The Year Without Pants Book Summary - The Year Without Pants Book explained in key points

The Year Without Pants summary

Scott Berkun and the Future of Work

3.8 (16 ratings)
13 mins

Brief summary

The Year Without Pants by Scott Berkun is a memoir of his time as a team manager at WordPress, describing the company's unique remote work culture and the challenges and benefits of managing a team without the constraints of a physical office.

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    The Year Without Pants
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    If you want your employees to be independent, hire people you can trust.

    If you’ve browsed the web, you’ve seen the name WordPress. It’s among the most popular blogging platforms available. was started by Automattic, one of the most famous web developers in the world.

    They’re known for their awesome team spirit and flexible working environment, which attract developers from all across the world. Getting a job there, however, isn’t easy.

    Automattic places heavy emphasis on hiring precisely the right people for the job.

    At other job interviews, you might face abstract questions designed to test your problem-solving skills, such as: How many ping pong balls can you fit into a 747?

    Not at Automattic. Here they prefer to concentrate on assessing the concrete skills you’ll need to do your job. So, interviewees are instead tasked with completing a small project, using the tools and techniques that would be available to them if they joined the team. This way, only the people who can actually do the job get recruited, not the ones who are best at interviews.

    After recruitment, Automattic ensures that staff are immediately trained in the most important area of the business: customer support.

    With any new job, people can concentrate so much on their own little world that they ignore the wider goals of the company. To counteract this, Automattic starts their employees off in customer-facing roles, where they learn that the client is all important.

    The author, for example, spent his first weeks at Automattic as a Happiness Engineer. Each day was spent dealing with customer problems in different areas of the company. This ingrained in him the knowledge that, wherever he worked in the company, the needs of the customer would always come first.

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    What is The Year Without Pants about?

    The Year without Pants offers an intimate look at life inside one of the most successful tech companies out there: Automattic, the brains behind sites like and Polldaddy. By thinking outside the box, abandoning tradition and cutting the fat from your processes, you too can follow Automattic’s example and jumpstart innovation.

    The Year Without Pants Review

    The Year Without Pants (2013) explores what it’s like to work at Automattic, the company behind This book is definitely worth reading because:

    • Through a first-hand account, it reveals the challenges and triumphs of a distributed workforce, providing valuable insights into remote work and the future of work.
    • With humor and wit, the author offers an honest and candid look into the company culture, showing how unconventional practices can lead to innovation and success.
    • It goes beyond a typical workplace chronicle, offering insights into creativity, collaboration, and leadership that can be applied in any organization.

    Best quote from The Year Without Pants

    Founders often hire to solve immediate needs and simultaneously create long-term problems.

    —Scott Berkun
    example alt text

    Who should read The Year Without Pants?

    • Entrepreneurs from any industry
    • Start-up CEOs
    • Employees in tech industries

    About the Author

    Scott Berkun has written six popular books on creativity, leadership, philosophy and speaking, and is a regular blog contributor for Harvard Business and BusinessWeek. He was formerly a co-host on CNBC’s The Business of Innovation, and taught creativity at the University of Washington.


    © Scott Berkun: The Year Without Pants copyright 2013, John Wiley & Sons Inc. Used by permission of John Wiley & Sons Inc. and shall not be made available to any unauthorized third parties.

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    The Year Without Pants FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Year Without Pants?

    The main message of The Year Without Pants is about remote work and the future of workplace collaboration.

    How long does it take to read The Year Without Pants?

    The reading time for The Year Without Pants varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Year Without Pants a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Year Without Pants is worth reading because it provides insights into the challenges and benefits of remote work, and offers practical tips for virtual collaboration.

    Who is the author of The Year Without Pants?

    The author of The Year Without Pants is Scott Berkun.

    What to read after The Year Without Pants?

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