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It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  8,574 ratings  ·  867 reviews
In this timely manifesto, the authors of the New York Times bestseller Rework broadly reject the prevailing notion that long hours, aggressive hustle, and "whatever it takes" are required to run a successful business today.

In Rework, Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson introduced a new path to working effectively. Now, they build on their message with a bold, iconocla
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published October 2nd 2018 by Harper Business
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Rod Hilton
Nov 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
You need to read this book. Actually, scratch that, your manager needs to read this book, and his or her manager as well. All the way up the ladder. This is more than just a book, it's a manifesto for sanity and calmness at the office.

Nearly every (two-page) section is gold. It reads quick, it's well-written, there's no extra fluff or padding. Just straightforward advice for how to run your company and culture to maximize happiness at the office, written by people who have been successful. This
Simon Eskildsen
Oct 16, 2018 rated it liked it
The premise of the book is wonderful: we chase growth at all cost and the human cost of that is real.

However, I can't shake some feeling of arrogance that permeates the book. Points are mostly anecdotal and all the examples of practised 'calm' are from their own company or individuals who work outside of an organization (the reference section is suspiciously thin). Come on, it's not so radical to not work yourself to death that no-one else in the world practises it. The authors are in a privile
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fried and DHH are once again offering a clarion call from The Future; ignore it at your peril.

This is essential reading if you've ever thought that the millenial badge of honor, being busy beyond belief, may actually be a foolish road to ruin. If you're wise enough to know that your best work is not output at hour 12, 10, or even 8. If you're fed up that the potential of your brilliant teammates is being squandered.

It's easy to critique norms and far harder to illuminate other paths, and the em
Vitor Capela
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
The message is important: a company has the agency to dismiss most business practices and advice — growth at all costs, change for change's sake, working its staff to the bone — and still thrive. I applaud their consistency, year after year, in pointing at their own success as proof.

If you read their blog and Twitter accounts, this book provides very little that's new. Like "Remote", it's more pamphlet (size included) than deep exploration, and, while I think manifestos and clever turns of sente
Willian Molinari
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, non-fiction
What a great book! The best part of this book is that there's nothing so out of this world there, they are just talking about what we should be doing.

Hey, it's true, it doesn't have to be crazy at work. We can still do our best and deliver an amazing product without making ourselves miserable working like crazy to meet some made up numbers used as "goals". We can still be ambitious and make something our users love without driving the whole team crazy. We can have a productive environment to let
Yevgeniy Brikman
Aug 24, 2019 rated it liked it
This book is a flat list of advice on how to run a company. I found some of the advice to be insightful:

* Your company is a product. In fact, it should be your best product.

* "Creativity, progress, and impact do not yield to brute force."

* Office hours: subject-matter experts at your company should hold regularly scheduled office hours where they are 100% available for questions, pair coding, etc. This creates a nice balance where the expert can provide guidance to others without their day bein
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started this on a plane and finished it over salt-roasted chicken with celery root, leeks, and ham chips.

Recommend by coworkers, especially @bill’s knh, I found that about 30% of this applies to my company. The fact is that our problems don’t match the ones these folks have solved with their miracle company (which I would LOVE to work at, based on how they present it.)

The 30% that applies applies REALLY HARD. I wish everyone at my company would read that 30%. The other 70% makes me feel like
Nada Elshabrawy
I wish I can act on this effective immediately. Maybe I should give it to my boss ://
Nov 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Alternative title: 'Come work at Basecamp!'

There's something weird about modern work culture, things our grandfathers have fought and died for, like the 40 hour work-week, are being unrolled, not directly by your mean bosses, but by neoliberalism/late stage capitalism's magic trick that implanted a tiny voice within yourself, telling you that if you don't give 200%, you'll be left behind. (For more discussion on this weird development, see Byung-Chul Han's Psychopolitik, or Fromm's Sane Society)
Alex Givant
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book on how to build sane business.
Richard Newton
Dec 01, 2018 rated it really liked it

It’s good to read business advice from successful business people that is so calm and takes a different line from almost any other I’ve read. Assuming working for Basecamp really is as good as the picture the authors paint then anyone working there is pretty lucky.

A few stylistic quibbles aside this is a great enjoyable read. The only bit which jars for Europeans is flagging 3 weeks paid leave as something special - everyone I know gets at least 5 (excluding public holidays which are on to
Dec 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The praise of calm, commited, well-formulated, thought-through work environment.
An antithesis to war metaphors in business literature and the talk about the need to grow endlessly (like The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers) or the urgent need to be "happy" or "family".

EDIT: There actually is one topic I actually miss in this book - the perspective of the remotely working employee of Basecamp. Just to have a glimps whether and how are those down-to
Oct 25, 2018 rated it liked it
I've got mixed feelings on this one.
After reading remote and rework, this one feels kinda "cheap", in the sense that is a 18$ book (pre-order, now is 25$) that you read in a couple of days.
Don't get me wrong, I like the content, but, maybe I've just been following DHH and his "teachings" for so long that it didn't really teach me anything.
I'll share it with a few coworkers and managers to see they're feedback.

Also one thing I noticed, especially since I always read on my kindle, the book feels c
Romans Karpelcevs
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Bam! Bam! Bam! This book shoots advice from the third gen of the way of working in software development. Will everything from this book be there in the future? No. Will everything here work for you? No. Are some things only possible if you are already highly profitable and don't have external capital? Yes.

And then still there is a TON of valid points, suggestions and directions everyone should at least consider, and implement some. Or your competitors will.
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fresh perspective, good rationale, enjoyable exposition. But docking a star for too much self glorification.

Quick and easy read that may help to make a much needed shift in a workplace culture
Emma Bostian
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the second time I've read this book (the first time I listened to the audio book) and admittedly, while I love 85% of the sentiments throughout the book, I found a few things problematic.

Before we get to the problematic areas, I wanted to note a few things I did enjoy.

Basecamp's outlook on company benefits and how they should aim to get the employees *out* of the office and not keep them in (like free lunches and dinners do) is spot on. And paying for employees' vacations yearly almost f
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Basecamp founders Jason Fried and DHH have the uncanny ability to provide a clearheaded account of their process, decisions and the outcomes that result from them in a way that inspires, drives and motivates others.

Their concise writing style is a reflection of the way they intertwine utility with perspective-altering insights that challenge the status quo and cut through the BS to focus on what really matters.

This is a book meant to be read and re-read regularly, a book that challenges conventi
Jitariu Catalin
Oct 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's a great book not as a book per se, but as a proof that things can be different then we are made to believe. It's like a fairy tale that takes you in a different time and place. It shows you some things can work in the real world if you think about others as people, not as a way to achieve billions.
Adii Pienaar
Oct 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Listened to the audiobook. Love the clarity and conciseness of the book. It does so without losing any punch or impact too.
Matt Goddard
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jason fried and DHH have done a brilliant job with this book. It’s thought provoking and there are some really useful bit of advice. I’m certain that it’ll have a massive impact on how we work, just as rework, and remote did. 

Anyone who cares about achieving a sensible work life balance should read it.

However I had one nagging doubt throughout reading it. I can see how a lot of what they share is pertinent to a company like Basecamp, which is focused on delivering their own product.

What I’ ...more
Mikhail Kulakov
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top-business, 2018
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mindaugas Mozūras
Culture isn’t what you intend it to be. It’s not what you hope or aspire for it to be. It’s what you do.

"It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work" is a manifesto. The book doesn't go deep on any of the subjects. Jason and DHH put out a bunch of statements, which have to be taken at face value. I agree with most of those statements (more here:, but it didn't lead me to like the book.

The authors construct strawmen left and right. They refute a bunch of practic
Koray Al
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Yet another reference book from Basecamp for the likes of me in software development industry. Just like 'Rework' and 'Remote' this book points to issues we feel that some things are wrong with but don't have the courage to put into words because of the way things 'are' in the business. Hearing those ideas from a 'success story' increases it's effect.

Rework tried to convince employees that there is a better way to do work. Remote tried to convince employees and employers that 'the work' is not s
Ali Spittel
Mar 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
I really like how committed the authors are to their ethical code. It's really awesome to see.

That being said, this feels really hype-based. I'd love to see more from their employees, especially ones who have left the company.

I also don't agree with all their standpoints, in fact their low-level of communication would leave me feeling isolated and unhappy most likely as an extrovert.

I love how they feature their values and care so much about their employees, but I wish the book went deeper into
Artjoms Haleckis
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Short and easy to read set of valuable advice.
After working in different kind of companies, I have identified that calmness is one of the key factors when choosing my next workplace, and this book proved once again that it's possible to achieve easily.
Thinking about incorporating asking to "describe how crazy it is at your work" to any potential employer during interviews.
Andrew Wolgemuth
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, pro-dev
Because "crazy at work" companies, individuals, and habits get more than enough recognition and celebration and because so many of the benefits of calm, quiet work are intangible and hard to recognize, this is a book I really appreciate and will try to re-read with regularity.
Guilherme Ferreira
Nov 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jason and David, did a great job again, thourgh well-written and extreme lean articles, they inspire us to seek and build a calm work environment, this book is full of tips for all kinds of companies
Bjoern Rochel
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
As much as I often disagree with DHH on his views regarding software development (Rails is omakase, anyone !?), I similarly often have to applaud him for his views on business and organisations.

I don't buy into everything, but most of this just seems healthy to me. Just to name a few:

Focusing on what matters, don't follow the growth-at-all-cost mentality so omnipresent in modern economy, trying to find work modes that allow for flow, focusing the company benefits on health of the employees, dis
Erik Pettersson
Aug 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great book! Something to read once every year!
Amir Hossein Fassihi
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book really makes you think that work can be done differently. Good to see that there are companies in this day and age that regard other matters higher than the never ending hunger for growth and raising capital.
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Jason Fried is the co-founder and President of 37signals. Jason believes there’s real value and beauty in the basics. Jason co-wrote all of 37signals books, and is invited to speak around the world on entrepreneurship, design, management, and software.

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You know the saying: There's no time like the present...unless you're looking for a distraction from the current moment. In that case, we can't...
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“A great work ethic isn’t about working whenever you’re called upon. It’s about doing what you say you’re going to do, putting in a fair day’s work, respecting the work, respecting the customer, respecting coworkers, not wasting time, not creating unnecessary work for other people, and not being a bottleneck. Work ethic is about being a fundamentally good person that others can count on and enjoy working with.” 14 likes
“Respect the work that you’ve never done before.” 5 likes
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