Basecamp CEO Jason Fried‘s new book, written with Basecamp cofounder David Heinemeier Hansson*, is the antidote to the time-eating evils of the all-consuming all-work-no-play attitude that rules the Silicon Valley tech startup ethos. All-nighters, hackathons and the always-on mentality have been given such a turbo boost by mobile technology that the benefits now far outweigh the detriments, say Fried and Heinemeier Hansson. The authors, of course, don’t recommend cutting back the work week to 4 hours — as in Tim Ferriss’s famous formula — but they think 40 hours a week (or less) is a perfectly good work schedule. Yup, 40 hours a week should suffice. Considering that, their title makes perfect sense: It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work.
Heinemeier Hansson and Fried wrote this latest book as an instruction manual for the pursuit of what they believe they’ve achieved with Basecamp — something they call “The Calm Company.” Instead of crazy hours and constantly expending frenetic but misplaced energy, the authors present a solution for the “chaos, anxiety and stress” that plagues millions of workers. This is a handbook that’ll help you do the most important thing you can do for your career at any point: “Don’t burn out.” The “modern workplace is sick,” they write. “Anxiety isn’t a prerequisite for progress.” Their previous bestseller was called REWORK.
*It also helps if you’re pretty much a genius, like Heinemeier Hansson, described on his own website this way: I am the creator of Ruby on Rails, founder & CTO at Basecamp, best-selling author, Le Mans class-winning racing driver, frequent podcast guest, hobbyist photographer, and family man.