The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building A Business When There Are No Easy Answers By Ben Horowitz
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It’s hard not to see that this book is wicked smart.
Ben Horowitz is a high-tech entrepreneur and co-founder of the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.
His book explores how to create, develop, and manage a new business.
You can say a lot of things about a book. This one stands out for how smart it is. Furthermore, it is one of those rare management books that don’t feel like a fairytale retelling by a corporate leader or a theoretical work from a consultant.
“The Hard Thing About Hard Things” includes both real-life anecdotes and sound management advice. However, it is never meant to provide a formula for managing a business, but only the lessons that Horowitz has learnt the hard way. Most of these lessons will apply to any manager and are not only valuable for start-up founders.
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.
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