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I have a feeling this writer has no idea who 37signals is. He's probably realizing right about now that he's stepped on a land mine with exploding 37signals fanboys.

Edit: No offense to fans of 37signals (I read svn). This guy is about to get a lesson in how many fans of 37signals there are.




The book's target audience is obviously "business people," so I'd say he really doesn't need to know details about 37signals specifically.

The review was wonderfully British -- "What is it about Americans that they think 10 years is a long time?" -- which probably is the main reason behind the criticism. Real business people according to the author are probably those with a degree from LSE.


"What is it about Americans that they think 10 years is a long time?"

What is it about the British that make them assume short term thinking is coming from an American? One of the two authors are Danish, not American. Does working in America for four years make you an American these days?


I'm guessing he probably knows, and hes trying to be a troll to get hits.


Sort of playing them at their own game?


No, all signs point to the conclusion that 37signals actually believes what they're saying. Quality snark, though!


I have a feeling that author did not even read the book properly: maybe a couple of opening pages and chapter titles.


I read the back cover. That was enough to know it's more of the same. Not for me.

"Fire workaholics", "Meetings are toxic", etc etc it's just linkbait hyperbole.

I think this review managed to accurately sum up what 37signals puts out.


"Meetings are toxic" was in their last book. It's a hyperbolic title, but the content is more subtle. http://gettingreal.37signals.com/ch07_Meetings_Are_Toxic.php

"Fire workaholics" was a blog post. http://37signals.com/svn/posts/902-fire-the-workaholics

The review was defensive, because 37signals prove that many typical management techniques are not necessary for success. This is a status risk for the review author, who derives his livelihood from telling people about another right way to do things, and told me more about him than about the book.


Sorry, but I just absolutely detest this sort of writing, where you make outlandish claims, then fallback to a ridiculously obvious position. It's a bait+switch, and it's used way too often. You don't get any real insight, you just read what you already know.

  Meetings Are Toxic
  Don't have meetings
  For those times when you absolutely must have a meeting
  (this should be a rare event), stick to these simple rules:
And the advice is just ridiculously obvious to anyone with a brain. "Never have a meeting without a clear agenda."

Please.

Are all the startups here having meetings every day without any vague sort of agenda? Would they blindly keep having meetings if they proved to be unproductive? no.

It's great that 37signals have worked this out, but I don't think there's many people who don't know it/can't figure it out for themselves.


>> And the advice is just ridiculously obvious to anyone with a brain. "Never have a meeting without a clear agenda."

The thing is that in many places it's not obvious. There are a lot of people who spent many years in companies where this wasn't a common practice and they just don't know any better. It's not that these people aren't smart, they've just never seen anything different. Having a 1 hour meeting with a dozen people to solve the most simple problems is just "how things are done".

Let me make a quick analogy.

To a lot of people here, the idea that XP, SCRUM, and other agile development methodologies are a much better way of developing software is "obvious". To many, many people in larger companies it's definitely not obvious. They have decades of experience doing things using waterfall, and most of them have never worked at a place that did anything else. It's just "how things are done".

If you think all of these things are obvious, then this book is likely not for you. For lots of people, this book contains ideas that are very different from what they're accustomed to. That's who will get the most out of this book (or other books of its kind).


  And the advice is just ridiculously obvious to anyone with
  a brain. "Never have a meeting without a clear agenda."
Uhm, you assume that someone is actually using brains in average corporation. There is a book titled "Why Do Business Speak like Idiots" (http://fightthebull.com/), worth a read. As the saying goes, common sense is not so common. Do you know many employees in average corporation who like going to meetings and value them? Meetings there happen because managers think it is a good way to manage. Organizing meeting also keeps someone busy—and the common trait is to confuse busyness with productive work. There are lots of things obvious to anyone with a brain and those things never get applied because "that's not the way to do things", "that's not our culture", etc. What "Rework" does is to encourage you to challenge those widely accepted traditions. BTW, I highly recommend Ricardo Semler's "Maverick" and "The Seven-Day weekend" to anyone who even remotely like the stuff 37signals write. Semler also speaks a lot about applying common sense to business. Their stance on meetings is simple—no one is required to attend. If you organize a meeting and nobody shows up, that simply means no one is interested in your idea.


> I think this review managed to accurately sum up what 37signals puts out.

...Which you can assess by virtue of not having read it. Well done!




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