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Hacking Work: Breaking Stupid Rules for Smart Results

3.19  ·  Rating details ·  204 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
Why work harder than you have to? One manager kept his senior execs happy by secretly hacking into the company's database to give them the reports they needed in one third of the time. Hacking is a powerful solution to every stupid procedure, tool, rule, and process we are forced to endure at the office. Benevolent hackers are saving business from itself.

It would be so m
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published September 23rd 2010 by Portfolio
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Dennis Boccippio

HBR may have it right, Hacking Work may be one of the ten breakthrough ideas of 2010. The downside is, what Jensen and Klein have to say really could fit within the confines of a good HBR article; it's a bit thin and repetitive for 200 pages. That said ... it's a quick and fairly innocuous pages that doesn't feel like a waste of time.

Jensen and Klein do a reasonably good job at encouraging those who might not yet be inclined to take personal ownership over their career vector to do so. (As a
Chris Wood
May 14, 2012 rated it did not like it
I'm a strong supporter of challenging corporate procedures or rules to either better understand why they're there, or to "fix" things to suit the organizations true needs. However Jensen & Klein's book spent more time explaining that business hacks were okay with emphasis on trivial examples such as using Google Docs or digital receipt tracking opposed to sticking strongly to corporate tools. With an expectation for more enlightening, corporate sized, large value add mindshifts or more signi ...more
Alessandro Cardito
Jan 18, 2015 rated it did not like it
If someone created a program that randomly puts together text according to stereotypes picked on the internet, then i'd be pretty confident to say that this program generated this book based on stereotypes on the work place.
I always know that when you read these books you've to swallow a lot of bullshit to read those maybe 10 pages that are worth the book.
In this case, those 10 pages never arrived- the book is anecdotal nonsense from page one to the end.
Rory Parle
Feb 27, 2012 rated it it was ok
Pretty thin on content. This book would have worked reasonably well as a single article.
Oct 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: business-finance
Interesting mindset, but they didn't mention the crucial security caveats until chapter 4, and some of the examples were *extremely* unethical. (At least one would be an immediate firing offence.) I was hoping for more useful examples which weren't weighted towards "Use Google Docs to bypass corporate firewalls".

I get better info from
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People working in enterprise-size companies
Fairly useless for a sole trader, but has merit for those working in enterprise-sized companies. While the relatively 'simple' idea behind the book has been drawn out for about 100 pages longer than it should have, there are a few good case studies and examples within the book that redeem it.

Reading Jensen's book today (2017), it's all too obvious that it hasn't aged well; examples include:

1. Constantly referring to the tipping point where Gen Y (they use 'Millenial' sparsely... which is refres
Have you ever had to work around a company rule or policy that prevented you from doing your job effectively? Ever used non-company software and tools to get things done? Or reached out to a co-worker to skirt a dumb work process? If so, than Hacking Work is your kind of book.

Hacking Work is all about the rising tide of benevolent hacking at work and the people who bypass corporate-centered systems in favor of efficient, user-centered approaches. The text is not anti-work or anti-business. On th
Apr 29, 2015 rated it it was ok
The biggest hack I did while reading this book was to just close it and go do something infinitely more useful, like write this review or stare at the wall.

It's ok, I guess, for total beginners or people who never thought of (gasp) thinking outside the box, but if you don't fall into these two categories then it's just a ton of blah blah, re-blah blah and yet more blah. Sure, there are lots of small examples sprinkled throughout the book, but I didn't read a single one that made me go "oh!".

Amanda Jorgensen
Oct 14, 2012 rated it did not like it
The title of this book is too "in your face", it makes you feel a bit guilty about reading it, like you're committing a crime or something. But the the idea of learning how rules work and how you work around them (white hacks) is just what we all do every day, without wanting to call it a big hack or anarchy. The book is not well written, if you read what they say on the back of the book this should be enough, the rest is just the authors saying this phrase they so love one thousand times - "hac ...more
Sep 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
An inspiring call to arms. This book takes an unflinching look at the ethics, means and motivations of "hacking work" - finding ways to work around difficult bosses, inflexible processes or stubborn technology. It has lots of examples from real interviews conducted by the authors. The only thing keeping this book from 5 stars is a lack of even more examples (I could read those all day) and some more specific best practices on How to Hack. But they make the point that any advice they could give w ...more
Henry Pan
Apr 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Since I was a kid, I hate to play by the rules for all kind of games, from the single player hacks to MMO games hacks, this made me feel I saved up a lot of useless time; by transferring this mindset to the workplace as well as life, companies tend to assign tasks to employees with the effort of reaching cost-savings for the company as a whole, now here is where this book comes into place - there are many ways to do those tasks, why not go around the rules once for a while (of course, you don't ...more
Feb 06, 2012 rated it it was ok
I found this book to be a quick read. The idea being, find ways to get around bureaucratic rules within the organization you work for, and become more productive. At times it's a bit too rah-rah, and I found it light on actual tips or examples. Instead the authors refer you to their web site, in which case, what do you need the book for?
Terry Barker
Sep 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Got this for one penny at Amazon. Of course, shipping was $3.99, but it's still a great deal. The book doesn't have a boiler plate of tools to use for hacking, but it does give a good sales pitch about the risks and benefits. By the way, the work hacking is not the malicious kind--it's about going around rules when you can get the job done faster, while benefiting the company.
Rob Cantrall
Apr 17, 2011 rated it liked it
It's an interesting topic -- finding ways around stupid rules and policies -- but the authors are little more than observers here, not even truly reporting. There are some interesting anecdotal hacks that they outline and a reasonable case is made in favor of hacking, but it all feels a bit too loose to be truly useful. Read it for the anecdotes, and not much more.
Jun 04, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
A book that not only glorifies breaking the rules and achieving results by any means that are not likely to throw you into jail, but also provides some applicable knowledge how to do it and even encourages some schedule of your "hacks".
Ironically, I have obtained it from my employer :)
Elliott Bäck
Dec 25, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
These rules are mostly things that you would do naturally. The tech bent of the book is silly in most large organizations, while bending rules could likely get you fired. Also, many of the anecdotes feel dated. The instructions in the book become repetitive over time.
Vipin Ramdas
Nov 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
A good read to highlight how you can "work around" corporate processes, practices, policies,tools without actually breaking the law. A must read for anyone who has been frustrated at work and said "darn these corporate processes and tools
Chris Conrey
Sep 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Started strong, finishes poorly. The concept appeals to my anti authority personality and the message was good overall even if a bit below where I am. My gut says that if you are hte kid of person who will read this you don't need it
Gabe Mounce
Jul 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The best book besides "Maverick" about how to break the rules of work and do stuff that matters!
M Brian
Aug 26, 2014 rated it liked it
This is a simple, story based, book about how people can identify ways to be more efficient in your work and life. The book is good, but it gets a bit redundant toward the end.
Stefaan Ponnet
Jan 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Maps to my vision on work and work ethics. No real new information - but an entertaining read.
Steven Hermann
Jun 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Josh is very insightful into what it takes to get things done, not just for an employee to read, but also for an employer.
Nannie Bittinger
Nov 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Nannie by: Mary
Should be required reading for anyone in the working world.
Ti Bryan
Oct 11, 2012 rated it it was ok
Keeping going round the same points. The book itself needs to be hacked.
Oliver Southgate
Sep 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Good ideas. It went on a bit labouring the point. I discovered I am already doing lots of the ideas in the book. Probably why I was interested in the book. Worth a skim.
Ritchie Macapinlac
Interesting. Simple but effective concepts.
Apr 26, 2012 rated it did not like it
Very empty, about one idea in the book: "find a/your way to make things better." Not enough to fill a book. :-(
Polle De Maagt
Nov 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: living
Smart ideas, great way of approaching organisations. The concept of adopting hacking reflexes to actually get things done is really nice. However, the examples get a bit boring towards the end.
Oct 18, 2016 rated it did not like it
Never judge a book by its cover or by its title. Very raw content.
rated it it was ok
Apr 12, 2012
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Bill Jensen makes it easier to do great work.
Bill is today’s foremost expert on work complexity and cutting through clutter to what really matters.

He has spent the past two decades studying how work gets done. (Much of what he’s found horrifies him.)

He is an internationally-acclaimed author and speaker who is known for provocative ideas, extremely useful content, and his passion for making it ea
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“... the Gen Y paradox: an entire generation of employees with the attitude that they know how to communicate with anybody, anytime, anywhere, and have the tools to back them up, but who need more help with critical thinking than prior generations in pulling meaning and value from all those communications.” 0 likes
“You have no idea how destructive and wasteful your infrastructure is because you don't need to use it the way the workforce does... Drive the forklift, use the database, fill out the form, submit it to HR, and find out how long it takes to get a response. Use your own infrastructure.” 0 likes
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