Books written by successful entrepreneurs are often revisionist tripe, long on regaling the writer’s blinding brilliance and short on the mistakes you know were made along the way. While they can be entertaining, even inspirational, they rarely venture deep enough into the weeds to be instructive.
Ben Horowitz’s “The Hard Thing about the Hard Thing” is a little different, not only because of his willingness to chronicle the death and near-death experiences that his tech businesses faced along the way, but because of the lessons learned he metes out along the way. Horowitz offers practical insights on a variety of subjects including:
- What to look for in hiring key staff, and how to properly integrate them once hired,
- The attributes of effective leaders in Sales, Product Management and Human Resources and how to assess candidates for such roles,
- The importance of context when hiring key people and the most common mistakes growing companies make,
- How to gauge whether employees have the ability to grow and scale,
- How to deal with executives unable to grow as fast as the business
- The importance of corporate culture and how to inculcate it,
- Approaches to effective performance management,
Horowitz even ventures into subjects such as organizational and process design, issues of importance that you will be hard pressed to find in almost any book of this genre, especially one on start-ups. Overall, kudos to Mr. Horowitz for a worthwhile read.
About the Author
Robert Hebert is the founder and Managing Partner of StoneWood Group Inc., a leading executive search firm in Canada. Since 1981, he has helped firms across a wide range of sectors address their senior recruiting, assessment and leadership development requirements.