It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work Hardcover – 1 Jan. 2018
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Like Rework, this book provides fresh perspective on running a business. Many of the topics are common sense in hindsight, yet rarely seen in businesses focusing exclusively on profits. A few chapters are truly insightful and have stuck with me, particularly those relating to pricing products. The chapter on employee benefits made me want to work at Basecamp, which was perhaps the point.
Unlike Rework, however, this book felt long-winded in places. A few of the chapters felt light on content and stretched to fill the word count. It's possible my opinion is coloured by Rework, where common ground is covered. Perhaps this left me thinking some chapters are "obvious", when fresh readers would find all of it insightful.
I'm definitely a fan of the Basecamp guys and will no doubt buy their next book, should they write one. If you've read none of their previous work, definitely give this a read and pick up Rework too. If more businesses were run this way, the world would be a much better place.
I enjoyed the style, the chapters breeze along, there is nothing that reinvents the wheel but if you can implement a handful of the strategies in this book into your working life you will be all the better for it, from both a mental health and productivity perspective.
Overall a very good read, there are more technically challenging books with regards to productivity and goal orientation out there such as Rework, and at times it can seem like the author is self promoting Basecamp as an entirely new business model. However, take it for what it is, a look at the business model that Basecamp has adopted and try to implement some of that into your own business or workday.
It’s good to read business advice from successful business people that is so calm and takes a different line from almost any other I’ve read. Assuming working for Basecamp really is as good as the picture the authors paint then anyone working there is pretty lucky.
A few stylistic quibbles aside this is a great enjoyable read. The only bit which jars for Europeans is flagging 3 weeks paid leave as something special - everyone I know gets at least 5 (excluding public holidays which are on top). But this is one detail in a book full showing a really pleasant attitude to work and business.
If you happen to work for an awful employer I’m not sure if this book will irritate or inspire though!
Sometimes it's insightful sometimes too brief and superficial to be helpful. For example the section on hiring which basically boils down to 'we hire great people'.
If you have read Rework or the authors online writing much of it will be familiar.
If you haven't, go and buy a copy of Rework rather than this book.
Top international reviews
Jason is a really strong writer and the way he’s structured the book is evidence of that. It was a very easy read.
It’s nice to see a business book that doesn’t beat a topic or concept dead for 300 pages. This book is structured into a large number of very small chapters, so while the overarching theme is reinforced, there’s new insights every few pages. Only downside to this is that because there are a lot of different small topics, it’s easy to go through the whole book and not actually take out a lot of insights - I am a big note taker when I read so that’s not a problem for me as I will always review my highlights/notes from the book once I finish it, but just something to keep in mind.
Great stuff Jason and DHH - love the basecamp philosophy.
This book highlights that the things we see daily, are not good, from a business owner, or employee perspective. It helps us see where we are, and where we are going, and what we can do, when we experiencing crazy at work.
It calls that the industry is sick with its open offices, over communication, talent war and lottery tickets as called stock options. It present a different approach that could be taken, an option, explaining how to create an appropriate environment where you are imune of those diseases and can grow your business.
It’s a good read although it applies more to founders. Choose what it takes to be calm is not easy, it goes against the “right way” to do business and it request a clear vision of where you want to be.
Everything mentioned is easily adaptable but not easily acceptable depending on your goals.