Rework: Growth and Workaholism

This blog is a continuation of my summary of Rework, written by 37Signals founders Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. This is solely based on my own understanding and interpretation; therefore, read the book to get your own true interpretation. 


I recently read a blog post by Seth Godin where he mentioned, "if we put a number on it, people will try to make the number go up." People assume that the more followers/friends/subscribers the social media account has the more successful...right? We sometimes attribute the "size" of an organization to its success. There is something about the concept of "growth" that makes it very desirable in different aspects of life. Who doesn't want to grow? Businesses seek growth in revenue, shareholders, employees, and customers. However, something that I believe is forgotten is that growth happens best naturally. There is a quantity of growth that is "just right", based on a current and specific circumstance. 

As the authors of Rework state, "The bigger the number, the more impressive, professional, and powerful you sound." Therefore, expansion has become an empty goal that many organizations pursue, with the end-result of satisfied egos, more politics, and less meaningful and impactful solutions. 

  • The right size for your organization might be 5 people, 40, 200. Or you and the laptop. 
  • Grow slow and see what feels right. Don't make assumptions about how big you should be.
  • Small is more that a stepping stone. Small is a great destination in itself. 
  • Small brings with it more agility and flexibility. 
  • Don't be insecure about being small.
  • Focus on making the impact large, not the organization.


This was by far one of my favorite sections in the book. Inorder to maintain the original intended meaning, I will summarize it using quotes from the authors themselves. 

"It's considered a badge of honor to kill yourself over a project," the authors state. 

"Working more doesnt mean you care more or get more done. It just means you work more."

Workaholics "try to make up for intellectual laziness with brute force..resulting in in inelegant solutions."

Workaholics "...create more crises...they don't look for ways to be more effecient because they actually like working overtime."

Workaholics "...enjoy feeling like heroes."

Workaholics windup being "just plain tired. No one makes sharp decisions when tired."

Workaholics "...may claim to be perfectionists, but that just means they're wasting time fixating on inconsequential details intead of moving on to the next task."

"Workaholics aren't heroes. They don't save the day, they just use it up."