Rework, Succeed Differently

Rework – Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson

This book offers a clear and synthetic vision of entrepreneurship, far removed from the glitter of some startups: through chiseled chapters, the authors transmit their pragmatic recipes, impossible not to come out of it enthusiastic!

Rework, Succeed Differently

Let’s discover it now in detail and let’s go through the main ideas of this fantastic book together!

First Chapter – FIRST

The book opens with an observation. The business world has changed and there is a new reality (The new reality). A reality where you can remain a small business and still have millions of customers.

A reality where you can work with twenty or so employees all over the world, without ever meeting meetings, investment funds, public relations agencies or sales people. It is possible to develop one’s business without excessive financial resources, without selling to large companies.

Throughout Rework, its authors demonstrate just the opposite: staying small and frugal can be the key to success.

The book is for everyone:

  • Born entrepreneur, the one who has always wanted to run, sell and launch a business,
  • Self-employed, the craftsman who runs his small business every day
  • Even the employee, who is fed up with his routine work, his boss and dreams of taking a step forward.

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Chapter 2 – TAKEDOWNS

To change well, we must start by stopping unnecessary things and unlearning old beliefs.

Ignore “in the real world” is one of the tips in the book. Often “real life” is the place where all your ideas are impossible and unrealistic… for others. History shows that “real life” is not a real place. It’s an excuse not to try… Remember!

Especially since for Jason and David, learning from mistakes is overrated. The Anglo-Saxon entrepreneurial culture values failure. To fail is to have tried and that is positive in the eyes of society. But failure is not a precondition for success…

Especially because failure gives no advice on the next actions, the next adventures. Because when starting a project, the most important thing is to move forward and not to look at the past.

Thus, Planning is guessing. One of the recurring myths of modern management is the long term plan (even your employees are asking for it!). Drawing up a business plan – a chart that usually shows that in 3 years time you will become the master of the world – is an illusion. The market, the technologies, the customers are so many criteria impossible to anticipate.

Establishing a plan therefore means making an estimate. Estimating what the company’s revenues will be, what the competitors’ actions will be, or how quickly my employees will be able to develop the new version of my product. That’s why planning is always anticipating, guessing the future.

Conversely, the book recommends that we decide what we’re going to do next week, next month because it makes sense. The decision must be brought closer to action.

And do we make growth by working like that? But in the end, why grow? (Why grow?) Executives seek to grow their business to follow the established order. Because there is a belief in having more employees, more customers and more turnover.

But beware, this race for gigantism is not necessarily healthy and it is a journey with no return! Once a company with more than 100 employees, it is impossible to go back. And to become one, you often turn into a workaholism. You no longer count your hours to find solutions to all the problems of your company and your customers. Is that a good thing?

The authors remind us that more work is for more work! And often seek to become the hero that adults used to describe us as children. The myth of the hero sticks to the skin of entrepreneurs.

Not counting their hours, they owe their success only to their determination and stubborn work: Enough with “entrepreneurs” (Enough with “entrepreneurs”), each of us can start a business, there is no need to have an MBA or to work 15 hours a day!

Readers of this article have also read :
Escape from Cubicle Nation – Pamela Slim

Chapter 3 – GO

Make a dent in the universe, that’s the tip that opens chapter 3. To start a business, you must feel an urgency and be persuaded to bring an original vision of the problems. And to start with your own problems (Scratch your own itche), those for which you could be your first customer!

You might as well be able to validate quickly and alone the first versions of your product. This will allow you to Start making something (Start making something), without waiting, without thinking that you need a big team to achieve your ambitions.

The easiest way to get started is to draw a line in the sand. A line represents what you do or will do versus what you won’t do. Why is it in the sand? Because you have to remain agile and allow yourself to change that line. But knowing what you don’t want from the start is healthy and allows you to structure yourself.

Rework, Succeeding differently, takes us far away from the world of startups:

  1. Don’t write “Mission statement impossible”. These documents are a professional profession of faith. If you listen to their apostles, you will detail what you will do in the future, the business you want to build. But then you will forget the essential: you are not asked what you want to be, but who you are! Don’t write it down. You don’t have to.
  2. Other people’s money is Plan Z. Don’t think about getting money from an investor or a business angel. If you have to invest in the business, do it with your own money. Your decisions will not be the same.
  3. You need less than you think. A paper, a pen and a computer are all you need to get started!
  4. Start a business, not a start-up. When you start a business, it’s to watch it grow for years, not to sell it after 4 years!
  5. Besides, building to grow is building to flop. On the theme of the famous “exit strategy”, the authors remind us that you don’t start a love relationship thinking about breaking up!
  6. Less capital, fewer employees, fewer functions for your products or services… In short, trying to create Less mass… Dieting has always been difficult, even for companies!

Chapter 4 – PROGRESS

When you take drama classes, one exercise consists of playing a playlet while simulating a handicap (not moving an arm, not looking to the right). This training teaches you to keep an instruction over time. Yes, constraints are good! And when it comes to starting a business, you should embrace constraints.

Not having it all means you have to be inventive. It also prevents you from doing too much, in order to want to do too well. So, build half, not half-ass. Work on the essentials, but don’t get sloppy! It is better to develop half the product, but without having a poor quality product!

And it is imperative to start with the basic functions of your product. These functions should be a minimal product, sufficiently attractive. Start at the epicenter and Ignore the details early on (Ignore the details early on).

Making the call is making progress, this is surely one of the tips in the book that made me think the most. It’s true that we all tend to keep lists of things to think about or think about. Shouldn’t we rather decide not to do, or on the contrary plan it? Either way, a decision can be reviewed, but making it allows you to progress and communicate your progress… Counter-intuitive, don’t you think?

Rework, Réussir autrement, is also sometimes a prophetic book, which exposes principles of life, in an almost dogmatic tone!

To move forward, you will stay focused. You will behave like a curator by removing all non-essential parts. A good curator puts his soul into his collections. By selecting, he recommends works he liked.

With restraint, you will move forward; you will Throw less at the problem and gain height. More than that, you will focus on what won’t change, so you won’t get lost. Let’s quote the words of the masters: “By focusing on the permanent functions of products, you’ll go to bed with things that will never go out of fashion”.

Tone is in your fingers… and not in the instrument. This is the adage that good musicians remind the bad ones when they attribute false notes to their guitars or pianos! Some of you are attracted by tools. They believe in the miracle tool, the one that solves everything. Don’t believe in it anymore!

Rework, Succeeding in a different way pushes us to start now! without waiting for the perfect product, the one we wouldn’t be ashamed of. Don’t wait for it, get out quickly and collect as many returns as you can! And don’t forget to sell your by-products.


The book is also full of tips and reflections on productivity and educates us to be more efficient.

Too often, we launch ourselves on the basis of abstract documents when we should be exchanging on the basis of a minimum product. Let’s not forget that there are also many reasons to quit , and that we should never stop thinking about them, and think about a better option than our own.

When it comes to productivity, we all know that interruption is the enemy of productivity.

They say that meetings are toxic. That a meeting is a waste of money because of the number of people needed and the preparation time.

The book also teaches us that “Good enough is fine”, i.e. that you should prefer a simple solution that works and solves the problem you have right now, rather than a “perfect” solution that would take time to come to fruition…

All the more so as we must give priority to quick wins: each time you win, your motivation will be strengthened and you will continue your adventure.

We have all experienced it: we feel overwhelmed by our workload, we write a “TODO List”… that we never finish. Worse, we feel guilty that we didn’t finish it completely. To not get discouraged, make tiny decisions.

The book tells the example of Ben Sauders who reached the North Pole on foot and alone (72 days of solitude!). Ben confides that the only decisions he made were to join “the pile of ice he had in front of him” and to start again the next day.

Readers of this article also read :
The Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle


Competition is a good thing. It creates emulation and avoids monopolies sleeping on their rents. But it is also important to face up to it and to stand out from the crowd. Thus, the authors give us several adages:

  • Don’t copy: copying is passive and doesn’t create value. Sooner or later, customers get bored and opt for other solutions.
  • Decomoditize your product: in our globalized economy, everyone does the same thing… or not quite! So rather than let yourself be trivialized, you need to look for unique attributes and define your product beyond a mere commodity.
  • Pick a fight: Having personality also means knowing how to say no or be against it. Saying all the bad things we think about a competitor or a news item is unnatural, as it is often contrary to our upbringing. But people love conflict and these clear-cut positions often make you more visible and more readable!

But they also sometimes go against the tide by recommending us to Underdo your competition and not to pay too much attention to what they (the competitors) are doing? (Who cares what they’re doing?) Indeed, rather than always trying to do more or be more efficient, underperforming your competitors helps to keep it simple, light and remove complexity from your offer.


“No” is the default answer (Say no by default) that the authors recommend. Once again, they alarm us about uncontrolled growth. Not to grow your product or company unnecessarily is also to know how to say no when a prospect wants to see its function in the product.

Instead of saying “yes, we can”, we should think about it carefully and not give in to panic. Thus, let our customers outgrow us : if a client company has evolved significantly, it will probably have greater needs, it will demand more specific functions. Rework insists on not necessarily trying to follow its own clients.

When you think about it in detail, you understand better: the more the product serves a medium/large company with specific functions, the more complex the product becomes, and therefore the more it moves away from the simpler needs of the majority.

So, when planning your products and services, don’t confuse enthusiasm with priority: sometimes you get carried away by details and concentrate on trivial things. You neglect the essential elements that add value to the product once unpacked at home (Be at-home good).

Ergonomics or the practical aspect of the product are all things to be paid attention to, and the product must be enriched according to the remarks of existing customers.

Chapter 8 – PROMOTION

Welcome obscurity, and it is with this slightly provocative statement that chapter 8 of Rework opens. The idea is quite simple, one has the advantages of its disadvantages. When you start a new business, no one knows you, no one is watching you, so you have the opportunity to make trial and error without damaging your business! Plant yourself!

But then, think about building an audience, an audience that is loyal to your content and ideas. Jason Fried has had a blog for a long time that attracts tens of thousands of people. Over the last 10 years, he has built loyalty among his readers through quality texts. His readers are potential clients and potential communication relays.

All the more so since he applies another precept, that of surpassing his competitors in teaching. Giving more advice, more tips and tricks to his readers, training them in new ideas or technologies.

Giving first and receiving (orders!) second, once trust is established with his audience. This is a technique widely used by cooks (Emulate chefs); they share their recipes in countless cookbooks. These books are both an income in themselves – a by-product – but they also serve to build an image and reputation.

Chapter 9 – HIRING

Recruitment is a key activity in the development of your company. I’ve often heard that you can kill your business with a series of bad hires. Well aware of these dangers, the authors of Rework, advise us to start by doing the job in question ourselves

(Do it yourself first), especially if it is a customer-related job (telephone support, sales, etc.). By practicing, we will understand the ins and outs of the job and we will end up (Hire when it hurts), when we can no longer do otherwise.

Rather than looking at how long candidates have worked in a field, it is more effective to understand how and for what results.

Rework drives the nail in:

  • Forget about formal education, which is just a representation of a past and often overly formal skill.
  • Everybody works, because in a small team what counts is to be productive.
  • Hire managers of one, or in other words, think about recruiting autonomous people.
  • The best are everywhere in the world. The Internet makes it possible to get people halfway around the world to work for you. So why not take advantage of it?

There are two pieces of advice that speak to me in particular:

  • Hire great writers: when interviewing for a job, one is often indecisive and has difficulty judging between two or three candidates. Rework encourages us to hire the person who can best tell a story, whether written or spoken. It’s a way of detecting people’s ability to synthesize, communicate and empathize. I have never regretted being recruited on this criterion!
  • Test-drive employees: reading a CV or doing an interview is not enough. You have to put candidates in a situation by subjecting them to real tests. If you were recruiting a photographer, you would look at his or her photos. So if you’re recruiting a hotliner, why not make him pick up the phone?


As a business owner, sometimes things go wrong and you are responsible for problems caused by your products. Whether you are the boss of a multinational oil company or a small neighbourhood business, you have to be able to manage these delicate times.

Start by being the one who announces Own your bad news, by remaining humble and sincere, you will embody the awareness of the company in the eyes of the customers. Speed changes everything and get to the point. The faster you react, the more credible you will be to your customers.

And be careful how you say you’re sorry:

● in the first person. (“I’m sorry” and not “We apologize”)

● without euphemism (avoid hollow or hypocritical formulas like “we are sorry for the inconvenience created”)

● unconditional (“what you would have felt”)

In any case, the book recommends putting everyone on the front lines.
But everyone, this means that the engineers or technicians who make your products must also hear the sound of the customers’ voices! This is imperative if you want to avoid the Arabic telephone.

Rework gives us one last piece of advice: Take a deep breath when you hear the first criticisms of a new product or novelty.

Know how to stay calm and distinguish the wheat from the chaff!

Chapter 11 – CULTURE

Corporate culture is a mysterious concept for many of us. Rework reminds us that you don’t create a culture, but that it is the result of regular behaviour, the behaviour we have every day.

Explain these ideas to your employees, don’t try to recruit rock stars and talk to them like adults because They’re not thirteen.

Send people home at 5:00 p.m. … it’s a far cry from the culture of the maniacal boss, but it’s a common sense maxim: in a knowledge and creative economy, you need a fresh, new brain.

Rework finally voluntarily distances itself from the dominant culture in companies, it recommends :

  • do not create regulations for a yes or a no. (Don’t scar on the first cut).
  • to be yourself (Sound like you) and not the idealized, robotized boss you might imagine.
  • to ban four-letter words: need, cant, easy.
  • de turn away from the sacrosanct word As-Soon-As-Possible as poison (ASAP is poison).

Finally, the book can also resemble a dialogue with a kind of little master who delivers his precepts without explaining them.

I believe that the most important thing is not to take each recommendation at face value, but to be inspired by the spirit of the book and to try to change one’s behaviour from day to day.

Are you going to offer a copy to your boss?

Let me know below..

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