Book Reflection: The Hard Thing About Hard Things
It has been two weeks since my last blog post, and I find myself reflecting on the promises I made to myself to write weekly. However, life's unexpected twists took me away – first on a vacation to New York and then dealing with an illness upon my return. Despite my attempts to write during this time, my focus dwindled, and writing a meaningful reflection seemed challenging. But, as I embark on this long journey of writing, I understand that it will have ebbs and flows, and the crucial part is getting back on track when faced with inevitable obstacles.
What matters most is that I keep going.
Now, let me share a secret about myself – I have discovered that I like every book I finish. Unlike movies, which require relatively low commitment, reading demands a higher level of dedication. As a result, I find myself wondering if I genuinely enjoyed the book's
content or simply appreciated the satisfaction of completing it.
Recently, I finished a book that I initially liked, but with time, I have started having mixed feelings about it. I allowed myself to question my feelings this time, exploring the reasons behind my decision to read it. The book in question, "The Hard Things About Hard Things," intrigued me with its alluring title. My curiosity drove me to delve into it. However, upon deeper reflection, I realized other reasons that contributed to my choice.
I had previously read "The Startup of You," which advocated treating our lives and careers as startups, embracing competition, network effects, and continuous learning. This perspective opened me up to reading business books as a source of indirect life advice, especially for navigating challenging times. Additionally, as I explore my future possibilities, including the idea of starting my own business, I subconsciously seek clarity on my desires and aspirations.
I primarily consumed this book in audio format while weightlifting at the gym. The empowering stories and accounts of strength and mental fortitude resonated with me as I sought to develop these traits within myself. The author, Ben Horowitz, a successful businessman, investor, and co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz, had a life and experiences that felt unfamiliar yet captivating to me.
Throughout the book, references to rap music, anecdotes about the past decades, and tales of running a billion-dollar company enriched the narrative. When reading a book, I consciously avoid judgment, preferring to reserve it for after the experience. This approach enables me to absorb the unfamiliar and appreciate its value before assessing its relevance.
The book discusses various themes that touched me profoundly, such as the courage and vulnerability required when fighting for one's personal livelihood, akin to fighting for the jobs of hundreds of employees. It delves into the unique realm of venture-backed fast-growth technology startups and highlights the significance of inner knowing and intuition. I was fascinated by the ability of individuals to create value seemingly from thin air and transform it into billion-dollar enterprises. Stories of entrepreneurs like David Friedberg and Sara Blakely furthered my curiosity in understanding their thought processes and existential reasoning for being entrepreneurs.
One concept that stood out was the distinction between wartime and peacetime in business, with each demanding a different set of strategies and leadership skills. The book also emphasized the importance of courageous nerds – those who are willing to challenge conventional wisdom and take risks to drive innovation.
My journey through "The Hard Things About Hard Things" exposed me to unfamiliar human experiences, just as travel does. It made me confront the courage and vulnerability required to achieve personal and business success. While the life of the author and the business world he operates in may be vastly different from mine, I found a thread of commonality in the pursuit of growth, value creation, and personal development.
I have realized that the hard thing about doing hard things for Ben Horowitz was not having the ability to show weakness, the difficulty finding solutions that do not exist yet, countless psychological battles, and the feeling of loneliness at the center of it all. As for me, I persist to explore the unknown, remain fascinated by the process of turning ideas into reality, and strive to embrace the diverse perspectives offered by each book.
And this pursuit continues to remain a hard thing.
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