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The Hard Thing About Hard Things

Building A Business When There Are No Easy Answers

By Ben Horowitz
  • Read in 22 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 14 key ideas
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The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

These blinks explain why the job of a CEO is among the toughest and loneliest in the world, and how you can survive all the stress and heartache involved.

Key idea 1 of 14

Every CEO must deal with the pressures and responsibilities that come with running a company.

Everyone who founds a company or runs one as the CEO has dreams. Usually these dreams revolve around building something beautiful and world-changing while having fun and making a lot of money.

Unfortunately, no company progresses smoothly along this path, as crises are an inevitable part of building a business; there are simply too many variables and things to go wrong for smooth sailing.

For example, every company is somewhat at the mercy of “macro” issues like financial crises and collapses which can scare away investors, as well as smaller “micro” issues such as making a wrong hiring decision or having your best customer go bankrupt.

This is where all CEOs meet The Struggle, which occurs when dreams of success meet reality.

The Struggle is an inevitable part of being in charge of a company, and it consists of the stress and the impossible decisions that come with the territory. The stress and weight of The Struggle will probably affect the CEO’s entire life, from her mental and physical well-being to her career choices and social relationships.

All this makes The Struggle extremely draining, but it is also where greatness arises. Ultimately, the CEO is responsible for negotiating the challenges the company faces, and thus it is she who will get credit for the company’s successes or be fired for its failures.

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