“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.”
This appears on the inside cover of Rework, by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. Consider it fair warning.
The outside cover also gives you a good idea of what type of book this is. On the front is a blurb provided by Seth Godin, the master of pithy observations. On the back (as you can see pictured here), are some of their catchy chapter titles.
All of these clues are very important because whether you enjoy the book depends on your expectations.
Rework, in my eyes, reads more like a page-a-day desk calendar than a business book. In fact, it seems to be a new type of book that has become popular in the age of blogs and tweets. Maybe we should call it a “blook.”
Some readers are not okay with this (see Amazon reviews), and I had to ask myself why I am. My answer was, again, expectations.
The back cover is what set me on the right path. I saw those short statements and immediately agreed with some of them, which made me figure I’d like what they had to say. And it made me curious about the others.
I’m a big fan of common sense, and many of their precepts are exactly that.
Excerpts: My two favorites from the cover
ASAP is poison
Stop saying ASAP. We get it. It’s implied. Everyone wants things done as soon as they can be done…when everything is high priority, nothing is.
Meetings are toxic
The worst interruptions of all are meetings…the true cost of meetings is staggering. Let’s say you’re going to schedule a meeting that lasts one hour, and you invite ten people…You’re trading ten hours of productivity for one hour of meeting time.
Rework helps you rethink
There are many nuggets of wisdom like this in Rework, and that’s why I recommend you read it. Everyone should regularly rethink the way they work. And this book definitely gives you a strong outside perspective to consider.
However, Rework is not “the perfect playbook for anyone who’s ever dreamed of doing it on their own,” as it says on the inside cover. Though the authors give some great information in limited space, they don’t give step-by-step instruction or go into much depth.
I would call Rework a quick, even entertaining read, with some smart perspectives to help you rethink the way you work.
And I would love to see a follow-up book by Fried and Hansson that does go deeper.
If you do read Rework or have already read it, let me know what you think. The authors also have a top-rated blog you can check out: Signal vs. Noise.