I’ve read 2 books in the last year that have absolutely rocked my work world. Each one inspired and reinvigorated me and changed many of my work processes. They are both books that, when things get a bit stale or frustrating in my job, I can go to for new insight and a bit of an energy boost.
I wanted to share them in case you, too, needed a shot in the arm of your work or career. It’s a great time of year to start thinking of new ways to work and different ways to think about the work we do, right?
Ah, 37 Signals. I have to admit, I love this company and have a scorching crush on it’s founder, Jason Fried. (You can see my favorite videos of him here. Very useful stuff.) This may make sense as one of my colleagues told me “if Jason Fried had lady parts, he’d BE you.” So, no surprise that his new book, written with co-founder Hansson, lit me up.
The book is all about looking at work in a totally new way. And boy, do they. They espouse all sorts of “crazy” ideas, like it being better for a company to stay small instead of growing too quickly and that meetings are inherently evil time wasters. They believe normal offices are places completely antithetical to getting real work done and that most people should be given the opportunity to work from home at the hours that work best for them. All totally true and yet somehow against conventional, Big Company wisdom.
I love the short, easily digestible format of Rework. It’s super easy to dip into for just a few minutes. But every single short section left me with something new to ponder. It’s one of those books where you start out highlighting the important stuff and then realize you’re highlighting damn near the entire page. And their no-nonsense, “like it or lump it” writing style really appealed to me.
And, if you’re not using their web-based productivity software for your work OR for blogging, you should be. My company practically runs on their stuff. We couldn’t do our work without Backpack or Basecamp especially.
Tony Hsieh is the founder and CEO of Zappos. This book is an absolutely fascinating look into how that huge company was born, the struggles they went through as they grew and how they maintain their phenomenal success now.
But, most importantly, this book is a primer on creating a Company Culture. Hsieh gets really specific and clear about how he’s created a company that’s not only profitable, but that values it’s employees and their personal growth.
I was inspired by his mantra about “surprising his customers with great service”. At every point, Zappos tries to do that and I think that’s why they’ve been so successful. We’ve implemented several strategies at my company based on this principal and have had excellent results.
So there you go, two must-buy work books if you need some New Year inspiration. Let me know if you have read these, or read them in the future. I’d love to hear what you think.