Review of It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work

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  • Innovative
  • Applicable
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Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, co-founders of the project management software firm Basecamp, explain how they’ve created a “calm company.” Their unusual ideas include abandoning goal-setting, not planning beyond six weeks at a time, offering a flat salary structure, hiring new employees provisionally at first, making meetings rare, and more. The authors believe that most goals are artificial targets that create unnecessary stress for employees. In this informative, quick and easy read, constructed with short chapters and short sentences, they say they strive only to serve their customers and stay in business.

About the Authors

Basecamp co-founders Jason Fried, the CEO, and David Heinemeier Hansson, the CTO, co-authored the New York Times bestsellers ReWork and Remote: Office Not Required


Your workplace doesn’t have to be crazy. You can run a “calm company” if you avoid stressful policies.

Fried and Hansson, co-founders of the project management software firm Basecamp, recognize that many people believe that “it’s crazy at work” because they sacrifice their personal time to work 60 to 80 hours a week. That has become their new normal. With today’s technology, the authors believe, people should work less, not more. Yet, technology means people often have no uninterrupted time to focus and concentrate.

The authors’ company Basecamp instituted policies designed to create a calm workplace. It has, Fried and Hansson boast, no rush jobs, no late nights, and no artificial goals or deadlines. Its 54 employees work 40-hour weeks in 30 cities. “Companies spend their employees’ time and attention as if there were an infinite supply of both – as if they cost nothing,” the authors write. “Yet employees’ time and attention are among the scarcest resources we have.”

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