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.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Why business books are bad for you from BNET

"Most business books are air sandwiches". I like that and sadly it is sometimes true. I also avoid any business book that includes "inspirational" in a cover blurb.

What's your job geography IQ?

This is a cool little quiz from HRPeople that asks where, by state, major companies like GM, Whole Foods and Marriot maintain their headquarters. If you have someone who is stalking the Fortune 500 for a job (yes, they really get that fixated) this might be something fun to test their and your knowledge.

Caveat: You have to sign in to have access to the results, which completely annoyed the heck out of me. They sent me a temporary password with a blank password field. Since they issued it, I kinda need that info. No, entering my email and pressing "enter" without a password didn't work. So, cute but dumb.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Knockout job interview presentations by Rebecca Cornfield

Knockout Job Interview Presentations: How to Present with Confidence, Beat the Competition and Impress Your Way into a Top JobSo, you've been asked to do a presentation as part of your interview, but you have no idea how to prepare. Or you have done some presentations at interviews and think they are the reason why you have not gotten the job offer. Knockout job interview presentations will explain how to prepare for interview presentations, even if the presentation topic isn't presented to you in advance, what employers are looking for in presentations and how to get feedback on your presentation and your delivery.

For librarians that are preparing for an interview that has a presentation component (usually academic library positions), this book will probably help if you have never given a presentation before or if your presentation experience is limited. If you are already a great presenter or instructor, but you are not quite sure why an employer would want you to present at an interview, this book will help you understand how an employer mindset might be different from a student mindset.

This book is also a very quick read, since I was through it within an afternoon, so you could easily include this book as part of your interview "homework".