I have an addition to my suggested Office Reading List. It is a book titled REWORK by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson, the founders of 37signals (now Basecamp).
The book is a list of business and work concepts that they consider bullshit. They also offer the antidotes. I agree with the book because I did most of these things myself. They are correct. They don’t work.
REWORK is for anyone and everyone. You will benefit from seeing the curtain pulled back on dozens of work activities that everyone has experienced.
From the publisher’s description:
“With its straightforward language and easy-is-better approach, /Rework/is the perfect playbook for anyone who’s ever dreamed of doing it on their own. Hardcore entrepreneurs, small-business owners, people stuck in day jobs they hate, victims of "downsizing," and artists who don’t want to starve anymore will all find valuable guidance in these pages.”
The beauty of the book is that you can read all 272 pages in four hours, probably less. (There are lots of graphics.) The writing is sparse, to the point and simple.
I recommend reading the book straight through. Then come back to the parts that are most ‘personal’ for you.
I bought the hard cover version in 2010 when it was published. For some reason I only made it to page 38, at least that is where I found the bookmark this morning. Eight years later I finally read it in one sitting.
This is the kind of book that is both practical and inspirational. So much so that I have just purchased the iBook in order to carry it with me and annotate it. Digital books are so much easier to markup and to find markups in.
I call REWORK practical because it is not a book of theories. The authors have lived each recommendation. And when you read it, their recommendations seem practical AND easy to implement.
I call REWORK inspirational because I can’t imagine anyone reading it without coming away with lots of ways to improve their work life.
Here’s just one example that everyone can use. Interruptions. We have all experienced a busy day, during which we accomplished virtually nothing. Invariably a day like that is full of interruptions. Phone calls. Face to face questions. Meetings. When you can’t string together more than fifteen minutes at a time to concentrate on your work, it isn’t surprising that the work doesn’t get done.
The solution is simply to recognize the negative impact of interruptions and the time it takes afterwards to get back into the groove. You may not be able to eliminate interruptions but you can work on building some defenses and making some changes. Recognize what is happening and take action.
You will take away completely different inspirations than I have, but here is what I am inspired to work on.
If you want to explore REWORK further, these are links to the digital and paper versions.