Rework - 37signals

This could be the shortest book review ever :). Just finished rework, and also listened to their podcast which talked about it.

From the founders of the trailblazing software company 37signals, here is a different kind of business book - one that explores a new reality. Today, anyone can be in business. Tools that used to be out of reach are now easily accessible. Technology that cost thousands is now just a few pounds or even free. Stuff that was impossible just a few years ago is now simple. That means anyone can start a business. And you can do it without working miserable 80-hour weeks or depleting your life savings. - Amazon page.

Rather a good book, over all. I've been reading their stuff for a while, so I found that not a lot of it was new. If you don't know much about their style of running a company, this is a great way to learn it quickly. Some points / complaints etc:

  • It's both short and long. The type is double spaced, and every 3rd page is a drawing. A lot of pages have 30-50% white space, as the next "chapter" is on the following page, or it's a drawing. It feels like they (the publisher) were scratching to make it big enough to put on the shelves (which they mention in the podcast).

  • I like the drawings, but I found myself turning the page so often that it almost broke the flow of the book.

  • They mention that the book was edited down (by them) from around 35K works to around 15K words, or something like that, and it really feels like it's the short version. Thats not a bad thing, as you get a lot of information in a short space of time, but it did feel like the publisher was stretching the book out. Could have had the same words in 200 pages. I get why they did it, but I don't like it.

  • The content is fantastic. I must prefer their method of, ya know, actually making a profit to the sillicon valley, venture-funded, who-need-to-make-money-we-have-VCs model.

  • Having just kicked the drawings, I like them, both in style and content. Reworking the layout would make it work a lot better for me - eg smaller drawings at the top of pages, not taking a whole page. Something like that. Might make them feel less like fillers.

  • I suspect the ideal medium for this is audiobook (as read by DHH and JF, please!) or ebook.

All up, well worth the £6 (go amazon!) and 3 nights to read.

Nic Wise

Nic Wise

Auckland, NZ