I have always been a fan of 37Signals’ (now Basecamp) products, whether it is Basecamp or the now infamous Ruby on Rails platform. When I found out that Jason Fried released a book based on his approach, I had to check out Rework.
Fried tackles subjects ranging from launch new products, marketing, productivity to building a culture. However, you will not find adages that you find in your typical management book nor with the typical language. Fried frames the book in a conversationalist tone with short chapters that get right to the point with little fluff.
The content is geared towards individuals who want to start a company (or hobby, or project) and leans towards a more relaxed atmosphere then you would find in a Fortune 500. For this reason it may not hold principles for an average employee without adaptation, for example it may be hard to test drive an employee if your company has strict rules about their hiring process. But, that should not stop you from trying to change the policies from a grassroots effort. After all, if you do care about doing strong work you want the best candidates that an interview may not catch. Rework your processes.
For me, the key takeaways are:
- Long lists never get done, always start at the top with the most important
- Your estimates suck, humans are horrible at estimating. So stop doing it, use facts and leave room for error. But, do not just make random fluff
- Start making something, if you just start doing then there are no excuses. We all find reasons not to do something whether it is working out, crafting, writing a blog.
- Test-drive employees, interviews are awful and are impersonations of people. Let your candidates create work product or solve a problem and you will truly find out how they work.
Overall, Rework is an invigorating, quick read that you should add to your reading list to change the way you look at solving business problems. Read with an open mind and take what you want out of it.