Last March,  I read another book from Basecamp (formerly 37Signals) called Remote. Well, more accurately, I started it and about 20 pages in I was bored of pithy statements about the state of remote work.

So what about Rework, which I had read when it came out and remembered it to be a similar format. Have I simply outgrown books written in this fashion and am I looking for more substance and action plans?

Was Remote just a bad book or did I miss how bad Rework was?

Enter Rework

Rework has lots of chapters though few of them are more than a page and I don’t think that any were more than 2 pages.

The chapters are separated into 11 chunks, focusing on certain aspects of running a business. Out of those 11 chunks, 2 stuck out as my favourites. They really made me think about how I’m doing business.


This section centers around the things you really need to do to make progress on projects, like Embrace Constraints or the thought that long projects zap morale.

Bigger budgets and more people won’t get your product/site done. What’s going to get it done is building only what you really need (identified not by what you could do or what you want to do, but what you have to do) and making decisions instead of deferring them.

My experience holds up to both of those things. The more decisions we leave till later, the more likely we are to never finish the project. Tossing in all the really cool stuff in a project is a sure fire way to just let the launch date creep.


Meetings aren’t that productive. By the time you got 10 people in a room for an hour, it was a $1000 (at least) hour. Was that really the best way to spend $1000?

How about interruptions, we know they’re productivity killers, right? We know that you need to say no lots to get things done.

You can launch your product when it’s good enough. Sure maybe the search doesn’t have autocomplete yet, but really, is it worth it? Are you going to sink a bunch of productive time in to a feature that simply has an internal ‘wow’ factor? Is that really what you should be doing with your time?

When you read this chunk you’re going to nod your head a lot and agree with what they are telling you about being productive. Make sure you stop and take real stock of yourself though.

Are you just nodding your head then continuing to be unproductive, or are you checking yourself and revamping the things you’ve let slide?


So really what it comes down to is, do I recommend this book? Yup.

It’s not going to give you a killer strategy to build your business, but it is going to align your thinking with what really matters.

Staying aligned is a continual process for a business owner. Put Rework on your list to come back to every couple years to help you align. It’s only a week long read anyway.

Rework is good, Remote was just a bad book.

2 responses to “Reviewing Rework”

  1. Miles Forrest Avatar
    Miles Forrest

    “Rework” was aimed at the masses, but the original book “Getting Real” is still beautifully relevant to web folks. In fact I think it’s more useful than Rework. Best of all it’s free.

    1. Curtis McHale Avatar
      Curtis McHale

      Yeah it’s been a while since I’ve read Getting Real. Need to put it on the list again.