Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson is like a book of proverbs written specifically for small businesses. Much of the wisdom is applicable to a larger audience, but the authors bring their experience as software designers (the guys behind 37signals.com) to demonstrate how a small company can still have a major impact. A new idea is introduced every few pages about the best way to run a business, but a few main ideas keep popping up in different contexts.

You Can Do This

You can do the work that you’re passionate about. Your project doesn’t have to look like a big company, and it may be something that nobody though would work “in the real world.” Just get out there and start doing it. All the planning in the world isn’t as effective as actually starting your idea. Remember, you can adjust course along the way.

Quote: “What you do matters, not what you think or say or plan.”

Be Healthy with Your Time and Work

It’s easy to fall into the trap of not sleeping and becoming a workaholic to get your new idea off the ground, but unhealthy work habits cost you instead of help you. Look for the most efficient solution so that you can accomplish more instead of wasting time in endless meetings and obsessing over minor details. Find the core of your idea or business and keep working on that above all else.

Quote: “Workaholics aren’t heroes. They don’t save the day, they just use it up. The real hero is already home because she figured out a faster way to get things done.”

Simplicity Will Solve a Great Number of Problems

New ideas, be they businesses or art projects, can cripple themselves with too much complexity. Don’t think that the first version of your idea has to be completely polished with every possible feature and option. Establish the baseline of your idea and add on from there.

Simplicity is also a huge factor in deciding when or if you need to enlist the help of others. Hiring isn’t about resumes and years of experience, it’s about finding people who are genuinely talented and self-motivated.

Quote: “The longer something takes, the less likely it is that you’re going to finish it.”

Be Genuine and Stand by Your Work

Don’t worry so much about the competition. Focus on sharing what you’re about. People can tell if you’re only partially interested in your business or project. Your enthusiasm needs to come through in every detail. When the criticism comes, don’t equivocate. Make apologies when you mess up, and be sincere as you fix the problem. Also, don’t be afraid to draw lines in the sand when unjust criticism comes. Embracing simplicity means you can’t give in to every demand of your audience.

Quote: “The mask of professionalism is a joke.”

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