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The Hard Thing About Hard Things

“There is more than enough substance in Mr. Horowitz’s impressive tome to turn it into a leadership classic.” —The Economist

“For anyone interested in building, growing or leading a great company, this book is an incredibly valuable resource ­and a funny and insightful read.”—Mark Zuckerberg, cofounder and CEO of Facebook

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, edited and “coached” by Carlye Adler (called the author’s “personal trainer”), 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. 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.

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.


Critical praise for The Hard Thing About Hard Things
:

“The most valuable book on startup management hands down.” PandoDaily

“Horowitz tends to dispense management advice in a kind of one-two punch. First comes the self-deprecating quip about mismanagement and misery, delivered with a knowing grin and capped with a two-beat chuckle. But soon the smile will vanish, and he’ll turn dead serious. His brow will furrow slightly, his eyes will widen and focus with an intensity that borders on scary, and he’ll speak slowly, deliberately. It’s almost as if you can’t afford not to listen.” Fortune

“A new book about startups should be required reading for business-builders everywhere.” The Economist

“Entrepreneurs, chief executives and other leaders will identify with his experience and blunt advice.” —New York Times

“The venture capitalist and Silicon Valley consigliere penned a management guide that is smart, blunt, funny and accessible, devoid of the usual cliches and jargon that make so many business books dreadful.” Washington Post, This year’s overlooked business book

“More than any other business book released this year, “Hard Things” gives an insider’s perspective on what it’s like to lead and scale a startup.” Business Insider’s Best Business Books of 2014

“This is easily one of the essential books every business leader should read if they’re looking for proven and honest management advice.” —Entrepreneur’s 25 Amazing Business Books from 2014

“For people with Andreessen Horowitz fatigue, things are about to get worse with the publication of co-founder Ben Horowitz’s new book, The Hard Thing About Hard Things. Here’s the hard truth: the book is outstanding. “ Strictly VC

“Nassim Taleb says that with some books you should read the text and skip the footnotes. Others, read the footnotes and skip the text. With business books, “skip both the text and the footnotes.” Ben Horowitz’s new book, The Hard Thing About Hard Things, is not one of those books.” —The Motley Fool

The Hard Thing About Hard Things, by Ben Horowitz, is the best business book I’ve ever read.  Or at least the best book on management and leadership that I’ve ever read.  Period.” — Matt Blumberg, author of Startup CEO

“4 books every aspiring entrepreneur should read.” — Mashable

“My bet is that Horowitz’s book becomes gospel for startups.” — TechCrunch

“Though Horowitz is a cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz and his credentials reside mainly in Silicon Valley, he’s imparted some valuable insight on hard lessons learned that apply to any manager, whether in the executive suite or not. As with most experiential books, it is all about him—but it’s written in such an engaging and universally acceptable manner that no one could object.” — Booklist, starred review

“Horowitz, co-founder 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.” —800-CEO-READ

“Horowitz does an exceptional job of telling us what it means to be a leader, and the frighteningly unpleasant decisions one has to make as CEO of a business — whether it’s a five-person startup or a public tech company. This is an unfiltered account of Horowitz’s lessons learned, with absolutely zero sugar-coating. It’s a book you’ll want to read whether you’re a CEO, an aspiring entrepreneur, or for anyone who has (or needs) the courage to make hard choices in business and in life.” —Boston Business Journal

“As the title suggests, it’s no roundup of feel-good stories about passion and vision. Instead, Horowitz, who is co-founder of the VC firm Andreessen Horowitz and the software company Loudcloud (later Ops-ware), offers blunt advice on surviving the rough stuff startup life dishes out.” —Inc.

 

What people are saying about The Hard Thing About Hard Things:

“Ben’s experience and expertise make him one of the most important leaders not just in Silicon Valley but in the global knowledge economy. For anyone interested in building, growing or leading a great company, this book is an incredibly valuable resource ­and a funny and insightful read.” — Mark Zuckerberg, cofounder and CEO of Facebook

“Ben’s book is a great read — with uncomfortable truths about entrepreneurship and how to lead to a company. It’s also an inspiring story of a business rebirth through sheer willpower.”  — Larry Page, cofounder and CEO of Google

“Ben’s advice has been invaluable to me over the past few years. He is forthright and direct, acknowledging, for example, that the job of leading can be impossibly lonely, while eloquently providing no-nonsense guidance for managing teams through good times and bad times. Stripping away the veneer of management-speak, Ben’s writing carries the authority of somebody who has been through all of this. The results are simple, thorough, and compelling.” — Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter

“Every management guide presumes that all great companies follow a formula. But successful startups don’t imitate; they build innovations that can’t be copied. Ben Horowitz knows no recipe guarantees success, and with The Hard Thing About Hard Things he has written the first true guide for protecting a startup from self-sabotage.” — Peter Thiel, cofounder of PayPal and founder and partner at Founders Fund

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