Saturday, April 24, 2010

Book Review - Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

Title: Rework
Author: Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson  
Year: 2010  
Page: 288
Genre: Non-Fiction - Business

New to me author? Yes
Read this author again? Yes
Tearjerker? No
Where did it take place? US but can be anywhere
FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

Summary (from
Most business books give you the same old advice: Write a business plan, study the competition, seek investors, yadda yadda. If you're looking for a book like that, put this one back on the shelf.

Rework shows you a better, faster, easier way to succeed in business. Read it and you'll know why plans are actually harmful, why you don't need outside investors, and why you're better off ignoring the competition. The truth is, you need less than you think. You don't need to be a workaholic. You don't need to staff up. You don't need to waste time on paperwork or meetings. You don't even need an office. Those are all just excuses.

What you really need to do is stop talking and start working. This book shows you the way. You'll learn how to be more productive, how to get exposure without breaking the bank, and tons more counterintuitive ideas that will inspire and provoke you.

With its straightforward language and easy-is-better approach, Rework is the perfect playbook for anyone who’s ever dreamed of doing it on their own. Hardcore entrepreneurs, small-business owners, people stuck in day jobs they hate, victims of "downsizing," and artists who don’t want to starve anymore will all find valuable guidance in these pages. 

First Sentence:
We have something new to say about building, running, and growing (or not growing0 a business.

Why did I pick this book?
While I have a full time job, I also have a small photography business. I am taking a sabbatical from it right now because I want to just take a break as it takes time away from my family, and our house is still a mess since we moved in almost 3 years ago because I hadn't time to finish taking down the wall paper and paint and declutter and clean... I first heard about the author's website through work, and then heard they have a book out, which Seth Godin endorsed "Ignore this book at your own peril." Since I'm deciding which direction my small biz should go, I thought I'd read some business books to help make an informed decision.

My thoughts:
  • This is an easy read - meaning the authors really believe in making it simple and clear and easy to read. I finish it in a couple of hours.
  • I actually found myself doing a lot of what they are saying, so it is good to hear the confirmation and of course the authors articulate much better about the reasons behind what they recommend, whereas my reasons were just guess work and how I wanted it work for me with no research to backup any of it... having said that, my business is no where near as successful as their business! Mostly because I am not doing everything I need to do (knowing I need to do) due to time... and having a photography business is definitely A LOT more time than clicking the camera. Trust me.
  • As the author said on p9, "this is a different kind of business book for different kinds of people -- from those who have never dreamed of starting a business to those who already have a successful company and running." - as I mentioned, the writing was simple and clear, and not full of jargon so it's not a boring book. Every chapter is rather short. Some of their suggestions are quite anti-traditional (no business plan, ignore the competition) but it definitely makes you think what is suitable to your business.
  • For those thinking of starting a business, I'd definitely recommend this book, but I'd also recommend you to read other books too and not just solely rely on any one particular book. This book will give you something to think about, but since I am the research-type, I like reading different books on the same topic just to see the pro and con of each issue. 
  • The quotes are just something to remind myself...

    The real world isn't a place, it's an excuse. It's a justification for not trying. It has nothing to do with you. (p14)

    Other people's failures are just that: other people's failures. If other people can't market their product, it has nothing to do with you. If other people can't build a team, it has nothing to do with you. If other people can't price their services properly, it has nothing to do with you. If other people can't earn more than they spend... well, you get it. (p16)

    Another common misconception: you need to learn from your mistakes. What do you really learn from mistakes? You might learn what not to do again, but how valuable is that? You still don't know what you should do next. (p16)

    Unless you're a fortune-teller, long-term business planning is a fantasy. There are just too many factors that are out of your hands: market conditions, competitors, customers, the economy, etc. Writing a plan makes you feel in control of things you can't actually control. (p19)

    Why don't we just call plans what they really are: guesses... When you turn guesses into plans, you enter a danger zone. Plans let the past drive the future. They put blinders on you. "This is where we're going because, well, that's where we said we were going." And that's the problem: Plans are inconsistent with improvisation. And you have to be able to improvise. You have to be able to pick up opportunities that come along. Sometimes you need to say, "We're going in a new direction because that's what makes sense today." (p19)

    Will this change behavior? Is what you're working on really going to change anything? Don't add something unless it has a real impact on how people use your product. (p101)

    Rating:  4 Stars

    Have you read this book? 
    If you have, I would love to hear what you think! I'll link your review here if you wish!

    100+ Reading


    1. This one sounds interesting. I'm with you, I don't like books that recycle the same old advice, even though they may be valid. This one sounds pretty sensible.

    2. @Aths - yes it is quite sensible. I think the trick is pick what works for you - everyone can come up with a theory or tactic, but I really believe in there is no one recipe for all!

      @Juju - me too! I totally forgot to mention it in the review!