Book review: Rework by 37signals

When I was in Chicago, the cofounder of The Starter League recommended reading Rework by 37signals. I’m all about taking book recommendations, so I was happy to download it to my Nook as soon as I could. It’s a pretty quick read for two reasons. First being that the authors made it that way by cutting down on length to get to the heart of the content. Second being that it is simply hard to put down, seriously.

Here are a few testimonials of the book as given on the 37Signals website:

“The wisdom in these pages is edgy yet simple, straightforward, and proven. Read this book multiple times to help give you the courage you need to get out there and make something great.”

-Tony Hsieh, CEO, of

“If given a choice between investing in someone who has read REWORK or has an MBA, I’m investing in REWORK every time. A must read for every entrepreneur.”

Mark Cuban, co-founder HDNet, owner of the Dallas Mavericks

“Inspirational. REWORK is a minimalist manifesto that’s profoundly practical. In a world where we all keep getting asked to do more with less, the authors show us how to do less and create more.”

-Scott Rosenberg, co-Founder of and author of DREAMING IN CODE

Now, I’m not at all a fan of Mark Cuban (go Spurs!), but after reading this book, I can definitely see why he considers it a must read. Also, I love the attribution by Scott Rosenburg saying that this book is “a minimalist manifesto” because I have been working on being of a minimalist mindset (I recommend reading Leo Babuta’s work). I included the quote by Zappo’s CEO just to show that there is value in rereading a book like this, which is something I plan to do.

As for my personal review. There are a few topics which I clearly identify with. Five essays that I immediately valued are Workaholism, Go to sleep, Meetings are toxic, Long lists don’t get done and Send people home at 5:00. These essays each cover something that I’ve actually talked about with people before reading this book; it was nice to read that others think in the same terms. I have always been a firm believer in the notion that Long lists don’t get done. They’re always overwhelming and then people end up “prioritizing” some items and never finishing the smaller ones. I actually hate writing out lists of things to do. I tried doing it via several mediums and found that I would never finish it. Go to sleep is another huge one for me. Nobody functions at an optimal level if they’re not getting enough sleep. It’s really that simple. It took me a while to figure this out on my own, but I now make sure I get a solid 7.5 hours of sleep of night. If something school or work related isn’t done by the time I need to sleep, I’ll work on it in the morning. Usually though, that isn’t even an issue, because I have enough energy throughout normal waking hours to complete tasks. When I start a business, surely I will follow these pieces of advice.

A couple of essays which were harder for me to digest initially were Decisions are temporary, Underdo your competition, and Marketing is not a department. Rework is known for making counterintuitive statements about starting and running a business. These are definitely the essays that took a rereading or just more time for me to feel comfortable with the notions that 37Signals proposes. I must say though, they do make sense, especially Marketing is not a department. In this essay, 37signals does a great job of explaining how each person working for the business is in charge of marketing. This actually reminds me of Rackspace’s customer service. Rackspace is known for their customer service. It’s part of the mission, brand and inevitably marketing. It’s not at a top-down level though. Their brand is driven by each and every Racker (because they’re not just employees). So, it didn’t really take me too long to see how valuable it is to approach marketing in this sense.

This is my sweet and simple review of Rework. If you’ve read it you should let me know what you thought about it in the comments section below. If you haven’t read it, you should. If we’re in the same area and you want to borrow it, I’ll be more than happy to lend it out. Just let me know!