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The Hard Thing About Hard Things Audiobook

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (4680 )
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Performance
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  •  
    G 02-11-15
    G 02-11-15 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "High level advice for CEOs"

    Not great for startups meant for big company CEOs. Some good actionable ideas and insights. Interesting history of Netscape and loudcloud.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Evanston, IL, USA 04-22-14
    Mark Evanston, IL, USA 04-22-14
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    "Not relevant to small businesses"
    What would have made The Hard Thing About Hard Things better?

    Too focused on running large companies and not relevant to small business owners


    What was most disappointing about Ben Horowitz’s story?


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    Yes


    What character would you cut from The Hard Thing About Hard Things?


    Any additional comments?

    11 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cliff RED BANK, NJ, United States 04-21-14
    Cliff RED BANK, NJ, United States 04-21-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Tough to listen to, but interesting at times"

    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.

    28 of 42 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gregory 05-14-14
    Gregory 05-14-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Couldn't take listening to narrator"
    What would have made The Hard Thing About Hard Things better?

    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.


    26 of 39 people found this review helpful
  •  
    wwen726 12-24-15
    wwen726 12-24-15
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    "Amazing, Insightful Tactical Advice"

    - 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.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jesse Ashton 07-08-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Hard to listen to"

    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.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Todd 04-29-14
    Todd 04-29-14
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    "Falls Short"
    What would have made The Hard Thing About Hard Things better?

    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.


    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sebastian Perez Saaibi 07-18-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Entrepreneurship is Hard, period."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Sure. Anyone who is delusional about all the positive things about entrepreneurship should read, or better, listen to this book.


    What did you like best about this story?

    No bulls***. Facts and worries of a founder trying to grow a massive internet business.


    Have you listened to any of Kevin Kenerly’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Not really. But it read it while walking to work; it made me ponder on many aspects of my own company


    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Punch O 01-11-17
    Punch O 01-11-17 Member Since 2017
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    "He started the book with a quote by Kanye West?"

    Couldn't bare through half of the book. Not worth the time. Im not sure if I got a single lesson out of it. Ok I guess there's some lessons in negativity too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alex 01-08-17
    Alex 01-08-17
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    "Loved it"

    Brilliant book . A must read. The narrator is also well spoken brilliant voice actor. Loved it

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • M. MacCana
    London, UK
    10/17/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • D.Sun
    8/24/15
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    Story
    "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

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • C. Saba
    UK
    5/7/15
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    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • C4NH4M
    ENGLAND
    4/28/15
    Overall
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    Story
    "outstanding"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr Niall McGinnity
    4/16/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Insightful"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. D. James
    London
    3/3/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Solid but ordinary business book"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    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.


    If you’ve listened to books by Ben Horowitz before, how does this one compare?

    N/A


    Did Kevin Kenerly do a good job differentiating each of the characters? How?

    I think so - but didn't pay too much attention to that.


    Did The Hard Thing About Hard Things inspire you to do anything?

    It gave me some food for thought


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Penhelios
    9/9/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "So informative"
    Where does The Hard Thing About Hard Things rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    right up there


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    the protagonist


    Did Kevin Kenerly do a good job differentiating each of the characters? How?

    ok, not great


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    so many moments when all is seemingly lost, and hard work and commitment saves the day


    Any additional comments?

    superb content, although the narrator is a bit annoying

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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