The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

  • Rating: 10/10
  • Last Read: 2014. Breezed through this one while enduring a string of clueless CEO's.
  • Grab it on Amazon

Must-read for anyone serious about starting up a biz. This is the go-to manual for how to handle any CEO-related decisions. Horowitz does a great job splitting up the book into digestible sections while sprinkling in anecdotes from his dotcom experiences.

My Notes

"The hard thing about hard things is that there is no formula for dealing with them"

  • There are no shortcuts to knowledge, especially knowledge gained from personal experience.

"Leadership is the ability to get someone to follow you even if only out of curiosity" - Colin Powell

  • The simple existence of an alternate, plausible scenario is often all that's needed to keep hope alive among a worried workforce.

  • You need 2 kinds of friends:

    • Get more excited than you with good news
    • Somebody you can call when things go horribly wrong

"Things are always darkest before they go completely black"

  • Whenever a large organization attempts to do anything, it always comes down to a single person who can delay the entire project.

  • Innovation = knowledge + skills + courage

"There were a lot of companies in the '90's that had launch parties but no landing parties"

  • Startup CEO's should not play the odds. You must believe there is an answer and must obsess over finding it.

  • One skill to have as CEO: The ability to focus and make the best move when there are no good moves.

3 key reasons why being transparent makes sense:

  1. Trust - The required amount of communication is inversely proportional to the level of trust
  2. The more brains working on hard problems, the better
  3. A company that discusses its problems freely and openly can quickly solve them

The Right Way to Lay People Off

  1. Get your head right
  2. Don't delay - once you decide to lay off, make it as short as possible
  3. Be clear in your own mind about why you are laying people off
  4. Train your managers (most important step) - Golden rule is that managers must lay off their own people
  5. Address the entire company
  6. Be visible, be present