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Hacking Work: Breaking Stupid Rules for Smart Results Hardcover – September 23, 2010

3.9 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"The way we're working today sucks. If you've realized that fact, and your organization isn't doing anything about it, Hacking Work will help you achieve your results and not go insane waiting for those around you to wake up."
-Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson, cocreators of the Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE) and coauthors of Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It

"Anyone frustrated by burdensome rituals and processes can now take responsibility for their own success. Jensen and Klein irreverently and cleverly show us the power of hacking work and taking responsibility for one's own success. The ideas within Hacking Work will foster the innovation and creativity so badly needed in these times."
-Dave Ulrich, professor, Ross School of Business, and coauthor of The Why of Work

"Hacking Work is a refreshing antidote to what passes for business wisdom today. Sure, organizations need structure and processes. But to get your work done, you need this book. It's the perfect manual for long-overdue corporate insurgency. Find a way to hide it on your expense account!"
-Thomas H. Davenport, President's Distinguished Professor of IT and Management, Babson College, and coauthor of Analytics at Work

"The time has come to accept that our outdated business precepts are unraveling. Jensen and Klein reveal a new hope: businesses succeeding and innovating in spite of themselves. A brave new world is upon us-we can embrace it and excel or deny it and die."
-Jim McCarthy, consultant and former EVP, Strategic Development, CITGO Petroleum

"Hacking Work is a badly needed wake-up call urging executives to remove the manifold limitations standing in the way of true innovation. This book could not be more timely: As our economies move out of recession, it is high time to question and redesign every aspect of doing business that creates obstacles to competitiveness."
-Jean-Daniel Gerber, State Secretary, Ministry of the Economy, Switzerland

About the Author

Bill Jensen is President/CEO of the Jensen Group, a change consulting firm he founded in 1985. He is also an internationally acclaimed speaker and the author of Simplicity: The New Competitive Advantage in a World of More, Better, Faster. Josh Klein is the quintessential hacker - of social systems, computer networks, consumer hardware, animal behavior, and, most recently, the conference industry including TED and the World Economic Forum's annual meeting at DAVOS. He also speaks, writes, and consults on new and emerging technologies that improve people's lives. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More to Explore
Read the preface and first chapter from Hacking Work [PDF].

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio (September 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159184357X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591843573
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #910,779 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I picked this book up hoping to gain some insight on customizing my work environment. I was expecting some useful anecdotes and strategies to accomplish this. Instead I found the information in this book rather simplistic, lacking in useful details, and repetitive.

The basic advice on hacking your work processes or relationships to improve your (and your company's) performance is valid and potentially useful but the entire book is written with the assumption that the reader works in a grey-walled, soul-sucking institution. The problem is that most of the people who might pick up a book like this no longer work in those grey-walled, soul-sucking institutions. We've moved on and we've been hacking our work all along.

Now I don't mind if a book reinforces ideas and practices I already follow as long as there is some new insight or a novel discussion of the subject. But I found the advice and anecdotes in this book wavering between very weak and obvious to ethically questionable and not much in between. On top of that the structure of the book was highly repetitive. Do I really need to read a one-page summary of the key points discussed in each and every 10-15 page chapter? Many sections of the book felt like padding to try and get the book to that magical 200 pages that business books seem to need to reach nowadays. They did mention building a hacker's toolkit of technology and techniques to help you in your quest; The one thing that may have held some useful nuggets for me. But the authors ultimately dodge the problem of discussing actual tools and techniques stating that everyone's toolkit is unique.
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Format: Hardcover
If you are looking for a book that gives you specific and concrete ideas and examples this might not be the book for you. What you get in this book are general ideas and rules. Nor is this the last book you'll read in order to make your work life happier. You might get inspired by this book if you never took a chance or attempted to change a process that you have been unhappy with.

Here are the 5 rules from chapter 5 to help you understand what this book is about.
1. Hack your new hire process.
2 Hack one small thing that saps your energy.
3 Hack the start of every new project.
4 Hack one big thing that destroys your efficiency.
5 Hack to make a world a better place.

Each one of these is followed by a vague and generic example statement, to give you an idea of what the authors are talking about.

If your intent is to learn how to navigate office politics, management, team mates, find a book on negotiation and go from there. This book is for a very specific audience, make sure you are the intended audience before picking up this book. I am not the target audience, did not find this book to be useful, or even entertaining. For this i'm rating this book at 3 stars.
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Format: Hardcover
The title describes exactly what this book is about - "Breaking Stupid Rules For Smart Results". I've always been a rule-breaker and a hacker in the benevolent sense described in this book so it really resonated with me. I give out stars based upon the way I feel when I finish a book and I think the only reason I didn't give it five stars is because the ideas aren't new to me. I didn't have a "wow" feeling when I finished. However, I suspect for a great many people some of this will be new and very inspirational. Even an old rule-breaker like me was inspired to greater heights by this little gem. The ideas contained within it are communicated clearly and succinctly. There are tons of practical tips and the book is liberally sprinkled with real-world examples. It's an easy read but fairly dense in content. A worthwhile investment of a little bit of your time - I don't think you will be disappointed by it.
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Format: Hardcover
I loved this book and read with great interest, underlining paragraphs and sentences along the way for future reference! Under the genial use of the word "hacking" and the fluidity, often wittiness, of the style, it discusses a very important theme. The corporate world is often entrenched in bureaucracy and systems that rather than fostering productivity and efficacy, hinder it, to a point where employees' time and effectiveness are negatively affected. The book develops an idea that I completely agree on: that in order to be a top performer and take control of your productivity and life you may need to positively "hack" corporate loopholes and circumvent some rules so that you can work smarter, not harder, and really give the best without wasting unnecessary time. In essence, making the system work for you rather than succumbing to it, not only for your own benefit but also to enable yourself to really produce something of value. If the word "hacking" makes you uncomfortable, you might be happy to know that the book places a great importance on ethics, delving into what can be considered positive hacking and what instead should be avoided.

Stefania Lucchetti
Author, Speaker
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