I admire 37signals because they make simple, easy to use web applications and because of their unique perspective on business.
Rework is a collection of short essays by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, focusing on doing less and embracing constraints.
Jason Fried co-founded 37signals and David Heinemeier Hansson later joined the company as a partner. Jason and David frequently write and talk about their business philosophy on marketing, hiring, culture, and productivity. If you haven’t read their blog, Signal v. Noise, I recommend that you do so.
If you’re looking for a business book on writing effective business plans or about strategies for finding investors, this isn’t the right book for you. Much of the advice in the book is contrarian to how most people think about startups and business. For example, while most entrepreneurs want to deliver more than their competition, Jason and David suggest you focus on delivering less.
The book is a short, quick read. The tone is confrontational and is far from the academic, dry tone you’ll find in most business books. It’s about 270 pages (the margins are fat and there are lots of pictures and white space). You can finish most of it over lunch.
A friend who has not read Rework but who skimmed a few chapters referred to Rework as a “fortune cookie approach to business advice.” Although I don’t completely agree, this isn’t far from the truth in one respect. The essays in Rework aren’t focused on giving you practical, step-by-step advice about what to do. Instead, Jason and David offer their perspective on business – a perspective that can change not only your attitude, but everything you do in your own business.
Bottom Line: Rework is an outstanding book for anyone who wants to learn about a fresh approach to business not found in other business books. If you’re looking to shake things up and to follow a path rarely traveled by Internet companies these days, you’ll learn a great deal from this book.