The Hard Thing about Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
It’s not often I pull out a highlighter whilst reading a book. A pencil yes but I haven’t used a highlighter since year 12 English and even then I got in trouble for it. It’s also not often I read a business/self-help book but before you all tune out and reach for Who Weekly, I want you to hear me out.
Firstly reading a business book was not my idea. I was minding my own business at a business conference aimed at CEOs and venture capitalists when three of the five speakers on stage nominated it as the single best business book they had read in years. These guys were so persuasive that I would be surprised if everyone in the audience didn’t go out and get themselves a copy (or 5).
The Hard Thing about Hard Things is written by hugely successful business blogger, Ben Horowitz who in his previous life was the founder and CEO of several large IT and software companies in the USA. Horowitz writes with experience, passion, pragmatism and honesty. He also writes as if he has a serious meeting to get to with no time for repetition or theory.
As a small disclaimer, I admit I have a day job and business is a big part of my life. I love the pressure, responsibility and freedom of making choices each day to grow and improve my little business. What I don’t love however is the lack of truly practical resources there are out there to guide me through things like how to promote and demote staff, eliminate bad habits in the office, build sales processes, handle indecision and develop and a unique culture.
There are so many golden nuggets of advice I highlighted in this book but I am embarrassed to admit I didn’t stop at the text. I even highlighted chapter names including “Team Culture is not about Yoga and Dogs in the Office” and best of all “How to Lead When you Don’t Know where you are Going”.
Since finishing it, I have gone on to give copies of this book to almost all of my favourite clients, my friends and my team. I have also been carrying it around in my work bag as if even just having it nearby will help me through the day. Hand on heart, I would recommend this book anyone in any kind of management position, running their own business or even just thinking about running their own business. Don’t be put off by the scale of the organisations and teams referenced by Horowitz as there are lessons for all levels in here.
And that is just my 2 cents worth.