This month’s Far Reads book club pick was “Rework” by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. Here’s our recap.
Who Selected It The Far Reach Culture Club chose the book. The culture club is a small subset of our team who meet over a beer or two once a month to discuss ways to reinforce our culture in fun and creative ways.
Why They Selected It The culture club wanted a book that had been used to help shape Far Reach and “Rework” was the first or second book all the partners read. They also wanted to ease into the book club. “Rework” is a quick read with lots of topics to discuss and lends itself well to a book discussion.
What It’s About “Rework” is a common-sense guide to business, written in an irreverent way. Or as the authors describe it, “a better, easier way to succeed in business.”
Some of the topics covered include:
- Damage control
Our Favorite Quotes The chapter titles are what really grabbed our attention.
Here are a few examples:
- Fire the Workaholics
- Emulate Drug Dealers
- Marketing is Not a Department
- Resumes are Ridiculous
How We’re Applying What We Learned
We learned a lot. Here are two of our biggest takeaways:
- The authors are right—meetings are toxic. Interruption is the enemy of productivity, and the worst interruptions of all are meetings.
You know the ones—vague agendas, people drifting off-subject, no clear action steps, one meeting leading to another.
So we implemented some changes immediately, including:
- Scheduling fewer meetings
- Inviting as few people as possible to each meeting
- Replacing sit-down meetings with stand-up meetings to keep them short and on-task
We’ve found it feels good to take back our time—and maybe we didn’t need all of those meetings after all.
- We need to say “no” more often. The authors suggest saying no by default:
“It’s easy to say yes. Yes to another feature, yes to an overly optimistic deadline, yes to a mediocre design. Soon, the stack of things you’ve said yes to grows so tall you can’t even see the things you should really be doing. Start getting into the habit of saying no—even to many of your best ideas. Use the power of no to get your priorities straight.”
It’s hard to say no—especially to clients. It’s uncomfortable. It can come across as rude or closed-minded. And quite frankly, they’re not used to hearing it.
However, we’ve started saying no more often—while being polite and explaining why. We’ve found it’s helped both us and clients stay more focused—and the results speak for themselves.
After all, as Henry Ford said, “If I’d listened to customers, I’d have given them a faster horse.” And it’s hard to argue with Henry Ford.
Now it’s time to tackle next month’s book: Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time.