“Inspiration is Perishable” – And a Few Other Valuable & Useful Lessons from Rework by Fried and Hansson
I just presented my synopsis of Rework for some folks at Gaylord. Terrific group – wonderful session. It’s been a while since I’ve looked at this book.
Here are some takeaways:
• Some over-all observations from the book:
1) This book is a blinding flash of the obvious (that’s what many good books are!)
2) Results really, really matter – almost nothing else does.
3) Be happy with good enough – but remember, good enough is never shoddy.
4) Revenue in has to surpass expenses out. This is the first law of business. Otherwise, you don’t have a business – you have a hobby.
5) Do what you need; make sure your product pleases you, meets your needs… Then your customers will get what they need.
And, I concluded my synopsis with these:
• Six things you can do to respond to the counsel in this book:
1) Spend only what you have to – be frugal.
2) Focus on results – and nothing else.
3) When you have a moment of inspiration, go with it. Don’t let up. — “Inspiration is perishable.”
4) Single task – spend long stretches of time alone to make something happen.
5) Take (better) care of yourself. — “Forgoing sleep is a bad idea.”
6) But, when you work, work hard – with focus – until you get something done.
• And remember – you are a manager of one. “You come up with your own goals, and you execute.” (Look for others who are successful at being a manager of one; hire only those, and, only when you have to).
You can purchase my synopsis of Rework, with audio + handout, from our companion web site at 15minutebusinessbooks.com.
How and why “Free Radicals” create wealth for themselves and meanwhile improve the world
Initially, I was somewhat put off by this book’s title but it certainly caught my attention and thus served its purpose in that respect. However, I wonder, how many people will let it go at that rather than read and then consider what Any Kessler has to say about various “unapologetic rules for game-changing entrepreneurs”? As my rating indicates, I think he has much of value to say…and says it well.
With regard to the meaning and significance of the book’s title, here is what Kessler observes: “the best way to leverage Abundance and Scale and to create Productivity is to get rid of people…Now I’m not suggesting we actually eat anyone…But we do need to get rid of worthless jobs [and those who languish in then]…There’s nothing productive about [many different kinds of jobs], though they may be temporarily necessary until someone, a true Free Radical, writes a piece of code to make them obsolete. That’s how you create productivity…If you look at the world through a productivity filter, a lot more things start to make sense, especially about who is pulling their load and who is just along for the ride.”
As Kessler goes on to explain, a “Free Radical” is a change agent who is determined to eliminate anyone and anything that reduces (if not eliminates) value, however defined. Especially during the current Depression/Depression/Great Reset/Whatever, it makes no sense to leave in place barriers (human and non-human) to productivity and efficiency, that are both scalable and sustainable.
How to decide what to do and not do? Kessler offers a baker’s dozen of “Rules” (the last is a bonus) and devotes a separate chapter to each. He explains why and how all can be essential “game-changers” for Free Radicals such as John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, and Sam Walton. However different they may be in most other respects, all of them not only created wealth for themselves, but at the very same time, improved the world, made life better, and increased everyone else’s standard of living. As Kessler explains, “Free Radicals found situations to combust and destroy, but in the end, it was only to make room to build the new [and the improved] – disrupt the status quo, do more with less, advance society, drive progress rather than have progress drive them. A free Radical is someone who gets wealthy inventing the future by helping others live longer and better.” So, “eating people” is a metaphor for the process by which Free Radicals (Creators) and their allies (Servers) eliminate whoever and whatever opposes or impedes “increasing productivity, increasing society’s wealth, reinventing the way the world works and generating enough (altruistic?) profits to reinvest in their process to keep this reinvention going for decades on end. These are the real heroes in history.”
Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to check out the just published 10th Anniversary Edition of The Cluetrain Manifesto co-authored by Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger ; also, Bill Jensen and Josh Klein’s Hacking Work: Breaking Stupid Rules for Smart Results, and Rework, co-authored by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson.
Here is an excerpt from an article written for Inc. magazine (December 1, 2010) in which Jason Fried explains why no is the most important word that an entrepreneur can learn. If you wish to read the complete article, please click here.
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Are you in the software business? I bet most of you would answer no. So let me put it another way: Do you have a website? If the answer is yes, you’re in the software business. A website is software. It has utility, and that utility is accessed via an interface on a computer or mobile device. That’s software.
Given that today most businesses — and plenty of individuals — have websites, far more of you are in the software business than you probably realize. You may make widgets or furniture or run a restaurant or provide a service, but you’re also responsible for software. Even if you outsource the development of your website, you’re ultimately responsible for its presentation. In that way, you’re little different from a restaurateur — you probably don’t grow or raise your own ingredients, but you serve them to your customers. The buck stops with you.
Being in the software business is a wonderful thing. It means you can create just about anything. A basic set of raw materials — a
server, some code, some graphics, some words — can be configured into a billion combinations with relative ease. That is unique and wonderful and should be celebrated.
However, it’s also a curse. Understanding why is the key to building great software — or a great website.
Let’s start by looking at a physical object — say, a standard 16-ounce water bottle. Think Evian, Poland Spring, Fiji, or something like that. You don’t have to be an expert in anything to know that those bottles are well designed. They are made of clear plastic, which means you can see the contents from far away; if they were opaque, you wouldn’t be able to tell what was inside. The water inside the bottle is heavier than the packaging; if the bottle were heavier, you wouldn’t be able to feel if it was empty or full without picking it up or pouring out its contents. The bottles are grippable, portable, and easy to use; if they were too tall or too fat or too slippery or too thin, you wouldn’t be able to just grab and go.
You don’t have to analyze the bottle like I just did to understand that it is well designed. You know it, because you can see the bottle, feel it, and use all of its features immediately. You can see where it starts and ends. It is not complicated. It is in balance with its purpose. Imagine a bottle without a spout or a bottle that was burning hot or a bottle that was as slippery as ice. Every reasonable person would know that wouldn’t work.
Contrast that with software. What are the criteria for evaluating software? Software doesn’t have mass. It doesn’t have shape. It doesn’t cast shadows. It has no edges. It has no size. You can’t pick it up. You can’t feel it. It doesn’t obey the laws of physics. It’s not really even there. Nothing is pushing back, saying, “That’s a bad idea; that won’t work; that’s going to burn someone or hurt someone or make someone drop it or…” Almost none of the tools we’ve developed to evaluate physical objects apply to software.This is why most software goes bad over time.
Software — websites included — usually starts out pretty good. The first version is pretty focused. Yes, there are horror stories of overstuffed websites or unwieldy software products being launched. But for the most part, the first version of something has the fewest features it ever will have.
As time goes on, customers send feedback, and the business evolves. Things get more complicated. More people, more opinions, more pressure to add stuff.
The software grows. Version 2.0 comes along. It does more than Version 1.0. More features, more options, more screens, more stuff. Or the website is redesigned with more pages, more words, more images, more departments, more tools. Nothing has gone wrong yet. In fact, Version Two is pretty good, too.
But over time, yet more stuff is added. Remember our water bottle? Imagine what would happen if more stuff was added to it. Pretty soon it wouldn’t be functional. The physics would push back. Not so with software. You can just add more pages! Or you can just add more features or more settings or more preferences and hide them behind yet another button or menu. It’s just one more button, right?
This is where it all begins to fall apart. Future versions are loaded with more and more stuff. Nothing pushes back; nothing says no. And eventually, the product or the site becomes unmanageable. It’s too big, too slow, too confusing, but it’s still all subjective. Unlike the water bottle, the software can just keep growing. Software can’t overflow. It has no edges, so it can never be too big.
Guess what? It can.
The only way to stop this perpetual growth of an object without physical borders is for you to create your own borders. Those borders are discipline, self-control, an editor’s eye for “enough.” The ultimate border is one simple word: no. Someone in charge has to say no more than yes.
If the laws of physics govern the physical world, the word no governs the virtual world. “No, that’s one feature too many.” “No, that’s just not worth it.” “No, no, no.”
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Jason Fried is co-founder of 37signals, a Chicago-based software firm, and co-author with David Heinemeier Hansson of the book Rework (2010).
So, what do we do when the wisdom sounds so right, so obvious – but may be wrong?
I am a big fan of Jason Fried. I have presented a synopsis of his book (co-authored with David Heinemeier Hansson), Rework. I have blogged about his ideas, quoting him, reflecting on his ideas a number of times. And I like his writing style, and think he is right.
Except… what if he is wrong?
Here are excerpts from his latest (special for CNN – read it here):
The modern office has become an interruption factory. You can’t get work done at work anymore.
When people walk into the office, they trade their work day in for a series of work moments. It’s like the front door is a “time Cuisinart” — shredding it all into little bits.
When you’re in the office you’re lucky to have 30 minutes to yourself. Usually you get in, there’s a meeting, then there’s a call, then someone calls you over to their desk, or your manager comes over to see what you’re doing. These interruptions chunk your day into smaller and smaller bits. Fifteen minutes here, 30 minutes there, another 15 minutes before lunch, then an afternoon meeting, etc. When are you supposed to get work done if you don’t have any time to work?
People — especially creative people — need long stretches of uninterrupted time to get things done. Fifteen minutes isn’t enough. Thirty minutes isn’t enough. Even an hour isn’t enough.
If I had read this a month ago, I would have said something like: “Amen! ~ Preach it, brother!,” or words to that effect. But, now, I’m not so sure. Because I have just read Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson. And that book is filled with story after story about the creative/innovative energy that is created by folks interacting constantly. It praises the conference table, and the design of buildings that are intended to enable/encourage constant, “accidental” and “on-purpose” interaction. “Interruption,” if you will.. Consider this quote from Johnson’s book:
The ground zero of innovation was not the microscope. It was the conference table… The most productive tool for generating good ideas remains a circle of humans at a table, talking shop.
So – who is right? Jason Fried or Steven Johnson?
Maybe both… but, maybe, if we follow Fried too closely, we might lose out. Having just finished Johnson’s book, I suspect that Fried’s counsel would have some anti-innovation unintended consequences. At least, that’s what I think this week.
So – what about all of those interruptions. Some of them are good, and feed the idea factory. Others? Well, maybe we just need to put up a sign that says “I’m in the alone zone – check with me later” an hour or two a day at work. (“Alone zone” is one of Fried’s phrases, by the way).
As Tony Schwartz explains in The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working, the results of various research studies clearly indicate that peak performers require at least 8 hours of rest (including sleep) to renew their energy. On average, those who are employed full-time must commit at least eight hours a day to their work. According to Robert Pagliarini, the other time while awake each day (about eight hours, hence the title of his book) will “determine your happiness and net worth.” He appreciates the need for energy renewal. He respects employment obligations that must be met. He also seems to have little (if any) patience for those who waste whatever discretionary time they have each day.
Yes, people also need to renew energy on Saturdays and Sundays and although they may not log time at the office or complete job-related tasks at home, they seldom (if ever) have all of Saturday and Sunday to do whatever they wish. I urge those who read this review and, hopefully, the book not to get hung up on specific numbers of hours. Many single parents tell me they have less discretionary time weekends than they do weekdays. Time and energy allocations vary from one person to the next, and for each person, one day to the next. Pagliarini’s objective, stated bluntly, is to help as many people as possible to “escape from the Living Dead and the Dead Broke.”
He divides his material into four sections. First, he introduces a framework and a mindset (Chapters One and Two); next (in Chapters Three and Four), he explains how to adjust allocation decisions so that more time can be devoted to what is most important in terms of achieving personal goals, whatever they my be; then in Chapters Five through Eight, he offers his own version of financial advice, comprised of “some new, unconventional strategies” for those whose who have not been well-served by “traditional” financial advice; finally, in Chapters Nine through Eleven, Pagliarini provides what he characterizes as a “blueprint” for “how to get a life,” based on his own experiences as well as those of countless others he has encountered. Although “the other 8 hours” are important, perhaps even essential to personal happiness and financial security, the number itself is far less important than the mindset one has with regard to discretionary time, and, the determination (indeed tenacity) one has to make the best use of that time.
If you are among those in need of help with becoming a “lean” thinker re setting and then defending priorities, I highly recommend the aforementiobed The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working and Rework co-authored by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson as well as David Allen’s Getting Things Done, Guy Kawwsaki’s Reality Check and Antul Geande’s The Checklist Manifesto.
Here is an excerpt from an article written by Steve Tobak for BNET, The CBS Interactive Business Network. To
read the complete article and/or obtain a free subscription to one or more of the BNET newsletters, please click here.
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From the time we’re young, just beginning to understand what’s going on around us, until we’re too old to care anymore, one question comes up again and again. Should we play by the rules?
Now, I’m sure most of you are pretty opinionated. But before you answer yes, no, or it depends, consider this. You probably play by more rules than you think … or should. Some of them are even rules you impose on yourself, and for reasons you may not be aware of. Those are the ones that tend to be the most career and success-limiting.
You see, rules fall into three general categories: legal, societal, and self-imposed.
Legal rules are pretty black and white. America’s a nation of laws, and the rule is don’t break them. Just to be clear, we’re talking criminal and civil laws. That trips up a lot of people who mistakenly think fraud, discrimination, domestic violence, harassment, even downloading copyrighted material or rolling through a stop sign, are ethical or moral issues. They’re not.
Societal rules involve complex issues like ethics and morality, so they’re far more subjective than legal rules. Even if you feel strongly about one thing or another, there are likely circumstances that would change your opinion.
For example, I generally don’t fault people who cheat on their spouses, but I might feel very differently when the person being cheated on is someone close to me. Similarly, while I think people should treat others with respect, I know I fall short of that ideal all too often.
So, you can see how societal rules are subject to perspective and circumstance. These are rules that from time to time we may break, feel badly about, realize that we’re human, and ultimately forgive ourselves — even while those we harmed may not.
Now, let’s talk about self-imposed rules. They’re the kind of rules you hear again and again in every workplace. I hear them in many of your comments and emails, as well:
“I won’t compromise my principles to climb the corporate ladder.”
“I don’t play politics at work.”
“That’s outside my comfort zone.”
“Life is too short to work with a**holes.”
“I won’t work for a boss who, at a job where, or at a company that ___________ (fill in the blank).”
Now, we’ve all uttered a phrase or two like that at one time or another, right? Well, let me introduce you to a concept called self-limiting behavior. In this context, it’s when we put restrictions on ourselves that have unintended consequences because we’re not aware of the real reasons behind them.
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Hacking Work: Breaking Stupid Rules for Smart Results
Bill Jensen and Josh Klein
Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths and Total Nonsense: Profiting From Evidence-Based Management
Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton
Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
Management? It’s Not What You Think!
Henry Mintzberg, Bruce Ahlstrand, and Joseph Lampel
Steve Tobak is a consultant, writer, and former senior executive with more than 20 years of experience in the technology industry. He’s the managing partner of Invisor Consulting, a Silicon Valley-based firm that provides strategic consulting, executive coaching, and speaking services to CEOs and management teams of small-to-mid-sized companies. Find out more by clicking here.
As I have observed many times, there are themes that crop in multiple books. And when this happens, I think they hint at true truth. That is, the kind of truth that is genuinely important, something to pay a lot of attention to.
Here’s one that was reemphasized again this morning. My colleague Karl Krayer presented his synopsis of The Way We’re Working isn’t Working, the new book by Tony Schwartz. And the book, with lots of really useful counsel, says this about our multitasking world:
The most surprising drawback of multitasking is the growing evidence that it isn’t even efficient… Once we’re distracted by something new, we often forget about the original task… The ultimate consequence of juggling many tasks is not superficiality but rather overload.
There are so many books and articles that are making this point in one way or another. The point is this:
MULTITASKING DOES NOT WORK!
Singletasking is the need of the hour, not multitasking.
Here are some other quotes to reinforce this now seemingly everywhere-present theme:
From ReWork by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson:
Instead, you should get in the alone zone. Long stretches of alone time are when you’re most productive. When you don’t have to mind-shift between various tasks, you get a boatload done.
During alone time, give up instant messages, phone calls, e-mail, and meetings. Just shut up and get to work. You’ll be surprised how much more you get done.
From The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp:
The irony of multitasking is that it’s exhausting; when you’re doing two or three things simultaneously, you use more energy than the sum of energy required to do each task independently. You’re also cheating yourself because you’re not doing anything excellently. You’re compromising your virtuosity. In the worlds of T. S. Eliot, you’re “distracted from distractions by distractions.”
From Superfreakonomics by Levitt and Dubner:
A person using a computer experiences “cognitive drift” if more than one second elapses between clicking the mouse and seeing new data on the screen. If ten seconds pass, the person’s mind is somewhere else entirely.
I think the jury is in. Learn to singletask, really well. Work with depth and attention and focus on one-thing-at-a-time.
You can leave the multitasking to those who will be left behind by their lack of focus.
Here is an excerpt from an article about Jason Fried as told to Liz Welch. It appeared in Inc. magazine. To read the3 complete article, check out other resources, please click here.
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Jason Fried hates lame meetings, tech companies that don’t generate revenue, and companies that treat their employees like children. A peek inside his typical workday.
You could sum up Jason Fried’s philosophy as “less is more.” Except that he hates that expression, because, he says, it still “implies that more is better.” Fried prefers “less is less.” It’s a core principle of 37Signals, the Chicago-based company he launched in 1999 with Ernest Kim and Carlos Segura. The company started as a Web design firm. Then, in 2003, Fried hired David Heinemeier Hansson, a Danish programmer, to write software to keep the company’s design projects organized. Soon, clients began requesting the program, and by 2005, software development eclipsed design in both revenue and focus. Today, 37Signals, which is run by Fried and Hansson, has a staff of 16 and more than three million customers who use the company’s Web-based applications, such as Basecamp and Campfire, to collaborate and manage projects. Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, is the company’s only investor. Fried, 35, isn’t afraid to do things differently or to express his opinions. He condemns traditional corporate office culture, with its 40-hour workweeks and constant meetings, and shoots down many of his customers’ suggestions. And he’s not opposed to a little goofing off in the afternoon.
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I don’t use an alarm clock. Lately, I’ve been naturally waking up at 6:38 every morning. I used to wake up at 7:31 every morning, which is actually when I was born. So that was kind of creepy.
I try not to grab my phone and check e-mails first thing. I used to do that, and it’s just not good for you. Instead, I’ll go and brew some tea and try and relax a little bit. But the computer’s always kind of pulling me toward it, so I end up looking at e-mail sooner than I’d like to.
I love tea. I drink green tea and white tea mostly. I play with different varieties depending on my mood. These days, I’m really into matcha, which is a powdered tea. You add hot water and use a bamboo whisk to make a frothy liquid. You actually consume the tea leaves. I get it online, because there’s better selection, and I’m lazy.
For breakfast, I usually eat a couple of maple-infused Van’s waffles and a handful of pistachios. Unless it’s really cold — then I have oatmeal. Three mornings a week, I go to the gym for an hour. I’ve been going to a trainer for two years. Otherwise, I think I’d blow it off.
Then sometimes I head in to the office. I might work from home for a week and then get bored of that, so I will spend the next week at the office. I live about two miles from my office. I drive there most of the time. I should bike more, but I saw someone on a bike get hit two years ago, and it really freaked me out. I figure I’m better off driving.
I usually get to work between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Of the 16 people at the company, eight of us live here in Chicago. Employees come to the office if and when they feel like it, or else they work from home. I don’t believe in the 40-hour workweek, so we cut all that BS about being somewhere for a certain number of hours. I have no idea how many hours my employees work — I just know they get the work done.
I spend most of my day writing. I write everything on our website. Communicating clearly is my top priority. Web writing is terrible, and corporate sites are the worst. You don’t know what they do, who they are, or what they stand for. I spend a lot of time taking a sentence and reworking it until it’s perfect. I love the editing process.
Our blog has more than 100,000 readers, but I don’t post every day. I write when I have something specific to say. I recently wrote a scathing piece on the tech media. It really bothers me that the definition of success has changed from profits to followers, friends, and feed count. This crap doesn’t mean anything. Kids are coming out of school thinking, I want to start the next YouTube or Facebook. If a restaurant served more food than everybody else but lost money on every diner, would it be successful? No. But on the Internet, for some reason, if you have more users than everyone else, you’re successful. No, you’re not.
I spend another good portion of my day thinking about how to make things less complicated. In the software world, the first, second, and third versions of any product are really pretty good, because everyone can use them. Then companies start adding more and more stuff to keep their existing customers happy. But you end up dying with your customer base, because the software is too complicated for a newcomer. We keep our products simple. I’d rather have people grow out of our products, as long as more people are growing into them.
I used to handle all the customer service e-mails, but now we have two people dedicated to that. I still get involved, and so does my partner, David [Heinemeier Hansson], if something has escalated and the standard operating procedure doesn’t apply. If anyone ever writes us with a complaint, our stance is it’s our fault — for not being clear enough or not making something work the way it should. I’m constantly keeping an eye on the problems that keep arising, and then we address them. But I don’t keep a list of all the complaints, because that’s too time-consuming. We also get thousands of suggestions. The default answer is always no. A lot of companies lie and say, “Sure, we’ll do that.” We never make promises that we can’t keep, so we say, “We’ll keep that in mind.” Some customers don’t like that.
We first designed Basecamp for our own needs, to help better organize our projects. That’s our philosophy: Build what we like, and other people will like it, too. Ta-Da was built to make simple to-do lists. Backpack is a digital version of a filing cabinet. We created Writeboard when we were collaborating on Getting Real, our first self-published business book, to track all of the back-and-forth drafts and keep us from going insane. Even though there are better products out there, I still use Writeboard, because it’s dead simple. In fact, we just wrote our second book, Rework, using that program.
These books are our cookbooks. I look to chefs for inspiration. Mario Batali is a great chef who invites a camera into his kitchen and shares his recipes. It’s a great business model. In the business world, people are proprietary — they’re afraid to share. Rework is our recipe for doing business.
We rarely have meetings. I hate them. They’re a huge waste of time, and they’re costly. It’s not one hour; it’s 10, because you pulled 10 people away from their real work. Plus, they chop your day into small bits, so you have only 20 minutes of free time here or 45 minutes there. Creative people need unstructured time to get in the zone. You can’t do that in 20 minutes.
Instead, we use Campfire, our group chat tool. We built it when we started getting bigger — with employees in different cities. We wanted to be able to communicate as a group easily. Campfire is like an all-day voluntary meeting. If I’m busy, I can close the window. And when I’m free, I can check it and chime in. If people have questions for me, they will post them, and I will answer when I can. Very rarely is a question important enough to stop people from doing what they’re doing. Everything can wait a couple of hours, unless it is a true emergency. We want to get rid of interruption as much as we possibly can, because that’s the real enemy of productivity.
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Jason Fried is co-founder of 37signals, a Chicago-based software firm, and co-author with Hansson of the book Rework, which was published in March.
Jack Dempsey’s observation, “Champions get up when they can’t,” is as true of the business world as it is of athletic competition. It is also affirms one of the essential attributes of a leader, what I characterize as courageous resiliency. As Graham Jones acknowledges, there is no shortage of books on business leadership. (As I compose this review, Amazon offers 19,554 of them.) Jones’s purpose is to help his reader develop mental toughness.
He organizes the material within five “Master Classes”: Real Leadership, Pressure, and Mental Toughness (Chapters 1-4 provide a remarkably thorough overview); Staying in Control Under the Inevitable Stress That Comes with Being a Real Leader (Chapters 5-8 provide a comparably thorough briefing on how to leverage “positive” pressure and manage “negative” pressure); and Strengthening Your Self-Belief in Your Ability as a Real Leader (Chapters 9-11 focuses on strengthening self-confidence and enhancing self-esteem).
Master Class Four: Channeling Your Motivation to Work for You in Your Role as a Real Leader (some of the most valuable material in the book is provided in Chapters 12 and 13 as Jones intensifies his efforts to stiffen his reader’s spine prior to the inevitable crises that await.
Then in Master Class Five: Directing Your Focus to the Things (a useless word, in my opinion) That Really Matter in Your Role as a Real Leader (in the concluding chapters, 14 -16), Jones focuses on the importance of determining what is most important and why, then examines the importance of mental toughness to distraction-free focus before, in the final chapter, consolidating the most important information, insights, and counsel in what he characterizes as a “Real Leader Toolkit.”
Note: Throughout the book, the word “Real” in the phrase “Real Leader” is italicized.
Here are five of this book’s many values:
1. It evidence-driven, based on real-world situations. Jones is a world-class empiricist.
2. Jones’s immediately establishes and then sustains a direct and personal rapport with his reader.
3. A reader can take almost immediate action on any of Jones’s recommendations. Obviously, however, it would be a fool’s errand to attempt to act upon all of them at once. Jones is also a world-class pragmatist.
4. Those who are “real” leaders are not necessary residents of the C-Suite. Especially when times get tough, organizations need real leaders at all levels and in all areas, collaborating effectively to overcome what perils, threats, and challenges may develop.
5. Jones makes brilliant use of several reader-friendly devices such as recurring chapter components (“OBJECTIVES,” “KEY TOPICS,” “TIME OUTs,” and `KEY TAKEAWAYS.”). These facilitate, indeed expedite frequent reviews of the most important information, insights, and counsel that Jones provides in abundance.
Note: Jones uses each TIME-OUT to digress from the flow of his narrative to ask key questions that are relevant to the given context within each chapter. My own opinion is that these questions (all of which help to illuminate and correlate the dimensions of mental toughness with threats to it) are more important than key points because the questions challenge the reader to take ownership of issues within the context of her or his own circumstances. The most difficult journey in human existence is one of self-discovery. Therefore, mental toughness must be developed before it can be revealed.
Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to check out Jeffrey Pfeffer’s most recent book, Power, as well as Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson’s Rework, Verne Harnish’s Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, Guy Kawasaki’s Reality Check, and Hacking Work co-authored by Bill Jensen and Josh Klein.