Book Review: Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

by Tom Carroll

I first heard of 37 Signals back in 2004, and found their approach to design very much aligned with my design ideals of simple, fast, and always available. At the time, I was interested in getting 37 Signals to do a one page redesign for a web site I was working on. It never happened, as they were transitioning from a consulting company to product company and were not interested. I had the chance to meet both Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson at the Web 2.0 Conference in 2005 and listen to Jason Fried’s talk about Less as a competitive advantage. Rework is just the logical extension of that talk. Being in the room and in the hallway after his talk, in the land of venture capital, there were skeptics to say the least. 37 Signals has been proving those skeptics wrong every day since.

Rework takes the same approach 37 Signals has taken with all the things they have created, focus on simplicity. The book in my mind is a collection of byproducts from their efforts to create a business. The idea for almost each essay can be found in the conversation they have been having with anyone who would listen. Just like the points Jason made in his talk Less Money, Less People, Less Time, Less Abstractions, Less Software, and More Constraints; Now packaged for More Convenience and as DHH would like to say More Profits.

The book is a fast read and having followed the 37 Signals conversation since 2004 it contains refinements and elaborations on many points. It is a great book and the ideas can be just as powerful to an individual as they are to a company.

I am not going to try and chop it up like a highlight reel, just read it for yourself its worth the effort.