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What You Do Is Who You Are

288 pages, 2019

business & management

business & management

1082 books

Ben Horowitz has long been fascinated by history, particularly how people behave differently than expected. The time and circumstances in which they were raised often shape them―yet a few leaders have managed to shape their times. In What You Do Is Who You Are, he turns his attention to a question crucial to every organization: how do you create and sustain the culture you want?

To Horowitz, culture is how a company makes decisions. It is the set of assumptions employees use to resolve everyday problems: should I stay at the Red Roof Inn or the Four Seasons? Should we discuss the color of this product for five minutes or thirty hours? If culture is not purposeful, it will be an accident or a mistake.

What You Do Is Who You Are explains how to make your culture purposeful by spotlighting four models of leadership and culture-building―the leader of the only successful slave revolt, Haiti’s Toussaint Louverture; the Samurai, who ruled Japan for seven hundred years and shaped modern Japanese culture;

Genghis Khan, who built the world’s largest empire; and Shaka Senghor, a man convicted of murder who ran the most formidable prison gang in the yard and ultimately transformed prison culture.

Culture is Crucial

In 'What You Do Is Who You Are', Ben Horowitz emphasizes the importance of culture in any organization. He believes that the actions and behaviors of the team define the company's culture, not just the values stated on paper. So, it's worth taking the time to shape and nurture a positive culture.

Learn from History

Horowitz encourages readers to look into history for lessons on leadership and culture. He shares stories from historical figures like Toussaint Louverture and Genghis Khan, showing how their actions shaped their societies. It's a reminder that we can find wisdom in unexpected places.

Actions Speak Louder

The book's title, 'What You Do Is Who You Are', sums up a key takeaway. Horowitz stresses that actions speak louder than words. It's not enough to talk about values and principles; leaders must demonstrate them through their actions.

Embrace Change

Horowitz suggests that leaders should be open to change. If the culture isn't working, it's time to shake things up. He shares examples of leaders who successfully transformed their organizations by changing their culture.

Leadership is Personal

In 'What You Do Is Who You Are', Horowitz explores the idea that effective leadership is personal. Leaders need to understand their team members as individuals and tailor their approach accordingly. This personal touch can make a big difference in building a strong, cohesive team.

Quotes 5

Ben Horowitz's book is a beacon of practical wisdom, offering guidance on how to create and sustain the culture you want.

Reid HoffmanReid Hoffman - LinkedIn Co-founder

Ben Horowitz's book provides a roadmap for creating company culture, a must-read for all leaders.

Mark ZuckerbergMark Zuckerberg - Facebook CEO

Horowitz's book is a masterclass in building and maintaining a successful culture in any organization.

Satya NadellaSatya Nadella - Microsoft CEO

Ben Horowitz's book is a must-read for anyone who cares about creating a strong, resilient culture in their organization.

Sheryl SandbergSheryl Sandberg - Facebook COO

Horowitz's book is a guide to creating a culture that can weather any storm. It's a must-read for leaders in any field.

Elon MuskElon Musk - Tesla CEO
Reid HoffmanMark ZuckerbergSatya NadellaSheryl SandbergElon Musk


Marc Andreessen

Marc Andreessen

entrepreneurtechnologyventure capitalistauthor
Andrew Chen

Andrew Chen

marketertechnologyventure capitalistauthor
Anu Hariharan

Anu Hariharan

entrepreneurtechnologyventure capitalist
authorAdam Grant

Adam Grant

Vinod Khosla

Vinod Khosla

entrepreneurinvestortechnologyventure capitalist

What You Do Is Who You Are found in libraries

204 books

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