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The Hard Thing About Hard Things



If you run a business or are involved in one, there will always be times when the going gets tough.  If you’re in charge, it can be a weight on your shoulders, and sometimes navigating your problems seems impossible.  What should you prioritize first?  How should you instruct and motivate your employees?  What if you have to resort to layoffs or restructuring your company? 

If you find yourselves in this situation, you’re not alone.  Look no further than Ben Horowitz’s The Hard Thing About Hard Things.  Horowitz was a co-founder of LoudCloud in 1999, one of the first cloud service providers, but due to several misfortunes the business quickly hit the skids.  To say the least he had to learn quick, but he has plenty of advice for others who find themselves struggling: 

  • Prioritizing the Three P’s in your office: “the people, the product and the profits – in that order”
  • Not attacking problems on your own and telling it like it is – be straightforward with your employees and encourage everyone to offer solutions
  • Running your company – hiring the right people, promoting good behavior and minimizing politics
  • Working on yourself and streamlining your vision
  • And if it comes to it: dealing with layoffs or firing employees 

Of course, avoiding dire straits is ideal.  However, if you find yourself in an unlucky spot consider this book some hard-won advice and a survival guide you should have on your nightstand.

Here is the summary from Amazon: 

“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, from 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.”

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Posted by Mark Jewell