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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
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Customer Reviews

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By bigdatamark on 09-03-14

Exciting and insightful view of a "wartime CEO"

Any additional comments?

First of all, I have to warn you that the author, Ben Horowitz, apparently likes gangster rap, and there are quotes at the beginning of chapters and sections that are relevant, yet have foul language and try to be offensive. Ben Horowitz interestingly, uses swear words, but only for great impact.<br/><br/>Second, Kevin Kenerly, the narrator, has a great style. It's hard to explain, but it's like he's speaking directly to you, and only to you. Some people might be annoyed by it, but I thought it was very appropriate for this book.<br/><br/>Third, there was a lot of really interesting and dramatic insight into how Horowitz handled an almost impossible to believe string of disasters by seeking good advice from his mentors, from experts, and by making hard decisions. Although I don't agree with some of the ways he treated people, his methods did get results.

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34 of 35 people found this review helpful

By Thomas on 03-18-14

For large company managers, not startups

Horowitz's formula for "building a business" is to get hundreds of millions of dollars from venture capitalists, then take your the company public and get hundreds of millions more dollars. Then buy companies that have products you need. The author has lots of advice about laying off employees, firing executives, and giving bad news to investors. There's a good chapter about the importance of training your employees.

This book is not for startups. "The Lean Startup," by Eric Ries, is a better book for entrepreneurs. Horowitz's book is for executives managing large companies.

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146 of 157 people found this review helpful

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By Simon on 11-01-16

best management book I've ever read

great book with real world advice and anecdotes from someone who has lived through the hard stuff. Much better than the over simplicity of most management texts. a must read for all managers our business owners.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

By FahimS on 11-16-16


One of the best business books I've ever read. It talks about taboos, the struggle that you rarely hear or read in biographies.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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By Stew Glynn on 11-28-17

The truth about building a business

Amazing story of the trials and tribulations of growing a company rapidly! Great stories shared by Ben that highlight the intensity, loneliness and challenges of entrepreneurship. Thanks Ben Horowitz

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By rafay on 10-27-17


I genuinely appreciated the candidness in which Ben H wrote about what life of a CEO is in wartime. There was no sugar coating. It was the honest truth. If you are in an industry during wartime or looking to dominate this book is full of wisdom and insights that you can immediately implement. Highly recommend!

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