When I heard the guys from 37signals were at work on a book, I could hardly contain myself. I love reading and business books tend to be a personal favorite of mine, but I don’t typically get this excited. This time it was different.
I’ve been following Jason Fried and his team on the Signal vs. Noise blog for a while now. I can’t remember how I found out about them, but once I had, I was hooked on this remarkable team and software business. When they brought up “Rework” on their blog, I knew we were in for a real treat.
37signals is a company that gets how business is done. They understand how to create a great work environment for their team; how to create remarkable products; and how to run a business that gets customers talking. Not only are they great at these things, they are also great writers.
“Rework” is unlike most business books, mainly because there was little theory involved in writing the book. It was built upon the wisdom and efforts of the 37signals team. This is knowledge that you typically only find out after years of owning or running a great business. It is a work of art and the result of many years of labor and love.
I’ve been fortunate to have read a number of great books this year; however, as of right now, “Rework” has already made my best of 2010 list. I know it is early in the year, but I’d venture to say that it will probably remain on the top of that list all year long.
The beauty of this book is that anyone in a business can gain from reading it. Though it directed at leaders, entrepreneurs (current and wanna bes), and developers, I would venture to say that there are tidbits that everyone should read, no matter what their position is. The book covers everything from what marketing really is to the keys behind successful product development.
Two of the topics that really hit home for me were their takes on differentiation and marketing. Throughout the book, Fried hammers home the point that, as business owners, we must focus on our businesses and not those of our competitors. Focusing too much on the competition leads even the best of businesses to make critical errors in judgment. And when it comes to marketing, Fried gets it right again – everything a business does is marketing (and your marketing department or agency can do little change this). This is a major realization that many small business need to go through. It’s not about hiring some fancy agency to provide you with great campaigns. It is about you becoming an amazing business, where everything you do is focused on a remarkable customer service experience.
These guys are brash and hold no punches. For some business owners and operators, this book might feel like a nice kick in stomach. If that’s the case, you probably needed it anyway. Pick up a copy today and start reading.