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Possibly the most important business book you’ll ever read.

I’m going to start this review off with full disclosure: I’m a 37Signals fan. I like their products and business model, I read heir their blog and I watch their videos. obviously, I had pretty high expectations for this book. That being said it lived up to all of them.

Rework was written by Jason Fried and David Heinmeier Hanson of 37Signals fame and is what I’m going to call a ‘new business’ book. It aims to rewrite the rules of succeeding in business with a fresh, down-to-earth approach. In all 12 chapters the authors give advice contrary to everything you’ve been taught about business success. They aren’t just saying these things to be different, tough. They make sense. That’s what’s so promising about this new business crowd. How we’ve learned in the past has been based on trust and tradition; the future is based on logic though proof and transparency.

Rework is a quick read. It has big margins, illustrations and short rapid-fire sentences. But the amount of experience and great advice is equal to that of a book three times its size. WIth topics ranging from productivity to progress to hiring to promotion, even to damage control, practicality soaks every page. And nobody could say it better than Jason Fried himself: “Concise is what we do. No one should be reading a business book for days. Read quick and get back to work”

This book isn’t for everyone, though. Some people’s definition of success is lots of employees, fancy offices and big bureaucratic board rooms filled with executives and departments. Some pope love the thrill of finding venture capital. These things go against the efficiency mantra preached here. Rework teaches to be as small (and thus agile) as possible, seek outside funding only when absolutely necessary, and make money rather than spend it. These are the kinds of ideas a profit-minded individual should have lots of fun implementing, and why this book is a must-read for anyone that owns a business, is thinking about owning a business, or even works for a business.

I can’t say it better than Seth Godin does on the front cover: “Ignore this book at your own peril”. The business world is changing and books like Rework are what are going to help you adapt. Because after all, if you stand still while everyone moves forward, you’re going to be left behind.

Available from: Amazon • Amazon US

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Reviewed by Matt on 27 February 2011

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