Monday, October 11, 2010
This book was a long time coming for me to read. I'm a big fan of the 37Signals guys, especially David Heinemeier Hansson, and have read and listened to a huge amount of their thoughts on various topics. It was because I am so well versed in their theories that I did not purchase this book. I was afraid of shelling out twenty bucks and not learning anything new. So I waited for it to hit the library system.
The book was published in March and our library system got two copies, only one of which was being loaned out to other libraries in the system, in April. I put in a hold request but May rolled around and my spot in the hold queue had still not been reached. Being as I was headed for The Coop, I removed myself from the list. When I returned from the Baseball Hall of Fame in August, I put myself back on the hold list and finally, in October, the book arrived for me at the library.
Sadly, it wasn't worth the wait. I've read it or heard it all before. I was initially shocked by the size of the book (288 pages) but the amount of content across those pages is minimal. The book could contain the same information in half the pages. There are a dozen chapters, each of which is broken into multiple sections. Each section has a full page graphic for the chapter heading and then the text of each section runs about two pages. With only two pages (with huge margins), you're not getting any indepth content. The book almost misses being a collection of pithy sayings just because they do write few paragraphs about each section concept.
That being said, if you're new to 37Signals and don't want to wade through interviews, blog posts and videos to understand their way of thinking, it's nice to have it all in one place. You can even get a lot of it free in their first book, Getting Real.
If, like me, you're well versed in the business and design philosophies of Fried and Hansson, it doesn't make much sense to get this. As a matter of fact, I'm going to rate the book zero stars because so much of the content is accessible widely and freely.