July 26, 2010

Rework from 37signals

Rework is the recent page turner by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, the co-founders of 37signals. The book is 288 pages, but every other page is either a drawing (not a diagram, a drawing) or a blank page. This made the book read exceptionally fast. Check out the excerpts or the trailers.

My initial reaction to the book was positive. I am a fan of their other book, Getting Real, a series of essays on software development. Rework had a much more broad appeal than Getting Real. It is 37signals’ fresh take on business and their unique philosophy on starting, running and growing businesses.

I respect the fact that the authors take an opinion in the book. I did not agree with everything in the book, but having an opinion and offering evidence to why that opinion is right is something to be applauded. Initially, I was taken aback by their approach, but have grown to like their upfront style of writing.

One of passages from the book that I enjoyed was their explanation of the real world. People immediately assume that new ideas will never succeed in the real world. Things like scalability and user adoption are common arguments to why the real world will crush your dream. Rework makes the counter argument that you don’t have to live in the real world. The real world problems are just that, problems. Waiting for solutions.

The book is full of interesting observations. Like the prison weapon approach, where prisoners are able to craft weapons out of virtually nothing. Just like taking an idea and turning it into a business out of thin air. Another idea in the book is Hero Mode, where an employee grinds on a task for hours until they reach hero mode and solve the problem. Everyone is guilty of overdoing a task. Most of the time, that 4 hour task can be solved in 20 minutes with outside input or taking a different approach.

Definitley read the book. It will only take a few hours, and they will be very thought provoking. I read the book as a result of a book sharing idea from this blog’s really cool post. Check them out.