Ben Horowitz has written the best business book. Ever.

Thrills! Chills! Romance! Adventure!

I don't know about you, but when I think about business books, not one of those words is the first to come to mind.

That all changed with the absolutely wonderful, beyond brilliant book that Ben Horowitz has written. The book is The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
and it is, by far, the best business book. Ever.

I don't say this lightly - especially given that I've written business books myself. Not only that, I've read too many of them over the years to count...whether for myself or because my clients were reading or thinking about reading them.

Horowitz broke the mold with this one. He took his blog (which you should also be reading), gave it context and took us along on the ride he has taken over the past years from entrepreneur to partner in the venture capital firm that's now breaking the mold in that industry.

But it's not who he is or what his venture firm is doing that makes this worth reading. (That's a bit too much like reading celebrity biographies. Possibly interesting, but...really?)

What makes Horowitz' book the best business book ever is that he tells the truth about what it is not just to build a business, but to lead a business - no matter at what level you might be on the organizational chart.

In fact, there are only two things that Horowitz got wrong in the book:
  • First, he thinks it's specific to the technology industry. It's not. It applies to every industry across size, sectors and geographical lines.
  • Second, he thinks it's for entrepreneurs and start-up CEOs. It's not. It's for every person who now holds or aspires to hold any level of management position - from first line supervisor to business owner - who is willing to do the hard work to guide their organization to success.
(BTW, if you were avoiding reading this baby because of either of those reasons, too bad. Start reading.)

The Hard Thing About Hard Thingsdoes more to explain and humanize the impact of management and executive decision making than any book I've ever read. From hiring policies to when it's time to fire people (much sooner than you think or do)...from handling lay-offs in ways that go beyond the fear and build employee motivation to dealing with your Board, shareholders and the analysts...Horowitz uses his experience to guide anyone who says they want to "lead" their organization beyond the right words and into the right actions.

Read this book. Whether you're already in the management, executive or owner/entrepreneurial ranks or not. It's a good read (remember those thrills, chills, romance and adventure!) but, more than that, it's an important read if you're going to create the success you want.