Ed Recommends a Book. Blog no. 3 – and a statement of intent.

This blog is going to be published every Friday lunchtime. Some weeks it’ll entertain, some weeks it’ll educate: some blogs will inform – and some will just be there to start an argument. So please; bookmark the blog, add it to your favourites, Diggit, Reddit, Stumble Upon it and all the other things you can do. And comment on it – the blog is a two-way street.

Enough, I’m going to recommend a book. It’s called Rework and you’ll never have heard of the authors. Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. Who? They run a company called 37Signals (www.37signals.com) which offers web based applications to help you run your business. Two or three people I know use their CRM application, Highrise. Anyway, this isn’t an ad for their products. But it might be an ad for their book. (Amazon – £5.99).

Rework is short. And it’s readable. Like you, I’ve got a welter of business books in my office. By my bed. A couple in the car. What proportion have I abandoned at page 40 because they’re simply unreadable? At least a third, probably more.

Enough waffle. On to the book. I don’t agree with it all – but it’s different. And with business changing at an ever increasing pace, different is good. Anyone ever been in a meeting? Thought so. Here’s what Jason and David have to say about them:

• Meetings are Toxic
• They’re usually about words and abstract concepts, not real things
• They require thorough preparation that most people don’t have time for
• They often include one moron who inevitably gets his turn to waste everyone’s time
• And they procreate. One meeting leads to another…

You have ten people in a one hour meeting. So in productivity terms, a ten hour meeting. Add in preparation time and it’s probably more like fifteen.

A 15 hour meeting… I have to hold my hand up and say that I’ve never seen it like that. But hang on. The Alternative Board is about meetings. And a successful and positive meeting can take three hours – with eight people. A 24 hour meeting! Blimey, almost enough time to pull the country out of recession.

But there’s a difference. TAB meetings are not toxic: they’re about members finding real solutions to real problems. They do not contain morons – at least mine didn’t last time I checked…

And you know what? Sometimes the meetings are beautiful. Sometimes they’re going along – positive, finding solutions – and then someone says something and whoosh…the meeting takes off. The whole becomes more than the sum of the parts. The board members leave enthused, energised – and reassured that in the lonely world of running a business, they’re not alone. Feeling – to borrow what’s fast become a cliché – that, ‘Yes, they can.’



  1. jessice kemp · July 9, 2010

    Ed, great post and i couldn’t agree more about rework. It is a breath of fresh air and since reading it i’ve certainly been able to transform the way we work at intune delivering more value to our clients and our bottom line

  2. Rob · July 10, 2010

    Thanks for the tip Ed, I’ve ordered a copy. I’ll put a short review on your blog comments when I’ve inwardly digested it. Best regards, Rob

  3. Sarah · July 12, 2010

    Great tip I will check out the book very true about meetings it drives me mad!! the structure of TAB avoids this though which is great.

  4. Jo Clarkson · July 13, 2010

    Hi Ed

    Great blog! Could you summarise all the other books you’ve got (and the other 100 I’ve got somewhere…) in such an incisive and helpful way as well please!!

    I’ll watch this space!


  5. Lorraine Ives · July 20, 2010

    Sounds like a must read and I too have abandoned books a third of the way through because they simply don’t resonate with me.

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