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. (Source)
Why read this book
If you are a founder and want to learn how to better manage your company (as in - stay in control), assuming you started working on a product that people really want, this book is for you. A specially good read for those who want to learn about leading a company in challenging times.
I was following Ben's Blog since my first trip to Silicon Valley in 2013, and after each article, I would have 2 reactions - either smile or say "fuck, this makes sense and we've been doing it wrong all the way". I bought the book soon after the release when I found some time for reading (we were part of Rockstart Accelerator back then). I was so inspired, but also depressed by the book that I immediately wrote the email below and called a team meeting.
Note: Judging by the speed of the reply I guess it's an automated mail by Ben team, but still, a nice personal touch and yes I go the book.