The Hard Thing About Hard Things


While many people talk about how great it is to start a business, Ben Horowitz (co-founder of a16z) offers advice on how to build and run a startup during difficult times.

Favorite quotes from the book:

There are no shortcuts to knowledge, especially knowledge gained from personal experience. Following conventional wisdom and relying on shortcuts can be worse than knowing nothing at all.

An early lesson I learned in my career was that whenever a large organization attempts to do anything, it always comes down to a single person who can delay the entire project.

Note to self: It’s a good idea to ask, “What am I not doing?”

People at McDonald’s get trained for their positions, but people with far more complicated jobs don’t. It makes no sense.

The act of judging people in advance will retard their development. If you make a judgment that someone is incapable of doing something such as running a larger organization, will it make sense to teach them those skills or even point out the anticipated deficiencies? Probably not. You’ve already decided they can’t do it.

Perhaps the most important thing that I learned as an entrepreneur was to focus on what I needed to get right and stop worrying about all the things that I did wrong or might do wrong.

Embrace the struggle.