This is a great cut-the-crap book about management and building a company. It’s most relevant to the the tech world, but there are plenty of gems here that are relevant to anyone – he’s especially good on shaping your culture (hint: yoga at work is not your organisational culture).
Here’s the introduction:
Every time I read a management or self-help book, I find myself saying “That’s fine, but that wasn’t really the hard thing about the situation.”
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 hiring great people. The hard thing is when those “great people” develop a sense of entitlement and start demanding unreasonable things.
The hard thing isn’t setting up an organizational chart. The hard thing is getting people to communicate within the organization that you just designed.
The hard thing isn’t dreaming big. The hard thing is waking up in he middle of the night in a cold sweat when your dream turns into a nightmare.
The problem with these books is that they attempt to provide a recipe for challenges that have no recipes. There’s no recipe for really complicated, dynamic situations. There’s no recipe for building a high-tech company; there’s no recipe for leading a group of people out of trouble; there’s no recipe for making hit songs; there’s no recipe for running for president … and there’s no recipe for motivating people when your business has turned to crap.
That’s the hard thing about hard things: there is no formula for dealing with them.
Nonetheless, there are many bits of advice and experience that can help with the hard things.
I do not attempt to present a formula in this book. Instead, I present my story and the difficulties that I have faced.
I share my experiences in the hope of providing clues and inspiration for others who find themselves in the struggle to build something out of nothing.
Ben Horowitz – The Hard Thing About Hard Things