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on 9 February 2018
Quite often a dilemma in business is whether to follow what we consider tried and tested thinking and methods or do you do it your own way. Rework resets your traditional thinking and asks key questions about your business including if you need an office. Quite rightly he proposes that there is NO value in meetings and business plans and we consume large amounts of irrecoverable time dealing with them.

The lifeblood of the book is, make it easy, make it fun and make money. Cut the ego and furnishings out of your business and deal with harsh reality. Hansson and Fried obviously hate waste including words, so the style of the book is short and snappy with real gems of advice on every page. They are very generous with their advice which makes them worth listening to. My only contention is the time we spend on our businesses. I absolutely believe if we’re unproductive, working long hours, hating life, and have no time for socialising or family, then that’s a major problem. But, I love my business and while I don’t need to do it for more than 8 hours per day, I love to do it for more than 8 hours per day. I’m probably more in the mould of Gary V. Reminds me of the quote “I’ll do today what you won’t, so I can do tomorrow what you can’t.”
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on 6 October 2017
Read this book cover-to-cover in 53 minutes.
Filled with excellent plain english advice, it's one of the best books out there for business productivity.
Not big on references, but the authors are credible because they built 37Signals, which created Basecamp and Ruby-on-Rails.
A damning critique of old school business types who favour endless meetings, reports, hierarchies and strategic plans.
If you like this also read: 'The 4 Hour Work Week' and 'Steal Like An Artist' - equally inspired.
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on 3 April 2015
Be warned: this is a book that encourages you to read in sound bites. Mind you, the way things are going, we are all adapting to a 3m30s attention span, so perhaps this is just a sign of the times.

There's also a lot of white space; but then again, I recently went through an information mapping course that says that this is a good thing, so who am I to judge? I would say that around 30% of the book is space of one kind or another, and that the average 'chapter' length is about 3 pages (I've not actually measured this, by the way.)

So, why the 5 stars? Because every word is well-crafted, well-chosen, and easy to both digest and engage with. Don't be like some others that I've come across and miss the point of the book; it gives the illusion of just being a collection of blog posts, but if you scratch beneath the surface and imagine applying their advice right now, you'll find that the questions it makes you ask of yourself and your organisation lead to rapid improvements.

Warning: It *will* change the way you think about work, and change the way you work as well, if you let it!
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on 12 May 2015
What I like about this book is that it is very down to earth, and has a lot of useful tips and food for thought. It is written in a very clear and precise language which makes it easy to read. The chapters are unusually short, but that's not a downside. It works well for the structure of the book.

The first thing I don't like so much is that the writer comes of rather harsh at times, and tends to point fingers just a wee bit too much for me. The issue with addressing a common problem in an aggressive fashion is that you are effectually putting your audience in a defensive position - because I think a lot of people have made the mistakes discussed in the book. Making fun of "that type of people" is pretty much ridiculing your readers.

The second thing I don't like so much is that most of the content in this book, though seemingly valid and based on experience, has little to no scientific base. It would have been nice to back up at least most of the claims made by either statistics or research proving this to work. Otherwise it is simply ideas in my opinion. These may be great ideas, and I do agree with a lot of whats described in the book, but they are still just the writers observations and ideas - which makes it harder to really sell, if you were going to try some of this stuff in an existing business.

Give it a read. It's quick and well written, and as I said, has a lot of good food for thought in it. Just don't expect a life-changer.
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on 6 August 2012
Although there is no 'system' to Rethink, there is a method and a style. The method is to take no sacred cow or status quo for granted but to put all to a thoroughly pragmatic test. The style is to whittle each point down to a bare minimum and then rush on to the next. Rework is about bite rather than depth, practice rather than theory. But it would be wrong to place it in a motivational mould, neither is there one overriding motif beyond a challenging of orthodoxies in a fresh and positive way. Unless you count a love of leanness as a theme.

I liked it for two reasons. Firstly, it contains some insights that I thought but didn't have the confidence to say or try. After all, I don't have an MBA, so what could I know? For instance, under 'Hiring', the authors decry the worth of resumes and the usefulness of anything over six months of experience. Also, in 'Takedowns', I always suspected that learning from failure is overrated, planning is a synonym for guessing, and working yourself to death is dumb on so many levels.

Second, it filled my mind with a ton of fresh little experiments to try out in my own business. I especially found this to be the case under 'Competitors' ("decommoditize" or personalise your produce making copying impossible, and "pick a fight" with a big boy in order to contrast yourself with it and make a splash) and 'Promotion' (give away a little free stuff, build an audience not just a cliental, and, most brilliantly, "out-teach your competition" to establish your expertise and trustworthiness). For me, as a trainer, this last point sunk home.

There was an interesting and surprising emphasis on the power of writing through the book. For instance, they contrast optimal business writing with formal or academic writing (216). A criterion for hiring a quality employee, all else being equal, is the standard of their writing; it is a sign of clear thinking and empathy (222). When writing, sound like yourself, not some wannabe lawyer or corporate robot (263); this sort of everyday behaviour will create the right culture from the bottom up.

I would say that Rework is an ideal read for entrepreneurs (especially new starts), the self-employed and owners of SMEs. Those who work FOR someone rather than ON their own enterprise might find it a little shallow or all-too-easy sounding. Even then, the chapters on 'Productivity' and 'Damage Control' are applicable to any workplace. For those of us in the entrepreneurial (oops - 28) trenches it's a tonic; while not quite a tool box, it's certainly a box of tactics, tricks and twists on SOPs that make you want to experiment immediately. It may even shake up the thinking of some old campaigners out there.

Yes, it is thin on detail. Yes, some of the pics seem designed merely as space fillers. (A quirky but relevant diagram for each point would have served far better.) I found myself disappointed at the 'Resources' section, which was just a couple of lists about the authors' business and products. But as a call to action, experimentation and the overturn of many business clichés and customs, I found it highly valuable. I will be reading it and using it again. There's hardly a better recommendation than that.
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on 2 March 2016
This is a brilliant read!

This book actually solidified me leaving a previous role within a business that was doing the exact opposite of the points made in this book. Having been in the business for nearly two years, I saw the business falling into a lot of the traps stated in this book. Thankfully I was able to jump ship shortly before the business encountered huge financial issues.

If you're starting your own business, or are currently running one, this book is an excellent edition to any entrepreneurs library!
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on 29 March 2013
Work needn't be unpleasant! And this book here describes that ideal company to work for, or, best-case-scenario, that ideal company for you to create!! Found myself agreeing with near enough everything in this book. Great points and great questions raised. Such as: what is it with businesses/organisations and the obsession to *grow*? If you've found a good size for what you do, why not stick to it?? Or, why the obsession with working 40+ hour weeks? Throwing hours at problems and creating zombie cultures ain't the best way to go! Or, why the obsession to add features to products just for the sake of adding features?? Question whether the features you're adding actually add value or detract from the product's purpose. And why the need to schedule an hour's meeting when seven minutes is all that's required?! And so on and so forth. Definitely worth a read.
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on 5 October 2010
This is a cracking little book about business. It doesn't present the best value - it's a series of tiny tiny chapters of advice for organising and running a business. There's not a whole heap of practical and detailed advice, it's more a collection of themes and general principles. This is not a book that you need to have sitting on your shelf for all eternity, but one you should just mash through, take a few notes and move on. The bonus is that it's 6 quid new and you can still get 4 quid selling it used on Amazon Marketplaces (which means with the way that postage charges work on Marketplaces, you pretty much get all your cash back - bingo!)

There are two real reasons to read the book. The first is if you genuinely are setting up or reorganising a small to medium sized business - there's some good stuff here. The second, and to my mind, much more satisfying, is if you actually work for a large company with a philosophy that's the antithesis of "Rework." I haven't laughed so much at a business book since The Dilbert Principle: A Cubicle's-Eye View of Bosses, Meetings, Management Fads and Other Workplace Afflictions (A Dilbert book) My copy has been passed around my organisation with glee - some chapters elicit genuine giggles as you realise that you're doing every day at work is the exact opposite of what the authors suggest.

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on 6 March 2012
Much of ReWork is memorialised common sense - but that kind of common sense that gets glossed over every hour of every day in every organisation in the world.

It is written in a brutally economical style, consistent with its underlying message: everything is overcomplicated: simplify, simplify, simplify. It is also a manifesto for those who want to start their own business. For those who dream fitfully of pulling the rip cord on the corporate treadmill - and let's face it: in these miserable times, we are many - this might be just the firm push between the shoulderblades we need.

Rework is funny, too, and it contains many quotable quotes. My favourite: "Policies are organisation scar tissue. They are codified over-reactions to situations that are unlikely to happen again".

Beautiful: and so true. (I should know: I work in the legal department!)

You'll be through it in a day, but you'll read it again.

Excellent stuff.

Olly Buxton
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on 6 December 2010
This book made me want to start my own business.

Rework highlights many of the non-sense notions that are taken as given in business. After working 5 years in one of the largest companies in the world with all its complexity, I realize that a lot of that complexity was self imposed and is totally unnecessary.

Short book that distills a lot of experience in few pages. Can certainly help you identify how to work better in everything you have influence on.

I read 2-3 books a week and for the first time, ever, I felt compelled to write to the authors, who promplty replied within 24 hours, although perhaps having not read my email completely.

With hindsight, the title may be missleading, because this is not about personal work, but organizational work, not a big drawback.

The only negative point I see is that the authors talk about more resources on their website ("Stuff we like"), but all you find in there is more about the Rework book. Not a big enough negative to take a star off.
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