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

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

Author: Ben Horowitz

Rating: ★★★★★

Genre: Business

Themes: Entrepreneurship, Management

Format: Audio book

Finished: February 22, 2017

Purchase link

Ben Horowitz analyzed his experience starting and building businesses and wrote about the lessons he learned. This book is full of practical wisdom for when the rubber hits the road. This isn’t one of those preachy business books. This is straight talk.

I’m likely going to revisit this many times in the future as I’m at different stages in my career.

The important notes from my first listen:

  • No shortcuts to knowledge
  • Always do the right thing. If you recognize a problem, you have to choose whether or not to solve it and live with that decision.
  • Be straight about situations. People need to know they can count on what you say, not guess whether or not what you say is true this time. Tell it like it is.
  • Don’t play the odds. Pick something and go all in. If you need to switch you can, but don’t divide attention.
  • Share bad news and discuss problems. Open flow of information. Let smart people solve problems.
  • Hire for strengths, not lack of weakness
  • When making decisions, once you’ve reached a verdict, execute it swiftly. Don’t wait.
  • When making a better product, 20 lead bullets are better than 1 silver bullet.
  • Making a company a great place to work will get you through bad times.
  • Training is important for making productive workers. One of the most leveragable things you can do. If you don’t train your people, you don’t set consistent expectations for performance management. If people are left to figure it out on their own, it will work, but it will be a Frankenstein and have scalability problems.
  • Sometimes problems are solved with a clarification, sometimes they require a new solution.
  • When hiring or promoting: Do I value in internal for external knowledge for this position?
  • Focus on where you’re going, not what you want to do
  • What sets top performers apart from mediocre is their ability to ship things out