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Publisher's Summary

In this timely manifesto, the authors of the New York Times best-seller Rework broadly reject the prevailing notion that long hours, aggressive hustle, and "whatever it takes" are required to run a successful business today.

In Rework, Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson introduced a new path to working effectively. Now, they build on their message with a bold, iconoclastic strategy for creating the ideal company culture - what they call "the calm company". Their approach directly attacks the chaos, anxiety, and stress that plagues millions of workplaces and hampers billions of workers every day.

Long hours, an excessive workload, and a lack of sleep have become a badge of honor for modern professionals. But it should be a mark of stupidity, the authors argue. Sadly, this isn’t just a problem for large organizations - individuals, contractors, and solopreneurs are burning themselves out the same way. The answer to better productivity isn’t more hours - it’s less waste and fewer things that induce distraction and persistent stress.

It’s time to stop celebrating crazy and start celebrating calm, Fried and Hansson assert.

Fried and Hansson have the proof to back up their argument. "Calm" has been the cornerstone of their company’s culture since Basecamp began 20 years ago. Destined to become the management guide for the next generation, It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work is a practical and inspiring distillation of their insights and experiences. It isn’t an audiobook telling you what to do. It’s an audiobook showing you what they’ve done - and how any manager or executive, no matter the industry or size of the company, can do it, too.

©2018 Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work

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Good to listen. Hard to implement.

The ideas in this book are good. The 'how' was missing. Below expectations. There's a lot of talk about what should be and negligible discussion about how it's achieved. Can't deduce much insight from how to implement this.

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Good story with a little bit of patronizing.

Don't get me wrong, the content and reflections are good in essence, and makes sense to apply them in our current industry, but I felt the tone a bit patronizing and condescending. I would love to hear about how to implement this ideas rather than hear how amazing it went for Basecamp Inc.

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Worst. Business Book. Ever.

This has got to be the dumbest business book on the marketing today. I could barely get half-way through it before I couldn't take it anymore and deleted it. 99.99% of companies would fail miserably if they followed most of the advice in it. Maybe a handful of single-product specialty software companies and a neighborhood pizzeria would be successful with it. (and that pizza better be really good.) The advice here is often presented as an absolute -- all meetings are bad ... never interrupt your co-workers ... never set goals. really? If there is one true absolute in business it's that there's no single approach that works for most companies ... you have to adapt to situations, competition, the marketplace. Most of what they suggest boils down to "be a nice, respectful co-worker." Okay ... yeah, but that's it? What happens when you have real shareholders ... varied customers, meaningful competitors? These authors have no doubt created a great product, but it would have been far better to write a narrative on how they did that and why these business practices were effective for them ... and perhaps some suggestions on ways to implement the ones that make the most sense for your organization. Instead they come off as arrogant, sheltered and utterly tone-deaf to what most businesses deal with. I wish I could get my money back on this one.

22 people found this helpful

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Too biased and only speak from experience not from statistical analysis on performance

I liked reading "remote" which was also written from experience, and I enjoyed it, but this book just felt too opinionated and seemingly written from a perspective of arrogance that all their decisions were right.

Honestly I get that it's what they know, but at some point it would be nice to have some statistics or more information behind why they made these decisions and not just "that" they made them and they were good.

2 people found this helpful

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A More Sensible Way...

This simply reinforces why I want to work for and with Jason, David, and the Basecamp contingent, as they understand people and product come before profit, not in spite of or in light of. If you pour your curious heart into working effectively towards the best product, you will inevitably create all the desires and efficiencies in the workspace.

1 person found this helpful

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Amazing book that everyone in the software industry should read, period.

If you’re in a software industry (and a bunch of other industries to be honest), this book is a must read whether you’re running a company, leading a team or just working.
There’s just so much good stuff in this book!
Just go read it. Read it now. Stop reading this review and read the book.

2 people found this helpful

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My Dream Employer

Such a great book! Helped me realize so many things I always wanted at work are realistic and not off the wall. Searching for my next employer based on many of the things I heard in the book!

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Excellent book.

This is a great follow up book for ReWork. I like how often they tell of the things they tried and didn’t work as well as they wanted so they kept iterating.
Supporting older version of the product instead of forcing an upgrade was an interesting approach.

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Relevant & helpful for startup leaders

Concise and value-packed listen. More of a mantra than a user guide, but I so appreciated the reminder that doing things differently is possible.

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Game Changer

This book was amazing! I would highly recommend to anyone open to growing themselves and their business.

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  • Povilas
  • 10-06-18

Books don't have to be crazy long

Was waiting for the book for months, and it didn't disappoint. In a calm, slow manner, authors deliver their philosophy on how to stay calm in this crazy world. Book is about business but thoughts can be applied anywhere.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-19-18

Very inspiring book.

Although it is not rocket science, and this is not "Hot do, or What to do" when you have a business, but more like a biography of how Basecamp is doing things.

All in all a good and quick read.

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  • Marco Troisi
  • 11-20-18

Excellent advice.

Excellent advice. Probably a bit too specific to the authors’ own company and experience, but still very relevant to most people. The swearing is a bit much. Overall I really enjoyed it.

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  • OctopusX
  • 10-23-18

awesome little book

I can definitely relate to a lot of the stories mentioned in the book as bad examples of a workplace. I can especially recommend to people in management positions!

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  • Nina F.
  • 10-22-18

A description of nirvana, but not a How To

Fell flat with me. A list of idealistic work values that are not backed by any real evidence or instruction (opposite of How Google Works, which is a similar idea - outlining company culture - but everything is evidence backed).

One of my key takeaways was to aim low and remain calm... which seems a little crazy to me.

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  • Tom Chantler
  • 10-03-18

Some very sensible advice

I enjoyed this short book. As someone who has spent many years working for various software companies and has experienced all of the bad stuff described herein, this was an interesting book. Whilst many of the ideas themselves are not necessarily revelatory to a grizzled veteran of the industry, they are quite revolutionary (as in, they are not generally being done). Of course, it made me want to work at Basecamp (or somewhere with a very similar ethos), but I don’t think it’s just an extended pitch for how cool they are but, rather, for how cool their processes are. I reckon it should be required reading for anybody running a software company.

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  • D. Birznieks
  • 10-05-18

Great but a lot of overlap with previous (Re)work

It was great to here about the unique and wonderful world of Basecamp again. I enjoyed it but was waiting for a reason why it wasn’t just a revision of the Rework book, but it never came. Regardless, it’s always valuable to revisit and challenge your thinking.