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Book:  ReWork

Author:  Jason Fried & David Heinenmeier Hansson

Purchase:  PrinteBook | Audiobook

Citation:  Fried, J. & Hansson, D. (2010). Rework. New York: Crown Business.

Three Big Takeaways:
  1. The most common excuse people give: "There's not enough time." They claim they would start a company, make an invention, write a book, but there just aren't enough hours in the day. Come on, there's always enough time if you spend it right. And don't think you have to quit your day job, either. Hang onto it and start work on your project at night. Instead of watching TV or playing video games, work on your idea. We're talking about squeezing out a few extra hours a week. That's enough time to get something going. When you want something bad enough, you make the time - regardless of your other obligations. The truth is most people just don't want it bad enough. They protect their ego with the excuse of time. Don't let yourself off the hook with excuses, it's entirely your responsibility to make your dreams come true. (pg. 40)

  2. When something goes wrong, someone is going to tell your story. You'll be better off if it's you. Otherwise, you create an opportunity for rumors, hearsay, and false information to spread. When something bad happens, tell your customers. Don't think you can just sweep it under the rug. You can't hide anymore. People will respect you more if you are open, honest, public, and responsive during a crisis. Don't hide behind spin or try to keep your bad news on the down low. You want your customers to be as informed as possible. (pg. 231)

  3. When you treat people like children, you get children's work. Yet that's exactly how a lot of companies and managers treat their employees. Employees need to ask permission before they can do anything. They need to get approval for every tiny expenditure. When everything constantly needs approval, you create a culture of non thinkers. You create a boss-versus-worker relationship that screams, "I don't trust you." What do you gain if you ban employees from YouTube? You gain nothing. They'll just find some other diversion. You're not going to get a full eight hours out of them anyways. People need diversions. It helps disrupt the monotony of the workday. A little Facebook time never hurt anyone. (pg. 255)


Other Key Ideas:

Our culture celebrates the idea of the workaholic. It's considered a badge of honor to kill yourself over a project. Not only is this workaholism unnecessary, it's stupid. Working more doesn't mean you care more or get more done, It just means you work more. Workaholics wind up creating more problems than they solve. First, working like that just isn't sustainable over time. Second, they try to make up for intellectual laziness with brute force. Third, they don't look for ways to be more efficient because they actually like working overtime. And fourth, workaholics make the people who don't stay late feel inadequate for "merely" working reasonable hours. That leads to guilt and poor morale all around. (pg. 25)

When you communicate with others, try to use passive communication tools, like e-mail, that don't require an instant reply, instead of interruptive ones, like phone calls and face-to-face meetings. That way people can respond when it's convenient for them, instead of being forced to drop everything right away. (pg. 106)

Don't be a jerk about saying "no". Just be honest. If you're not willing to yield to a request, be polite and explain why. People are surprisingly understanding when you take the time to explain your point of view. You may even win them over to your way of thinking. (pg. 154)

No one knows who you are right now. And that's just fine. Being obscure is a great position to be in. Be happy you're in the shadows. Use this time to make mistakes without the whole world hearing about them. Keep tweaking. Work out the kinks. Test random ideas. Try new things. No one knows you, so it's no big deal if you mess up. Obscurity helps protect your ego and preserve your confidence. (pg. 167)

Teach and you'll form a bond you just don't get from traditional marketing tactics. Buying people's attention is one thing, but earning their loyalty by teaching them forms a whole different connection. They'll trust you more. They'll respect you more. Even if they don't use your product, they can still be your fans. Teaching is something individuals and small companies can do that bigger competitors can't, because big companies are obsessed with secrecy. Everything at those places has to get filtered through a lawyer and go through layers of red tape. Teaching is your chance to outmaneuver them. (pg. 173)

As a business owner, you should share everything you know. This is the opposite of what most do in the business world. Businesses are usually paranoid and secretive. They think that having ownership of ideas is important. Don't be afraid of sharing. (pg. 176)

You will not be a big hit right away. You are not so special that everyone else will instantly pay attention. No one cares about you. At least not yet. Get used to it. Trade the dream of overnight success for slow, measured growth. It's hard, but you have to be patient. You have to grind it out. You have to do it for a long time before the right people notice. Start building your audience today. Start getting people interested in what you have to say. And then keep at it. In a few years, you too will get a chuckle when people discuss your "overnight" success. (pg. 196)

Of course, requiring some baseline level of experience can be a good idea when hiring. It makes sense to go after people who have some experience. But after that, the curve flattens out. There's surprisingly little difference between a candidate with six months experience and six years. The real difference comes from the individual's dedication, personality, and intelligence. (pg. 213)

If you are trying to decide among a few people to fill a position, hire the best writer. Their writing skills will pay off. That's because being a good writer is about more than writing. Clear writing is the sign of clear thinking. Great writers know how to communicate. They make things easy to understand. Writing is making a comeback in our society. Look at how much people email now rather than talk on the phone. Writing is today's currency for good ideas. (pg. 222)

Getting back to people quickly is probably the most important thing you can do when it comes to customer service. It's amazing how much that can defuse a bad situation and turn it into a good one. Have you ever sent an email and it took days or weeks for the company to get back to you? How did it make you feel? These days, that's what people have come to expect. (pg. 235)

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