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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
If starting a company were easy, everyone would do it. Venture capitalist Ben Horowitz, who made a small fortune when his business was sold to Hewlett-Packard, provides a warts-and-all look at navigating the start-up jungle. Horowitz’s brutal honesty is what makes The Hard Thing About Hard Things effective. He doesn’t pull punches about the struggles of building companies from the ground up, like having to fire loyal-but-underperforming employees or poaching staff from friendly competitors. Even if you’re not planning a start-up of your own, these plainspoken—and sometimes hilarious—tips are practical workplace advice for everyone.
Horowitz, a tech entrepreneur turned venture capitalist, offers hard-earned business advice and a compendium of the best posts from his popular blog (ben's blog). For the budding tech mogul, this is heady stuff, and politic to heed, as his firm, Andreesen Horowitz, is a nearly $3 billion powerhouse that has invested in winners, including Skype, Facebook, Groupon, Twitter, and Zynga. But shrewd investing decisions don't make for riveting prose, as Horowitz repeatedly trots out war and military metaphors to describe the struggle to sustain past businesses. Horowitz is far sharper when he's blunt and candid. Admitting that as a CEO he was always scared is far more useful to the aspiring mogul than heading many chapters with hip-hop lyrics describing street corner struggles. Though passages about minimizing office politics and how a startup executive might grow into managing a larger business contain novel insights, most of the useful observations come from citing other titans, including Intel CEO Andy Grove, Intuit head Bill Campbell, and management guru Tony Robbins. This manual reads as a collection of war stories from the 1990s boom-and-bust era blended with platitudes from an older generation of established business leaders.
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I now know everything... or nothing at all
The most important lesson from this book is that there will be extremely difficult times when young CEOs have no idea what they're doing or what to do next. This book doesn't give answers, but rather informs us that we are not alone, and gives us a framework for thinking about and dealing with these difficulties. Thanks Ben!