Rework, by Jason Fried and David Hansson

rework coverWhen 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.

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5 thoughts on “Rework, by Jason Fried and David Hansson

  1. I’m interested in hearing more about your thoughts on the book. I’m going to pick it up soon, but I am also already an avid Fried fan. I am working on social outreach for my company, OnSIP. And, I am using 37Signals advice in many facets, including revamping our blog. I even wrote a blog about the Jason Fried Approach. How are you currently applying what you gather from the book?

    1. Great question. I think you will find that Fried’s book does a great job of explaining how to run a business that will get others talking about it. You will probably find a couple of the chapters very helpful when it comes to your blog, specifically those that address using teaching as a form of marketing (much like the video you posted on your blog). Here are a few additional thoughts about Rework:

        Forget your competition. The 37signals team makes a bold statement in the book that many businesses can learn from – look inside your company and figure out how to be the best at what you do. Don’t allow yourself to become reactive to your competition; better yet, ignore them. This is a scary statement; however, there is a lot of truth to it. I work and consult with a number of small businesses and all too often they don’t spend any time looking at their internal operations. Instead, they focus on what everyone else is doing. Then they become “me too” oriented. Customers and team members don’t talk about “me too” companies. They talk about ones that are amazing at what they do.
        Simple is better. Often times, companies try to be too much and offer more services than their competitors. Fried addresses this in the book in a meaningful way. Instead of doing more, do less in a better way than anyone else. Apple gets this. They keep their products simple and easy to use.
        Use education as a new form of marketing. You’ve seen Fried video on how they are using education as a way to market 37signal’s product line. I love this and I am taking this model to heart, both on my blog and at work.

      Hopefully this helps. If you pick up the book, I’d love to hear your thoughts. I would also like to hear how you might use their insights to change what you are doing.

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