The Hard Thing About Hard Things Book Summary

By August 20, 2020 June 5th, 2023 Business Strategy Articles

Last Updated on June 5, 2023 by Dave Schoenbeck

If you’re looking for a healthy dose of reality about the ins and outs of running a business, look no further than The Hard Thing About Hard Things book by Ben Horowitz, co-founder of the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. Horowitz has had his fair share of ups and downs on the road to success, and he’s candid in depicting business owners’ obstacles.

a photo of the book The Hard Thing About Hard Things

While Horowitz wrote this book for CEOs in the corporate tech space, the ideas to apply broadly to business leaders, his stories might spare some business owners from learning these lessons the hard way. So here’s a Hard Thing About Hard Things review to show you what you need to know. 

The Hard Thing About Hard Things Summary

The Ben Horowitz book boils down to this: there’s no perfect business, strategy, or decision. Business owners will make mistakes throughout their careers, and some will be catastrophic. The best thing you can do is prepare for the worst and learn from every misstep. 

In The Hard Thing About Hard Things book, Horowitz details the most difficult decisions he’s had to make throughout his business career. He writes that it’s the business owner’s responsibility to take ownership of every failure. You’re the one running the show. If the system malfunctions, it’s your job to build a better system. 

Horowitz talks about some tough topics that business owners don’t want to consider, like how to lay off an employee, dealing with office politics, poaching employees from a friend’s company, etc. He also touches on more personal aspects of running a business, like getting a handle on your psychology. 

His no-nonsense approach is refreshing for business owners who like to hear it straight, and he’s highly realistic about the struggles that CEOs face daily. As he details his career from humble beginnings to huge success, you can see concrete examples of obstacles many leaders must overcome. 

While Horowitz’s story might not resonate with everyone, many business owners will be able to relate to some aspects of his experience. In addition, his anecdotes paint him as a relatable authority that readers can trust, even outside the tech industry. 

Ultimately, The Hard Thing About Hard Things book is about how the CEO chooses to lead and make decisions. The “hard thing” is no set formula for leading, motivating, or making decisions when you hit hard times. Instead, for better or for worse, you need to learn and grow as you go.

The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz isn’t always a feel-good read, but the lessons can help any CEO who needs a reality check for their business. Please fill out my contact form to learn how you can implement techniques from The Hard Thing About Hard Things book into your business.

Coach Dave 


Dave Schoenbeck
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