Rework By Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson – Book Review


rework pen and crumpled paper

Best for:

Those who are interested in starting or growing their own business and want a light, conversational, and approachable read.

Difficulty to digest:

Rework is a simple, straightforward read broken into bite-sized pieces. Chapters are often only a few paragraphs. Everyone should be able to take some insights from the book on the first read, or even just by skimming.

Key Insights:

Rework gives simple, quick, wins to readers looking to build their own business. Each section contains several extremely short chapters each attempting to make one point. A few of the recurring themes are to execute well (not perfectly) on simple ideas, use your own common sense instead of deferring to authority or sayings, and keep life balance.

Rework – Simple Ideas

Although there are several sections, many of the subsections deal with the idea of executing on simple ideas. Extra complications slow down the entire process, while lack of execution completely stops it. Rework argues the best way to make progress is to release solid iterations as quickly as possible. Perfectionism stops you dead in your tracks and speeding through without any quality produces useless junk.

Don’t Rely On Authority

Another dominant theme is trusting and following through on your intuition instead of deferring to authority. Just because you’ve heard a phrase or saying somewhere doesn’t mean it’s right for you or your business. Listen to ideas, but ultimately make your own decision for how you want to run things. You don’t have to grow your business or change your product to fit customer demands, only if you feel like that’s the right thing to do.

Work-Life Balance

One last point I wanted to cover, there are several sections urging the importance of life balance. If you’re firing at 100% all the time, eventually you’ll burn out. The same applies if you’re trying to work employees at the same rate. To continue working at an optimal pace, it’s essential to take breaks. If you’re building a business you’ll want to work as hard as you can, but recognize your limits and the potential benefits from occasionally slowing down.

Other considerations:

While I fully agree with much of the information presented in this book, due to the short explanations it can be difficult to understand why the authors make certain points. If you find yourself uncertain as to why the author is making a recommendation, try thinking about it from a broad, big-picture perspective. If you’re still struggling, move on to the next point, there’s lot of little nuggets in the book – not all of them will apply to you.

In the same vein, the short style can lead to misinterpretations. These are general pieces of advice, not perfect catch-all blanket statements. Without the nuances being broken out, use common sense when figuring out when to apply these concepts. Keep it simple and don’t overthink things!


ANSWER THE EXERCISES IN THE COMMENTS:

A huge theme in Rework is simplification and clean execution. What’s one thing you can start (or stop) doing to simplify your own life?
We often let others’ expectations guide us in a certain direction, occasionally one that isn’t a good fit. Is there anything you’ve been considering but are hesitant about because of other people’s opinions or expectations? Why do they have those expectations? Is that really the right choice for you?
Consider your work life balance for a moment, do you feel happy and productive? Is there anything you could change to become even more happy or productive?


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