Why You Should Read “It Doesn’t Have To Be Crazy At Work” By The Basecamp Co-Founders

by | Oct 27, 2020 | Book Club Series

Some ideas are just great, you love them. But, they seem just that: ideas. “Nice idea but that’s not how the world works”.

Crazy At Work

Yet I know we get to shape how the world works – or at least our own world. We contribute to our world, always. It’s just done either passively or actively.

“Again, great idea, but…”

This is why I love it when I find evidence (of more than just my own story). And this why you should read this book: It doesn’t have to be crazy at work. This book is about an idea and how they make it real. And in their story is a method that you can use to make your idea real.

What’s The Method?

  1. You start with a idea
  2. You make choices every day that support that idea
  3. Over time it becomes real

So What’s The Idea From Jason Fried And David Heinemeier?

  1. Idea: It doesn’t have to be crazy at work. A 40 hour workweek is enough
  2. Choice: they choose calm. Here are a few of their definitions of calm
  3. Calm is protecting people’s time and attention
  4. Calm is reasonable expectations
  5. Calm is meetings as a last resort
  6. Calm is profitability
  7. Calm is sustainable practices for the long term
  8. find the rest on page 7, read the whole book for how they make each one real
  9. Over time it becomes real: each chapter delves into each of their factors for calm and they explain how they did it.

Two of my favourite sub-chapters are to give you a flavour of the content:

Don’t change the world.

What Did Happen To Modest Ambitions?

We’ve all got to 10x everything.

Their message? You don’t have to be a disrupter, break all the rules with a “BRAND NEW THING THAT CHANGES EVERYTHING”. Focus on the worthwhile product or service you are offering, and do it well.

Once you no longer have to be the hero whose going to change the world, then you can finish on time, knowing that tomorrow will give you another opportunity to do another good days work.

Our Goal: No Goals

This might sound strange for a coach, but maybe this is one of the things that makes me unconventional. I don’t really do goals.

I have aims. I have ideas about where I want to go and what I want to do.

My business “goals” look like this:

Coach people. Do it well so that it positively impacts their lives, and they are better off for it.

Wait, but what about financial goals? I don’t have them.

I have calculated my running costs and what I’d like to earn.

I calculate budgets for various discretionary spending.

Every month I check how I am doing with my finances: costs, turnover, profit, cashflow.

But I don’t have a turnover or profit goal. And there’s a really good reason.

When I focus on the goal – remember it’s an arbitrarily chosen number – then I get focused on the numbers, and then it becomes all about selling X euros of coaching, and it distracts me from the actual real work: people.

When I focus on my non-goal of “coach people” then I find people to work with and I get to do what I love, and they get help.

Bonus Points For This Book

  1. It’s a quick read – it only took me one evening to read it, and I absorbed a lot
  2. It’s like they are with you, telling you directly. It’s light and real at the same time.
  3. There are no hidden secrets, no treasures that you have to go and hunt down. It’s all laid out for you.

This is a great book for:

  1. Perfectionists
  2. People who know there’s a better way than the overwork grind – but who want to see that it’s real
  3. People who are caught up in the “Hard Work and overtime = success” hamster wheel
  4. All you Hustlers, Let’s Pull an All-nighters, 10xers out there
  5. People tired of the BHAG / “stretch” goal culture
  6. All those companies buying activity tracker apps for their WFH employees
  7. LEADERS. This is for leaders who actually want to have high performing successful teams. There are a lot of great ideas in this book that lead to great performance. And yes, they go against tradition.

Do you have to do what they do?

No, absolutely not.

The Executive Summary For Why You Should Read This Book

The BEST thing about this book is that it is proof of a very simple idea about success and having the life/work that you want:

Pick an idea, every day make choices that support that idea, and over time, you idea will become reality.

It Doesn’t Have To Be Crazy At Work by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson is available on Amazon and Bol.

This post is part of my Book Club Series where I share what I’m reading with you. I’m highlighting the “oh my god, you’ve got to read this!” books. These are the ones that I’ve been recommending to clients, friends, and anyone I’ve spoken to while reading the book. I have even been known to buy extra copies and given them to people. These books are great.

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