REWORK Book review

I picked up the book REWORK by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, the other day. It’s a quick and easy read (took me a day and a half). This book will challenge you to think differently about the way you work and the way you do things at work. It goes against the grain of traditional thinking and often suggests the opposite of standard business practices. Why is this important? Well, things are changing, business is changing, the way we do business is changing and the way we make or can make a living is changing. That is why I bought this book.

I was tired of doing the same old thing and getting the same old results, I knew I had to change or rework the way I was doing things to get what I wanted. I’ve reached a certain point in my career and I seemed stuck, I make a good living and sometimes I work on cool stuff but I wanted more fulfillment. When I made this web site it was my attempt to do more of what I love doing and to share my experiences. It was a change for me and I’m learning as I go.

I’ve been getting tired of doing corporate videos and all the headaches that come with them. This book is filled with things I run into every time I do a corporate video. It’s my hope I can use the information and lessons in this book to help remove these issues, and to help me personally from doing some of the things the book discourages.

BackCover

There are some great rules to live by on the back cover.

The back cover of the book has some great quotes that I really love. Starting with “ASAP is poison”. I run into this with almost every single corporate video I make. Someone always says we need this ASAP, and from my experience almost every ASAP is a false deadline. When I hear “We need it ASAP”, or “Don’t spend a lot of time on it, because we need it right away”, I instantly think I have to make a lower quality video, meaning I don’t have the normal time to come up with a well thought out concept, shoot it, review all the footage, color grade, create graphics etc..etc..etc.. The thought of creating a video of lesser quality because it is needed ASAP drains me of creativity and it gets frustrating. Don’t get me wrong, I can make videos quickly, good ones too and I understand that at time things are needed ASAP, but in the corporate video world when it happens on every video it drains creativity and burns out the team. It also creates a lesser quality product and unfortunately that becomes accepted. When mediocre or rushed becomes acceptable, it tends to become the norm, and when it becomes the norm you loose passion, creativity, drive and morale. Taking time to do things right will make a better end product or video, and in the end one good video will do much better than a bunch of rushed ones. I’m learning that on this site as well, I rushed a lot of videos at the start just to get content on my site. I just needed to start and post something, so I didn’t spend the time or worry about things in the beginning, I just rushed stuff out there. Looking back I wish I had taken a little more time and made things better.

Another quote from the back cover I like is “Meetings are toxic” I couldn’t agree more with this. I once worked at a place where the manager was in love with meetings and Microsoft Excel. We would spend hours in his office watching him enter what we were doing into an excel spread sheet. He seemed fascinated by it. We would explain what we were working on and he would enter it, color code it, put it in nice little sortable columns etc… Then the next meeting he would go over what he entered, then he’d ask us what we did that week, it went on and on. We spent so much time talking about what we did or were planning on doing that it took away time from actually doing anything. Typically there were 5 or 6 of us in the hour long meetings, that’s 5 or 6 hours wasted, almost a whole day. I guess it gave him something to do and made him feel important. It made everyone else annoyed, and it destroyed morale and creativity. People felt like they were being micro managed, and they also felt that they were not trusted because he was always checking up on us. Meetings are important and you do have to have them but don’t over do it. Ask yourself “Is this meeting really needed?” or “Could we be doing something else more productive instead?” I think you’ll find that most of the time you could be doing something more productive than meeting, you could be “Doing” instead.

A final quote from the back cover I like is “Planning is Guessing”. I’ve worked with plenty of people that want to over plan everything. They obsess over every detail and worry about things that haven’t even happened or are unlikely to happen. I once had a boss that didn’t want me to shoot until I had storyboards for every shot, and he’d only want you to shoot what was storyboarded. Advanced planning is good, but too much kills creativity and takes away time from actually shooting. In my experience so much more happens when you are on location or on set that you don’t plan for. I find the best stuff is almost always unplanned. It’s good to be prepared,but spending your time planning instead of doing isn’t the best way to get things done. The worst kind of planning is obsessing over problems that haven’t even happened or are unlikely to happen. Don’t waste time worrying about something when it hasn’t happened, if it does happen worry about it then, don’t waste energy on what ifs.

This book reinforced some ideas that I already held and helped me validate them. The book is filled with other examples too, most are one to two page lessons or examples. The chapters are titled differently and include things like Productivity, Promotion, Evolution and Culture. All things you can use to start your own company, apply to your current company or just use to change the way you work, in whatever field you work in.

I can see this book becoming like one of those motivational coffee table books you pick up and read a few snippets from once in awhile. If you are  looking to change the way you work and start doing what you love in the way you want to do it, like I was. I recommend you pick up this book and “Rework” some of your ideas on how you make a living.

If you decide to buy it, please consider getting it from my store. It will help pay for this site.

Thanks

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