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Rework Hardcover – March 9, 2010
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Most business books give you the same old advice: Write a business plan, study the competition, seek investors, yadda yadda. If you're looking for a book like that, put this one back on the shelf.
Read it and you'll know why plans are actually harmful, why you don't need outside investors, and why you're better off ignoring the competition. The truth is, you need less than you think. You don't need to be a workaholic. You don't need to staff up. You don't need to waste time on paperwork or meetings. You don't even need an office. Those are all just excuses.
What you really need to do is stop talking and start working. This book shows you the way. You'll learn how to be more productive, how to get exposure without breaking the bank, and tons more counterintuitive ideas that will inspire and provoke you.
With its straightforward language and easy-is-better approach, Rework is the perfect playbook for anyone who’s ever dreamed of doing it on their own. Hardcore entrepreneurs, small-business owners, people stuck in day jobs they hate, victims of "downsizing," and artists who don’t want to starve anymore will all find valuable guidance in these pages.
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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."
- Publisher : Currency; 1st edition (March 9, 2010)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 288 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0307463745
- ISBN-13 : 978-0307463746
- Item Weight : 15.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.74 x 1.06 x 8.54 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #12,084 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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For those who are looking for better business strategies or new ways of looking at and implementing things, I would recommend this book. However, if you are looking for a well-structured comprehensive manual, you may want to look at some other books.
TL;DR Version: Buy the book if you have no idea what 37signals stands for. If you do, expect SvN on paper.
Long Version: If you've never heard of 37signals or read Signal vs. Noise and you're a business owner or someone who needs to buy a book for an "entrepreneur" (Jason and David prefer the term "starter"), then this is a pretty good book to purchase. It's 273 pages, but most of that is filled with white space and somewhat relevant artwork (almost too much artwork, really), so it's an easy read. From start to finish I spent just over a few hours reading Rework, and I'm no speed reader by any stretch of the imagination. Don't expect to be blown away by any revolutionary ideas, either. One of the early reviews to come out said, "The clarity, even genius, of this book actually brought me to near-tears on several occasions" (Tom Peters, New York Times bestselling author). I don't want to bad mouth the guy, because I don't know him, but that's some wicked crazy rad hyperbole. This is a simple book that's just a by-product of the blog. Nothing more, nothing less.
If you are someone who is very familiar with 37signals and has spent a considerable amount of time reading the blog, then don't feel like you need to pick up this book immediately. Don't get me wrong, $12 (or however much it costs when you buy Rework) is entirely worth it, if even just to have some good night time reading material. But if you think that Rework will bring you any additional insight into 37signals beyond what is available online, then you are thinking incorrectly. Rework felt like a package of SvN blog posts from 2007 to 2009. I'll explain why in a bit.
The Major Takeaways:
If you're strapped for cash and still want to take away lessons from this book, just read the table of contents and then cross-reference those words with the 37signals blog. Jason and David do a heck of a job being straightforward about what they are writing about. For example, "Ignore the real world" (page 13) can be found on their website. In fact, a whole bunch of their content from Rework can be found on their website. To wit:
"Learning from mistakes is overrated" (Rework, page 16): "Learning from failure is overrated" (Feb. 3rd, 2009)(SvN)
"Planning is Guessing" (Rework, page 19): "The Planning Falacy" (Jun. 12th, 2009) (SvN)
"Workaholism" (Rework, page 25): "Fire the workaholics" (Mar. 7th, 2008) (SvN)
"Enough with 'Entrepreneurs'" (Rework, page 28): "The word entrepreneur and its baggage" (Apr. 22nd, 2009) (SvN)
"Scratch your own itch" (Rework, page 34): "What's your problem?" (Getting Real)
"No time is no excuse" (Rework, page 40): "There's always time to launch your dream" (Mar. 10, 2009) (SvN)
"Outside Money is Plan Z" (Rework, page 50): "Fund yourself" (Getting Real)
And that's just the first 50 pages! You see where I'm going with this. If you are an avid reader of 37signals and have kept up with them for 6-12 months, then most of what you read in Rework will simply be a regurgitation of what's already been written online. That's why the early reviews really irked me. Is this book insightful? Clearly. Is it legendary or tear-worthy? Give me a break! The grand language is really making me distrust books, and if I didn't already know the great work that 37signals does or if I were not already a long time customer with 37signals, I wouldn't have bought this book. The flowery language of the early reviews just made me expect the world from Rework, and all I really got was the hardcover form of Signal v. Noise, with better edits and word choice.
I wouldn't write this long, rambling review if I wasn't passionate about the line of work that 37signals is in. I owe much of my organization and peace of mind to 37signals products, so count me as one of the 37signals "audience" members. I think Rework is an exceptional book in that it serves as a reminder of many of the lessons and "recipes" that Jason and David have given us through the years. It is definitely worth the money if you have not already internalized much of the lessons contained in the Rework table of contents. If you have, and you are an avid fan of Jason and David already, then there's really no need to read Rework unless you have some extra time on your hands.
And to Jason and David, if either of you actually read this review, then I hope in your next book you'll ditch the early BS reviews. That's my main gripe. If you want to recycle SvN from 2009-2011 and turn it into a book called ENHANCE! in 2012, that's fine by me. I'll be the first one in line to read it; but know that I, and many other readers, will expect to see the same stuff that we've already read on the blog. I love the work you two do; I mean I REALLY love the work that you two do. But come on. Don't set me up for the stars and then throw glitter in my face.
All in all I give Rework a 7/10. It's worth a read if you have no clue what 37signals stands for. Even if you do, buy the book for a friend or out-of-touch boss.
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.
Top reviews from other countries
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.
Quick delivery as promised. The book had a little smudge on the cover. But that's okay. It's pandemic and I don't want to be hard on anyone. The team can improve the transportation a little. But other than that, the book's condition had no compromise.
How's the book?
One of the very few books that made me so reluctant to put it down. This is an outcome of the authors who looked at their experiences from a unique angle for a really long time and compiled it as a book. Say, if you can grasp a little or take only one chapter with you after reading this book, I'm pretty much sure this will save your time and efforts someday.
What a cutthroat way to grow as a professional if you actually follow all the chapters that talk about Productivity and Hiring. When coming across non-fictions like these you're really motivated to inculcate the things into your daily life and improve. Now, if I go to work the next morning, I'll slightly look at it differently. How beautiful isn't it? This book will bring that change in you.
Content is crisp, sharp, and making sense page after page. A remarkable book that leaves me saying "Must Read!"
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!