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Rework

Narrated by: Mike Chamberlain
Length: 2 hrs and 50 mins
Categories: Business, Career Skills
4.5 out of 5 stars (5,453 ratings)

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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

What members say

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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.

52 of 56 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.

17 of 19 people found this review helpful

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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.

49 of 57 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.

21 of 24 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.

4 of 4 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.

17 of 20 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.

26 of 31 people found this review helpful

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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.

3 of 3 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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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • 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...

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-16-19

Love it !

So far one of the best books I had. Very interesting! It keeps me going and motivated me to do more.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • David Keogh
  • 07-04-19

Amazing

Well worth the listen. Very easy to understand and each section makes you rethink your own practices.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr D R Heath
  • 06-06-19

Lots of good advice, but little hard evidence

There is lots of good advice that comes from the creators of 37 Signals, but it's given in a way that assumes it is universally applicable and does not give much evidence (other than anecdote) to support this position.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-09-19

A great listen

I found this book helpful at dismissing a lot myths in business and how we do things generally. It has brought about a paradigm shift for me me

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • D. Withington
  • 03-12-19

Full of good ideas

A book full of good ideas and straight to the point, with a common sense approach. Enjoyed listening to it.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • RedRev
  • 02-22-19

fabulous tips

Great to listen to. Superb inspiration. some awesome ideas for immediate implementation. Highly recommended. A great book.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Catherine Green
  • 01-16-19

Just do it, it will change your working world!

The chaps behind @basecamp beautifully denounce conventional management wisdom in a selection of concise essays-to-live-by such as “Planning is guessing”, “Throw less at the problem”, “Underdo your competition”, “Meetings are toxic”, “Drug dealers get it right” and “Marketing is not a department”.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Keith
  • 12-20-18

Great audiobook

Even though it’s short, it’s valuable so I recommend it, no extra rubbish is added just straight value.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • k
  • 08-06-18

to the point

so simple and to the point no rubbish storey u will not skip anything
never read a book like that amazing

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  • 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

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • 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

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • 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.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Felise
  • 08-26-19

good read

nice and short, something to keep re reading. find this book very helpful. do recommend

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-06-19

Awesome book

Awesome book for a new business owner like me. The ideas really define the conventional wisdom. Applying these ideas really make a big impression on my partners and others. Definitely recommended

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Nick Condon
  • 05-29-19

Best business book ever

Some great ideas that challenge traditional business notions and concepts. It is well worth listening to.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Eric Kauffmann
  • 03-04-19

Super useful

Very useful book, easy to apply and it let's you see things you wouldn't have otherwise.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Abhishek Vasisht
  • 11-09-18

Great book

Must read book for everyone. Learned lot of life learning tips , next step is implement.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Xcursion
  • 10-21-18

Good Way of Rethinking Work

This was a good review of practices within the work place and how to get rid of stuff that really doesn’t matter.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • 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.