REWORK – A Book Review
REWORK was written by two executives of a web application development company called 37signals. It is an update of or sequel to the 2009 book Getting Real published by the same company and written by the same two of three authors. However, REWORK goes further than its predecessor which mostly discussed a better way of building software. REWORK is about a better way of working and doing business, any kind of business, and whether people already have one or just thinking about starting one.
The book comes in several formats. The hardcover edition was published in March 2010 by Crown Business. The book is 288 pages and about 1-inch thick. The front cover has a black background with the words REWORK on top in big gray and red fonts. In the middle is a photo of what seems to be a crumpled piece of paper. The names of the authors are written at the bottom. The paperback edition has a similar but not exact front cover, with a lighter shade of gray background. It also comes in Kindle format and as an audio CD. Hardcover ISBN-10: 0307463745; ISBN-13: 978-0307463746
REWORK will be appreciated by a broad category of readers, but it basically targets people with entrepreneurial minds at various stages. Whether people are stuck with unhappy jobs and dreaming of becoming business owners or whether they are already running a business but are puzzled why they are not reaching their goals, the book will be a valuable business and management manual.
What Customers Say
Philip Moore gave it 4 out of 5 stars with a very detailed explanation and comparison of the book and the company’s blog. He believes that it is an exceptional book with great insights and lessons, especially for people who are not familiar with the company’s or the authors’ work and principles.
M. Brown gave it 3 stars for not having enough new material compared to the previous book and the company’s blogs. The customer stated that although the book has over 200 pages, there were also many pages containing illustrations, so the actual pages containing the written content is just about a hundred pages or so. Still, it is filled with great advice.
Content, Approach, Style
REWORK is divided in ten major chapters excluding the introduction and conclusion. The chapters discussed include about takedowns, going somewhere or starting something, progress, productivity, evolution, competitors, promotion, hiring, damage control, and culture. Each chapter contains several topics with short one-page or so essays and illustrated pages. For example, in the Takedowns chapter, the first topic is titled Ignore the real world. It talks about a pervading pessimism where fresh ideas and innovative approaches are discouraged with the excuse that they will not work in the real world. Therefore, the authors advise people who want to start something not to take these statements seriously and just ignore them.
The essays and general content are straightforward, most of the time with reference to the experiences of the authors in running their company. It is insightful because most of them show how the unconventional succeeded despite established norms and traditional ways. It provokes critical thinking that can excite and encourage people with new ideas but are anxious in trying them out. The language used is simple and clear without any heavy business, management or technical jargons.
Why Buy the Book
REWORK is a testimonial that starting out a business and running it successfully is not that frightening or complicated as many Fortune 500 executives would describe it to be. It shares insights and practical tips based on actual experiences of an existing company. Although similar content can also be found online, there are advantages of reading from a printed book or portable device wherever you are. It currently ranks #21 in Amazon’s Best Seller in Entrepreneurship and #67 in Self Help – Success category.
Books that Complement
Scott Berkun’s Making Things Happen is presented in a similar approach and style, as essays that provoke critical thinking.
On the other hand, Juana Clark Craig’s Project Management Lite is about a minimalist approach to project management and doing just enough to get the job done.
REWORK was co-authored by Jason Fried, President and co-founder of 37signals, a web application development company that brought us online project management tool Basecamp and other applications. The company is notable for its business principles and philosophies, and much of it comes from Jason’s so-called minimalist beliefs. Aside from REWORK, he has co-authored other books, is an active blogger on Signal vs. Noise, and also is a keynote speaker in many events such as TED.
David Heinemeier Hansson is a co-author of REWORK, a partner at 37signals, the lead developer of Basecamp, and the creator of the open source framework Ruby on Rails. Other web applications that were developed on Rails were Basecamp, Twitter, Github and Shopify. He has co-written with Jason Fried other books such as Getting Real and Remote. He is also a keynote speaker, a race car driver, a photographer and family man.