Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
Publisher: Crown Business
Rework offers a glimpse into the world and business of 37signals. Originally a web design company, 37signals grew into a product company with a line of web-based applications. And it was during the development of their first product, Basecamp, that David created the Ruby on Rails framework. 37signals have remained profitable the whole way and in this book they share some of their insights and highly opinionated ideas on how to run a business.
I'm an occasional reader of 37signals' blog and I've also read their previous book, Getting Real . Thus it was pretty clear what to expect from Rework. Despite what some of the early reviewers say (e.g. by Chris Anderson and Tom Peters), Rework obviously isn't a life changing book. Neither is it a collection of "simple rules for success" as Anderson puts it. But Rework do offer a different view than traditionally found in business literature. The reason that Rework stands out is due to the directness and simplicity found in the writing. If I shall give one, single reason to pick up this book, it's the writing style of Jason and David. Simple and always to the point. Besides that, much of the book is built around short topics. Too short, at times; I would have expected the authors to expand the material from their blog in this book. Some of the ideas do deserve more details.
Despite its almost 300 pages, Rework is a quick read. Much of the book is simply whitespace and the topics are complemented by artwork. I found the main value of Rework to be its inspirational qualities. If you haven't heard of 37signals before, I recommend you to check out the Signals vs. Noise blog first. If you like it, Rework is a good choice and you won't be disappointed.
Reviewed October 2010