Great Quick Read: REWORK, by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson


I read a lot of books. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make me a great writer. But, like observing art, I may not be able to paint, but I can tell the difference between a Michelangelo and a paint by number.

I recently watch part of a webcast with Tim Ferriss and Kevin Rose. Tim FerrissĀ  is hard to define, but dynamic is certainly a good adjective. Kevin Rose, is the founder of Digg.com and is currently the CEO. In this webcast, Kevin quickly pushed the book, REWORK. I had heard of 37 Signals, the company of the authors, but I had not heard of the book itself. I put it on reserve in my local library and waited, and waited. Here in Columbus Ohio, I was 43rd on the reserve list. Luckily, my number was up and I got the book yesterday.

I inhaled the book in less than a couple of hours. Such an easy read and truly enjoyable. First, I can say that the book doesn’t suffer from the more is better type of philosophy. They get straight to the point. If they can fully illustrate their point in one sentence, then that is all you are likely to get. How refreshing. Actually, this ends up being a constant theme throughout the book.

The book is broken up into not so much chapters, but thoughts. Two in particular caught my attention.

1. Customer feedback. Where to store it? Their answer, overly simplified, is don’t. The logic here is that it isn’t necessary, anything worth hearing will be repeated over and over again by your customers.

2. Writing. What we learned in college is crap. Some of education’s misguided lessons.

  1. The longer a document is, the more it matters.
  2. Stiff, formal tone is better than being conversational.
  3. The format matters as much (or more) than the content of what you write.

Just simply a great read. There really is no reason not to read it. The book covers many topics in business but can be easily applied to many situations in life. Like the tidal wave of movement behind agile programming in software development, 37 Signals embraces quick, shorter, being direct and honest. Don’t create a task list with a thousand items on it. There isn’t a good way to prioritize. Start a new list and put “Read REWORK” at the top.