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Summary

Ben Horowitz, a leading venture capitalist, modern management expert, and New York Times best-selling author, combines lessons from both history and modern organisational practice with practical and often surprising advice to help executives build cultures that can weather both good and bad times.

In What You Do Is Who You Are, Ben Horowitz, best-selling author of The Hard Thing About Hard Things, turns his attention to a question crucial to every organisation: how do you create and sustain the culture you want?

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 700 years and shaped modern Japanese culture; Genghis Khan, who built the world’s largest empire; and Shaka Senghor, an American ex-con who created the most formidable prison gang in the yard and ultimately transformed prison culture.

What You Do Is Who You Are is a journey through culture, from ancient to modern. Along the way, it answers a question fundamental to any organisation: who are we? How do people talk about us when we’re not around? How do we treat our customers? Can we be trusted?

Because who you are is not the values you list on the wall. It’s not what you say in a company-wide meeting. It’s not your marketing campaign. It’s not even what you believe. Who you are is what you do. This book will help you do the things needed to become the kind of leader you want to be – and others want to follow.

©2019 Ben Horowitz (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

What listeners say about What You Do Is Who You Are

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Very enjoyable Listen

Amazing book full of inspiring stories, which will make me think twice about my actions as a business owner. I could listen to this book for fun for hours on end. Top notch writing because of the variation of interesting side stories and cut and dry information.

1 person found this helpful

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Insightful in parts

Starts strong, but the last quarter feels like filler or repeats materials from ‘hard things’.

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A great business book

one of the few business books that is down to earth, clear, concise & that anyone from a student to a CEO can learn from. The author keeps it real, the narrator is excellent.
This is a great book

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Great listen

Great advice from Ben Horowitz, linked with practical real life examples that augments the theory.

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  • LC
  • 24-05-20

Useful and thought provoking

I found this book to be useful at reminding, guiding and provoking thinking about what it takes to put a successful organisation culture in place.
It did seem a bit patchy though, so doesn’t feel like it has given a comprehensive actionable framework, but more like it just pointed out a few aspects which have been particularly important or effective in other organisations or groups.

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ad hoc autohagiography

little to say, but Great self-regard with which it is said. More of entrepreneurship than this author would care to admit it's a function of being in the right place at the right time, and his pat observations about leadership, drawn from rebellious slaves, oriental warlords and prison gangsters feels hastily sketched-out, seeks congratulatory, but basically ad hoc.

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Narrator ruined this book

Hi sounds like he is reading Shakespeare's Hamlet. Too much drama in the voice. Really puts off.

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One of those books you'll always refer to

Loved the storytelling with historical examples. Excellent performance makes the book an easy read to get through and the opposite or boring

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Culture is hard to grasp but Ben knows his shi-

Don't expect any black-and-white rules for how to 'do culture', such a book may (can?) never exist. And if you're already versed in many of the nuances of running a healthy organisation, you might find this book slim on new ideas. Nevertheless, Ben Horowitz has been there and once again fills a book with insights from hard-worn experience, sparing the pleasantries and getting to the difficult stuff.

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Very Ben

Really thoughtful viewpoint on culture, its importance and how to build a strong one. Thank you Ben. You mofo.