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The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers Hardcover – 4 March 2014
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Ben Horowitz, cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley's most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, offers essential advice on building and running a startup—practical wisdom for managing the toughest problems business school doesn’t cover, based on his popular ben’s blog.
While many people talk about how great it is to start a business, very few are honest about how difficult it is to run one. Ben Horowitz analyzes the problems that confront leaders every day, sharing the insights he’s gained developing, managing, selling, buying, investing in, and supervising technology companies. A lifelong rap fanatic, he amplifies business lessons with lyrics from his favorite songs, telling it straight about everything from firing friends to poaching competitors, cultivating and sustaining a CEO mentality to knowing the right time to cash in.
Filled with his trademark humor and straight talk, The Hard Thing About Hard Things is invaluable for veteran entrepreneurs as well as those aspiring to their own new ventures, drawing from Horowitz's personal and often humbling experiences.
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“This is easily one of the essential books every business leader should read if they’re looking for proven and honest management advice.” (--Entrepreneur's 25 Amazing Business Books from 2014)
“The most valuable book on startup management hands down” (PandoDaily)
“There is more than enough substance in Mr. Horowitz’s impressive tome to turn it into a leadership classic.” (The Economist)
From the Back Cover
A lot of people talk about how great it is to start a business, but only Ben Horowitz is brutally honest about how hard it is to run one.
In The Hard Thing About Hard Things, Ben Horowitz, cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley's most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, draws on his own story of founding, running, selling, buying, managing, and investing in technology companies to offer essential advice and practical wisdom for navigating the toughest problems business schools don't cover. His blog has garnered a devoted following of millions of readers who have come to rely on him to help them run their businesses. A lifelong rap fan, Horowitz amplifies business lessons with lyrics from his favorite songs and tells it straight about everything from firing friends to poaching competitors, from cultivating and sustaining a CEO mentality to knowing the right time to cash in.
His advice is grounded in anecdotes from his own hard-earned rise—from cofounding the early cloud service provider Loudcloud to building the phenomenally successful Andreessen Horowitz venture capital firm, both with fellow tech superstar Marc Andreessen (inventor of Mosaic, the Internet's first popular Web browser). This is no polished victory lap; he analyzes issues with no easy answers through his trials, including
- demoting (or firing) a loyal friend;
- whether you should incorporate titles and promotions, and how to handle them;
- if it's OK to hire people from your friend's company;
- how to manage your own psychology, while the whole company is relying on you;
- what to do when smart people are bad employees;
- why Andreessen Horowitz prefers founder CEOs, and how to become one;
- whether you should sell your company, and how to do it.
Filled with Horowitz's trademark humor and straight talk, and drawing from his personal and often humbling experiences, The Hard Thing About Hard Things is invaluable for veteran entrepreneurs as well as those aspiring to their own new ventures.
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 304 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0062273205
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062273208
- Best Sellers Rank: 5,908 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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So perhaps it has some redeeming features, but I'm quite happy not knowing what they are.
The book seems to be a self-congratulatory lap of honour in which the author demonstrates that he is the most non-racist, inclusivistic, non-judgmental person who has ever lived. He bludgeons us through the taxonomies of his various sets of friends, almost all of whom have some claim or other to minorityship which he just *has* to mention, whilst systematically pick-axing his prose to death with the Cultural Marxist "she" when what he means is "he" (or – if you must – "they"). It's just irritating.
I have never met this man. But I have met enough people like him to know that I don't want to hear any more of what he has to say about himself.
I'm happy for him that he manages to fire his friends *and* sleep well at night. I'm happy for him that he loves himself so much he just had to write an entire book about what a fabulous fellow he is. The problem is that I simply don't feel that anyone who is as eager as he is to cram his credentials of conventionality down my throat by endorsing every single point of what happens to be Politically Correct this week can genuinely have any balls.
Ergo, he isn't a leader.
Ergo, this isn't what it claims to be: a book about leadership.
A dozen sentences and ideas can be extrapolated as good advice and mulled over. The rest is self indulging praise and over the top specific and unaccessible abstraction.
As a business owner I found the narrative similar to giving a Bugatti owner manual to a Civic driver and tell him to use it and improve his experience of the car.
For content, I personally 100% love the first part about his entrepreneurial history and the challenges he has experienced as CEO of his various companies.
Then the second part, although full of common sense and very interesting, less touch me because it is addressed to the managers or CEO of large companies. Being a small business director, these chapters were less interesting.
But for a manager or CEO of a startup or larger company, this book will be useful to every page.
Particularly comforting to hear that I'm not the only one who has struggled to make tough choices in business!