Rework by Jason Fried [Book Summary – Review]


Establishing your own company has never been easier than now. If you begin small, you require lesser time and resources than you think.

First of all, test the waters: don’t leave your day job to slave 100-hour weeks; however, instead measure your enthusiasm by putting in a few hours every week to work on your own plan. You don’t have to get crippling sums of debt either; just use any facilities as well as equipment that you have within your reach or what you can easily afford. Just make use of external investment as a last option, as it will not just dilute your stake in the idea but the process of searching for funding takes time and it is distracting. Most time, the only thing you require is a laptop and an idea to begin; every other thing is peripheral to your success anyway.

When beginning your business, concentrate your whole efforts on forming the core of your business. Your business cannot run without this core. For instance, hotdogs are the core of a hotdog cart operation. The core has to be a thing you believe will be stable in time. The core of Amazon’s isn’t just about the books; it’s also about fast shipping, reasonable prices, as well as a great selection. Publishing trends come and go; however, these are things people will be willing to pay for all the time.

As soon as your core is ready, launch straightaway. Don’t wait for all parts of the business to be entirely complete. You can figure out the details afterward. When 37signals started its Basecamp product, they could not even bill clients yet. However, with the monthly billing cycle, they were aware that they had four weeks to solve the problem. Just commence and wing it.


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Chapter 1 – Take a position for a thing you care about.


The only means you can achieve a sense of urgency and dedication that managing a successful business needs is by doing something that you care about. If you’re going to do anything, let it be a thing you can be proud of.

Some individuals begin their business with an exit in mind from the first day. This is the equivalent of going into a relationship with the intention of breaking up – ridiculous. Similar to a relationship, managing a business has to be based on commitment and passion instead of the willingness to sell out at any point.

Making a stand for a thing that is significant to you is also an excellent means to entice loyal fans and followers. Think of Vinnie’s Sub Shop in Chicago: they stop selling sandwiches in the afternoon due to the fact that the bread is not as fresh as it was in the morning anymore. The additional profits they could get in the afternoon would not make up for the loss of pride they would suffer from selling fair sandwiches. Their customers like this dedication to freshness.



As soon as you have a stand, a great method to emphasize it is to pick a battle with a present competitor. If you manage a small coffee house that you consider as a haven for individualists, position yourself as the anti-Starbucks. Having a rival will offer you direct positioning in the customer’s mind and a great narrative to tell.

But, do not, allow your rivals to dictate your own tactic. If your instant aim is to copy the iPhone 5 or to devise a response to it, you are fated to be one step behind your competition all the time. Concentrate on what you’re doing, not on something other people have done.


Chapter 2 – Make your product inimitable in order for you to share all the things you understand.


If your business is successful, other people will attempt to imitate it. The only defense you have is to make your product inimitable by infusing it with what is exceptional about you.

For instance, Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos is really obsessed with customer service that he chose to make it the guiding ethos of his company. Even though contending shoe stores can sell the exact sneakers as Zappos, they can’t copy this total commitment to good customer service.

An excellent means to discover your passion is to create a product or service that you as a person would like to use. For instance, when Bill Bowerman a track coach needed lighter running shoes for his team, he poured rubber into his family’s waffle iron, creating the popular Nike waffle sole.

Generally, people anticipate great things from the products they purchase; however, they are disappointed at the real performance delivered. Your product has to be the opposite: make it really basic and easy-to-use that individuals will love it even more than they hoped and tell their other friend about it, as well. If you achieve this, you can sell your product just like a drug dealer: give a taste to people for free, understanding that they will gladly return for more.



As soon as you have a product that is inimitable and makes customers coming back for more, you can share all the things you understand without giving away any secrets that would form imitators. Just like how great chefs can support themselves by publishing cookbooks with their cherished recipes, you as well can promote your business by sharing your prized experiences and specialized understanding willingly.

Better still, teach individuals with how-to guides, courses, and videos! The majority of the companies –particularly big companies– are really secretive that you can get a real competitive edge by actively teaching individuals on the things you’ve learned.


Chapter 3 – Enjoy the good parts of being small; however, remember you are running a business.


A lot of small start-ups yearn for mass and bigger recognition; however, bigger is not usually better. Think about elite schools such as Harvard and Cambridge. Do you believe that they target to grow their campuses all across the globe, educating hundreds of thousands of individuals yearly? Not likely. Rather, they are okay with being the size they are, as you ought to.

For instance, having less mass and being off the media radar lets you try out with your business without likely screw-ups being publicized. Similar to how Broadway musicals are first experimented in smaller cities before getting to New York, you as well ought to take advantage of your obscurity, at the start, to try out with various ideas and processes.



Likewise, being small lets you keep your whole team at the forefront of the business, relating with customers directly and listening to their desires and feedback. A difficult hierarchy can decrease that feedback and slow you down. When everybody is in charge of customer satisfaction, you can respond to any issues faster, which is vital for efficient customer service.

However, being small, to start with does not essentially signify that you have to forget that you’re managing a business. A lot of start-ups live in a make-believe land where they gladly spend the money of investors without stressing about profitability. Those kinds of companies are not actually businesses but just glorified hobbies of their founders. If you wish to create a successful company, you need to have a clear way to profitability in mind from the beginning.


Chapter 4 – Less is more –begin saying no and make your product lean.


In chef Gordon Ramsay TV show known as Kitchen Nightmare, when he fixes ailing restaurants, he normally begins the process the same manner: by removing about two-thirds of the menu items.

Likewise, when you encounter issues with your product, think about removing features from it. If you wish to make something great, you have to chisel away think that is merely good. As a matter of fact, accept your constraints. Similar to how Ernest Hemingway wrote Nobel-winning fiction with really sparse language, you as well can make a great product or service with really few characteristics.

If your rivalry provides a product with many features, don’t attempt to have an edge over them by providing all the things they do plus additional things. Rather, provide lesser features, making your product simpler and very easy to use. Add value by choosing what you shouldn’t sell. Consider this: great art galleries don’t show all paintings in the world; however, they choose just a few. You as well have to take away the garbage and personally vow for whatever is remaining.



Although, making your product or service simply is not easy. As you acquire more and more customers, you’ll begin receiving more and more requests to grow the product more, from both your customers and from within your own team.

Never overreact to these requests by instantly adjusting your product and including new features as asked for. If you do that, your product will quickly turn into something that  is unrecognizable, and most likely scare off new customers because the changes have been catered to the wishes of present ones.

Say no to even the best-sounding ideas initially. If a customer request is really vital, it will continue coming up regularly that you can’t disregard it.


Chapter 5 – Don’t copy big business in your marketing and communications – just be nimble, candid, and personal.


It is okay to have communications that show the actual size of your company. Be proud that your small size allows you to communicate honestly, contrary to the pointless jargon-filled press releases of big businesses. For instance, don’t make mention of how “transparency is a basis of your communications tactic,” when you could only say you’re candid.

Advertising, as well as active marketing, are costly means to relate with customers. Rather, form an audience by sharing details that they appreciate and readily return for. By doing this, you will grab their attention without paying any money.

Bear in mind that in a small corporation, everybody is in charge of marketing. Every single email, social media update, blog post, and phone call makes up marketing and can make your relation with customers deeper. Actually, why not provide customers with a behind-the-scenes view of your organization, in order for them to get to know you as well as your workers.



When you do make an attempt for real press coverage, choose a niche instead of mass media. An article in a blog or a well-targeted small magazine brings about much more website traffic and sales than a story in a popular newspaper. Also, this lets you approach journalists with personalized calls or notes instead of approaching them with mass press releases.

Also, the connection you create with customers will certainly survive some difficult weather, and being an honest communicator entails being frank about your weaknesses and imperfections as well. Nobody likes corporations that attempt to ignore issues. If you have to say bad news,  skip the pseudo-apologies in business lingo like “We apologize for any problem this may have created for you.” Rather, think about the type of apology you would want to hear as a customer.


Chapter 6 – Form a surrounding where people manage themselves and talk with one another honestly.


If you handle your team members like kids, they will behave accordingly, and you will have to use half your time managing them and making choices for them. Your team will immediately become non-thinkers and non-doers, and eventually, end up costing you much time and effort while achieving really little.

What you require are workers who can manage themselves, and those kinds of people only flourish in working surroundings where they are given autonomy, trust, and responsibility.

One defining feature of a good surrounding is a directness in communication. Evade abstractions as well as long-winded, high-level explanations. Be real, and reveal to your team precisely what you mean. Don’t sit down in meeting rooms talking about issues, but go to the issue sites themselves to get an understanding of what’s wrong.

Criticism has to be equally honest. If your team is really big and not conversant with one another, you will see that the conversation does not flow well. You require candid, honest communication in your team so that bad ideas are criticized when they ought to be.



Lastly, there are specific words you shouldn’t use when discussing in your team. Think about a circumstance where you’re encountering an apparently impossible task, and a person belittlingly says to you “We can’t live without this; it ought to be easy for you to do.” It doesn’t precisely leave much room for conversation, does it? Abrasive, value-laden phrases such as need, must, only and can’t indicate a judgment about the facts of a person’s circumstance and can quickly destroy any hope of a fruitful conversation.

Likewise, avoid using the word “ASAP” completely when asking a person for a thing. It suffers from inflation and simply makes other, non-ASAP need to look less serious.


Chapter 7 – Don’t over-plan –remain agile with fast and flexible choices.


As a small business, one of the main edges you have over your bigger contenders is your skill to make fast choices without getting caught up in bureaucracy. Begin saying, “Let’s make a choice,” rather than saying, “Let’s think about it.” Don’t search for a perfect solution; get to good enough very fast and continue moving.

Don’t analyze too much or over-plan. Except you have a crystal ball, estimating and planning is essentially guesswork nevertheless. If you begin thinking that your plans are right and following them blindly, you lose your skill to improvise, which is extremely risky.

Rather, just wing it. Don’t make choices far in advance; however, instead immediately. Consider things that affect you this week, not the following year. Small, changeable choices that work for the time-being are very much easier to make than huge, life-changing choices where you have to stress about long-term effects.



Likewise, don’t make wide-ranging estimates such as, “The cost of this one-year project will be approximately $1 million.” If you wish to have any resemblance of precision, split your estimates into more manageable chunks, such as weeks instead of years. The effect of being wrong will as well be far smaller in this manner.

Lastly, when you’re attempting to make a choice, don’t be frightened by what might possibly go wrong. There are usually possible disadvantages to any choice; however, you can constantly address them when they essentially occur. (Most never will.)


Chapter 8 – Productivity doesn’t stem from long hours; however, it arises from focused work and fast wins.


A lot of individuals associate productivity with working long hours when the opposite is actually true. The best workers have busy lives aside from work; therefore, they work hard to leave work at five o’clock. Workaholics who remain late can even damage the whole productivity of a business by making non-workaholics feel guilty and less driven.

The approach to sustain high productivity at work begins by taking away interruptions that disrupt people’s focus. Make sure your team has some selected time during the day or week when there are no disruptions.

The worst type of interruption, definitely, is a meeting. As a matter of fact, a one-hour meeting of ten people will cost a minimum of ten hours of estimated working time. In some unusual circumstances, this may be necessary; however, usually, meetings don’t have goals, plans, and any link to actual work. Briefly, they just produce talk, not action.



Perfectionism is another enemy of productivity. Getting caught up in difficult issues and attempting to come up with perfect answers for them can take weeks’ worth of effort when as a matter of fact a fast fix would usually be fine. To actually be productive, choose solutions where you accomplish the greatest effectiveness with slight effort. “Good enough” is usually better than “perfect.”

One means to promote this non-perfectionism is to divide big projects and tasks into small pieces and to-do lists. This doesn’t just make difficult efforts more manageable; however, it also offers more reasons to rejoice along the way as minor milestones are accomplished. Those kinds of fast wins assist maintain momentum and motivation.


Chapter 9 – Employ someone only when it is totally essential, and forget about resumes – go with your instincts.


Some businesses are addicted to employing people. They find a person great and chooses to employ her, even without having a certain job or title in mind. This is where the issue begins.

When you employ a person, it should just be to fix an acute issue that is causing your company extreme pain. Making your team small for as long as possible will force you to embrace time-saving practices and an efficiency ethos, on the other hand employing pointless people, regardless of how great they are, will only bring about frustration and the creation of irrelevant, artificial work to make them busy.

You might stress about missing out on “once-in-a-lifetime” hires, which might be a real issue if your hiring pool is little. However, if you are ready to employ workers from all over the world, you’ll be able to get more great individuals every time. Nearly any person can work online nowadays; therefore, the geographical area of your workers is essentially pointless.



When you eventually employ a person, overlook the traditional recruitment principle of going through grade point averages, resumes, and years of experience. Rather, follow your instincts and focus on what they have really learned to do thanks to their past experience.

Lastly, test-drive your workers. There is no amount of interview that will reveal to you how a person will really do on the job; however, providing them a mini-project to work on will allow you to evaluate them based on their actions, instead of their words. BMW even went really far to form a fake assembly line where recruiters could watch likely workers working. In order to better facilitate this on-the-job testing, constantly employ individuals to do jobs that you yourself have done in one point or the other. Also, this will assist you to manage them afterward.


Rework by Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson Book Review


Beginning and managing a business is far easier nowadays than ever before. To establish a successful company, you have to put in your own uniqueness into your product and accept the advantages of being small. Form a great working surrounding by giving emphasis on concentration, independence, and trust.


How can you begin your own business right away?

  •  You require less than you assume to begin your own business–start as soon as the core of your company is ready.
  • Make a stand for a thing you care about
  •  Make your product inimitable in order for you to share all the things you understand.

How can you maximize your small size?

  •   Enjoy the good parts of being small; however, remember that you are running a business.
  • Less is more –begin saying no and keep your product lean.
  • Don’t copy big business in your marketing and communications – be personal, honest, and nimble.

What is the new method of creating and managing a business?

  •  Form a surrounding where people manage themselves and talk with one another honestly. 
  • Don’t over-plan –remain agile with fast and flexible choices.
  • Productivity doesn’t originate from long hours, but rather from concentrated work and fast wins.
  •  Employ people only when it is completely essential, and forget about resumes –believe in your instincts.


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Savaş Ateş

I'm a software engineer. I like reading books and writing summaries. I like to play soccer too :) Good Reads Profile: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/106467014-sava-ate

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