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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye-Opening
Scott Berkun has guts, old-school savvy, knowledge of his domain, and openness to innovation. Additionally, and crucially for this book, he also has a sharp sense of humour and an ability to communicate salient points with ease. Written from the perspective of participant-observer, 'The Year Without Pants' details Berkun's voyage from management guru in a traditional...
Published 6 months ago by HeavyMetalMonty

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting insight of WordPress
Having been a satisfied user of WordPress, I was interested to find some background on this astonishing software that is so brilliant at what it does, and it's free! The book itself is only OK as a piece of work, the back story is the real interest, though it seems to me that the silly and obscure title must hamper sales.
Published 6 months ago by John Richard


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye-Opening, 19 Feb 2014
By 
HeavyMetalMonty (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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Scott Berkun has guts, old-school savvy, knowledge of his domain, and openness to innovation. Additionally, and crucially for this book, he also has a sharp sense of humour and an ability to communicate salient points with ease. Written from the perspective of participant-observer, 'The Year Without Pants' details Berkun's voyage from management guru in a traditional organisation to leader in a revolutionary company that throws the rule book out of the window in order to redefine what efficient 'work' really is.

Berkun's book will change the way you view work, the Internet and the world. Not only that, it'll amuse the hell out of you along the way. One can't ask for more than that from a book. Amazing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and easy to read, 16 July 2014
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I've been reading a fair number of "autobiographical business books" lately and must say that this one is amongst my favourites.

The author is a normal person, not stuck up or a self-proclaimed guru and I find his style of writing wonderfully refreshing.

I have a Wordpress blog and have never once thought about the company behind the product. In effect the company has been invisible to me even though I am a massive fan of the Wordpress platform.

This book took me into the Wordpress organisation and showed me their culture and their values. It's a fascinating insight into a company that does not exist in a conventional way but has a strong business model that's strongly centred around serving and service. Excellence with mutual consideration and respect.

Things in this book have resonated with me enough that I apply them to my own business. But this is not just a business book, I think anyone interested in people, progress or creativity will enjoy reading this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No matter how experienced you are, out of this book you'll be able to learn something to improve the quality of your leadership, 11 Feb 2014
"The Year Without Pants" by Scott Berkun is a great book viewed in several ways, but also in relation to several areas of human activity.

In his book, Scott Berkun described his experience that lasted a little over a year when he was asked from WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg to freeze his writing career and join his company Automattic, Inc. as the project manager.

Starting with the team management, in this book reader will be able to see practical examples how it looks to successfully lead a team; leading that began with Scott's arrival at the company, the development of relationships within his team from peer to (almost) friendly, and how successful results such leading did produce.

Another great lesson, although that depends on the decision of each company, is to see how book proves that "simple freedoms" of every employee can be a factor that affects the performance of all the employees, but also the performance of the company as a whole. Inside the book it is possible to find countless examples of how autonomy and freedom of each Automattic, Inc. individual to decide how and where (even when) she/he will work is producing excellent results, although that doesn't mean that the requirements from each employee are any smaller.

Furthermore, it can be seen how much the good and healthy company culture means, and how important is to cultivate a positive culture from the top of the company to the hierarchically lowest ranking employees. After I read the book, and given the culture that Matt Mullenweg nurtured from the beginning the company until these days, it doesn't surprise me anymore such success and popularity of WordPress.

And so I could go on for a long time, however I recommend you that instead of my review you read Scott's book because out of it you will be able to learn a lot.

Scott is an excellent writer that manages even topics such as software development that sounds boring to show in an interesting way using a series of real life episodes, both funny and instructive and thus his book gained quality and reality.

The author shows his extensive experience in managing project teams and I was glad that I had the opportunity to read this book because many of his tips can be used in project management, a profession of which I live too.

"The Year Without Pants", a new book by Scott Berkun is absolute must-read for managers, but especially I can recommend it for the project managers - no matter how experienced you are, out of this book you'll be able to learn something to improve the quality of your leadership.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Extremely readable and interesting, the future of work in trial, 7 Jan 2014
By 
Angus Jenkinson "angusjenkinson" (Cambridgeshire, England) - See all my reviews
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Scott Burkin has published some previous business bestsellers - with a difference - and has acquired a galactic series of successful authors to endorse his book. Of course, there is a merry-go-round amongst authors applauding each other's work so perhaps take that with a pinch of salt, but this is a book that is nevertheless unusual amongst business books and probably more interesting to the vast range of people beyond the normal corporate world (people who are interested in WordPress, the Internet and new ways of working).

The concept is that he joins WordPress as the first team leader in the long ago days of 2010. It's probably quite shocking to realise how young WordPress is given that it supports over 60 million websites. At this time of joining the company was just shy of 60 people - the magical number when pioneering organisations need to start finding some structure (although he doesn't tell us that) and he was there to pilot and thereby develop a culture of team leadership at WordPress - or Automattic (which embeds the founders name, Matt, within it). Mainly he just tells the story of what it was like joining the company, how he felt about it, what he did, what he found, and he writes in a very agreeable, open, honest way. If you wanted to summarise what he learnt you could probably do it in three pages but that summary would lose all the juice which emerges in the descriptions of what goes on - the stories.

He is also agreeably self-deprecating - he tells us about his past successes and is not shy about his achievements or what he knows but equally he is not shy to tell us about his anxieties and uncertainties. Since his background includes working as a leader in Microsoft he can compare life in the software corporate giant with this world changing tiny organisation, with a company where all the software is proprietary to one where all the software's copyleft (i.e. it is not copyright).

I'm convinced that the world needs to find new ways of working - organisations are generally structured on models that go back to ancient Egypt. We need to develop new cybernetic ways of working - that's a fancy technical word for a powerful science that gives back control, wholeness, integrity and humanity to organisation, as well as describing how nature works in the wild. Scott gives us a lot of insights, shows us lots of excellent things that will be part of the future of work (the title of a chapter that appears three times), including less distinction between work and play and the way the most important things are the hardest to capture in numbers. He rightly emphasises culture and the way it is formed and most readers will learn from this close observation and actually I wish he had a bit more science to translate the anecdotal good stuff. Otherwise the danger is that people just try to copy without understanding the underlying principles, and Scott himself rightly emphasises that the beginning of this just doesn't work. That is why I give this extremely readable and interesting book only a four score.
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5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating, 27 Mar 2014
By 
D. Graham (Wakefield, UK) - See all my reviews
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Up front - I'm a huge fan of Scott's, both of his blogs and his other books. I've read them all, and really like his writing style - it's friendly and accessible and draws you along.

I was keen therefore to see what he made of his year working for Automattic, the guys who bring you WordPress, one of the most popular blogging platforms on the market. As with his other books, Scott slides right into the story and you get a real sense of following him on his adventure into the world of remote working. It's a great personal account of his time there, and a fascinating read.

Could your workplace handle working the same way as WordPress do? Have a read of The Year Without Pants and find out!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A year on the inside: Wordpress, 20 Mar 2014
By 
Jack Chakotay "Ender Brazil" (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This is a nice little book that is uplifting in the way workflow and team relationships was changed in a way that worked for Wordpress. Lots of nice bits to take away and apply in day to day work and improve general culture.

The cautionary tale is that it works for Wordpress but might not work for the company you're with. There are reason's why there are rules and regulations for HR and personal reasons why work and relationships don't mix all that smoothly. I found myself nodding at one passage then almost having to retract it when I realised the "side-effects" it might bring up.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and insightful, 16 Mar 2014
By 
The Emperor (UK) - See all my reviews
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It is well written and even amusing.
This book is part memoir and part business primer.
Though the hype is kept under wraps I still think that the applicability of the way that a firm like word press can be run to much larger or different organisations is limited.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant book on leadership...beats the competition pants down!, 14 Mar 2014
By 
Flickering Ember "I need a break and I wanna ... (Once Upon A Long Ago.) - See all my reviews
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In a day and age where there are rules and regulations governing other rules and regulations (a cycle which it sometimes seems could go on ad nauseum), it is refreshing to learn about a global brand which is distributed and fluid in structure. Autonomy breeds creativity, which I am sure is no small part in the success story of Wordpress. It's funny and engaging, and nothing like most of the "business" books you might have read before.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and informative, 25 Feb 2014
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As a Wordpress user of quite a few years standing I found this book fascinating and informative. Berkun writes with a verve and his un-suppressible enthusiasm for pushing the IT envelope at every opportunity is infectious. It's main success for me though, was the putting of an individual human voice behind Wordpress.com, and a very enriching one it is too.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting insight of WordPress, 21 Feb 2014
By 
John Richard "camban99" (Hull, UK) - See all my reviews
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Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Having been a satisfied user of WordPress, I was interested to find some background on this astonishing software that is so brilliant at what it does, and it's free! The book itself is only OK as a piece of work, the back story is the real interest, though it seems to me that the silly and obscure title must hamper sales.
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