I love 37signals and a lot of what they stand for. This book is consistent with their brand and positioning... and I appreciate that. It's a motivational huzzah for being reasonable in how you work. It's confirmation that you CAN just make a great product and do good business and be profitable. It speaks plainly and cuts through a lot of the crap in our start up environment today.
It's absolutely worth a listen, but you might not come out on the other end having experienced some sort of cathartic epiphany about work either.
After listening to so many good business and marketing books, this book was difficult for me to enjoy. The authors basically spit out old business one-liners and proverbs, and linked them together in a book. The tone of the book (partly the narrator?) seems arrogant and off-putting.
The "good advice" was already obvious. For example, "business meetings cost the salary of everyone in attendance." Yes, yes, I know ... this is in EVERY business book on audible. "Don't work hard, work smart!" Why didn't I think of that!?
I was hoping for something more original. It feels like a self-promotional book for their main business.
I'm a huge fan of 37 Signals. Rework is ok, but I prefer to listen to their pod casts. The book delves a bit more in depth than the free audio clips available, but I prefer the casual tone of the podcasts.
This book is awesome. From start to finish there is no time wasted. It is pure of just what is relevant and important. Highly recommended for those with a business in 2010.
At first look ReWork may appear to be too simple. Don't be fooled, as the book goes on you start to realize a series of things you should (or shouldn't) be doing right now.
Highly recommended for anyone that is starting his own business and for those who are already consolidated it. Trust me... it's a wonderful time.
mostly nonfiction listener
The first book that I'm going to give to my learning and technology team is Rework, by the guys from 37Signals.
288 concise pages - or less than 3 hours in unabridged audio format. We need more books to be this good and this short.
37Signals is best known for its simple, cloud based project management tool Basecamp.
I'm a Basecamp client, and have been using the tool productively for a few years now. If you have ever had to do a project with MS Project, or solely by e-mail and spreadsheets, than you will appreciate the simplicity, elegance, and flexibility of Basecamp.
The founders of 37Signals developed Basecamp to manage their own internal projects, only then realizing they had a service on their hands that other small teams would find useful. Basecamp requires no support from your central IT organization, no local hardware, and no expertise in project management. You can be up and running with a free 30 day trial in 60 seconds. Plans start at $24 a month.
Basecamp is not just a product but also a philosophy. Less features well done are better than many features that complicate a product. Offer services that are lightweight and agile, and resist the urge to meet the needs of every customer. Let your customer outgrow your product. Basecamp is the physical (or digital?) manifestation of the philosophy of work that 37Signals is selling in Rework. The company prides itself on keeping operations lean, costs down, working arrangements flexible, and paid marketing to a minimum. If you work for 37Signals you don't attend many meetings, don't write many strategic plans, and don't give many internal presentations. You are expected and encouraged to carve out quiet time for productive work, to share your work product early and often, and to be open to criticism.
What you are not expected to do is work insane hours, sacrifice family or sleep time, or set unrealistic deadlines or goals.
It could be that 37Signals got lucky with Basecamp, and are falling into the fallacy of assuming that their work culture is an optimal culture because it produced Basecamp. The other products from 37Signals, Highrise (contact tracking), Backpack (Intranet), and Campfire (code sharing) have not enjoyed nearly the same level of success as Basecamp.
We know from Leonard Mlodinow's book, The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives, that we all under-estimate the role of chance in our successes and failures. Nor is the advice in Rework particularly original. Experts like James O'Toole have long been recommending more flexible and less hierarchal workplaces.
What is different about Rework is that the founders of 37Signals are pitching their ideas at a level that can work with small teams on the sorts of projects and tasks that we all do. Anyone in charge of rolling out and supporting new learning technology services will benefit from reading Rework. You don't need a top-down re-org or permission from your leadership to make our products and team interactions more like those of 37Signals. We are all in some measure complacent in meeting cultures , reliances on committees, and the putting off of "shipping" new services until that mythical time the platform meets everyone's needs.
Rework should provoke a good discussion of how your team does things differently from how the team at 37Signals approaches tasks. In the end you may not decide to adopt all of the recommendations in Rework, but I guarantee that this book cause you to take a hard look at how your group operates.
Any Basecamp users want to jump in on the service? What do you think about the idea of writing a short book like Rework that spells out your work culture philosophy and the thinking behind the services you offer?
Excellent, practical advice on doing more and taking control. Can't recommend it enough to anyone who thought "I could do it better."
I have listen to the book about 3 or 4 times just in the first week of owning it.
Great guide for starting a business in today's world.