Rework by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson: Summary & Notes


A great, concise book how to build products and startups, and how to work.

Packed with information in an easy-to-read length, you'll always find something of value in this book.


  • Don't learn from your mistakes. Learn from successes: they tell you what does work.
  • Plan short-term, because we suck at planning. Long-term planning just doesn't work.
  • Great schools don't try and grow—why should you? Great businesses can be small too.
  • Workaholics try and make up for intellectual laziness with brute force. Work better instead.
  • "To do great work, you need to feel that you're making a difference."
  • To make a great product or service, make something you want to use.
  • "What you do is what matters, not what you think or say or plan."
  • You can always find the time if you're motivated enough.
  • Stand for something when you create a business. You'll attract like-minded people.
  • Take on as little outside cash as possible.
  • "A business without a path to profit isn’t a business, it’s a hobby."
  • Embrace being small. You're the most agile you'll ever be.
  • "Constraints are advantages in disguise."
  • Nail the basics first, and then worry about the details and the finer points later.
  • Constantly look for things to remove or simplify.
  • When you face a problem, see if you can remove things to solve it.
  • You don't need fancy equipment to get the job done.
  • Sell your by-products (aka sell your sawdust).
  • Launch sooner.
  • Do everything you can to remove layers of abstraction. You'll be more aligned.
  • Meetings are toxic.
  • You destroy your creativity, morale and attitude when you sacrifice sleep.
  • Focus on the highest priority only. Then move to the next one.
  • Make small decisions that are easy to change.
  • Make yourself part of your product. Then it can never be copied.
  • Being anti-something is a great way to attract followers. Position yourself against something.
  • Say no by default.
  • Share information that's valuable and build an audience.
  • Overnight successes are myths.
  • Never hire someone until you've done the job yourself first. And hire only when it hurts.
  • Don't hire someone great just because they're available. There are lots of great people.
  • Hire people that can manage themselves.
  • Hire great writers.
  • Give a test project to potential new hires before giving them an offer.
  • Say sorry and own up to your mistakes.
  • You don't create a culture, it just happens.
  • Don't build a process just because of one mistake. You'll build up organizational scar tissue if you do.
  • Act on your inspiration. It won't last forever.

Want to get my latest book notes? Subscribe to my newsletter to get one email a week with new book notes, blog posts, and favorite articles.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.