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Microreview: The hard thing about hard things


I dived into “The Hard Thing about Hard Things” to hopefully become a better CTO. Granted, the advice in the book is definitely aimed at C-level people, but I think CEOs will find much more insight into it than I did. Ben Horowitz saw the rise and fall of Netscape, among other things, and was actually the one to drive the battle forward.


His advice ranges from very straight and to the point, to somewhat muddled in the history of Internet browsers as such. For me, the historical details were not much of a page turner, as I was looking more for actionable insights. I did pick up on certain ideas though (if somewhat generic):

  • C-level positions are not something that’s easy to teach, and a good C-level executive is always made by experience and not so much taught.
  • Different kinds of executives are useful at different times in a company’s life span.
  • Never be afraid to take the hard decisions, even if they make you unpopular
  • Leading a company is always a lonely struggle; if you’re not ready to accept that, it’s not for you.
  • Care about the people, the product and the profits. In that order.

I really enjoyed the chapters that answered very specific questions, like when should you meet a leaving employee’s demands, or what makes a good product lead. But the in-between pages felt like fillers.

3 out of 5

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