Book Summary Rework

Rework by Jason Fried & David Hansson [Summary]

The Book In Three Or More Sentences:

Easily digestible, motivating, inspiring. Rework is a different type of business book. It’s different from all the other books out there about starting and running a business. Rework shows you a better, easier way to succeed in your market by explaining in plain English, what you should do, and naturally what you should avoid doing.

The Core Idea:

The authors of the book, who are the founders of Basecamp 3 (and now, are sharing their own personal experience about building and running a business. It’s not a book where some old business veterans share fancy stories, add cheesy headlines, and repeat “you can do it”. Jason Fried and David Hansson advise us to stay small and focus on the essential things in your company. Urge business folks to avoid meetings, long detailed business plans, expensive equipment, a fixed mindset… Primarily, it’s a book about ignoring: Ignoring what everyone else is telling you about running a successful company and focusing on the things that matter for your specific niche.


  • Fancy gear and gizmos won’t make you good at doing something.
  • To ensure that your project is not stalling, make quick decisions. You can always iterate later.
  • Don’t aim to be big. Focus on doing a few things very well.

5 Key Lessons from Rework:

Lesson #1: Small, Frugal, Profitable

Some will say that you can’t compete with the big boys who are already operating in the niche you’re about to enter without heavy marketing, big advertisement budget, or by building a product that does fewer things than your competition.

Some will be right.

Still, do you need all that many clients at first?

You might say “yes, of course,” but imagine that you start an online business today, and tomorrow, you get a thousand clients. OK, let’s make those hundreds of thousands of clients.

Think about this for a moment: Can you handle the load? All the emails? All the calls? Can you ship all of the orders all by yourself? Yes, you can hire a guy, five guys. But can you trust these people when you’re just starting? Do you think the people you just hired will share your passion for the product you’ve launched?

If you’re a one-man army you probably don’t need 100,000 customers. If you want to escape the modern struggles and the busy atmosphere of your current job, I bet you don’t want 16 hours working days, 7 days in a week, 365 days of the year. You will want to expand, yes, but at a certain point where it will be comfortable and still fun – like when you got your first order.

A lot of people think that they need thousands of customers to make a living doing what they love. In reality, you need only 1,000 true fans. If a thousand people give you $10 each month for what you offer, your product, service, book, whatever, you will have $10,000 a month. I believe that’s a good salary for a small business owner.

You don’t need an office. You don’t need $50,000 to start. You don’t need a PR firm or a professional web designer to create your logo – you can draw something on Paint for a start. You don’t even need a retail store, you can start by selling stuff online. You don’t need people to answer emails or pick up the phone, you can do all these things by yourself.

Less things, staff, offices, even clients, means less emails, meetings, pointless conversations, calls, orders. But more importantly, more time for creating, more time for enjoying what you’ve started.

“Think about it this way: If you had to launch your business in two weeks, what would you cut out?” Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson

Lesson #2: Don’t Postpone Decisions

Making timely decisions allows you to move forward and make progress. If you wait, postpone, things will pile up. And piles are either ignored or have the power to suck the life out of us.

Avoiding decisions is contagious. I know a lot of people who constantly postpone making decisions in favor of doing other things, things that feel exciting. The favorite expression in their vocabulary is: “I will do that later.” However, later is indefinite. It can be today, tomorrow, next month, or never.

Commit to making decisions in time. There will never be a perfect solution or a perfect time for anything. Make a choice and move forward. This will help you build momentum and move things into the Done folder faster.

Even if the decision/solution is not perfect, you can always try to make things better in time. However, postponing and waiting for the perfect moment is the worst possible option.

This applies both for your personal and for your business life. When you have to decide on something, take some time and figure out what you’ll need to do. If you make a mistake, you can correct it later. No matter how much you plan or you analyze, you will always get something wrong. The important thing is to keep moving forward.

“When you don’t know what you believe, everything becomes an argument. Everything is debatable. But when you stand for something, decisions are obvious.” Jason Fried & David Hansson

Hey there, sorry to interrupt…

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