This is a good book about productivity, a decent book about management.

To summarize:

  • Putting in hours is not the same as working.
  • Create.
  • Decide what’s worth doing, and do that.
  • Decide what’s not worth doing, and don’t do that.
  • Spend your work time producing or thinking about what’s important.
  • Minimize distractions.
  • More features ≠ better.
  • More years of experience ≠ better. Someone with 1-2 years of experience knows all they need to about your industry.
  • Hire good people and then trust their judgment. Don’t bug them with meetings.
  • Who says meetings have to take exactly 15, 30, 45, or 60 minutes? End them early.
  • Be courageous.
  • Be sincere.
  • Send people home at 5.

Honestly, I thought the 37 Signals guys were pricks before I read this. But they don’t mince words and they don’t waste the reader’s time: large print, short chapters, half the pages are images rather than words. The writing is up to Strunk & White standards, which is almost never true of management books.

A lot of their advice is web-company specific. There is so much pomp, fluff, and hype in the “web startup” space that they unfortunately must spend a lot of time debunking pure crap—such crappy crap that it shouldn’t even need to be debunked, except that so many crapheads are sniffing this crap that they’ve lost touch with common sense.

These obvious debunkments cover:

  • “startups” and “entrepreneurs” who play instead of working
  • hype
  • people who think some “stupid” corporation with a lot of money will buy their dumb idea
    (because obviously those people got tens of millions to play with by being stupid, right?)
  • people who think they just need to raise more money and then their business will work — no, it’s failing because your product sucks

The book is cheap ($10) and a quick read.

About isomorphismes

Argonaut: someone engaged in a dangerous but potentially rewarding adventure.
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