The authors of Rework, a book of blog posts on business from the popular 37Signals blog and company, do a good job of provoking thought by taking something you think is true and standing it on its head so you can consider it from another angle. These contrarian maxims, like “Underdo the competition” or “Pick a fight” or “Emulate drug dealers” are catchy and don’t require long explanations, which makes for very short essays and a super quick read. Also half the book is graphics, which I’m not knocking, just mentioning because it’s the sort of book you can read in 1 minute increments. It’s a good kitchen book to read in snippets while you’re doing other tasks.

The reviews for Rework are utterly hyperbolic. “Ignore at your own peril!” says one. “I’d rather hire someone who has read Rework than someone who went to Harvard Business School!” says another. One guy said it moved him to tears. Um, OK. Apparently some people love this book to bits and pieces so it might prove very helpful to some. I wouldn’t put it in the top 10 business books I’ve ever read, but I did make note of six things, which I will share with you here.

  • “Whenever you can, swap ‘Let’s think about it’ for ‘Let’s decide on it.’ Commit to making decisions. Don’t wait for the perfect solution. Decide and move forward.”
  • “When you don’t have to mind-shift between various tasks, you get a boatload done.”
  • “To keep your momentum and motivation up, get in the habit of accomplishing small victories along the way.”
  • “Some people still develop a masochistic sense of honor about sleep deprivation. They even brag about how tired they are. Don’t be impressed. It will come back to bite them.”
  • “Instead of trying to outspend, outsell, or outsponsor competitors, try to out-teach them.”
  • “Don’t make up problems you don’t have yet. It’s not a problem until it’s a real problem. Most of the things you worry about never happen anyway.”

While I don’t think Rework is a must read, and given the chance I’d recommend Harvard Business School over reading this book, I did find some good and helpful thoughts in it, and if you’re interested in business or entrepreneurship you might find it interesting.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

5 thoughts on “Rework

  1. Aw, man! I’m disappointed you didn’t really like this book.

    I *loved* it. Of course, I didn’t go to business school and am very much an out-of-the-box thinker when it comes to business, so I related to it more than most people probably would.

    However, from what I’ve experienced in my own life and business, so much of what they wrote about really works. And I’ve been testing out some of the other theories with good success.

    It’s not a how-to-start-your-business book, though. It’s a how-to-get-out-of-the-rut-so-many-people-from-business-school-are-in book, in my estimation. 🙂

    By the way, thanks for all the book reviews. You are keeping my “Books I Want To Read” list endlessly supplied! 🙂

  2. LOL! I like your review…even though I must admit that I *loved* Rework too (read it about two months ago).

    I’ve never been in business or also haven’t read many other business books, so there are not many to compare to. It is a very quick read, quite funny in parts and gave me food for thought. I actually read it twice, but again, both times were quick!

    I found several things applicable to ministry life (among other roles I’m a pastor’s wife) and to life in general, such as making decisions sooner instead of procrastinating. Overall, I would probably recommend it.

    Great to hear your thoughts!

  3. Catherine,
    These are great points. I’m printing them out an putting them on my desk. And I’m willing to believe it’s the best of the book and now I don’t have to read it.
    -Emily J.

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