Courtney Makes Things Move

Book Review - It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy At Work by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson

March 25, 2020

The March pick for the Ladybug Podcast Book Club is It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy At Work by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. As Emma, our ladybug moderator mentioned this book is a super quick read at 240 pages. I gave it three stars because I felt the writing was on the weaker side as it read more like a talk about basecamp’s method of company culture. Although basecamp was their main source of reference, overall the paradigm shift they are proposing for a sustainable workplace is spot on.

The book focuses mostly on the workplace environment that basecamp has thoughtfully implemented and cultivated over their 15+ years in business. Although I would have liked to see more sources backing up some of the claims I appreciated and agreed with most of their sentiments.

As someone who has worked in film I know what it’s like to have sleepless nights and 60 hour work weeks because I thought it showed my worth and dedication to the company. As Fried eluded in the first few pages that this is “not a badge of honor.” Their direction was to create a sustainable work model for not just the company but also the employees. Most of the time I feel companies forget about the sustainability of their workers mental and physical health. I personally have burned out twice, once actually passing out - scary - and I’m someone just starting my career. My body was forcing me to take a break, to tell me to stop for moments of stillness and rest.

When I was reading this book I was reminded of Arianna Huffington’s research on sleep in her book Sleep Revolution and how the

“American Psychological Association found that millennials were the most stressed generation, almost a third saying they can’t sleep because they are “thinking of all the things they need to do or did not get done” and because “they have too many things to do and do not have enough time.”

This thread of working too much - not enough sleep, all work and no play is nothing new. As Fried mentioned you can find these quotes of hustle mentality all around the internet and social media. It was refreshing to read about a company who has tried the typical methods only to recognize it ended up being a the zero-sum situation. Going against that grain they were able to find healthier advantages that suited their business holistically.

Written by Courtney Pure. Currently lives and works in Long Island, New York. She builds things with code and makes things move with animation and motion graphics! You should follow her on Twitter