20 Mar

ReWork – An Energy Kick in Your Creative Pants – Review

ReWork Cover ImageSome books give you knowledge. Some books give you energy. Rework is firmly in the energy category.

Rework is written by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson and is culled from their (and their coworkers’ ) blog at 37signals.com. Fried and Heinemeier are the men behind Basecamp, the collaborative platform, and several other lean productivity products and while I haven’t personally used Basecamp but I’ve heard good things about it.

Rework is a condensed version of their blog, so if you’ve been following that I’m guessing that you’ll recognize quite a lot. But if you haven’t read the blog, well, Rework puts the common, dinosaur, assumptions about running a company on their collective heads.

Yes, it’s a book about business and design and productivity. But between the lines it’s also a book on game design and other creative pursuits. Some chapter headings: Ignore the details early on (familiar to anyone who’s built a prototype out of A4 paper, crayons and post-its), Make tiny decisions and Your estimates suck.

This isn’t a book you’ll go to if you want to learn the skills and trade of game design. It is, however, a book you should look at if you’re at all interested in the business side of game design. Whether you’re looking for inspiration on how to work better and faster, how to sell more or how to handle contacts with playtesters or publishers, there’s some inspiration in there for you.

Because that’s what Rework is: pure inspiration in rarefied form. Speed for the imagination. If you’re anything like me you’ll end up full of vigor and rearing to go after reading it.

It’s also short, 27 000 words, so you should be able to squeeze through it in an evening or two. And it leaves you wishing for more.

Sure, there’s not all that much solid advice in there and what is, is mostly common sense (unless you’re very Old School). If you’re looking for a bullet list of rules for success then you should look elsewhere. But if you’re in the market for a book that will inspire you, and you like your inspiration wrapped in tales of business outliers, then you should give Rework a try.

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