A fellow entrepreneur recommended I check out The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz. I'm glad I followed his advice. Coincidentally, in the last week, both Brad Feld and Fred Wilson also read or mentioned this book highly, and now I understand why.
This book chronicled many of the nitty gritty stories from the days when Ben was the CEO of Loudcloud and Opsware. I really enjoy books that are based on specific facts and experiences of the author and where a lot of the details about how deals came together, how hiring was done, and how people were managed are explicitly discussed at a low level (instead of in generalities). For example, this book is filled with specific tips on what to ask in interviews, how to integrate senior execs, and how to make really hard decisions where both options suck.
I liked all the hip hop lyrics excerpts which inspired Ben and which fit with each chapter's main lessons. It was a stark contrast that really worked.
Here are some of my biggest takeaways from the book, and below are my full notes.