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."


Rework: Failure and Planning

Failure is not a rite of passage

We all have heard famous lines that go something like this: "It's okay to fail", "we encourage you to fail", "after all, we learn from our mistakes". According to the authors of Rework, "learning from mistakes is overrated." Failure is a part of life but you don't need to fail to succeed. Failure doesn't equal success. You learn more from succeeding than from failing. "Already-successful entrepreneurs are far more likely to succeed again than those that failed the first time," according to a study by the Harvard Business School. The authors mention, "what do you really learn from mistakes?" You might learn what not do, but it's less valuable than knowing what you should do.


I just finished reading Rework, written by 37Signals founders Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. This book is a highly recommended read for everyone, especially team leads, startup founders, UX designers, and businesspersons.

For the next few weeks, I will post short blog posts summarizing my understanding of the book. I still recommend you to read it for yourself. It is a quick read. I finished reading it in about 4-5 sittings. I could have finished in 1 sitting of about 4-5 hours in length (I am a slow reader); however, I didn't have the luxury of time. For a quick summary, read the back of the book, as pictured below.

  • ASAP is poison
  • Underdo the competition
  • Meetings are toxic
  • Fire the workaholics
  • Emulate drug dealers
  • Pick a fight
  • Planning is guessing
  • Inspiration is perishable

Image source (

For a longer summary, check out every subsequent blog post.