Book Review: Rework by Fried & Hansson

Written by the founders of 37signals.com, Rework is a byproduct from their development and leadership of 37signals. Its form and insights into running a business or organization are insightful. There are good ideas to implement in a ministry setting, though everything from the business world doesn’t carry over directly to the ministry world. Still, there are key insights worthy of reflection. I will give one example.

“Don’t scar on the first cut”
This chapter deals with policy making. “Policies are organizational scar tissue.” (p.260) Church ministry thrives on developing policies. Often they are one line statements posted somewhere with slightly curled brown-aged scotch tape. Be discerning about how or when to develop a policy. Be careful when making a policy based on one incident of someone lacking discretion. Deal with the lack of discretion instead.

Be human
Rework is really a business book, but it does not have the dryness, dullness or blandness of many business books. Chapters are refreshingly brief and to the point. What needs to be said is stated tersely with exactly the amount of explanation needed. (They address the dullness of many business books.) If you struggle with being verbose (yep!) this is a good work to learn from in communication style.

Irreverent
Rework goes right at the heart of the matter. The language at times is colorful (not in the artistic sense), and very casual. Rework challenges conventional wisdom. While the language and challenge of the book can rattle cages, it points to something the crucial- discernment in how we run and communicate.

Format
Chapters are grouped into larger categories. The chapter titles carry the essential point that being made. The layout and brevity of each chapter is something that many would do well to emulate.

There are some ideas in the book that are hard to carry over into a ministry context as we’re in the people ‘business.’ It is key to view the book from the lens of discernment and how to make wise choices in the moment. One thing Rework brings out often is being who you are. Discerning what this looks like is critical for any endeavor.

Bottom Line:
Rework is an excellent read that will challenge you and give you fresh eyes on how to run on an organizational level. It will give guidance in operating within who you are.

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