I had the pleasure of reading “Three Men in a Boat” and “Three Men on a Bummel” by Jerome K. Jerome last week, two great books that I heartily recommend. Although they are more than 100 years old (Boat was first published in 1889 and Bummel in 1900; many of his works are available from Project Gutenberg) they are proof we haven’t changed much in a hundred years.
This passage in Chapter 15 of “Three Men in a Boat” on Work captures the spirit of perfectionism and that can hinder startup founders, especially those that are bootstrapping out of a spare bedroom or study in their house.
It seemed to me that I was doing more than my fair share of work on this trip, and I was beginning to feel strongly on the subject.
It always does seem to me that I am doing more work than I should do. It’s not that I object to work, mind you; I like work; it fascinates me, I can sit and look at it for hours. I love to keep it by me, the idea of getting rid of it nearly breaks my heart.
You cannot give me too much work; to accumulate work has almost become a passion with me; my study is so full of it now that there is hardly an inch of room for any more. I shall have to throw out a wing soon.
And I am careful of my work, too. Why, some of the work that I have by me now has been in my possession for years and years, and there isn’t a finger-mark on it. I take great pride i my work; I take it down now and then and dust it. No man keeps his work in a better state of preservation than I do.
But, though I crave for work, I still like to be fair. I do not ask for more than my proper share.
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