...self care is never a selfish act- it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.

Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Rework: A Review

Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson is a fun to read volume which shares the wisdom gained from the authors' starting 37signals. Released in 2010, it's a refreshing approach. Instead of drawing conclusions from the prescribed laws of business, the approach is simply sharing what has been learned inductively to be true.

Written like a blog with plenty of art, each "post" is somewhat autonomous, even though they are organized under chapter headings like Takedowns, Promotion, Hiring, Damage Control, Culture, and more. One of the better posts is on using an economy of words to improve the clarity of your message. They cut the book from 57,000 to 27,000 words and thus, the book reads like a charm.

The book debunks conventional myths and sources of needless stress, such as workaholism, meetings, growth, planning, out-doing the competition, decisions and experience: "How long someone's been doing something is overrated. What matters is how well they've been doing it." Accordingly, ASAP is poison: using this inflationary word will "create artificial stress, which leads to burnout and worse."

Contending that resumes are ridiculous, the authors argue that the cover letter is a much better test: "If the first paragraph sucks, the second has to work that much harder. If there's no hook in the first three, it's unlikely there's a match there. On the other hand, if your gut is telling you there's a chance...then move on to the interview stage."

Writing itself, the authors explain, is making a comeback everywhere, because whether it's an e-mail, text-message, blog or website, writing "is today's currency for good ideas." Moreover, since writing skills pay off whatever you're doing, hire the best one. A good writer is a good thinker and clear communicator, knowing how to make things easy to understand for their audience.

You can enjoy a fairly quick read of Rework the book; however, the ideas in it will prompt reflection and will challenge you to rethink old maxims which have proven to be somewhat useless in practice.

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Having been in ordained ministry in the UMC for 34 years, I've experienced the truth that although, clergy are frequently present for others, no one can offer what they don't have.That's why if you're a clergy person, you need someone who will listen to you. Not the random next closest person available, but rather someone like a spiritual director, a therapist, a peer who can be fully present to you. I hope the links and posts you find here will give you ideas, humor, hope and encouragement. Scott Endress

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If you want a formula for making the best of the less-than-perfect and making the most of what you have been given, then begin to compare your lot to what you were before you were born, and it will empower you with wonder every time. John Claypool

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