David wen avatar
David Wen
Entrepreneur, software developer, management consultant. He started backpacking when he was 16 years old.
Rework book
Rework

Reviewed by David Wen

When my classmates at Dev Bootcamp heard I was into startups, they recommended I read this book, co-written by one of the founders of Ruby on Rails himself - David Heinemeier Hansson (aka DHH). I had heard a bit about his company, 37 Signals, and even used their Basecamp product once, and knew that they were unique because 70% of their employees work remotely. I didn't know much beyond that, and I figured it's probably a good idea to read up on a seemingly successful startup that has remained startup-like despite millions of revenues.

Coming from management consulting, I was well aware of many of the issues with corporate culture that the book brought up. For example, Rework thinks meetings are a waste of time. And they are. I can't count how many meetings where I saw there thinking, "why are we all here" or "I can't believe we're charging the client for this". Or I was actually dozing off (but skillfully covering my eyes while pretending to look down at some paper). Rework talks about the benefits of working asynchronously, and how that allows everyone to optimize their time. The book also stresses the adage of working smart, with the very tagline of "Underdo the competition". In addition, the book states that planning is guessing, which is true to a certain extent. I once did a 70-year financial plan for a client. Albeit it was a client in a very stable industry, but still... they'll probably have robotic consultants by then to do these sorts of calculations.

I also like their philosophy on simplicity, brevity, and rationality. If it doesn't make sense to not build a feature, then don't do it - end of discussion. And I'll follow that mantra here for this book review. Just read it - it's short and it'll be good for you, whatever you do.

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David wen avatar
David Wen
Entrepreneur, software developer, management consultant. As a kid, he tried to train himself in the ways of the force.