From the founders of the trailblazing software company 37signals, here is a different kind of business book - one that explores a new reality. Today, anyone can be in business. Tools that used to be out of reach are now easily accessible. Technology that cost thousands is now just a few pounds or even free. Stuff that was impossible just a few years ago is now simple.

Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

About the Authors

Jason Fried is the co-founder and president of 37signals. His company, based in Chicago builds web-based tools that increase productivity. Some of the tools created by 37signals include Basecamp, Highrise, Backpack, Campfire, Ta-da List, and Writeboard. Jason believes that when it comes to business, we should just try to figure it out as we go.

Danish programmer David Heinemeier Hansson was born on 15 October 1979. He is also the creator of the popular Ruby on Rails web development framework and the Instiki wiki. He founded and built a Danish online gaming news website and community called Daily Rush. He collaborated with Jason Fried with PHP coding and was later hired by Fried to build a web-based project management tool, which has become 37signals' Basecamp software. He attended the Copenhagen Business School and received his bachelor's degree in Computer Science and Business Administration. He currently resides in the USA.


Rework (2010) provides insights on how to start a successful internet-based business. It is relevant and timely in the context of our current e-commerce economies. The authors explain the need to adopt a success-based attitude as a starting point toward thriving in business. They argue that the size of the business may not matter but growth, in terms of profitability and sustainability, are key factors of a successful business . The authors reject the outdated term “entrepreneur” and instead ask readers to consider themselves starters of businesses. Readers are shown how to make use of low-cost technology to start businesses and to be problem-solvers. The authors conclude by showing that the main aim of business is not to sell merchandise but to build relationships with clients.

Chapter One: FIRST

-Today, anyone can be in business thanks to computers which are are now accessible at a reasonable price.

-One person can easily do the tasks of several people or even an entire department thanks to technology.

-Doing business is cheaper and requires less time. One can work from home at a minimum cost and generate extra cash.

Chapter two: TAKE DOWNS

- The “real world” is a depressing place and always resists change--it contains what people already know and do. You don’t have to live in the reality created by others who assume that society isn’t capable of change. Such people will try to convince you that your ideas are impossible.

-Working with plans is dangerous since plans are based on past decisions. Plans resist improvisation which is necessary when running a business.

-Disregard long-term plans and focus on achieving short-terms targets. It is better to work without a plan rather than stick to one that does not respond to changing business environments.

Chapter three: GO!

-To make a dent in the world, you must do something that is important, meaningful, and noticeable. Craigslist is a good example of a company that made a dent-they disrupted the newspaper business.

-The best innovations aim to fulfill the personal needs of their innovator. In the processing of solving a personal need, great products and services are normally produced.

-The test of success is not in concepts and ideas but in execution. Ideas are a dime dozen-cheap and plentiful. The real question is how well you turn ideas into a business that can generate income.

-Try not to take too much money from investors when starting a business because you may be forced to do what investors want you to do versus what you want to do with your business and what your customers expect your business to offer.

Chapter four: PROGRESS

-Most people see a half empty glass instead of a half-full glass. Stop complaining and start seeing opportunities in constraints. Constraints are hidden opportunities that can be turned around to achieve astonishing success.

-People don’t remember the runners-up but the winner in a contest. Do you want your product to be the runner up or the winner? Focus on one idea and make it a winning product.

-If you focus too much on the details, you may end up getting discouraged. Getting carried away by details can lead to delays and disagreements. You may end up majoring in the minor and wasting time. Just take action.

Chapter five: PRODUCTIVITY

-Simplify the way you explain things in business documents. Use language that is simple and clear. This will eliminate miscommunication. Say what you mean and mean what you say in business. Anything else is just a distraction.

-It is easier to focus on what needs to be done rather than why something needs to be done. Start asking questions that answer the “why” and not “the what.”

-Don’t sacrifice other tasks trying to be a hero. If a job appears overwhelming, it does not hurt to ask others to help you. Avoid getting bogged down with work that is beyond your ability for the sake of looking like a hero.

Chapter six: COMPETITORS

-Successful products and services tend to get copied. A great way to protect your product or service from copycats is to make YOU part of the product.

-Make your product or service unique in such a way that no copycat can replicate it. Make your product a must-have and something no one else can offer.

-There is no point of spending time worrying about someone else when you can spend time improving yourself.

Chapter seven: EVOLUTION

-Learn to say no. The power of saying no allows you to set priorities. If you say yes to everything, you may end up feeling overwhelmed by things that keep on piling up.

-Expect new customers to come in and old ones to leave. Allow old customers to outgrow you since this creates room for new clients to enter.

-Avoid taking action in the heat of the moment. Let your ideas cool off and check on them a few days later. This gives you room to reflect calmly and make the right decisions.

Chapter eight: Promotion

-When a business is starting out and unknown, this is a great opportunity to make mistakes. As you grow and become famous, you will take less risks. Enjoy the time you have as a small obscure business.

-Teaching is a marketing tool. You can buy attention with an ad, but you will earn loyalty by teaching your business practices and it will form a more trusting relationship with consumers.

-Do not be afraid to show your flaws. Imperfections are real and people respond to that.

-Marketing is more than an individual act-- it is the sum total of everything you do. Every time you answer the phone, send an email or an invoice, or have communication with customers, you are marketing your business. All of these are more important than a single ad.

Chapter nine: HIRING

-Before hiring new employees, try out their jobs. That is the only way to know what the job requires. You will be in a better position to know if they do a good or bad job.

-If you can operate without filling a vacancy, it shows the post may not be necessary. This will help your business to save money and is a good opportunity to help streamline your business.

-The secret to growth when hiring employees is to ensure that you don’t create a business run by strangers. A business is like a cocktail party; when strangers meet, the conversation is dull and boring. The small talk shies away from issues that are controversial.

-The number of years an employee has gained experience in a job is not actually important. It is not how long they have worked but what they have accomplished. Be open when hiring and do not be impressed by experience.


-When something bad happens, the best form of damage control is to tell the story yourself. This stops rumors or false information from spreading.

-Before making sweeping changes at the workplace, prepare yourself mentally to expect resistance. This prior preparation will help you to avoid reacting when employees make knee jerk reactions to changes at the workplace.

-Be open to listen to employees when making changes at the workplace. When employees know that you are listening, they will be more receptive to change.

Chapter eleven: CULTURE

-Treat people with respect and they associate you with respect.

-Do not waste time and energy trying to solve future problems. There are enough challenges in the present. Focus on the present and let the future take care of itself.

-Stop using ASAP as the new sticker to urge action. It will soon lose value and become the new norm at the workplace. Only use ASAP when a situation requires the highest priority. When used casually, everything becomes a high priority and when everything is high priority then nothing becomes a high priority .


Jason Fried and David Heinemeier show that ideas are immortal and will last forever. However, inspiration has an expiration date and is perishable. It is important to take action when inspired so that dreams can manifest into reality. Rework invites the reader to take action, consider constraints as moments for innovation, and to recognize when additional help may be needed to achieve goals. Focusing on smaller targets can assist with achieving bigger goals and can also prevent you from being overwhelmed with the details of creating and maintaining a successful business. Set goals and complete them one by one. If you are tired of what you are getting right now in business or in your private sphere, this book is just the right book for you.


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