What I Learned from the Book Rework: Change the Way You Work Forever

By August 13, 2020 June 3rd, 2023 Business Strategy Articles

Last Updated on June 3, 2023 by Dave Schoenbeck

As a small business coach, I always look for books to recommend to my clients. One of the recent greats I’ve found is Rework: Change the Way You Work Forever by Jason Fried. Fried is the co-owner of Basecamp, one of the most successful project management software solutions today.

a photo of the book cover of Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeir Hansson

The book provides a fresh take on ways to increase productivity in the workplace, tossing aside outdated talking points in favor of new and revolutionary ideas. While the entire Rework book is a treasure trove of information that would be helpful for small business productivity, here are a few tips that I find particularly useful. 

Productivity Improvement Tips from Rework: Change the Way You Work Forever

One of the key ideas that stood out to me in the Rework book is the concept of picking a fight with your competitors. Fried writes,  “Having an enemy gives you a great story to tell customers… Taking a stand always stands out. People get stoked by conflict. They take sides. Passions are ignited. That’s a good way to get people to take notice.”

Singling out a giant competitor as your enemy is bold, but it forces us to fight for our ideas. On the other hand, having a familiar foe will unite your team and inspire customer loyalty. It’s a fiery approach that can work wonders to help you boost your team. 

Another excellent productivity tip is to eliminate meetings whenever you can. They are a non-productive distraction. If you must have them, be organized in your planning and execution so decisions get made. Fried writes, “Whenever you can, swap ‘let’s think about it’ for ‘let’s decide on it.’”

Fried isn’t afraid to veer into controversial territory with his advice. One of the most significant examples is “screw big corporate marketing.” Corporations focus more on their science than the art, with so much modern-day marketing governed by algorithms. The result is a marketing message that works for computers but not for consumers. 

Instead, stay honest, personal, and agile with your messaging. Build a brand voice that is approachable with limited jargon. It’s admirable and will cut through the noise in this day and age. Consumers prefer a brand with a personality to one that checks all cookie-cutter marketing boxes. 

Finally, these words of wisdom: “You’re better off with a kick-ass half than a half-assed whole.”  The idea is to get a viable product into the market as soon as possible rather than waiting until you have something more significant to offer. Done is better than perfect, and as long as you nail the offerings you do have, no one will notice the ones you don’t. 

Rework: Change the Way You Work Forever provides a valuable framework for small business owners and entrepreneurs to grow their businesses through increased productivity. While the book is a great resource, implementing those tips into your business can take time. Fill out my contact form for a complimentary coaching session, and we’ll discuss a strategy for your business. 

Coach Dave


Dave Schoenbeck
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