We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.co.uk/access.
The Hard Thing About Hard Things Audiobook

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

Regular Price:£15.39
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • £7.99/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

Ben Horowitz, cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley's most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, offers essential advice on building and running a startup - practical wisdom for managing the toughest problems business school doesn't cover, based on his popular ben's blog.

While many people talk about how great it is to start a business, very few are honest about how difficult it is to run one. Ben Horowitz analyzes the problems that confront leaders every day, sharing the insights he's gained developing, managing, selling, buying, investing in, and supervising technology companies. A lifelong rap fanatic, he amplifies business lessons with lyrics from his favorite songs, telling it straight about everything from firing friends to poaching competitors, cultivating and sustaining a CEO mentality to knowing the right time to cash in.

Filled with his 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.

©2014 Ben Horowitz (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (311 )
5 star
 (191)
4 star
 (95)
3 star
 (22)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (1)
Overall
4.4 (267 )
5 star
 (154)
4 star
 (83)
3 star
 (25)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (2)
Story
4.4 (265 )
5 star
 (145)
4 star
 (94)
3 star
 (21)
2 star
 (5)
1 star
 (0)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Mark 20/07/2015
    Mark 20/07/2015 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    29
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Pretty dull read, almost obnoxious self-promotion"
    Would you try another book written by Ben Horowitz or narrated by Kevin Kenerly?

    Was interesting and definitely written differently from most of these kinda books (lots of swearing, hip-hop references, unambiguous opinions and sometimes almost obnoxious self-promotion) which gave it some character. A few interesting lessons in there particularly on the difficulties of moving from Founder - CEO but on the whole, fairly dull. I'd give it 2 stars


    What was most disappointing about Ben Horowitz’s story?

    It was a story more than a tool


    Would you be willing to try another one of Kevin Kenerly’s performances?

    Maybe


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Hard Thing About Hard Things?

    Cut it at least in half


    Any additional comments?

    nope

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    FahimS 16/11/2016
    FahimS 16/11/2016 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Must-read"

    One of the best business books I've ever read. It talks about taboos, the struggle that you rarely hear or read in biographies.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Simon 01/11/2016
    Simon 01/11/2016 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "best management book I've ever read"

    great book with real world advice and anecdotes from someone who has lived through the hard stuff. Much better than the over simplicity of most management texts. a must read for all managers our business owners.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kev 04/10/2016
    kev 04/10/2016 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Kevin made Ben's story come alive"

    Ben has a wealth of honest real life sharings of struggles and strategies that make sense for any senior role. I see the CEO role as any senior leader that is accountable for P&L as well as people.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mooksy 19/07/2016
    Mooksy 19/07/2016 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Extremely Niche"

    If you're not a middle class American privileged enough to go to an ivy league school and working in corporate America, this book has zero relevance to you. Even if you fit that description it still probably bears no relevance to you other than some light reading of anecdotal wars stories and subjective viewpoints on dealing with multi-million dollar sales and acquisitions of companies. It contains very little information of use to your average business or startup and should probably have the tagline "navigating a corporate snake pit when there are no easy answers"!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rad 11/05/2016
    Rad 11/05/2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Insightful, funny, true, excellent"

    This book is great because it's a book about reality. Sometimes it's totally ridiculous what you have to go through as the CEO of a large or small company. But this book makes you realise you're not alone. You're not the only one who doesn't know what your doing :)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Birnie London, United Kingdom 13/04/2016
    Paul Birnie London, United Kingdom 13/04/2016 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "should be mandatory listen for any startup founder"

    great insight, will recommend it it to the CTOs, CEOs and startup founders I know. up there with zero to one and lean startup.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    d024912 Leeds, UK 04/02/2016
    d024912 Leeds, UK 04/02/2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not for me! I've listened to a couple of chapters"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Better information in the review and I probably wouldn't buy this one. There's nothing essentially wrong with this book. But the business that I am planning to start doesn't match the authors information and experience and this isn't the right book for me.


    Would you recommend The Hard Thing About Hard Things to your friends? Why or why not?

    If there are lessons they might be later in the book. I just found the early chapters slow going and I'm not learning much. Ben Horowitz comes across hard working and funny and he manages to work for top silicon valley companies in the 90s and I've just reached the bit when he has founded an cloud company with three others but I felt that this isn't going to help me on my journey. I will not be working for top software companies but if you are going to set up a software firm than this might be the book for you.


    What aspect of Kevin Kenerly’s performance might you have changed?

    Maybe Kevin's voice isn't the right match for the book content. Particularly when he reads to words from the rap songs.


    Did The Hard Thing About Hard Things inspire you to do anything?

    Not really.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E Seyidli UK 03/02/2016
    E Seyidli UK 03/02/2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "very practical and useful book"

    an honest practical book by a CEO of a high tech company, sharing lessons learned from his many years of experience. plus it is an inspirational story too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Huw Bowles 18/10/2015
    Huw Bowles 18/10/2015 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    27
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "No nonsense story of someone who has been there &"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Really great account, telling you how it is. No corporate nonsense.
    I also loved the references to rap lyrics which you don't often get in business books
    Thanks to my friend Riaan for recommending this to me.


    What other book might you compare The Hard Thing About Hard Things to, and why?

    Really hard edged when compared to 7 habits but equally insightful


    Have you listened to any of Kevin Kenerly’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    No


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes if I had the time


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • bigdatamark
    MI
    03/09/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Exciting and insightful view of a "wartime CEO""
    Any additional comments?

    First of all, I have to warn you that the author, Ben Horowitz, apparently likes gangster rap, and there are quotes at the beginning of chapters and sections that are relevant, yet have foul language and try to be offensive. Ben Horowitz interestingly, uses swear words, but only for great impact.

    Second, Kevin Kenerly, the narrator, has a great style. It's hard to explain, but it's like he's speaking directly to you, and only to you. Some people might be annoyed by it, but I thought it was very appropriate for this book.

    Third, there was a lot of really interesting and dramatic insight into how Horowitz handled an almost impossible to believe string of disasters by seeking good advice from his mentors, from experts, and by making hard decisions. Although I don't agree with some of the ways he treated people, his methods did get results.

    27 of 28 people found this review helpful
  • Thomas
    Boulder, CO, United States
    18/03/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "For large company managers, not startups"

    Horowitz's formula for "building a business" is to get hundreds of millions of dollars from venture capitalists, then take your the company public and get hundreds of millions more dollars. Then buy companies that have products you need. The author has lots of advice about laying off employees, firing executives, and giving bad news to investors. There's a good chapter about the importance of training your employees.

    This book is not for startups. "The Lean Startup," by Eric Ries, is a better book for entrepreneurs. Horowitz's book is for executives managing large companies.

    121 of 131 people found this review helpful
  • gm050
    18/08/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Sound advice, amateur writing and narration"

    The narrator enunciates so aggressively and with such over-animation it made me flinch. And the excessive use of rap lyrics and other extensive references to pop culture gave the book and story a very amateurish feel. The excessive use of the pronoun "she" when referring to hypothetical CEOs also presented an odd juxtaposition with the fact that every single reference to living CEOs was to male ones (Jobs, Bezos, Schmidt, Campbell, Gates...)

    However, when the actual advice of the book came out (not until the last half or maybe even quarter) it was clear, concise and to the point. Definitely got me thinking. Wish the whole book had been as such.

    20 of 22 people found this review helpful
  • L
    Phoenix, AZ, United States
    17/08/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Once you learn to deal with Horowitz narcissism, it finally gets to the meat"

    The voice was miserable. It might have been a low soothing voice, ideal for radio, but the person didn't keep it interesting in inflection. Like a lazy professor a couple years after being tenured.

    Horowitz takes a while to get to the real information of his book. When he does get there it great. Before that it is too slow.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Scott Wozniak
    03/03/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Strong, insightful, and a bit vulgar"

    Ben Horowitz has been there and done that--that being starting a tech firm and leading it through chaos and surprise and heartbreak to success. He isn't sharing leadership theory, he's sharing his life lessons.

    As such, he offers specific examples and actual numbers for each of his principles. And his principles are insightful and practical. A few are powerful, like the idea of management debt: you can delay making a hard decision but you incur "debt". The problem didn't go away, you will have to pay it later--with interest. So pay now and reduce the cost. Also, don't hire a stereotypical executive, hire the one that fits the exact situation of your company. For example, there's a big difference between running a large company and building a large company. The first is more about managing lots of pressure--reacting well. The second is about creating growth through aggressive action--without anyone pressuring you to do it.

    I give 4 rather than 5 stars to this strong leadership book because of the large amount of foul language. Not only is there a section where he decided as CEO to allow a tech culture norm of expletives (that was strategic at least), but he cusses every couple of pages. I guess he's being authentic but it is distracting.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • m.a.
    Saint-Hubert, Quebec, Canada
    16/06/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great book - surprised by all the vitriol"
    Any additional comments?

    Those who focus their review on the fact that there's hip hop references or the fact that the author is so raw in his language are clearly missing the f*cking point (since the book is full of expletives). This book explained the agony and euphoria I saw on many of my own CEOs, going from tiny companies to being acquired for millions of dollars. Of course, a good counter part to this book is Lean Start Up by Eric Ries (and that book is dry, boring, methodical, lean on interest yet good since it's the strategy to being a lean, agile start up). Horowitz doesn't mince his words and speaks sincerely about the realities of tech start ups. As Mitch Joel says so eloquently in CTRL-ALT-DELETE - the business world is in a state of purgatory. I'll add that technology is the extreme game of survival of the fittest. A must read for anyone working in tech. And leave your pearls at home. Business is cutthroat, it won't say please and thank you.

    12 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • Jimmy
    Powell, OH, United States
    28/07/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Based in Reality--Not New Age Hocus Pocus:"

    Mr. Horowitz masterfully delivers the truth and insight of those long and sleepless nights of trying to think your way through the chaos of a startup.

    This book is not the work of a man gloating of his success and using the lens of hindsight to casually relay a few helpful hints. Rather this is an in depth and insightful guide to successfully navigating the major "fork in the road" types decisions that have the potential to define your outcomes.

    This is money well spent! It does matter if you are a running the world's largest startup right now or just opened a one person carwash this book will help you. It is lively and entertaining, yet full of helpful information all clearly learned by Mr. Horowitz at the height of entrepreneurial battle.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Gregory
    14/05/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Couldn't take listening to narrator"
    What would have made The Hard Thing About Hard Things better?

    I couldn't take listening to the narrator. I thought it was an awful choice for this book. Crazy how much the narrator's voice can influence whether I like a book...but it does.


    26 of 37 people found this review helpful
  • Hal
    10/09/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Hard truths no fluff, a gut check for founding CEO"

    If you need to know how paranoid you needed to be before considering being the CEO of a startup, then this is a must read. Not too long, great insight into the dread, critical, life altering decisions that you must make as a forms prime leader.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Itamar
    17/05/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The hype is overrated"

    This book contains many great lessons for CEOs of large companies. But how many people in the world run large companies? For most people, it's a book full of anecdotes, often unrelated to one another, from the managerial experience of the author. Nice read, but definitely not a classic.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.