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Rework Book Review

Published by: Crown Business

Author: Jason Fried & David Heinemeier

Page Count: 288

Price (as of this writing): Hardcover $12.20, Kindle: $12.99

What is Rework and Who are the authors?

Rework is the latest offering by the guys of 37Signals. The book essentially takes everything we’ve ever known about companies and business and obliterates it word by word. Have you ever been on hold for what seems a lifetime trying to get help? They cover that.

In addition to little annoyances, these guys take concepts that some consider fundamental truths and explain why they believe it is flawed. All of the values that corporate America holds dear to them isleft in tatters.

So, who are the people behind such a book? They are the creators who have brought successful products to market, such as:

  • Basecamp – Project Management Software
  • Highrise – Contact Management
  • Campfire – A real-time collaboration and chat tool.

They are also well known for their successful technology design blog Signal VS Noise and being the creators behind Ruby on Rails (a software development platform in case you didn’t know).

Rework’s Strong Points

What I love about Rework is that they hold no business concept sacred. They take a “put up or shut up” approach to customers. Don’t tell your customers they are important, show them they are important by not making them wait on hold.

They make other assertions that many might think are wrong:

  • Workaholism is stupid, not admirable.
  • Planning is guessing.
  • Make a product with less features
  • Make decisions instead of overthinking everything.
  • Mission statements are dumb.
  • and many more.

Don’t waste time and resources on a stupid mission statement, just be as good as you can to all of your customers. Don’t cater to your customers to a point where you are over promising and under-delivering, have the guts to tell a customer they have out-grown your product.

They take an honest approach to managing customers, and this is a refreshing approach. For years, companies have had no problem forcing customers into products that didn’t fit them, then let customer service handle the rest. That makes for a terrible reputation, and a terrible customer relationship.

I also like that they provided many real world examples and cited many of their stories and claims which help prove the validity of their claims.

Rework’s Weak Points

When I genuinely enjoy reading a book, they’re never long enough, but this one is especially short. The writing was entertaining at times, but also had excellent insight. I’m glad they didn’t fluff it up, but I would like more of the same concentrated view.

The other weak point is that many of their concepts aren’t super ground-breaking. Many of their points are things that people have thought of for years, but they bring it to a well-organized and thought out book. In addition, they speak from experience, and have implemented many of the philosophies they talk about, which is why the book is actually worth reading.

Rework: Is It Worth The Money?

I have referred back to the book a number of times, and I’m very pleased with it. In addition to being funny and insightful, it lends a lot of excellent experience for small businesses to consider when building their business.

They tackle concepts such as:

  • Should my business grow or stay the same size?
  • Shoud I finance my business?
  • Should I release an imperfect product?

While not every concept in the book is new and shiny, I do believe I’ve garnered enough knowledge from Rework that it will pay for itself hundreds of times over as my businesses grow (or stay the same size). You’ll get that joke once you read it.

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