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97 of 104 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, but a re-write rather than a sequel to "Getting Real"
If you've used any of the 37signals software products, you'll understand why the authors have an awful lot of credibility to write a book about running a small company.

ReWork sets out their vision of what has worked for them, getting from day one, to turning over millions of dollars, and having hundreds of thousands of customers.

The book is short,...
Published on 16 Mar 2010 by Mark Harrison

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50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes thought provoking but let down by disjointed format
I want to like this book more than I actually do.

I want to like it because I agree with much of what the authors are trying to achieve. Or, at least, what I think they're trying to achieve.

The book sets out to challenge many of the assumptions we make about the world of work and commerce. And how we spend our time and structure our activities...
Published on 4 Jun 2010 by Andrew Lloyd Gordon


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97 of 104 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, but a re-write rather than a sequel to "Getting Real", 16 Mar 2010
By 
Mark Harrison (West Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: ReWork: Change the Way You Work Forever (Paperback)
If you've used any of the 37signals software products, you'll understand why the authors have an awful lot of credibility to write a book about running a small company.

ReWork sets out their vision of what has worked for them, getting from day one, to turning over millions of dollars, and having hundreds of thousands of customers.

The book is short, simple, and concentrates on the basics, rather than going into hundreds of pages of detail and case studies. This isn't, after all, an academic treatise needing lots of evidence... nor, however, is it an autobiography. Instead, it's a straightforward set of views about what they found works for them.

I would strongly recommend this book to anyone thinking of setting up their own business.

My only criticism of the book is that, while it has a wider scope than their first book - "Getting Real" - much of the material appears to be lifted directly. Getting Real was about running coding teams, this is about running the wider businesses. I'd NOT read Getting Real before - I ordered the two together, and read them back to back - this wasn't particularly worth doing. Read this one, and skip the older tome.
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50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes thought provoking but let down by disjointed format, 4 Jun 2010
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This review is from: ReWork: Change the Way You Work Forever (Paperback)
I want to like this book more than I actually do.

I want to like it because I agree with much of what the authors are trying to achieve. Or, at least, what I think they're trying to achieve.

The book sets out to challenge many of the assumptions we make about the world of work and commerce. And how we spend our time and structure our activities.

The authors make lots of good points about how inefficient and bureaucratic work often is. They draw your attention to the often bizarre characteristics of workplaces and offer ways in which it could all be different.

This is the sort of 'stuff' that I like.

Like most people, I've worked in several dysfunctional organisations. Like families, organisations (in either the public or private sector) do things that don't make much sense. But they do them because, 'we've always done it this way' e.g. 3 hour meetings where many attend just because they've got to be seen to be attending!

Rework then, sets out to offer us all an alternative.

Fine.

But as a book, Rework failed for me.

I found the short (often very short) chapters, well, just too short. Arguments that needed further development were - I felt - left in mid-air, underdeveloped and under explored.

At times, the book felt like a loose collection of odd ramblings with no concrete structure upon which to pull concepts together.

Many of the suggestions would possibly work in smaller organisations but would cause real problems if you tried to apply them in bigger, more bureaucratic settings.

In conclusion, I highly commend the authors for trying to challenge how the world works. Things do really need to be re-worked. But so does, unfortunately, this book!
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49 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterful "gutting" of traditional notions of what it takes to run a business, 24 Mar 2010
By 
Robert Morris (Dallas, Texas) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: ReWork: Change the Way You Work Forever (Paperback)
If Joseph Schumpeter were to design a "creative destroyer," he would probably come up with a business thinker who bears a striking resemblance to Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. To me, they seem to be iconoclasts who are impatient to build rather than anarchists whose objective is chaos. They quickly indicate a healthy respect for the nature and extent of difficulty when challenging the status quo. But they are not deterred by that difficult, as their success with 37signals clearly indicates, and they probably have more confidence in their readers' (as yet) unfulfilled potentialities than most of those readers do.

Consider this passage in Chapter FIRST: "There's a new reality. Today anyone can be in business. Tools that used to be out of reach are now easily accessible. Technology that cost thousands is now just a few bucks or free. One person can do the job of two or three or, in some cases, an entire department. Stuff that was impossible just a few years ago is simple today." That said, Fried and Hansson realize that many people who read that passage will heartily endorse its spirit but decline to embrace and leverage the opportunities that the new reality offers. For them, the "real world" is defined by what James O'Toole so aptly characterizes in his book, Leading Change, as "the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom."

This so-called "real world" has advocates who, Fried and Hansson observe, "are filled with pessimism and despair. They expect fresh concepts to fail. They assume society isn't ready for or capable of change. Even worse, they want to drag others down into their tomb. If you're hopeful and ambitious, they'll try to convince you your ideas are impossible. They'll say you're wasting your time. Don't believe them. That world may be real for them, but it doesn't mean you have to live in it." By now you have at least a sense of the thrust and flavor of Fried and Hansson's perspectives on how (literally) anyone can rework what she or he does...and rework how she or he does it...to achieve and then sustain success in all dimensions and domains of one's life. Indeed, one of the most important insights shared in the book is that the most valuable business lessons are also the most valuable life lessons. For example, here are ten of several dozen that Fried and Hansson discuss:

Learning from mistakes is overrated.
Planning is guessing.
Scratch your own itch.
Not enough of [fill in the blank] is a cop-out.
Embrace constraints.
Be a curator, not a custodian.
Reasons to quit.

Note: The material in this chapter is wholly consistent with the gambler's adage, "Know when to hold `em, know when to fold `em" as well as with Seth Godin's observations in The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick).

Long lists don't get done.
Emulate great chefs.
ASAP is poison.

Granted, the tone of Fried and Hansson's narrative is sometimes confrontation, in-your-face, but I think that is necessary because their separate but related purposes are to challenge their reader to "rework" or, in some instances, "blow up" assumptions and premises about business success that are no longer true (or never were), and, to encourage their reader adopt a new mindset, then formulate and execute new strategies and tactics that will achieve sustainable business success.

If you need some fresh perspectives on how to get more done with less, including less stress, and with more joy, look no further. And if you share my high regard for this book, I highly recommend Godin's Linchpin, Guy Kawasaki's Reality Check, Scott McLeod's Ignore Everybody, and Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths and Total Nonsense co-authored by Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert Sutton.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Massively overated - but still a good book, 4 Oct 2010
This review is from: ReWork: Change the Way You Work Forever (Paperback)
This book is generally viewed as "brilliant", "awesome" etc.

It's OK. It's very short, more of a collection of tidbits than an actual structured argument .. and while there are some useful things in there it's not as revolutionary as some people seem to think.

It's an OK book .. probably better than OK .. but I think most of the praise comes because it's from the guys behind Ruby on Rails / Basecamp .. rather than because the book itself. Also, I can't help noticing that a lot of the people who say it's amazing don't actually seem to have run businesses .. so what might seem an amazing insight to them might just be "quite interesting" to a more experienced hand.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 10 April 2010
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This review is from: ReWork: Change the Way You Work Forever (Paperback)
I was very disappointed with this book, particularly in light of all the positive reviews. It reads like a series of pretty random blogs and while some good points are made, there's certainly nothing earth-shattering here. Apart from that I particularly disliked the large number of pages in the book which contained pictures or were title pages for chapters. (A "chapter" which is not even one and a half pages long does not merit a full page for it's title.)
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars You will be assimilated, 22 April 2010
By 
Londan (London, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: ReWork: Change the Way You Work Forever (Paperback)
The book sounded a great idea, but turned out to be just a string of Marketing-Speak taglines. Sorry guys, but it's shallow stuff. No real brass-tacks advice for the budding entrepreneur, just American-style motivational jingoisms.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Simple, good, not great, 1 Nov 2011
This review is from: ReWork: Change the Way You Work Forever (Paperback)
The authors's intention was definitely to make sure the reader wouldn't be fed up about this book. Therefore the book is very easy to read. All the chapters are ver, very short. All the ideas presented in the book are very straightforward. There are dozens of sketches illustrating the ideas throughout the book, so no one gets bored while reading the book. All that summed up and you will read the book in a couple of hours.
But its main virtue is also its main flaw. The authors had an idea and a business concept and wanted the world to know it. And decided to write a book around that. And the word is exactly around. They never dig much about any idea. No issue is dealt in a profound manner. I was going to say that all the analysis are very shallow... but actually, no analysis at all is presented in the book.
There's also the argument from authority: "We did it like this in our company and it worked because we have huge profits with just a few workers."
So in the end the book is written in a very clean way. The ideas are simple and easy to understand. It is well written and it's easy to read. Does it rock your world? I don't think so...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Collection of 80+ short stories, 23 Aug 2011
By 
Caufrier Frederic (Belgium) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: ReWork: Change the Way You Work Forever (Paperback)
This work is a collection of 80+ short stories on how things could be done differently in business (1-2 pages/each topic). These topics are put under labels like takedows, go, progress, productivity, competitors, evolution, promotion, hiring, damage control and culture.

Some of the short stories are really excellent and give indeed a fresh perspective, some are just very general comments and some topics no doubt will make you wonder if it would fit your situation. Keep in mind that these short stories are matched to the situation of the authors (and their own specific business experiences) and are therefore not always transferable to different business settings. Some examples given by the authors would be an excellent fit for a small-team business.

Overall it is a bit of a mix on project and time management tools, entrepreneurial attitudes and sometimes just common sense.

The book reads very easily and some stories make you reflect. Perfect for on the plane or beach for some light reading! It is a bit overrated though so please put it in context.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Than Just a Self Help Book, 17 Nov 2010
This review is from: ReWork: Change the Way You Work Forever (Paperback)
Just Another Self-Help Book?

A big resounding No! A brilliant book that aims to "Change the Way You Work Forever" by imparting cute sound bites, words of wisdom and short advice pieces from the Basecamp creators (the project management software company).

This book really does give an insight into how a modern small business can compete with the big brands and how owners can operate a business in an innovative, cost effective, common sense and dare I say it, fun way.

I wish I'd pick up this book eight years ago when starting Arras People; I'm happy to say that a lot of what is covered in Rework actually does ring true and the different approaches to creating and managing a business that are available in this book, if you just open your mind a little, are actually very achievable. In fact I feel happy that Arras runs in a similar way and I've definitely made a note of some other things I've not thought about before.

It's a book that delivers straight down the line; it's neat, to the point, laid back in its use of language, quite pop culture in its references and takes about two hours to read. In fact, now the government want to do away with Business Link, the government business quango, they'll do well just to hand out a copy of this book to any new start ups.

The book has several chapters focused on different parts of business; starting up, making progress, productivity, hiring etc. Within each chapter there is a page of advice - written in a laid back, chatty style.

There is one concern I have; would a new business start up buy this book? It's a difficult one, most businesses in the early days are driven, passionate, keen to crack on and make the first million. Most new business owners are keen to test their own ideas and approaches, after all, for many, this is the opportunity of a lifetime and one they have been dreaming of for a while. They're keen to do things their own way, however this book could save them some pain and ultimately help them to avoid the common pitfalls that many succumbed to.

So apart from the business owner or those thinking about starting a business; what is in it for the project management professional? Well, if you think about the project (or programme) being the business and the project manager as the MD / CEO, this book makes perfect sense to the project management professional too. Here's a few little nuggets: "Commit to making decisions - When you put off decisions, they pile up, and piles end up ignored, dealt with in haste, or thrown out. As a result, the individual problems in those piles stay unresolved" and, "Your estimates suck - We're all terrible estimators. We think we can guess how long something will take, when we really have no idea. We see everything going according to a best-case scenario without the delays that inevitably pop up. Reality never sticks to best-case scenarios"

Of course there are solutions to these situations but I'm not going to tell you them because you shouldn't ignore this book; buy it at the airport and you'll have finished it before you touch down. With a head full of unforgettable ways to change the work you work, mull them over while you holiday and you'll be raring to go when you arrive back home.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A decent read though could have gone more indepth, 6 Sep 2010
By 
S. Rafiq "Its all good" (Blackburn, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: ReWork: Change the Way You Work Forever (Paperback)
This "book" really is a collection of short essays. Some are very short. The message that is conveyed throughout the books is that you can do the same if you
: keep your day job and start your business in your spare time
: learn the in and out of marketing and customer care
: stay within your means
: plan each day as it comes and don't think too far down the line

Its nice to know that a successful company can be built on such simple principles. I was also happy to read that they agree with me, CV's are a waste of time. The real content is in the cover letter, the interview and their interest in you. I'v always thought that. Hey, I would never give references that gave me a bad rep., would you?

I have taken some of the principles from the book and I am doing my best to implement them in my company. Mainly, stay away from outside investment. Start the software small (minimal) and grow it as you go along. It doesn't need to be complete. Get known in the community rather than in the press. Use whatever tools you know or can learn quickly - don't hunt around looking for "the best", it doesn't exist.

However, some essays were far too short and some set off on slight tangents and I really didn't get much out of those. In the book they talk of how they cut the content by half, they cut out too much. Otherwise I would have given it a 5 star rating...if nothing more than its worth a read.

I have recommended this book to my friends and colleagues. It is a quick read and well worth it even if they just get one idea out of it.
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ReWork: Change the Way You Work Forever
ReWork: Change the Way You Work Forever by David Heinemeier Hansson (Paperback - 18 Mar 2010)
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