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Editorial Reviews

" Rework takes aim at marketing, hiring, and other disciplines associated with building a business as if they were bottles lined up against a wall. Then it blows them away...Fried and Hansson are the Henry David Thoreaus of entrepreneurship." (Leigh Buchanan, Inc. Magazine)
" Rework is a Webby manifesto for post-recession success. Forget about strategic planning, [the authors] advise. And ignore your competition - unless you feel like picking a public fight." (Nick Summers, Newsweek)
"I want to buy a copy for everyone I know either to validate their current business practices or to expose them to alternative ways of doing things." (Alexis Rodich, Washington Post)

Publisher's Summary

From the founders of the trailblazing software company 37signals, here is a different kind of business book one that explores a new reality. Today, anyone can be in business. Tools that used to be out of reach are now easily accessible. Technology that cost thousands is now just a few bucks or even free. Stuff that was impossible just a few years ago is now simple.That means anyone can start a business. And you can do it without working miserable 80-hour weeks or depleting your life savings. You can start it on the side while your day job provides all the cash flow you need. Forget about business plans, meetings, office space - you don't need them.

With its straightforward language and easy-is-better approach, Rework is the perfect playbook for anyone who's ever dreamed of doing it on their own. Hardcore entrepreneurs, small-business owners, people stuck in day jobs who want to get out, and artists who don't want to starve anymore will all find valuable inspiration and guidance in these pages. It's time to rework work.

©2010 Jason Fried (P)2010 Random House

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Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Simple, Quick, Timely, Contrarian Advice

An excellent look at the work ethic of a very successful software company that does everything according to its own rules.

Best takeaways:
- Work is not just something you do 40 hours a week, it's work. Maybe it takes 10 hours, or maybe it takes 80 hours a week.
- If you're taking more than 40 hours a week to work, you're not working efficiently.
- Your employees are not 13 year olds... stop treating them like they are.
- Be very slow to hire.
- Growth doesn't equal success, sometimes growth is girth.
- Planning is guessing.
- If deciding between a few people for a position, hire the best writer - clear writing is a sign of clear thinking and an ability to communicate.

I entered the corporate structure very late in life, after owning my own business, and I've always thought the same way these guys apparently think.

My only complaint, is I would have liked some more real world examples and experiences, but my guess is they originally had more, but pulled stories out to make the book more brief and to the point.

They even say, at one point that in the final draft, they cut the book into half as many words as they had originally wrote.

Mike Chamberlain is an excellent narrator, and really added to the experience.

47 of 51 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Some good ideas. Some not.

I liked some of the thoughts in Rework. The idea that set company policies equal organizational scar tissue is spot on. Planning = guessing is an original thought. And some of the hiring practices ??? like not hiring "supermen" and working in the position you are filling before you fill it ??? make good sense.

Then again, there are a number of ideas in Rework that are just plain wrong. Smaller isn't always better. Yes, if you make software, small works because once you develop something, the growth comes from incremental sales. And your channel is virtually frictionless. But what if what you sell is time and experience? Then, the fewer bodies you have working, the less money you make. And what if you make pencil erasers? You still need to hire bodies to manufacture, transport and sell your product.

Another idea that's just wrong is the notion that it's better to write a blog and rely on free social media than to use traditional media like PR and advertising. This may be true of some products, and it's especially true of web-based products, but many businesses, like retail, food and manufactured goods, could not function without traditional media. It really depends upon what you are selling.

On top of all this, many of the "observations" that the authors make about business today ??? how meetings are toxic and sampling a product is a good practice, and saying ASAP is meaningless and counterproductive ??? are right out of a Dilbert cartoon. Without he humor. Business people, at least the smart ones, know these things already. There's no insight offered here. Yet the authors treat these subjects like they're the first people to ever think of them.

From the number of times the authors used the words "suck," "sh-t" and "f--k," and the brash, sanctimonious, we're-brilliant-and-your-a-moron tone of the text (and perhaps the narrator shaded that part a bit) the reader is left with a feeling that Fried and Heinemeir are nothing more than a couple of young guys who think they have the business world figured out. But they really don't.

For the record, I use 37Signals products. I think they are brilliant, clean and powerful. But just because a company does a few things right, that does not make them experts on everything.

43 of 50 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

A little too preachy for my taste

I enjoy 37 Signals' SVN blog, and there is no doubt they've had a tremendous amount of success doing what they do. However, as a casual reader of their blog, Rework appears to be a rehashing of previous points made via SVN, and comes off as a little too preachy for my taste. Still there are some nuggets in here to enjoy, and it's a very short listen.

If you have spare credits I wouldn't hesitate to download this book, but in my opinion there are many more credit-worthy titles to choose from.

25 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great... but not for everyone

For me personally, I loved the audio book. Very simple, very direct and full of little pieces of wisdom. However, it is quite industry specific. Some of the principles he speaks about are universal but most are very specific to small businesses and starting businesses particularly in the technology field. That is where I am so I found the book to be exactly what I wanted to hear. I listened to it 3 times over a 2 week period. Again, not for everyone but if you are running a small business, want to start a small business or just want to turn a hobby into some income, he gives great tips to do it. Very practical and to the point.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

I wish more books were like this.

This book has a lot of good and useful information. Much of the info is actionable. I wish more books were like this, it was short and to the point and didn't spend hours building up to one small idea. I highly recommend this book for both new ideas and as a refresher for forgotten knowledge.

19 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Preachy and full of cliche

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Good for SOME Businesses

This is a good for small to medium business in some markets, but in others it is quite inappropriate in parts.

If you want to read this, what you should consider is that the authors are writing about their experience, and their experience is providing online services. That means no stock issues, ability to automatically supply at any time etc etc.

There are also a few parts that when you have been in business a while, you will see the obvious contradictions. My favourite was that you have to speak your mind and say if something is no good, but an earlier comment was avoid office politics at all costs. Now there's a contradiction. Telling someone there project is to be canned means that egos will be bruised and you will have to enter into office politics or they will quickly leave!

Another small company centric point was, trying out potential employees by giving them a short term contract. If you work in a large company, the job is often not contractable, so there is no way you could do this.

As I say, and interesting read, but you need to consider who the authors are, and where their experience in business comes from.

15 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Inspiring and fun

This book is so funny and well read by Mike Chamberlain. He understands to get the direct language from the book out in the meaning it was meant to be. The book itself is very inspiring and brings up lots of issues that new start-ups or stressed-out employees face and could help them to focus and get their jobs done without the stress involved.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Thought provoking, ever after Getting Real

Even though I read Getting Real, a previous book by David and Jason, some 4 times, Rework is definitely thought provoking and inspiring. I do not agree on all topics, and some of them apply only to software industry, but the time definitely has come to "rework work". Or at least re-think what is possible with modern technology, and why people would even care about some mainstream ideas and ways of doing business originating in 18th century.

What is especially valuable is that this book is written from personal experience and perspective. If you ever thought of starting a company, Rework will be useful for you.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The best business book I've read so far

I've never read (or listened) so much truth in a business book as I did in this one.
It really worth the time your spend listening to it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Thomas
  • 09-25-10

Think for yourself

This book does have some good things to say about starting with a new business but (and this is just my opinion) it strikes me like a lot of books of this type as lacking a bit in substance and also as prescribing set approaches to situations, when in fact the best thing to do is to weigh each up as you see them.

For example, in this book they say start small and build from a small base, don't give up the day job straight away and generally take it steady in the beginning. This may be the best strategy in some situations, but not necessarily in all situations.

There are a bunch of other books out there which tell you to always try to think big, and take risks, make the leap etc... which may be the right thing to do in your situation, or it may not. What I'm trying to say is that though the book IS useful and good food for thought, it basically represents one company's way of doing things, not a universal panacea. The real skill is to adapt your strategy to the circumstance.

There's also the business of backing both sides in a couple of cases. For example, they suggest enforce a strict 'no-distractions' atmosphere at work and then later on say that in fact banning people from using facebook at work is bad because people actually need distractions.

Also didn't like the swearing towards the end, but that's just a personal thing. As I say it's got some interesting stuff but nothing groundbreaking or particularly inspirational. Think and Grow Rich or the 48 Laws of Power it ain't...

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Connor Imrie
  • 06-09-18

First startup book that I would pay for again

The advice and presentation of this book is unmatched compared to other books I’ve read. No waffle, just actionable points one after another. It’s a bit of a rant - but then the boys club mentality needs a bit of a shakeup. Not really surprised given it was created by DHH and Jason Fried, who are both fantastic.
Narrator is great too - I didn’t find myself bored of this guy!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Will
  • 05-12-18

Interesting

Practical tips that will be helpful going forward. Sometimes very drawn out but overall worth a listen

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Julian Vifor
  • 05-08-18

Concentrated challenges to the work status quo

I really enjoyed this book for constantly making me rethink both how things are done where I work and how I've started implementing in my company.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 03-08-18

loved it

great book. This book can change the way you think and run your small business to ensure that your small company can grow into a larger one.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Marc
  • 03-06-18

Great little book

Straight to the point and the kick up the arse you need some times. Can be listened to in a few hours on a journey..
Great!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-17-18

amazing book!

Finally something new fresh, with great ideas and inputs that me like an entrepreneur I can use in every day life of building a business

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Zulfikar
  • 02-04-18

Great Book!

This book is purely based on factual business related elements. Must read! Great work authors!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 11-18-17

Stunning

Astonishing book. Short and to the point. Essential BS-free info of relevance to everyone who just wants to get stuff done, regardless of where you sit in a large or small organisation.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lady Master Qamar
  • 09-23-17

Awesome

I loved it. Very frank and direct. And its for everyone who is tired of the business world as it is

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • heide
  • 03-17-15

great insights, but didn't like voice.

must read.. really enjoyed it. very useful. why is there a minimum on the words I write

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Matthew
  • 02-07-15

Alternate thinking. Wisdom you will use!

Fantastic text. I was initially after a lengthier text but heard such great reviews about this book.
So many pause and rewind sections.
Very different thought processes. Many counter cultural business wisdom. Really made me question my methodologies.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 05-22-18

To the point, no fluff!

Very up to date and to the point information, I have proved a lot of the stategies in this book first hand in my company.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-01-18

Enjoyable read

This book was fun to listen to and motivates you to break the cookie cutter

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Pete
  • 10-30-17

efficient and provocative

This book flows like a long list of great bullet points of business wisdom based on experience rather than theory. It's efficient and shows no respect for convention. I should've read sooner.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Paul Chapman
  • 07-19-17

Brief but pretty good

Not bad. Some interesting angles around what works, what doesn't etc. Limited jargon & corporate speak (thank god for that). Worth a listen/read.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mr. S. D. Bourges
  • 02-12-17

Best business work available

So great, so simple. Finally someone writes something for the 21rst century.
Recommendable for every level

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Igor
  • 10-23-16

Great book, bringing logic to running businesses!

The content of this book is so good that I had to stop placing bookmarks as I found myself liking every section and sub-section, it is simply great from start to finish!!!

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Michael
  • 10-06-15

Like listening to your barber for stock tips

The author has a lot of advice that he feels was useful in managing his software company. Honestly, I don't know what's so special about Basecamp or why I would want to model my own startup in its image. He lacks credibility and this sets off the book with a lot of scepticism.

He makes a lot of statements about why distractions are bad, meetings are bad, or company policies are bad and he relishes that avoiding these unnecessary complications sets him apart from the big corporates - which it would seem are also inherently bad in his opinion.

E.g. I can just imagine the company's lawyers cringing when he says to take out the disclaimers at the bottom of emails. Which law school did this guy go to?

There is no justification to the advice he shares, no case studies or logical buildup, just the inference that we should take it as gospel because he has a company (that I've never heard of) that he is proud of.

I'm sure some of the advice in this book is good, but I did detect a lot of BS as well.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • tudor
  • 09-16-15

WOW!

Better than a business degree!

I can't imagine only reading this book once. It's so full of real life business advice gold that can be applied instantly regardless of the stage you are in, that I started it again as soon as it finished. This time I'm taking notes!

For me this goes in my classics collection.