Tag Archives: Rework

From Jason Fried of 37Signals: Avoid These Four Letter Words!

From Jason Fried of 37Signals: Avoid These Four Letter Words!

Jason Fried’s book Rework has a great riff on four letter words you shouldn’t use. We entrepreneurs have to be careful with our language because our enthusiasm sometimes carries us away with our passions.  Here’s Jason’s list:


Jason thinks these words get in the way of good communication, and he has a point. These are words that create a black and white situation, when in fact things are usually shades of gray. In the end, these extremes cause tension, problems, and conflict. Here’s his specific take:

Need. Very few things need to get done. Negotiation coach and author Jim Camp distinguishes between need and want this way: we need oxygen. But that deal you are working on? You want it, you don’t need it. Try asking a question instead of making a needy demand. “What do you think about this?” or “How does this sound?”

Can’t. I love what Jason wrote: “when you say can’t you probably can. Sometimes there are even opposing can’ts. We can’t launch it like that because it’s not quite right, vs. we can’t spend any more time on this because we have to launch. Both of those statement can’t be true. Or wait a minute, can they?”

Easy. It’s always easy for the other guy. For us, well, maybe its easy but no one’s going to say that. Jason writes: “For you its ‘let me look into it’ but for others it’s ‘get it done.’”

Got any pet words you hate? Love to hear ‘em, especially not the common ones like always and never…


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