It Doesn't Have to be Crazy at Work

A must read book for founders and CEO's on how to run a company without chaos

There are two kinds of people in the world. The hustle, the moonshot, the 10x engineers, kind of people and there are others who love what they do, provides equal importance to work and life, understands the difference between both. The book was writtern by once such person Jason Fried and he runs one such company basecamp. It closely aligns with my ideas of what workplace should be like, hence skyrocketed into top of my favorite list.

I like this idealogy because of 2 reasons,

  1. My dad is a hard worker, he works 14 hour days, 7 days a week. 25 years of this routine strengted us financially but we are still losing on so many memories we could have cherished togther.

  2. I met my college friend recently. He started up right after college and was the CTO of the company. During the conversation, I brought up the concept of work life balance and he went straight on "I will never hire you.". My typical response as alwyas "Don't care. I will never work for you. Now we are in a deadlock. Let us be that way". I then started seeing patterns where people are overworked just like my dad, just for the sake of jobs. They run behind growth and goals which are not even their own.

If you are so ambitious and would love the idea of spending all your time for your career, be like APJ Abdul Kalam. Don't bring relationships into this and mess them up.

Coming back to the Crazy

Your workplace is a software

Quality over quantity

Just because these goals are harder to quantify does not make them any less important.

Productivity vs Interruption

why does the flight feel longer than your time in the office? It’s because the flight is uninterrupted, continuous time. It feels long because it is long!

Companies spend their employees’ time and attention as if there were an infinite supply of both.

Never Ending Meetings

The presenter and the listener

Eight people in a room for an hour doesn’t cost one hour, it costs eight hours.

Workplace != Family

Whenever executives talk about how their company is really like a big ol’ family, beware. They’re usually not referring to how the company is going to protect you no matter what or love you unconditionally. You know, like healthy families would. Their motive is rather more likely to be a unidirectional form of sacrifice: yours.

You can’t credibly promote the virtues of reasonable hours, plentiful rest, and a healthy lifestyle to employees if you’re doing the opposite as the boss. When the top dog puts in mad hours, the rest of the pack is bound to follow along. It doesn’t matter what you say, it matters what

Work != Life

A leader who sets an example of self-sacrifice can’t help but ask self-sacrifice of others.

Your voice is my command, so shut up

An owner unknowingly scattering people’s attention is a common cause of the question “Why’s everyone working so much but nothing’s getting done?”

Evading responsibility with a “But it’s just a suggestion” isn’t going to calm the waters. Only knowing the weight of the owner’s word will.

Estimation misconception

Declaring that an unfamiliar task will yield low-hanging fruit is almost always an admission that you have little insight about what you’re setting out to do. And any estimate of how much work it’ll take to do something you’ve never tried before is likely to be off by degrees of magnitude. The worst is when you

So the next time you ask an employee to go pick some low-hanging fruit— stop yourself. Respect the work that you’ve never done before.

A deadline with a flexible scope invites pushback, compromises, and tradeoffs—all ingredients in healthy, calm projects. It’s when you try to fix both scope and time that you have a recipe for dread, overwork, and exhaustion.

Buring the midnight oil

Continued sleep deprivation batters your IQ and saps your creativity. You may be too tired to notice, but the people you work with will.

Perks or ?

Dinners, lunches, game rooms, late nights— these mainly exist at companies that work 60-plus hours a week, not 40. Sounds more like bribes than benefits, doesn’t it?

Employers aren’t entitled to anyone’s nights, weekends, or vacations.


The person making the pitch has presumably put a lot of time, thought, and energy into gathering their thoughts and presenting them clearly to an audience. But the rest of the people in the room are asked to react. Not absorb, not think it over, not consider— just react. Knee-jerk it.

Don’t meet, write. Don’t react, consider.

Time Management

Credit cards were entirely automated, so on our side it didn’t take anyone’s time to process. But checks were mailed in. Which meant someone needed to receive them, process them, deal with incorrect amounts, tie them correctly to the account they were associated with, etc. Now, some companies might say, “Hey, okay, let’s hire someone else who can do that specific work.” Others might say, “Let’s spend some time, money, and technology to automate the process some more.” What did we say? “We won’t accept checks anymore.” Yes, we decided to turn away revenue and customers who could only pay by check. But it wasn’t really a turn away, it was a trade away. We traded some revenue for some time. We didn’t encourage

Small Teams, Big Benifits

What is it with three? Three is a wedge, and that’s why it works. Three has a sharp point. It’s an odd number, so there are no ties. It’s powerful enough to make a dent, but also weak enough to not break what isn’t broken.

Say Yes to Saying No

No is easier to do, yes is easier to say. No is no to one thing. Yes is no to a thousand things. Promises are easy and cheap to make, actual work is hard and expensive. If it wasn’t, you’d just have done it now rather than promised it later.

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