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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

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  971 ratings  ·  95 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 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
Val Williams
Sep 09, 2008 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
Jun 25, 2008 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
Pauline Narvas
Apr 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book during the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s interesting because so many companies have had to force this flexible working culture to survive — when before it was something that apparently “just doesn’t work” or when people were able to work remotely some days, it was ‘banter’ to joke about how they’re not actually doing any work.

Because of where we find ourselves in now, it’s interesting how flexible working culture has become the forefront of everything. IT is possible to work effec
Jul 17, 2008 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. ...more
Wendy Yu
Sep 06, 2011 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.
May 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: management
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
Apr 29, 2011 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 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
Oct 25, 2018 rated it did not like it
Two books in a row now where I had to skim the second half since the first half was so bad. So discouraging! Another "business" book (or should I say "busyness"?) that will supposedly revolutionize the work world as we know it. Never heard of the ROAM concept before and probably won't hear of it again. 95% fluff. ...more
Jeremy BV
Dec 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
Lots of talk about a fantasy of work-life balance, with no real solutions offered. The whole idea of ROWE becomes less and less feasible as the pages roll on with nothing but fluff.
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This was a very thought-provoking read. I have to admit, I did a close read of the first 60 pages. While interesting, I have a hard time fitting the concepts into my type of work (middle school teacher) so I skimmed the rest of the book.

Naturally, there are times I just have to be at work so I can have face-to-face contact with 170 middle schoolers. But I felt there were other important take aways from this book that could apply to about anyone. The utmost being NO SLUDGE (sludge = negative comm
Mar 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The idea of a ROWE might seem crazy, but when you think long and hard about the idea of work, how society, culture, and technology have changed the nature of work, and why our workplace practices are the way they are (hint: it's largely outdated customs), a environment where employees are free to do "whatever they want, whenever they want, as long as the work gets done" makes total sense.

"Why Work Sucks" gives a very compelling argument that corporations can give their employees full control abo
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I thought this was a great book. It was a little repetitive but I still didn't think it overdid it. It presents a new way of looking at work that I found helpful. It gave me some ideas about things I want to discuss with my manager to move the focus of my job towards results, instead of a focus on just sitting at my desk.

The title is a little misleading so don't be thrown off by it. You do not have to dislike your job in any way to get value from this book. It would be more accurate to call it "
Michael Sypes
Sep 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
A bit long-winded, as most these sorts of books tend to be, but the ideas are very sound, and there's a good deal of practical "how-to" on getting your workplace to be a ROWE.
The downside, of course is that this change requires a lot of buy-in from a lot of people at many levels. It's not just up to you, it's up to your boss, his boss, and her boss to work together toward this goal, and there's a lot of personal self-interest from higher levels of management to reject this form of thinking.
Linden A.
Jun 28, 2019 marked it as to-read
ASAE Collaborate suggestion
Apr 16, 2020 rated it it was ok
Good read if that were you’re company is headed but otherwise irrelevant. ROWE is a fabulous concept though. Easy read
Jul 06, 2020 rated it it was ok
Read this as teambuilding book club. Interesting concept and provides good examples, but written aggressively for decision-makers with more "tell" than "show" (although it provides lots of data!). ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 13, 2015 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 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 rated it it was amazing
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 (ROWE), 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 the time, but you’re not really doing your job. Your body is in the building,
Sep 15, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who works 9-5
Shelves: own
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 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 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 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 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 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 rated it liked it
Shelves: professional, 2017
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 rated it liked it
Not innovative- but good concept.
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“The funny thing about work is that every day most of us go to a physical space to do virtual work.” 0 likes
“In a ROWE, work isn’t a place you go—it’s something you do. The work going on in your brain can happen no matter where your brain is. When individuals and organizations embrace this idea, it frees people up to do their best work.” 0 likes
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