Time to Rework: Book Review


Organizations are in need of a reboot.

Many of the old hierarchies and rules are holding them back — way in the past — when it comes to adapting to the new market realities. The disconnect between a stubbornly siloed internal culture clashes with the networked approach that the external conversation demands.

Culture defines a lot of things in organizations. How problems are tackled, priorities, rewards, and thus behaviors.

I don't agree with everything Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson put in Rework (Amazon affiliate link). For example, I think planning is important, especially if you're turning around an organization the size of the Titanic. And I know it does feel that way steering it in a new direction. Here's a thought, accelerate into the steering — use its own mass.

I picked up this book over many others that crowded the shelves at my local Borders store because I was looking for an espresso shot, only in the mind. That it delivers in spades. Among the parts I fully embrace are:

  • start making something
  • no time is no excuse
  • embrace constrains
  • focus on what won't change
  • interruption is the enemy of productivity
  • make tiny decisions
  • marketing is not a department
  • sound like you

I particularly liked the bit on inspiration as I've experienced how much I can get done when I feel that way. Inspiration is not about yesterday or tomorrow — it's about now, this moment, this action. Most of the people I tend to hang out with in the real world are inspiring. Thank you for that. You know who you are.

Having a clear purpose in business is a reflection of having a clear purpose in life. It takes work to figure it out, and when you do, it's much easier to make decisions. Also, if you're looking for a good example of uncomplicated language and conversational style in business, this is it.

Reading this book made me think better about what I do, the problems I'm solving, and opportunity costs of doing or not doing something.

Now if you'll excuse me, it's time to get busy and rework some stuff. 

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0 responses to “Time to Rework: Book Review”

  1. Thanks for posting this review…I might have bypassed this book on the shelf because of the “planning is guessing” in giant letters on the front. But it sounds like a nice kick in the pants sort of book. Just the thing, sometimes…

  2. Great review – I read it, too, and especially like the “marketing is not a department” concept. Your touch-points are everywhere, and (as you know well) your conversations are everywhere, too.
    ASAP is poison was also a good take-away.
    Very motivating book – reminded me of Vaynerchuk’s Crush It in many ways.

  3. Perfect timing! I’ve finished Herd and I’ve finished How, so it’s time to find another book.
    I believe meetings are toxic. Are we gonna get things done, or just sit around talking about how we’re gonna get things done?
    I also believe that planning is, for the most part, guessing. At best, any plan is an educated guess at how the future will unfold. Nobody knows for sure, so nothing should be carved in stone but vision and direction.
    This book sounds right up my alley. The fact that it’s got an origami snowball on the cover just adds credibility.
    Thanks for sharing, Valeria!
    /test comment

  4. I read “Rework” as soon as it hit the shelves, and I felt quite disappointed because I could not find anything more than what I had already read in “Getting Real”; the only difference was that Getting Real is about creating great software products, and Rework, more generally, is about launching a business.
    Not that I disagree with most of the concept expressed in both books, but, as 37signals recommend not to fool customers, I think they should have written an alert to their regular readers: “beware, this is always the same old stuff, just repurposed for generic business”.

  5. @Rosemary – I leafed through a dozen books and settled on this one because of its focused message. A good reminder to go out and do.
    @Phil – and to think that in many organizations, marketing is considered akin to the secretarial pool. ASAP is for people who are not capable of making decisions and have run out of time.
    @Brian – yay! You’re back commenting in real time. Love it. I’ll be curious to know your take on the book.
    @Alessandra – I had the benefit of not having read the previous one. Whenever I make one of those purchases, I just give the book to someone who could use it and call it even. In fact, these days I give away books by the ton who get sent to me because I need to be very selective about what I read for lack of time to read too much.

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