshops and presentations on the topic for a variety of conferences and companies.

37signals clients include Microsoft, Qwest,, Clear Channel, Panera Bread, Meetup, Performance Bike, and Work has been featured in the New York Times, Sports Illustrated, Washington Post, on CNN, and in numerous other publications. Team members have appeared as featured speakers at AIGA Risk/Reward, Activ8, South By Southwest, HOW Design Conference, ForUse, and other conferences. Additional information can be found at This book is authored by Matthew Linderman with Jason Fried. Other members of the 37signals team include Ryan Singer and Scott Upton.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is for anyone building web-app or software. Filled with strong opinion and interesting from start to end. You'll read this book in approx. 3 hours.

A must-read for anyone who love to be agile, or for anyone who think agile is the fail.

Bonne lecture!
Guillaume Royer
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found this book very on point and useful when thinking about creating any kind of software or web interface
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Good insights on how to build software
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9ccc2b34) out of 5 stars 57 reviews
34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d413b7c) out of 5 stars Excellent Advice for Anyone With a Passion for Their Work March 14 2010
By Randall Degges - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I recently purchased both this book and Rework (a slightly newer version of this book) from Amazon.

Both books contain invaluable information about business and development that is critical for anyone who loves excelling at their work, running their own business, or thinking of starting their own business.

The book is broken up into short chapters, each only a few pages in length, that contain practical advice regarding the chapter topic.

Bits of information like:

- Be honest and open with your customers.
- Infuse your personality into your software.
- Build only the most essential features for your product.

Are prevalent throughout the book, and presented in an entertaining and insightful way that really makes you question the way you work, the way your business works, and ways to do your work better.

I can't recommend that you read both this AND Rework, as the material in both books is very similar, but you should definitely read one of them as they will change your perspective, and help you become better at your job.

This book is getting 5 stars because it offers amazing information, and has changed the way I look at development.

The best way I can describe the way I felt while reading this book is: it felt like I was reading the Hacker's Manifesto for the first time.

If you're wondering whether or not you should get this book or Rework, the answer is yes. Get it. Now.

Amazing stuff.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ce2d084) out of 5 stars Good, but Rework is Better March 26 2010
By Kevin Rohrbaugh - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Getting Real is 37signal's first, self-published book. It challenges a lot of what is often thought of as the status quo for building a company. If you're a fan of 37signals, you'll no doubt enjoy this book.

As of March, 2010, however, they published Rework, which is very similar in nature to Getting Real, but updated and made more widely applicable (less references to web applications, etc). Much of the content in Getting Real is repeated and refined in Rework.

Due to the duplication of content, I recommend only reading Rework at this point.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d16dee8) out of 5 stars Solid, inspirational information if you're building software May 7 2010
By Simon Erich - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed reading 'Getting Real' because I felt like it allowed me to let go of preconceptions about what software should and shouldn't be. Overall, I felt like the information was extremely practical and in many ways enlightening, though at times I did feel like the authors staunch resistance to outside influence was a little extreme. If you're in the process of building web-based software, I would recommend this book highly (and have) over their more recent title 'ReWork'. Both books are cut from the same cloth, but ReWork is definitely more general in it's approach and made into a picture book. Both contain almost the exact same information, it's just that 'Getting Real' seemed to have more gems worth highlighting and sharing with my team. The only reason I didn't rate this book 5 stars, though it probably deserves it, is the fairly extreme outlook of choosing no features over features and remaining closed off from outside (user) influence. But what do I know, I'm not the one making millions running my web based super-simple project management software. Get this book.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9cccada4) out of 5 stars Must Read for Product Management and Marketing Professionals Feb. 10 2010
By Steve Keifer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Getting Real is a must read for all marketing professionals - especially those in product management! The impact Agile Development is having on product management is as revolutionary as the changes that social media are having on marketing communications. In my opinion, an alternative title for Getting Real could have been "The New Rules of Software Development," because the strategy outlined is such a radical paradigm shift. The book takes about 2-3 hours from cover-to-cover. I read the free online HTML version first, but now have purchased several copies of the hardcover for myself and colleagues.

The essence of the 37 Signals design principles can be summed up nicely in a quotation by Steve Jobs' who stated about iTunes - "We don't want a thousand features. That would be ugly. Innovation is not about saying yes to everything. It's about saying NO to all but the most crucial features."

The book is chalked full of sage advice about how to optimize productivity in the software design and development process. Examples include avoid meetings; don't write functional specs; public betas are b*****t; and use real words in design prototypes instead of the typical lorem ipsum garbage. My favorite essay was how to conduct a Hollywood Style launch of a new web application by previewing and teasing users with social media.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ccb35ac) out of 5 stars You'll perceive views about different way of making business which should be considered ... July 23 2013
By Helpful Advice - Published on
Format: Paperback
As many readers after reading "Rework" from the 37signals (J. Fried, H. D. Hansson and M. Linderman), I was eager to read their previously published book "Getting Real".

In general, "Getting Real" is also inspiring read but because it was published earlier some familiar things can be found, which were repeated in "Rework".

True to their own philosophy, the book is really short, can be read in 2 hours maximum and it's divided into short chapters. Through the entire book the authors supplemented the book with other people experience which reinforce the view and point they are trying to make.

"Getting Real" is about doing things, making things happen rather than talking about taking action or waiting something to happen. In their view no one should write documents about what is planned to be done, you should start doing things and learn in the process while you do it. One of the key points of risk management in their view is that many of the problems anticipated will not happen at all. Their solving problems philosophy is doing things just in time, do not worry about problems that didn't and probably won't happen in the future.

The book is mostly oriented towards software industry, specifically web products which are 37signals company home ground, including almost all aspects of getting a web application to become real thing - design, coding, selecting features, promoting and many more.

The only drawback for me was the order in which I read 37signals books, because if you first read "Rework" some familiar parts, even chapters can be found.

I recommend reading "Getting Real" for same reason as their other book - reader would see value of few spent hours due to perceived views about different way of making business which should be considered.