I have often felt guilty that I do not read books as often as I used to read a few years back. I now have a excuses from being time constrained to being overwhelmed by the information overload. One of the things that I had for 2012 was to pick up at least one book a month and read it. Rework was on my to-be-read list for a while now. What intrigued me most about the book was the reviews, people either just adored the book or rejected it outright. There were very few moderates.
The book is by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, the guys who started basecamp and invented the popular programming framework Ruby on Rails. The book is not their story but what they learned in the process.
You might be tricked into assuming the book is for startups or entrepreneurs only. Well, it’s NOT. Of course there are sections in the book that deals with specific situations that entrepreneurs and startups face like funding, hiring and PR.But it is for anyone who is looking to cutting the rework and start working on things that matter,projects that make a difference or setting up business that add value and generate wealth. Its not a guide on how to quit your job.
The book talks about being lean and not to measure the success by size and bulk. The authors advocate lean organizations and teams that are easier to pivot to change. This is also evident from the size of the book which is quite lean – under 250 pages of actual content. At best the book can be described as a series of excellent blog posts that are stitched nicely together, but that’s what makes it an excellent read.
Overall, the book wins with me. However if I were to pick my 5 favorite -
- Learning from your successes – Learning from your mistakes has been overrated. What you learn from your mistakes is what NOT to do.(which sometimes can be valuable). You actually learn from your successes. Some may find this arrogant, but it’s not that you will never make mistakes. You will make mistakes, but don’t over obsess over them. Move on.
- Inspiration is perishable – Your inspiration does not last forever, what inspires you today may not ignite passion the same way tomorrow. Don’t shelf your inspiration, act now.
- Scratch your own itch – Looking for that business or great product idea? Find solutions to problems that impact you. The authors did that exactly and created basecamp to solve their project management problem
- Edit Ruthlessly – Its not the number of pages or the word count that make the difference, neither does it help to have a large number of service offerings if you can do justice. Be a curator or master chef. The first thing these guys do is edit and they do it ruthlessly devoid of any emotions. They trim the menu to carry only the specialties.
- The By-Product - The by-product if often left unrealised and ignored. The book rework itself is a by product of running creating and running 37signals.
Above all the thing that I really liked about the book was its quite different from your standard business and marketing books that I despise to the core. It’s one of those books i’d probably keep on book shelf to re-read often.
As Seth Godin puts it very aptly in his single line review – “Ignore the book at your own peril”
PS – I have edited this review ruthlessly to keep it under 600 words