REWORK by Jason Fried & David Heinemeir Hansson (founders of Basecamp) offers a fresh look at work, Operating Models, and Organizational Design. If you are a manager, leader, organizational designer, or someone who wants to positively influence organizational design and culture you’ll find that this book is just packed with interesting observations, insights and inspiring ideas.
“You don’t create culture. It happens. This is why new companies don’t have culture. Culture is the byproduct of consistent behavior…. Culture isn’t a foosball table or trust falls. It isn’t policy. It isn’t the Christmas party or the company picnic. Those are objects and events, not culture. Culture is action, not words…You can’t install a culture. Like a fine scotch, you’ve got to give it time to develop”. – From the chapter “Culture”.
“It Is a Great Art to Saunter” – Walking, Henry David Thoreau
Walking is available on Project Gutenberg http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1022
Here is a brief excerpt.
“…SAUNTERING, which word is beautifully derived “from idle people who roved about the country, in the Middle Ages, and asked charity, under pretense of going a la Sainte Terre,” to the Holy Land, till the children exclaimed, “There goes a Sainte-Terrer,” a Saunterer, a Holy-Lander. They who never go to the Holy Land in their walks, as they pretend, are indeed mere idlers and vagabonds; but they who do go there are saunterers in the good sense, such as I mean. Some, however, would derive the word from sans terre without land or a home, which, therefore, in the good sense, will mean, having no particular home, but equally at home everywhere. For this is the secret of successful sauntering. He who sits still in a house all the time may be the greatest vagrant of all; but the saunterer, in the good sense, is no more vagrant than the meandering river, which is all the while sedulously seeking the shortest course to the sea. But I prefer the first, which, indeed, is the most probable derivation. For every walk is a sort of crusade, preached by some Peter the Hermit in us, to go forth and reconquer this Holy Land from the hands of the Infidels.”
Want to read about an interesting management model? Check out the Valve Software Employee Handbook which they kindly published on their web site. If you are not familiar with Valve Software, they are the makers of the STEAM digital distribution and gaming platform.
By 2011, over half of digital PC game sales were through Steam, and Valve was the most profitable company per employee in the United States *
Some interesting concepts revealed in this handbook are 1) A flat management model 2) Stacked Ranking for compensation rewarding combinations of depth and breadth 3) Cabal multidisciplinary teams 4) Employees choose the projects they work on and more.
“Why does your desk have wheels? Think of those wheels as a symbolic reminder that you should always be considering where you could move yourself to be more valuable. But also think of those wheels as literal wheels, because that’s what they are, and you’ll be able to actually move your desk with them.”
I’m a big fan of Tom Hodgkinson’s books on being idle. I’m also enjoying this book by Dan Kieran, The Idle Traveler, The Art of Slow Travel. Tom Hodgkinson wrote the forward which nicely captures the theme of the book:
What Dan has attempted in this book is to outline a particular philosophy of travel, where travel becomes part of one’s own therapeutic journey, rather than simply an escape. So it would be true to say that idle travel does not mean comfortable travel or easy travel. In fact, Dan reserves particular ire for the soul-deadening effect of fancy hotels. It is not even necessarily slow travel, for the actual pace of movement is surely relative – a train ride would have seemed impossibly fast to a Florentine apothecary of 1450. Idle travel is nothing to do with ‘fun’ in the modern sense, meaning a temporary escape from our ills. No: it is more to do with attitude. Perhaps ‘deep’ travel would be a better synonym.