New York Times Bestseller

The Hard Thing About Hard Things

There are lots of people talking about how great it is to start a business, but only Ben Horowitz is brutally honest about how hard it is to run one. Filled with Ben Horowitz's trademark humor and straight talk, The Hard Thing About Hard Things is invaluable for veteran entrepreneurs as well as those aspiring to their own new ventures, drawing from Horowitz's personal and often humbling experiences.

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Check out Ben's latest book, What You Do Is Who You Are. Learn More »

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This is no polished victory lap. Ben analyzes issues with no easy answers through his trials, including:

  • Demoting (or firing) a loyal friend.
  • Whether or not you should incorporate titles and promotions, and how to handle them.
  • If it's ok to hire people from your friend’s company.
  • How to manage your own psychology, while the whole company is relying on you.
  • What to do when smart people are bad employees.
  • Why Andreessen Horowitz prefers founder CEOs, and how to become one.
  • Whether you should sell your company, and how to do it.
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Praise for The Hard Thing About Hard Things

Ben's experience and expertise make him one of the most important leaders not just in Silicon Valley but in the global knowledge economy. For anyone interested in building, growing or leading a great company, this book is an incredibly valuable resource ­and a funny and insightful read.

Mark Zuckerberg cofounder and CEO of Facebook

Ben's book is a great read — with uncomfortable truths about entrepreneurship and how to lead to a company. It's also an inspiring story of a business rebirth through sheer willpower.

Larry Page cofounder and CEO of Google

Ben's advice has been invaluable to me over the past few years. He is forthright and direct, acknowledging, for example, that the job of leading can be impossibly lonely, while eloquently providing no-nonsense guidance for managing teams through good times and bad times. Stripping away the veneer of management-speak, Ben's writing carries the authority of somebody who has been through all of this. The results are simple, thorough, and compelling.

Dick Costolo CEO of Twitter

Every management guide presumes that all great companies follow a formula. But successful startups don’t imitate; they build innovations that can't be copied. Ben Horowitz knows no recipe guarantees success, and with The Hard Thing About Hard Things, he has written the first true guide for protecting a startup from self-sabotage.

Peter Thiel cofounder of PayPal and founder and partner at Founders Fund

His book takes readers through Mr. Horowitz’s own fascinating career, while sharing examples and dispensing advice drawn from the careers of others ... The honesty is both refreshing and compelling, and readers will enjoy being taken through challenge after challenge alongside Mr. Horowitz.

New York Times

With a candid, even profanity-laced style that quotes everyone from Silicon Valley legend Bill Campbell to hip-hop star Nas, Horowitz writes about what it takes to manage people and lead organizations today ... Even the most seasoned managers will appreciate Horowitz’s discussion of the emotional toll of high-power jobs and what he calls the CEO psychological meltdown.

The Washington Post

Horowitz tends to dispense management advice in a kind of one-two punch. First comes the self-deprecating quip about mismanagement and misery, delivered with a knowing grin and capped with a two-beat chuckle. But soon the smile will vanish, and he’ll turn dead serious. His brow will furrow slightly, his eyes will widen and focus with an intensity that borders on scary, and he’ll speak slowly, deliberately. It’s almost as if you can’t afford not to listen.


There is more than enough substance in Mr. Horowitz’s impressive tome to turn it into a leadership classic.

The Economist

This isn’t your traditional, how-to founder advice. He tackles the real problems and challenges entrepreneurs face ... But where Horowitz separates himself is in his advice around how to control your own psychology and demons as a CEO and founder. These are real problems that every CEO and leader faces, as sometimes they are their own worst enemy ... My bet is that Horowitz’s book becomes gospel for startups. His stories already have.


The most valuable book on startup management, hands down.


The hard thing isn't setting a big, hairy, audacious goal. The hard thing is laying people off when you miss the big goal.

The hard thing isn't dreaming big. The hard thing is waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat when the dream turns into a nightmare.

Past Events

Columbia University Book Talk & Signing

Tuesday, March 4
6:30 pm
Rotunda, Low Memorial Library, Columbia University
New York, NY
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General Assembly Fireside Chat with Ben & Steve Stoute

Wednesday, March 5
7:00 pm
General Assembly NYC (East) 902 BDWY, 4th Floor
New York, NY
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NY Release Party

Thursday, March 6
6:00 pm
Time & Life Building New York, NY
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SXSW Interview with Ben & Nas

Sunday, March 9
3:30 pm
Austin, TX
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SXSW Book Signing with Ben

Sunday, March 9
4:40 pm
SX Bookstore
Austin, TX
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SF Bay Area Release Party

Friday, March 14
San Francisco, CA
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Box Dev Fireside Chat with Ben & Aaron Levie

Wednesday, March 26
11:15 am
Fort Mason
2 Marina Blvd
San Francisco, CA
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The Phat Fireside Chat with Ben

Tuesday, April 15
8:00 pm
The Alley NYC 500 7th Avenue, 17th Floor
New York, NY
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NationBuilder Fireside Chat with Ben & Jim Gilliam

Friday, April 11
6:00 pm
NationBuilder Office 448 S Hill Street, Suite 2000
Los Angeles, CA
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About the Author

Ben Horowitz is a cofounder and general partner at the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. He is the author of the New York Times bestsellers, The Hard Thing About Hard Things and What You Do Is Who You Are. He also created the a16z Cultural Leadership Fund to connect the greatest cultural leaders to the best new technology companies, and enable more young African Americans to enter the technology industry.

Prior to a16z, Ben was cofounder and CEO of Opsware (formerly Loudcloud), which was acquired by Hewlett-Packard for $1.6 billion in 2007, and was appointed vice president and general manager of Business Technology Optimization for Software at HP. Earlier, he was vice president and general manager of America Online’s E-commerce Platform division, where he oversaw...

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