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Rework Hardcover – March 9, 2010
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Seth Godin is the author of Linchpin, Tribes, The Dip, Purple Cow, All Marketers Are Liars, and Permission Marketing, as well as other international bestsellers. He is consistently one of the 25 most widely read bloggers in the English language. Read his exclusive Amazon guest review of Rework:
This book will make you uncomfortable.
Depending on what you do all day, it might make you extremely uncomfortable.
That's a very good thing, because you deserve it. We all do.
Jason and David have broken all the rules and won. Again and again they've demonstrated that the regular way isn't necessarily the right way. They just don't say it, they do it. And they do it better than just about anyone has any right to expect.
This book is short, fast, sharp and ready to make a difference. It takes no prisoners, spares no quarter, and gives you no place to hide, all at the same time.
There, my review is almost as long as the first chapter of the book. I can't imagine what possible excuse you can dream up for not buying this book for every single person you work with, right now.
Stop reading the review. Buy the book.--Seth Godin
--Chris Anderson, New York Times bestselling author of The Long Tail and Free
"House-husband, housewife, Fortune 500 CEO, cab driver, restaurateur, venture capitalist -- this is 'the book for you,' a book of true wisdom, business wisdom, life wisdom. The clarity, even genius, of this book actually brought me to near-tears on several occasions. Just bloody brilliant, that's what!"
--Tom Peters, New York Times bestselling author of In Search of Excellence, Thriving On Chaos and Leadership
"If given a choice between investing in someone who has read Rework or has an MBA, I'm investing in Rework every time. This is a must read for every entrepreneur."
--Mark Cuban, co-founder of HDNet and Broadcast.com and owner of the Dallas Mavericks
"Inspirational... Rework is a minimalist manifesto that's profoundly practical. In a world where we all keep getting asked to do more with less, the authors show us how to do less and create more."
--Scott Rosenberg, Co-Founder of Salon.com and author of Dreaming In Code and Say Everything
"The brilliance of Rework is that it inspires you to rethink everything you thought you knew about strategy, customers, and getting things done. Read this provocative and instructive book—and then get busy reimagining what it means to lead, compete, and succeed."
--William C. Taylor, Founding Editor of Fast Company and coauthor of Mavericks At Work
"...a Webby manifesto for post-recession success."
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My one complaint is that there is not always justification for their claims. There is a lot of straight talk, which for me, were points well-taken. I get it. Some have said the book sounds arrogant. Well, okay. You're entitled to that opinion. But honestly, I didn't take it that way at all. I felt they were passionate about the points they made. It had a very forward tone. One thing I will mention is that perhaps some of their points needed more "proof". But the style was refreshing for me, personally. I enjoyed reading it. As a business book, it breaks all the rules. And that is precisely the point.
If you're looking for a book giving you step-by-step instructions on how to build a business -- this is not the book for you. Many who expected this were disappointed. This is not a traditional book by any standard. It's not a book that provides "how-to's". It's a book of principles. The key for the reader is being able to take their principles, evaluate them, and mold it to your individual business model with a strategy that fits. If you can't do that -- you're going to hate this book. It's not going to tell you what to do -- it's giving you fundamental principles to apply. Not all of these principles will work for every business. It would be foolish to think they would. A lot of successful companies don't follow these principles at all. Time-honored truth reveals there's more than one way to do things, and every business is different. But what I appreciate is that 37Signals found their niche in the business world, realized they had achieved something great, had something different and unique to offer -- and shared it with the business world in a style all their own. It's brave. It's bold. It's even brash, perhaps. But this book is not gospel. So don't take it as such. For me, there are pearls of wisdom here that cannot be ignored. And some of their advice is so risky, it needs to be evaluated carefully if embarked upon and applied. But if it worked for them -- in their own right, they can claim it and share it. And that's precisely the message of this book.
The book is persuasive, but don't read it blindly. Carefully consider their points and consider the possibility of applying them successfully.
In closing, do yourself a favor -- get the book. It really is worth it. But have the proper expectations.
My advice would be this: Don't start a business or organization of any kind until you have read this. Every CEO needs to read this. Every employee needs to read this. Every entrepreneur needs to read this. Do you have a job? You need to read this. Do you work? You need to read this. A first-grader could read this. Super easy. Super fast. Super information. I believe everyone needs to read this. Yes, everyone. And once you do, I bet you'll read it again.
Five stars. Well-earned.
Amazon charged me more than $20, including shipping and handling, for this 270-pager that should've been pared down to less than 100 pages.
I should've paid about $7.95 + S/H for Rework. Too much hype and over-marketing bloated what should've been a five-star read. And that pisses me off, feeling I got ripped off by Currency (division of Crown Publishing, a division of PenguinRandomHouse) or whoever the he!! published this. So much consolidating in the New York trade publishing arena, and they're still ripping us off.
As for content, it's great. Period. Short "chapters" that make for a real page-turner. Each "chapter" is only about a page, and that's with double-spaced lines.
Reminds me of a James Patterson novel: HUGE font, large line spacing. His 400-page novels are actually 200-page novels. And I had to pay for all those extra 200 pages. What crap.
Unfortunately, the style of this cool book has far overshadowed its content, and I feel ripped off. While I do like to spend my money on good value, and the content is great value, I also want to feel I got my money's worth.
With this 100-page book masquerading as a 270-page book, I am not satisfied.
I seriously doubt anyone is reading this review at this point, but here goes anyway:
Every point these guys make is 100% valid and actionable. The only thing I would add is a "chapter" on hiring a great editor, not necessarily a writer. Editors who also write are the best communicators. On paper, at least. Writers only write (mostly), and they're not usually great at making a first draft a great second or third draft.
So true are their words of experiential experience: meetings are a waste of time, planning is really just guessing, hire the best people from all over the world (not just in your city), hire those who've not been to university (let alone graduated with a 4.0 GPA), most really cool geniuses would never even consider university let alone Harvard Business School (CRAP!).
Hard as it is to get past being ripped off by Currency (you guys are too impressed with yourselves, by the way), I highly recommend Rework. You can purchase used version of Rework for $3-$6. At least you'll be smarter than I was and still enjoy the content.
One last gripe: the Kindle version is $14.99!!! THAT is a ripoff. Shame on Currency. Shame on Crown. Shame on Penguin. Shame on Random House.
And shame on me for paying full price for a 25% book.
Maybe just a personal opinion, but I don't think it's worth buying. At least take a look at a preview first - the whole book is the same format...
The only way to run a successful business and work reasonable hours is to hire people to do time consuming jobs.
They basically just brag about how awesome their company is throughout the whole book. Did I just buy a 270 page sales pitch for business software?
Top international reviews
The lifeblood of the book is, make it easy, make it fun and make money. Cut the ego and furnishings out of your business and deal with harsh reality. Hansson and Fried obviously hate waste including words, so the style of the book is short and snappy with real gems of advice on every page. They are very generous with their advice which makes them worth listening to. My only contention is the time we spend on our businesses. I absolutely believe if we’re unproductive, working long hours, hating life, and have no time for socialising or family, then that’s a major problem. But, I love my business and while I don’t need to do it for more than 8 hours per day, I love to do it for more than 8 hours per day. I’m probably more in the mould of Gary V. Reminds me of the quote “I’ll do today what you won’t, so I can do tomorrow what you can’t.”
Filled with excellent plain english advice, it's one of the best books out there for business productivity.
Not big on references, but the authors are credible because they built 37Signals, which created Basecamp and Ruby-on-Rails.
A damning critique of old school business types who favour endless meetings, reports, hierarchies and strategic plans.
If you like this also read: 'The 4 Hour Work Week' and 'Steal Like An Artist' - equally inspired.
There's also a lot of white space; but then again, I recently went through an information mapping course that says that this is a good thing, so who am I to judge? I would say that around 30% of the book is space of one kind or another, and that the average 'chapter' length is about 3 pages (I've not actually measured this, by the way.)
So, why the 5 stars? Because every word is well-crafted, well-chosen, and easy to both digest and engage with. Don't be like some others that I've come across and miss the point of the book; it gives the illusion of just being a collection of blog posts, but if you scratch beneath the surface and imagine applying their advice right now, you'll find that the questions it makes you ask of yourself and your organisation lead to rapid improvements.
Warning: It *will* change the way you think about work, and change the way you work as well, if you let it!
I liked it for two reasons. Firstly, it contains some insights that I thought but didn't have the confidence to say or try. After all, I don't have an MBA, so what could I know? For instance, under 'Hiring', the authors decry the worth of resumes and the usefulness of anything over six months of experience. Also, in 'Takedowns', I always suspected that learning from failure is overrated, planning is a synonym for guessing, and working yourself to death is dumb on so many levels.
Second, it filled my mind with a ton of fresh little experiments to try out in my own business. I especially found this to be the case under 'Competitors' ("decommoditize" or personalise your produce making copying impossible, and "pick a fight" with a big boy in order to contrast yourself with it and make a splash) and 'Promotion' (give away a little free stuff, build an audience not just a cliental, and, most brilliantly, "out-teach your competition" to establish your expertise and trustworthiness). For me, as a trainer, this last point sunk home.
There was an interesting and surprising emphasis on the power of writing through the book. For instance, they contrast optimal business writing with formal or academic writing (216). A criterion for hiring a quality employee, all else being equal, is the standard of their writing; it is a sign of clear thinking and empathy (222). When writing, sound like yourself, not some wannabe lawyer or corporate robot (263); this sort of everyday behaviour will create the right culture from the bottom up.
I would say that Rework is an ideal read for entrepreneurs (especially new starts), the self-employed and owners of SMEs. Those who work FOR someone rather than ON their own enterprise might find it a little shallow or all-too-easy sounding. Even then, the chapters on 'Productivity' and 'Damage Control' are applicable to any workplace. For those of us in the entrepreneurial (oops - 28) trenches it's a tonic; while not quite a tool box, it's certainly a box of tactics, tricks and twists on SOPs that make you want to experiment immediately. It may even shake up the thinking of some old campaigners out there.
Yes, it is thin on detail. Yes, some of the pics seem designed merely as space fillers. (A quirky but relevant diagram for each point would have served far better.) I found myself disappointed at the 'Resources' section, which was just a couple of lists about the authors' business and products. But as a call to action, experimentation and the overturn of many business clichés and customs, I found it highly valuable. I will be reading it and using it again. There's hardly a better recommendation than that.
This book actually solidified me leaving a previous role within a business that was doing the exact opposite of the points made in this book. Having been in the business for nearly two years, I saw the business falling into a lot of the traps stated in this book. Thankfully I was able to jump ship shortly before the business encountered huge financial issues.
If you're starting your own business, or are currently running one, this book is an excellent edition to any entrepreneurs library!
There are two real reasons to read the book. The first is if you genuinely are setting up or reorganising a small to medium sized business - there's some good stuff here. The second, and to my mind, much more satisfying, is if you actually work for a large company with a philosophy that's the antithesis of "Rework." I haven't laughed so much at a business book since The Dilbert Principle: A Cubicle's-Eye View of Bosses, Meetings, Management Fads and Other Workplace Afflictions (A Dilbert book) My copy has been passed around my organisation with glee - some chapters elicit genuine giggles as you realise that you're doing every day at work is the exact opposite of what the authors suggest.
It is written in a brutally economical style, consistent with its underlying message: everything is overcomplicated: simplify, simplify, simplify. It is also a manifesto for those who want to start their own business. For those who dream fitfully of pulling the rip cord on the corporate treadmill - and let's face it: in these miserable times, we are many - this might be just the firm push between the shoulderblades we need.
Rework is funny, too, and it contains many quotable quotes. My favourite: "Policies are organisation scar tissue. They are codified over-reactions to situations that are unlikely to happen again".
Beautiful: and so true. (I should know: I work in the legal department!)
You'll be through it in a day, but you'll read it again.
Rework highlights many of the non-sense notions that are taken as given in business. After working 5 years in one of the largest companies in the world with all its complexity, I realize that a lot of that complexity was self imposed and is totally unnecessary.
Short book that distills a lot of experience in few pages. Can certainly help you identify how to work better in everything you have influence on.
I read 2-3 books a week and for the first time, ever, I felt compelled to write to the authors, who promplty replied within 24 hours, although perhaps having not read my email completely.
With hindsight, the title may be missleading, because this is not about personal work, but organizational work, not a big drawback.
The only negative point I see is that the authors talk about more resources on their website ("Stuff we like"), but all you find in there is more about the Rework book. Not a big enough negative to take a star off.
The rules cover many topics, from planning and hiring to damage control when things go wrong, but the one I've chosen to focus on myself is about personal productivity. If you've ever worked on a longer flight, then you'll know how much you get done when you're in the "alone zone", since you're offline and there are zero outside distractions. What I've always found, but never fully realised before this book, is that "getting into that zone [also] takes time and requires avoiding interruptions. It's like REM sleep: You don't just go directly into REM sleep. You go to sleep first and then make your way to REM. Any interruptions force you to start over. And just as REM is when the real sleep magic happens, the alone zone is where the real productivity magic happens." What this means for me, is that I simply need to reserve much bigger chunks of alone time than I thought before, like half a day at a time, and really simulate that "in-flight" situation of being completely offline while I'm doing my work.
If you decide to read this book, it would be great to hear which rule stood out the most for you!
It really does take some of the most accepted myths about work and working practice and turn them into actual practical tips. Planning? It's guessing - call it that and it gets its proper perspective. There are many more fantastic pieces of advice.
It's arranged into short sections with cute illustrations to get the point across in a very effective visual way so you are actually absorbing the tip twice - this kind of detail shows that it's been written by someone who knows what buttons to press to get things done.