Friday, August 27, 2010

Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

ReworkRework is a business inspiration book by the founders of 37signals. Rework examines some of the basic tenets of entrepreneurship and running a business and the authors give their own suggestions about why some of these tenets don't work or why the assumptions are false. Some of their ideas include starting a business while keeping your day job, starting a business with your own capital and not turning to the bank or outside funders, and committing to your idea, rather than building a company with the expectation that the sale of the company will allow you to retire--and someone else will profit immensely, or dismantle, your idea.

I really enjoyed the essays in the book, since they were short, punchy and not filled with data and numbers. The essays are about what they feel worked for them and their company, and what they think will help entrepreneurs (ahem, starters) in building their own business. The book is also free of jargon and about using common sense and less hierarchy and delegation to get tasks done. It also about trying new things, learning how to revise and not second guessing every possible outcome without even testing a hypothesis or new technique.

I think I will employ some of their ideas. For example, I love their idea about lists where they suggest that long lists and/or prioritization does not help a list get done. They suggest breaking down lists into much smaller digestible parts, such as a list of one hundred into a list of ten--so when you cross off one item on the list, 10% is completed. And you also get the charge out of completing a major portion which encourages you to tackle the rest. I also liked the "hire great writers" since you know that they can think and communicate clearly--though we know great thinking, like great writing, may need more than one draft or some time to reflect. Putting the back office on the front lines is also another extremely good idea since it can decrease miscommunications and help the "management" understand the clients and their concerns.

This is a good book for a person who needs the courage to start or sustain their own sideline work or for a new manager who just wants some ideas about how to run their ship, especially if they believe that less management is better.


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