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Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It: No Schedules, No Meetings, No Joke--the Simple Change That Can Make Your Job Terrific
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Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It: No Schedules, No Meetings, No Joke--the Simple Change That Can Make Your Job Terrific

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  650 Ratings  ·  86 Reviews
Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It: No Schedules, No Meetings, No Joke--the Simple Change That Can Make Your Job Terrific
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published May 29th 2008 by Portfolio Hardcover (first published 2008)
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May 18, 2009 Jon rated it liked it
I'm really conflicted on this one. On one hand, I think ROWE is a completely revolutionary concept and this book is the best thing you can read to get up to speed on it. However, I think this book also takes an overly simplistic approach. The constant phrase throughout the book was "as long as work gets done" with very little attention given to the quality of the work or whether the "work getting done" is truly the optimal outcome. I also question how well ROWE works in big companies vs. small c ...more
Jun 25, 2008 Emil rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: HR professionals, anyone who knows there must be a better way to work
I gave the book four stars, but the concept the book explores, the Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE), gets a full five stars. The authors are the HR professionals responsible for the development and implementation of ROWE at Best Buy Corporate HQ, and their creation is truly revolutionary.

In Why Work Sucks, Ressler and Thompson outline a cultural transformation away from time-based labor in the Information Economy. Making the very cogent argument that "working hours" or the "business day" mak
Val Williams
Sep 09, 2008 Val Williams rated it it was amazing
When I first read this book, I thought, "Well, that's a great idea, but I don't think it would work in my field (architecture). But the more I thought about it afterwards, the more sense it made and the more it really COULD work in just about any field. The first few chapters made me angry, as I read about why indeed work sucks. But then, the authors provide the reader with the 13 Guideposts of ROWE to help them envision how work can be better. Funny, I just realized today that ROWE is exactly w ...more
Jul 17, 2008 Barbara rated it it was amazing
After reading this, it's so hard to go to work every day and spend energy trying to fill up time when I'm not working on anything specific. The premise of the book is that we are adults, and our employers should treat us as such. As long as the work is getting done, it doesn't matter where or when it happens. It's revolutionary, and everyone who has a job or has people that work for them should read it.
Apr 29, 2011 Kelly rated it liked it
gap brand is moving to ROWE (my kick-off mtg is today!!!)!!! ROWE: results-ONLY work environment, where you set your own schedule, work where you want, as long as you're delivering the results. the company provided this book to us to read before our kick-off mtgs to help all of us understand the ROWE culture, and what it means, as well as help with the transition period. the book is definitely eye-opening...questioning and challenging "antiquated" and "out-dated" practices and beliefs about the ...more
Mar 08, 2009 Pamela rated it really liked it
Didn't particularly like the title of this book, since I've never felt like "work sucks." But I was drawn to the subject matter -- a case study of the Results Only Work Environment (ROWE) that's been established over the last several years at Best Buy corporate offices. People work when and where they choose, all meetings are optional, and the only metrics by which employees are judged are the results they deliver, based on clearly established goals and expectations. The book turns the notion th ...more
Wendy Yu
Sep 06, 2011 Wendy Yu rated it did not like it
Parts of my company are switching to "Results Oriented Work Environment" (ROWE) and it's been the talk for awhile so I borrowed my coworker's copy to see what all the hubbub is about. The ideas in the book are maybe 3 stars but it is SOOOO BADLY WRITTEN! It's like the script for an infomercial (even has testimonials), but like, not drunk at 3AM, with Doritos in your lap and no zany Australian hosts. Skip the book, read a pamphlet.

Book dish: Doritos, 3am.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 13, 2015 Megan rated it really liked it
Shelves: business-bibles
The thesis is powerful: You can do whatever you want, whenever you want, as long as the work gets done.

The book is overly simplistic, and like many business books, takes 200 pages to say what it could in 10. It would be awesome if it offered some concrete suggestions for the questions I have for how to deal with logistical hurdles to adopting ROWE (see the end of this post).

But the concept is powerful and I look forward to the day when more companies and leaders adopt ROWE. My company has, and
Sep 30, 2014 Marissa rated it really liked it
I was initially skeptical about this whole idea, but the ROWE quickly got me pumped up because of the great emphasis placed on respect, not only for employees time but for their personal lives. It regards them as one and the same, and rightly so. There is also an emphasis on trust and treating people like adults, with all of this translating into better work ethic, happier employees, and of course, results.
Additionally, there is an interesting light shed on the fact that many/most of our curren
Jul 25, 2016 Charmin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
1. This new way of living is based on the radical idea that you are an adult. It’s based on the radical idea that even though you owe your company your best work, you do not owe them your time or your life.
2. In a Results-Only Work Environment, people can do whatever they want, whenever they want, as long as the work gets done.
3. Presenteeism, which is any time you’re physically present and putting in time, but you’re not really doing your job. Your body is in the building, but your m
May 10, 2015 Anna rated it it was ok
This book is repetitive and trite. The first third or so is consumed with what they seem to think is obvious: work sucks, meetings are useless, and we're all faking it to wait out the clock. The problem? There is a clock. Now I don't think work sucks, nor do I personally waste time for sake of an easy paycheck (though I know those people exist), and I specialize in facilitation of effective meetings/collaborative processes... so I'm probably not the target audience...but even if I was, I can't f ...more
Sep 15, 2008 Alexander rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who works 9-5
Introduces the concepts of ROWE (Results Only Work Environment). This book is an interesting read in tandem with Four Hour Work Week.

The book covers many topics of interest if a work environment could sustain a 'results-only' concept. What's surprising is that this type of environment gave a 35% BOOST in productivity at Best Buy corporate.

A lot of doubters should read this book to answer a lot of good questions about the topic of freedom of time for a standard workday.

Having finished the book, I
May 19, 2009 Megan rated it liked it
This book explains the working model that was developed at the Best Buy headquarters in the Twin Cities - ROWE: Results Only Work Environment. In this model, the only thing that matters in the workplace is results. You can work anywhere, anytime, any way you want as long as your work gets done. The book explains the 13 Guideposts, such as

Employees have the freedom to work any way they want.
People have an unlimited amount of "paid time off" as long as the work gets done.
Work isn't a place you go
May 20, 2010 Clare rated it liked it
Shelves: work
I liked this book, but ended up wanting a bit more from it...

The book provides a very compelling argument as to why the current system of work/performance (largely based on time) is broken and the advantages of ROWE (Results-Only Work Environment). But for me, this was really preaching to the converted... I first read about ROWE on Tim Ferris' blog (I think) and was attracted to the concept right away. I completely agree that work (and associated remuneration and performance measurement) should
Josh Steimle
Sep 28, 2011 Josh Steimle rated it really liked it
From a technical standpoint perhaps this book could be written better, and it would be nice if it wasn't so focused on experiences at Best Buy headquarters. But those faults aside, the principles in the book are some of the most transformative to hit the business world in the past 100 years. There are some workplaces that already employ something approximating a results-only work environment (ROWE), but there are far too many that come nowhere close.

What is inevitable is that eventually all busi
Glenn Williams
Oct 16, 2011 Glenn Williams rated it really liked it
Many leaders are questioning how traditional workplaces are changing, and how old paradigms are being challenged. Best Buy (a huge retail chain in the US) radically altered its workplace environment, and by doing, increased their productivity, retained their talent and reduced their overhead. They introduced what is fast becoming a movement called, 'ROWE' (Results-Only Work Environment.

Simply, it challenges the myth that Time + Physical Presence = Results, and that many organisations pay their s
May 19, 2012 Kevin rated it liked it
The basic premise of the book is that employees should be trusted with their time and held accountable for their performance. Most corporations actually approach work in exactly the other way, since it's easier to judge attendance than performance (while often confusing the two completely). It's basically the inside story of Best Buy's development and deployment of their Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE) program, so it's not just a lot of conjecture based on experimental psychology (for that, ...more
Sean Kottke
Jan 10, 2017 Sean Kottke rated it liked it
Read for a work book study. I like the concept of Results-Only Work Environment very much. The execution of the idea in this book is a bit overlong, and what I didn't like about the book was the assumption that the reader is discontented with his/her working arrangements. Personally and paradoxically, I find the inflexibility of civil service regulations for work hours much more liberating than the expectation for 24/7 availability regardless of physical location of my previous higher education ...more
Feb 13, 2017 Teclina rated it liked it
Not innovative- but good concept.
Jan 27, 2013 Anna rated it liked it
I had to read this for work a few years ago. I liked it. Was it the most well-written business book I've ever read? No. It was repetitive in places. But the overall concept of ROWE (results only work environment) is amazing and well laid out in this book. I think a more thought provoking book about changing the business model of work environments is Re-Work by Jason Fried - because I think defining the concept of who you are as a company (which Re-Work does) has to come before changing the organ ...more
Dec 02, 2011 Kim rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. It was a quick read, contains real life testimonials, and I think would make most readers wonder why so many Americans work in an environment that treats them like children. Many people complain that the book is too repetitive. I'm not going to argue against this, but I would challenge you to think about why. Common psychology tells us (it is evident all the time in advertising) that it takes repetitve messages for the information to sink in. The whole idea of ROWE is a majo ...more
Dec 02, 2014 Kristin rated it really liked it
This is a good primer to the concepts of ROWE and well laid out and written. I'm a project manager at a small agency, and we are considering going all in on this, however I definitely feel the need to supplement this book with more in-depth reading about particular things like setting and measuring goals for staff. Out of the interest of selling the concept and not weighing readers down too much with nitty gritty, this book did glaze over challenges pretty quickly. "Some people find this part of ...more
Aug 26, 2008 Eric rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who works
Recommended to Eric by: Val Williams
It absolutely sucks to go back to work after reading this book. The book promotes the concept of creating a work environment where employees can easily achieve balance between work and everything else in life, fosters professional respect amongst employees, and seems to eliminate most stress not related to one's professional responsibilities. The book is an eye opener to how antiquated the typical office modus operandi is, and at the same time provides a real world solution for fixing it. At fir ...more
Chole Tiscornia
Jul 08, 2014 Chole Tiscornia rated it really liked it
Great ideas about what needs to change in the way we work in America. I actually worked for a company that went ROWE. It was awesome. The only thing is that many managers may not like the book because they do not know how to evaluate employees by their productivity. At our company, employees lied about what they were doing and the managers had no way to measure their outcomes because they were used to meetings and reports. I wish every company was ROWE, but it takes some ingenuity on the part of ...more
Jennifer Aitkens
Mar 04, 2013 Jennifer Aitkens rated it really liked it
I love books that shift the work paradigm! In this book, Ressler and Thompson make a case for a Results-Only Work Environment - a place where you are judged on the results you produce rather than face time or how long your butt is at your desk.

Although recent reports suggest that Best Buy - the authors' original ROWE - may be moving away from this model,it is worth the read for the perspective it sheds on the typical 9-5, 40+ hour per week workplace.

Perhaps Best Buy's new CEO hasn't read the boo
Sep 29, 2008 Ruthe rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anybody
I loved this book. Take everything you've ever been taught about management and climbing the corporate ladder and throw it out the window -- but keep your common sense. Cali and Jody open your minds to the possiblity of a Results Only Work Environment with proven results (Best Buy uses it) and you find yourself doing little things in your every day life to get closer to a ROWE. The idea behind it is so simple that you wonder why it isn't instantly embraced by all but it does go against almost ev ...more
Jun 22, 2008 Virginia rated it it was amazing
Great ideas. Wow, treating adults like... adults? Weird.

Anyway, I read the book, am having other folks at my company read it, and made the owner of the company (my direct boss) read it.

Heh. That was fun.

It's time for a sea change in the business world, and I think increasing numbers of companies are going to figure this one out rather rapidly. Although it might not happen until after the economy has recovered a little bit.

Joel Ungar
Sep 29, 2013 Joel Ungar rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
This is a pretty darn good book, and a fascinating concept. I should probably give it 5 stars, but I don't think I'm far enough ahead of the curve to do that yet.

I agree in theory this can work anywhere. I also recognize it won't work in a firm like mine UNLESS there is complete buy in at the top, and I'm not going to get that right now.

I also admire women who use salty language in their writing.
Sep 14, 2008 Ed rated it liked it
So far, nothing new and not as applicable to clinicians in healthcare where hours do really mean more work. However, great out of the box thinking for this young exec. I'm sure we will see more from Cali. I am afraid it just doesn't speak clearly enough to the rank and file, college grad work force as they aren't yet at a stage where they can make this type of transformation happen. Overall, great direction for operational management though.
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“If you were judged and paid based on what you actually contributed to your organization, then time and place wouldn’t be a factor.” 0 likes
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