Dinner Party

Proud birds, now ostriches, sit in the sink

Waiting for pot-bellied chefs to arrive

Ice cubes in distant rooms they can hear clink

As good looking lizards interlock thighs

 

Man-made volcanoes are far, far away

Not really thought about while in the bath

Arms, legs, and fingers, like heads, go astray

Just parts in a bully’s outsourcing wrath.

 

Oh the embarrassment, oh the disdain,

How could we eagles give lizards our votes?

Heads are so heavy that chicken necks strain.

Who is to help us now they’ve got our throats?

 

Poor little ostriches sit and await

Champagne-sipping lizards staying up late.

Rework: Change the Way You Work Forever

@ 2010, Vermilion, London, pp. 279
by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

I wish every boss in the whole wide world had this book, and lived by it. The authors are the guys who started Basecamp, Highrise, Backpack, Campfire, and Ruby on Rails. Of these companies, I had only heard of Basecamp, but that alone was enough to impress me. And they present a truly modern, visionary view of the working world, what it’s like for them, and what it could be like for us.

They go against practically everything my former employer lived by, which makes them little darlings in my eyes.

Page 5: “It’s time to throw out the traditional notions of what it takes to run a business.”

Ok, I’m listening…

While much of what this book preaches is what I already suspected or believed, it’s a feel-good page-turner eloquently stating the obvious with ruthless honestly:

“[Workaholics] try to make up for intellectual laziness with brute force. This results in inelegant solutions.”

It rails against perfectionists, informing us that these types fixate on “inconsequential details.” It urges us to solve our own problems and to get enough sleep:

“If you encounter someone who’s acting like a fool, there’s a good chance that person is suffering from sleep deprivation.”

The book is sharp and sassy, advising us to emulate drug dealers (I won’t spoil that section for you), build an audience, spend time teaching, and when in doubt, hire the best writer.

Page 253: “Cut the crap and you’ll find that people are waiting to do great work…”

And when you treat people like children, surprise, surprise, they act like children.

It tells us that we don’t need as much as we think to start our own business. We can get along with a lot less. It tells us not to pay so much attention to resumes, the best candidates reveal themselves in the cover letter.

And, planning is guessing.

Yes, yes, and yes.

This book drips with integrity and honesty. It sums up beautifully why and how growing too fast will ruin your company and destroy your culture.

It’s awesome that my boss recommended this book, but sad that its concepts are fresh and new: not working your employees to death, not treating them like children, getting enough sleep, not being a perfectionist, not giving the fake, no-ownership apology, doing with less than you think you need, etc., etc.

I would like to think that Seth Godin is right: “Ignore this book at your peril.”