Rework

By Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, founders of 37signals.

Most business books give you the same old advice. Rework gives you counter-intuitive how-to-succeed-in-business advice. The messages include: embrace constraints, throw less at the problem, and send people home at 5. It all makes sense, but one wonders how many business people are open-minded and creative enough to actually take these suggestions to heart.

The chapter on hiring is likely to strike the average reader as particularly unsettling, as it advises executives and managers to essentially disregard the content of résumés, to forget about establishing strict educational requirements for job candidates, and to be wary of academic superstars (whose success in the classroom often doesn’t translate to the real world).

My favorite chapter, however, is “Learning from mistakes is overrated,” which highlights the fact that failure is not a prerequisite for success—and that experiencing failure is no guarantee that future endeavors will fare any better. “Success is the experience that counts,” claim the authors, “because when something succeeds, you know what worked—and you can do it again. And the next time, you’ll probably do it even better.”