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.
©2014 Ben Horowitz (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers
Too focused on running large companies and not relevant to small business owners
The voice of the narrator in no way sounds like, or gives an impression of Horowitz. The constant us of "she" when referring to a universal or fictitious CEO or manager is odd, since when he mentions real people, they're all men, ie; Andy Grove, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs.
The use of hip hop quotes was childish, and does not project an image of wisdom I need from a successful person. Why not quote Sponge Bob Square Pants while you're at it? I kept wondering how many rappers Horowitz was quoting while negotiating with HP.
Once I got past the amateurish nature of the delivery of the book, there were some good stories and advice. The author did seem to brag a bit about how smart he was, perhaps listening to all that hip hop influenced his delivery.
If you get the impression I'm not a big fan of hip hop, you'd be correct. But I'm not impressed by authors or speakers quoting any pop culture references like music or TV. It's lazy, and shows they don't read or revere serious thinkers or those who strive to advance or society. While some entertainers do contribute, they're not at the top of the list of those we can learn the most from.
I couldn't take listening to the narrator. I thought it was an awful choice for this book. Crazy how much the narrator's voice can influence whether I like a book...but it does.
- Love how real this book gets (not just about the ups of running a start--really sheds light on the downs)
- Love the tactical advice (Horowitz is very specific about his management tactics and advice, and his opinion is very wise
- Love the humor (really quick read, very funny, Horowitz has a wry sense of humor that leaves me laughing out loud at parts)
- Love that he uses the female universal pronoun "every CEO should tell HER staff..."
overall I learned lot about what to do and not to do when running a company (through all its ups and downs) from this book. I plan on reading it again soon when my startup gets bigger.
The narrator is awful
There are several examples given in the book where the author gives numbered examples, "one...(long pause, explanation)......two ..."
I listened to on 2X speed and it was very dry.
Just wasn't that interesting. I think that it would have been much more beneficial if he focused on financing for start-ups and growing ventures. Going more into depth on VCs, the process, best practices, ways we can learn as potential entrepreneurs, etc.
Sure. Anyone who is delusional about all the positive things about entrepreneurship should read, or better, listen to this book.
No bulls***. Facts and worries of a founder trying to grow a massive internet business.
Not really. But it read it while walking to work; it made me ponder on many aspects of my own company
One of the best management I've read. I appreciated the candor and honesty in Ben's role as CEO. He shares details about scenarios and situations he faced and options considered along with what worked and what didn't. Often times these types of books share the successes and near perfection of how strategies were executed and challenges were dealt with. It's rare that a leader will admit mistakes or share the internal thought process so vividly.
The performance was a bit dramatic and overdone, but doesn't get in the way of the story.
"Not for me! I've listened to a couple of chapters"
Better information in the review and I probably wouldn't buy this one. There's nothing essentially wrong with this book. But the business that I am planning to start doesn't match the authors information and experience and this isn't the right book for me.
If there are lessons they might be later in the book. I just found the early chapters slow going and I'm not learning much. Ben Horowitz comes across hard working and funny and he manages to work for top silicon valley companies in the 90s and I've just reached the bit when he has founded an cloud company with three others but I felt that this isn't going to help me on my journey. I will not be working for top software companies but if you are going to set up a software firm than this might be the book for you.
Maybe Kevin's voice isn't the right match for the book content. Particularly when he reads to words from the rap songs.
"very practical and useful book"
an honest practical book by a CEO of a high tech company, sharing lessons learned from his many years of experience. plus it is an inspirational story too.
"No nonsense story of someone who has been there &"
Really great account, telling you how it is. No corporate nonsense.
I also loved the references to rap lyrics which you don't often get in business books
Thanks to my friend Riaan for recommending this to me.
Really hard edged when compared to 7 habits but equally insightful
Yes if I had the time
"Great but awkward at times"
Best when Horowitz discussed his own personal experiences at OpsWare rather than me abstract anecdotes. Hip hop references are awkward. Hypothetical people are spoken about with specific genders as if they're real and you just missed something, which is distracting.
"Fantastic book to read for aspiring operators or investors"
I work in investing and don't really come from an operating background. This book was absolutely packed with insights and practical advice about hiring, firing, managing, and motivating people. I have way too many bookmarks on pages with simple but clear insights on the day to day realities of running a company. Definitely the best management book I've read bar none (although I'm going to start on Andy Grove's after the number of props Ben gives Andy in this book.). I know for a fact that I will be coming back to this book time and time again in the future
"Really interesting story..."
The hard thing about The Hard Thing About the Hard Things is that the narrator didn't do it for me. The story is really interesting and honest but it sounds like there was fair bit of editing afterwards which wasn't done seamlessly. Worth a listen if you want to feel the pain of building a large tech company.
this is a book about what they don't tell you in all the rosie business books of the world. read this and you'll be thankful one day.
The narrative behind the writer's journey is detailed and insightful - you really feel part of the story's ups and downs. The advice provided is invaluable as its delivered from someone who has been there and done it.
The audible version is perfectly narrated.
"Solid but ordinary business book"
No. It's very basic. I think the fact that Ben Horowitz is a successful businessman makes this readable. Otherwise it's not particularly revelatory.
I think so - but didn't pay too much attention to that.
It gave me some food for thought
right up there
ok, not great
so many moments when all is seemingly lost, and hard work and commitment saves the day
superb content, although the narrator is a bit annoying
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.