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March 24, 2010

Staff Picks: The Illustration of Rework

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 3:25 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Rework is a beautifully conceived and designed book, certainly among this year's best. Springing from the big brains of the people at 37signals, the ideas and insights provided are well-written, short and actionable, and they're smartly split up with illustrations by Milwaukeean Mike Rohde. The text alone is probably worthy of an award, but enlisting Rohde to add what he calls skecthnotes puts it in an artistic class business books rarely enter. Perusing his previous work, it seems that Rohde's sketchnotes are usually enlisted to visually document the ideas floating around at events in a way that a camera can't (Click the link in the last sentence... you'll see). He has done the same for the ideas of Rework.

Rohde discusses the process of bringing it all together in a guest post on the Signals vs. Noise blog today. One of the great things about the process is that they used the 37signals software the authors' company developed (most notably Basecamp) to share and organize the creative work. (It is something we do here at 8cr as well—for everything from ChangeThis and our web ads, to In the Books and our biggest project ever, The 100 Best Business Books of All Time.)

Organizing creative work is hard.* Documenting how they've accomplished what they have in relatively short time is really helpful. I highly suggest closely reading the full post, but here's where it ends up:

It’s amazing what we were able to produce in just 16 weeks, all while I worked nights and weekends and had a baby in the middle of the project. Our constant communications and use of Basecamp really made the difference.

Amazing, indeed. You can read more about how they managed the process in a previous post from Rohde, or check out the illustrations as a photo set on flickr. Or, if you'd like to learn more about the book, check out the author's ChangeThis manifesto or Jack's Jack Covert Selects review. You won't get the illustrative genius of Mr. Rohde in either of those last two links, but you'll get an idea of the authors' great work—and why you'll want to buy many, many copies of the book.

*You can look forward to the release of Scott Belsky's Making Ideas Happen next month to help with this, though.