Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, founders of 37signals, is a compelling read, challenging the “old” way of business. This is a thoroughly enjoyable and quick read, with one nugget of goodness after another that will provoke the way you operate as a writer, and as a business person.
The other day I attended a meeting where the orchestrator stated they wanted a system of checks and balances in place so if something went wrong, it would be clear who caused the mistake.
Having just read Rework, I responded, “Yes, these checks and balances will help us cover our backs. But they will also create much more work for everyone. In this new millennium, the way of business has changed and today it’s about collaboration. It’s not about fault-finding. It’s about what we come up with together, understanding mistakes will be made, so we just move on from them. Implementing procedures just to pinpoint individual’s errors is now ‘old school.’”
Of course, the company is still putting the checks and balances into place because no one wants to get caught in a noose.
But I think this is a mistake. The way of business is changing and we need to change with it. That’s what Rework is all about. Some of my favorite points the authors make include:
- Start at the Epicenter: When starting a new project, don’t look at what you could do or want to do—start with what you have to do. Focus on that first.
- Out-teach Your Competition: Everyone tries advertising. But those who really get ahead teach their customers. Share what you know and they’ll come to you.
- Emulate Chefs:Share everything you know. Don’t hold back. Good chefs put out recipe books—they aren’t scared someone will use their recipes and outshine them.
Other nuggets include “Pick a Fight” and “Due Dates Bring Clarity.” But my favorite is:
- Hire Great Writers: “If you’re trying to decide among a few people to fill a position, hire the best writer. It doesn’t matter if that person is a marketer, salesperson, designer, programmer or whatever; their writing skills will pay off. That’s because being a good writer is about more than writing. Clear writing is a sign of clear thinking. Great writers know how to communicate. They make things easy to understand. They can put themselves in someone else’s shoes. They know what to omit. And those are qualities you want in any candidate… Writing is today’s currency for good ideas.”
Have you read Rework? What are your thoughts? Read any other books of similar nature? I’d love to hear about them!