Remote: Summary Review

This is a summary review of Remote containing key details about the book.

What is Remote About?

In Remote, the authors will convince listeners that letting all or part of work teams function remotely is a great idea - and they're going to show precisely how a remote work setup can be accomplished. They will also show why - with a few controversial exceptions such as Yahoo - more businesses will want to promote this new model of getting things done.

Who is the author of Remote?

Jason Fried is the founder of 37signals, a privately held web-based software development company and the co-author of the international bestseller Rework. His motto is, 'It's simple until you make it complicated'.

David Heinemeier Hansson is a Danish programmer, and the creator of the popular Ruby on Rails web development framework and the Instiki wiki. He is also a partner at the web-based software development firm Basecamp.

What are good quotes from Remote?

“When someone wants to demonstrate a new feature they’re working on at 37signals, often the easiest way is to record a screencast and narrate the experience. A screencast is basically just a recording of your screen that others can play back later as a movie. It can be used in several ways, including for presenting the latest sales figures or elaborating on a new marketing strategy.”

“Even short commutes stab at your happiness. According to the research,* commuting is associated with an increased risk of obesity, insomnia, stress, neck and back pain, high blood pressure, and other stress-related ills such as heart attacks and depression, and even divorce. But let’s say we ignore the overwhelming evidence that commuting doesn’t do a body good. Pretend it isn’t bad for the environment either.”

“Security is a big and serious deal, but it’s also largely a solved problem. That’s why the average person is quite willing to do their banking online and why nobody is afraid of entering their credit card number on Amazon. At 37signals, we’ve devised a simple security checklist all employees must follow: 1. All computers must use hard drive encryption, like the built-in FileVault feature in Apple’s OS X operating system. This ensures that a lost laptop is merely an inconvenience and an insurance claim, not a company-wide emergency and a scramble to change passwords and worry about what documents might be leaked. 2. Disable automatic login, require a password when waking from sleep, and set the computer to automatically lock after ten inactive minutes. 3. Turn on encryption for all sites you visit, especially critical services like Gmail. These days all sites use something called HTTPS or SSL. Look for the little lock icon in front of the Internet address. (We forced all 37signals products onto SSL a few years back to help with this.) 4. Make sure all smartphones and tablets use lock codes and can be wiped remotely. On the iPhone, you can do this through the “Find iPhone” application. This rule is easily forgotten as we tend to think of these tools as something for the home, but inevitably you’ll check your work email or log into Basecamp using your tablet. A smartphone or tablet needs to be treated with as much respect as your laptop. 5. Use a unique, generated, long-form password for each site you visit, kept by password-managing software, such as 1Password.§ We’re sorry to say, “secretmonkey” is not going to fool anyone. And even if you manage to remember UM6vDjwidQE9C28Z, it’s no good if it’s used on every site and one of them is hacked. (It happens all the time!) 6. Turn on two-factor authentication when using Gmail, so you can’t log in without having access to your cell phone for a login code (this means that someone who gets hold of your login and password also needs to get hold of your phone to login). And keep in mind: if your email security fails, all other online services will fail too, since an intruder can use the “password reset” from any other site to have a new password sent to the email account they now have access to. Creating security protocols and algorithms is the computer equivalent of rocket science, but taking advantage of them isn’t. Take the time to learn the basics and they’ll cease being scary voodoo that you can’t trust. These days, security for your devices is just simple good sense, like putting on your seat belt.”

“you can’t let your employees work from home out of fear they’ll slack off without your supervision, you’re a babysitter, not a manager. Remote work is very likely the least of your problems.”

“That’s the great irony of letting passionate people work from home. A manager’s natural instinct is to worry about his workers not getting enough work done, but the real threat is that too much will likely get done. And because the manager isn’t sitting across from his worker anymore, he can’t look in the person’s eyes and see burnout.”

“you’d be amazed how much quality collective thought can be captured using two simple tools: a voice connection and a shared screen.”

“Say you spend thirty minutes driving in rush hour every morning and another fifteen getting to your car and into the office. That’s 1.5 hours a day, 7.5 hours per week, or somewhere between 300 and 400 hours per year, give or take holidays and vacation. Four hundred hours is exactly the amount of programmer time we spent building Basecamp, our most popular product. Imagine what you could do with 400 extra hours a year. Commuting isn’t just bad for you, your relationships, and the environment—it’s bad for business.”

“Forcing everyone into the office every day is an organizational SPoF (Single Point of Failure). If the office loses power or Internet or air conditioning, it's no longer functional as a place to do work. If a company doesn't have any training or infrastructure to work around that, it means it's going to be unavailable to its customers.”

“long commutes make you fat, stressed, and miserable. Even short commutes stab at your happiness.”

“It won't be as easy, but lots of things that are worth doing aren't easy. It just takes commitment, discipline, and, most important, faith that it's all going to work out.”

“Meaningful work, creative work, thoughtful work, important work—this type of effort takes stretches of uninterrupted time to get into the zone. But in the modern office such long stretches just can’t be found. Instead, it’s just one interruption after another.”

“soon you’ll see that it’s the work—not the clock—that matters.”

― Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, Remote

Book details

  • Print length: 258 Pages
  • Genre: Business, Nonfiction, Management

What are the chapters in Remote?

Chapter 1: Why work doesn't happen at work
Chapter 2: Stop commuting your life away
Chapter 3: It's the technology, stupid
Chapter 4: Escaping 9am-5pm
Chapter 5: End a City Monopoly
Chapter 6: The New Luxury
Chapter 7: Talent isn't Bound by the Hubs
Chapter 8: It's Not About the Money
Chapter 9: But Save is Always Nice
Chapter 10: Not All or Nothing
Chapter 11: Still a Trade-off
Chapter 12: You're Probably Already Doing It
Chapter 13: Magic only happens when we're all in a room
Chapter 14: If I can't see them, how do I knwo they're working?
Chapter 15: People's homes are full of distractions
Chapter 16: Only the office can be secure
Chapter 17: Who will answer the phone?
Chapter 18: Big business doesn't do it, so why should we?
Chapter 19: Others would get jealous
Chapter 20: What about culture?
Chapter 21: I need an aswer nowl
Chapter 22: But I'll lose control
Chapter 23: We paid a lot of money for this office
Chapter 24: That wouldn't work for our size or industry
Chapter 25: Thou shalt overlap
Chapter 26: Seeing is believing
Chapter 27: All out in the open
Chapter 28: The virtual water cooler
Chapter 29: Forward motion
Chapter 30: The work is what matters
Chapter 31: Not just for people who are out of town
Chapter 32: Disaster ready
Chapter 33: Easy on the M&Ms
Chapter 34: Cabin fever
Chapter 35: Check-in, check-out
Chapter 36: Ergonomic basics
Chapter 37: Mind the gut
Chapter 38: The lone outpost
Chapter 39: Working with clients
Chapter 40: Taxes, accounting, laws, oh my!
Chapter 41: It's a big world
Chapter 42: Life moves on
Chapter 43: Keep the good times going
Chapter 44: Seeking a human
Chapter 45: No parlor tricks
Chapter 46: The cost of thriving
Chapter 47: Great remote workers are simply great workers
Chapter 48: On writing well
Chapter 49: Test project
Chapter 50: Meeting them in person
Chapter 51: Contractors know the drill
Chapter 52: When's the right time to go remote?
Chapter 53: Stop managing the chairs
Chapter 54: Meetups and sprints
Chapter 55: Lessons from open source
Chapter 56: Level the playing field
Chapter 57: One-on-ones
Chapter 58: Remove the roadblocks
Chapter 59: Be on the lookout for overwork, not underwork
Chapter 60: Using scarcity to your advantage
Chapter 61: Building a routine
Chapter 62: Morning remote, afternoon local
Chapter 63: Compute different
Chapter 64: Working alone in a crowd
Chapter 65: Stying motivated
Chapter 66: Nomadic Freedom
Chapter 67: A change of scenery
Chapter 68: Family time
Chapter 69: No extra space at home
Chapter 70: Making sure you're not ignored

What do critics say?

Here's what one of the prominent reviewers had to say about the book: “The authors review the pros and cons of telecommuting, suggest ideas to enhance efficiency, and tools to optimize output and build a collaborative spirit. . . . Easy to digest [and] useful ideas that are worth checking out.” — Success Magazine

* The summary points above have been concluded from the book and other public sources. The editor of this summary review made every effort to maintain information accuracy, including any published quotes, chapters, or takeaways

Chief Editor

Tal Gur is an author, founder, and impact-driven entrepreneur at heart. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His journey and most recent book, The Art of Fully Living, has led him to found Elevate Society.

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