Unlocking Real Value Blog

The Un-Business Business Book

Book Review: Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson (founders of 37Signals)

This book is probably like no other business book you will ever read – and it will probably make the folks at the Harvard Business School cringe. I call it the un-business business book (or perhaps anti-business business book would be more accurate) because it is written from the perspective of two entrepreneurs who have done virtually nothing by the book. In fact, the book is written for entrepreneurs.

That is my only hesitation to recommending reading this book to folks in the financial services industry. We can still be entrepreneurs and have that type of spirit, but unlike a software start-up like 37Signals, we do work in a highly regulated environment. So I say, read this book – but remember the context and keep in mind that you will not be able to do everything that they suggest……but some of the ideas are relevant to us all.

This book will make you laugh at times – and it will probably scare you at others – but I think it is good to read something that is so different from conventional wisdom that it will actually make you think if all of these things that you take for granted really make sense.

For example, the chapter “Learning from mistakes is overrated.” Does the concept of failure being good as a learning lesson really make sense? You know, as I thought about it – it doesn’t! Or, the chapter “Build a product, not a half-assed product.” Do you have to wait to introduce your product until it is the best and has all of the bells and whistles? Or is better to go to market quicker, learn what the market wants and make any necessary adjustments? If nothing else, questions such as this make you think or re-think many of the ideas that us MBAers take for granted.

Rework is a quick enjoyable read – take the time and let us know what you think.

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