March 11, 2010
Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects - Rework
I’m usually the first responder to new books that come in the office, but this book created much internal excitement even before I got my hands on it. The galley that is currently on my desk is quite beat up already from use. My conclusion after reading it is: if you are an aspiring business book author and wonder what a good business book looks like, Rework is the example to study.
The book offers short, direct chapters written by two guys who have actually walked the walk. Fried and Hansson created and run a company called 37signals, supplier of Highrise, Basecamp and Backpack open source software that we at 800-CEO-READ use everyday. The products they created stemmed from their own company’s needs. By creating their own tools, they could then envision a company as they wanted it to be—with no constraints. 37Signals is not large; in fact, it is intentionally small. Small, comfortable, and profitable.
The insight Fried and Hansson share in Rework, written in contemporary language that is both accessible and exciting, is wisdom that took me forty years to learn. I cannot over-emphasize its value. Here is an example from the section on hiring.
Hire when it hurts
Don’t hire for pleasure; hire to kill pain. Always ask yourself, What if we don’t hire anyone? Is that extra work that’s burdening us really necessary? Can we solve the problem with a slice of software or a change of practice instead? What if we just don’t do it?
Similarly, if you lose someone, don’t replace him immediately. See how long you can get by without that person and that position. You’ll often discover you don’t need as many people as you think.
Many of us try to strategize far out into the future. And while there is a time for that, what I appreciate about Rework is its pragmatic nature, its emphasis on the problem at hand. This is an important book for businesspeople. Rework is practical, offering logical ideas that are instantly applicable to the solo entrepreneur, the team leader, or the company owner.
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.