The Hard Thing About Hard Things - Deepstash
7 Books on Habits

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7 Books on Habits

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First Hand Knowledge

First Hand Knowledge

There are no shortcuts to knowledge, especially knowledge gained from personal experience. Following conventional wisdom and relying on shortcuts can be worse than knowing nothing at all.

Learn to separate facts from perception. Especially when the “facts” seem to dictate a certain outcome, look for alternative narratives and explanations coming from radically different perspectives. Even one alternative, plausible scenario can breathe life back into you and your workforce.


7.14K reads

I Will Survive

Running a startup, you only ever experience two emotions: euphoria and terror.

You need two kinds of friends in your life:

  • One you can call when something good happens, and they’ll be excited for you.
  • One you can call when things go horribly wrong.

Treat the people who leave fairly, or the people who stay will never trust you again.


5.97K reads

This Time With Feeling

Sometimes the only way to survive is to purposely go out and fall on your face, so you can learn fast and know what is needed. Whenever a large organization attempts to do anything, it always comes down to a single person who can delay the entire project.

Figuring out the right product is the innovator’s job, not the customer’s job. The innovator can take into account everything that’s possible, often going against what she knows to be true. This requires a combination of knowledge, skill, and courage.


4.5K reads

When Things Fall Apart

When you are building a company, you must believe there is an answer, and you cannot pay attention to the odds of finding it. You just have to find it. It matters not whether your chances are nine in ten or one in a thousand; the task is the same.


4.29K reads

The Secret Of A Successful CEO

The ability to focus and make the best move when there seems to be no good moves is crucial. When things get unbearably difficult, and the struggle begins.

  • Do not put it all on only your shoulders.
  • CEOs Should Tell It Like It Is and ensure informal information and ideas are flowing freely in your company.
  • You will have to lay people off at some point. Hence, get your head right by focusing on the future of the company rather than the past.


3.36K reads

Take Care of People, Products, and Profits

It is crucial to create a good work environment. It’s important that the people who spend most of their waking life at work have a good environment to exist in while there. Being a good company doesn’t matter when things go well, but it can be the difference between life and death when things go wrong. When things go well, there are many reasons to stay at a company:

  • Your career grows as the company grows, attractive jobs naturally open up
  • You’ll be impressing your friends and family. 
  • Your résumé gets stronger by working at a blue-chip company.


2.45K reads

The Three Keys Of Hiring

  • Hire for strength rather than lack of weakness.
  • Have clear expectations of who you are hiring with a realization that there is something seriously wrong with every employee in your company (including you). Nobody is perfect.
  • Involve multiple people in brainstorming but make the final decision solo. Consensus-based decisions tend to sway the process away from strength and towards weakness.


2.53K reads

Big Company, Small Company

Being a big company executive is very different from being a small company executive

Big company executives are driven by interruptions, while startup executives know that nothing happens unless they make it happen. 

A big company executive has an incredible number of incoming demands on his time, whereas in a small company without a massive push, the company will stay at rest.


2.26K reads

The Growing Concern: How To Minimize Politics

  • Hire people with the right kind of ambition; otherwise, your company would turn into the political equivalent of the U.S Senate. 
  • Maintain strict policies and processes on organizational design, performance evaluations, promotions, and compensation
  • Promote experienced employees by measuring results against objectives, management skills, innovation, and their ability to work well with others.
  • Ensure one-on-one meetings between employees and managers. These are an excellent platform for employees to discuss their as yet unheard brilliant ideas, pressing issues, and chronic frustrations.


1.86K reads

Losing The Way

A startup should focus on what needs to be right rather than worrying about what is wrong. One of the most difficult challenges is keeping your mind in check. You need to be able to move aggressively and decisively without acting insane. To calm your nerves, find someone you can talk to who understands what you’re going through. Put your ideas, challenges, and fears on paper for a better focus on where you are going and not what you are trying to avoid.

There is a fine Line Between Fear and Courage — People who watch you judge you on what you do, not how you feel.


1.75K reads

There Are No Rules

There are no rules in business. Things may seem to be going well, but they can change in an instant. You need accountability and creativity to succeed in business. Accountability is the key for effort, promises and results.

The hard things will always be hard; courage and grit are the keys to success.


2.09K reads



Dilbert cartoons and the Office are way too accurate.


“Hard Things” gives an insider’s perspective on what it’s like to lead and scale a startup.

Curious about different takes? Check out our The Hard Thing About Hard Things Summary book page to explore multiple unique summaries written by Deepstash users.


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