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What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture
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What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture

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4.27  ·  Rating details ·  200 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Ben Horowitz, a leading venture capitalist, modern management expert, and New York Times bestselling author, combines lessons both from history and from modern organizational practice with practical and often surprising advice to help executives build cultures that can weather both good and bad times.

Ben Horowitz has long been fascinated by history, and particularly by ho
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Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 29th 2019 by HarperBusiness
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Frank Chen
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've worked in Ben Horowitz designed cultures for decades (Netscape, Loudcloud, Opsware, Andreessen Horowitz). So it was fun & fascinating to go behind-the-scenes to understand his detailed thinking behind some of the decisions he made. Like "Hard Things About Hard Things", this book is practical and philosophical at the same time.

Culture is hard to design, it takes constant work to design and reinforce, it's subtle, it needs to be refreshed constantly. It's also often overlooked as startup
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Julia Gaffield
Nov 10, 2019 rated it did not like it
Lessons in Leadership Conservatism

In What You Do Is Who You Are, venture-capitalist and NYT best-selling author, Ben Horowitz, turns to history to teach CEOs and business leaders how they can shape and change the cultures of their companies. His first of four models is Toussaint Louverture, a military and political leader in the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804).

In the eighteenth century, sugar took over the economy of the western hemisphere and the heart of this exploitative system wa
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Philip Joubert
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've read dozens of management books and Ben Horowitz's latest book is unique among them. He writes in a real, no-bullshit way about the messy real-life situations that nobody else talks about. As an entrepreneur reading this book I felt both deeply understood by him and challenged in a profound way.

Ben leads with examples far removed from the tech world, using Toussaint L'Ouverture (Haitian Revolution), Genghis Khan, Shaka Senghor (prison gang leader) and the Sumurai. The decision to use those
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Greg Bae
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, bae-ovation
In short summary: What you say means far less than what you do. Culture begins with deciding what you value most. Then you must help everyone in your organization to get there. Creating culture is being a leader.

Ben Horowitz writes in an interesting style that is engaging and broad in its examinations of various unexpected sources of culture cultures, like bushido samurai and Haitian slave rebellion. The Shaka Senghor chapter was so good, especially with the Audible narrator.
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Maciek Wilczyński
Nov 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
This time, Ben Horowitz aimed to explain company culture. Again, his thoughts are crystal clear and profound as they're based on his experience, rather than scientific research. I buy it.
His book is written in a very specific, yet interesting format. There is a visible storytelling approach:
1) Do you know the story about "some known, yet not common knowledge historical fact"?
2) Here is what happened in this story!
3) There is more! We can learn something from it
4) Case study of XX/
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Jaana Metsamaa
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had a feeling that I would like the book and it didn’t disappoint. I loved the fact that it wasn’t just thoughts and experiences from the author but it was backed and illustrated with historical stories and facts about what culture is and how it impacts where the group with the culture gets to.

The book definitely made me think about our company’s values, what works, what doesn’t, why and how really good values look like.

One thing I hadn’t thought about before is the idea that company values
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Jacek Bartczak
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"I don't how people behave in this company" - if you have ever said that it means that book is for you. I've never had a pleasure to meet such tangible content about the company's culture.

I guess there are CEOs / managers who won't like it - books included many suggestions about how a leader's actions and consequence determine how employees approach to the company look like.

"The hard thing..." was more spectacular, but that book is still a must-read for anyone who cares how his team
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Ryan Lackey
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: startup-core
Great book about startup culture, told through historical examples of leaders in politics/military/gangs. Ben Horowitz is always interesting, and is highly credible as both a business operator and investor, although maybe he pushes the limits on using outside-the-box examples.

Main takeaway: culture is what you do, it should be expressed in ways which actually are controversial or where one could at least articulate an alternative, and isn't a universal -- what works well for one mark
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Daniil Lanovyi
Nov 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Guess the most valuable in this book is its title and the main message: what you do is who you are.
Some examples in the book are not too convincing. However, modern cases and anecdotes are curious and relatable. I guess if you want to try and intentionally create a culture in your business this book might help.

“Because your culture is how your company makes decisions when you’re not there. It’s the set of assumptions your employees use to resolve the problems they face every day. It’s how they
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David
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The most truthful, honest, and on point analysis of business culture I've read so far. Lots of actionable insights and anecdotes. This time not just from the usual Bay Area suspects, but with a surprising bunch of high-quality historical examples that Horowitz (successfully!) applies to business culture. Didn't expect anything else from Horowitz to be honest. So if you liked his first book "Hard Thing About Hard Things", you'll love this one, too.
Ben Blaine
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What I love about the book is how Ben is just himself, sharing his experiences in a non-apologetic and honest way.

I love how he is super opinionated, but at the same time able to admit past mistakes. That’s a tough balancing act which you don't see often in books.

I do feel certain concepts could have been explored further and in more depth.
James Ma
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good insights

A bit short but lots of great examples and deep dives. A lot of the top level ideas are covered by his podcasts and promos leading up to the book, so its only worth reading if you really want to wrestle with some of the concepts
Chris
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
A useful read if you're curious about establishing or evolving your company culture.
Aaron Prindle
Nov 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: top-10
Some interesting examples of culture driving teams make for a solid read. TLDR; culture is important and Ben delivers with some actionable advice.
Brent Maxwell
Nov 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Another excellent book by Horowitz on building culture through leading by action.
Kristjan
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I liked the tone of writing, variety of examples used and broad conclusions drawn from borderlines of history and philosophical views.

Recommended read for sure!
Minh Phan
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“If you remember one thing, remember that ethics are about hard choices” - Ben Horowitz
Vizaleus
Nov 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love this book but not as much as Ben's first book.
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I prefer more story and details. I would love to hear more about a16z but the book doesn't cover anything about it at all.
Mark Mcconnell
Nov 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Entertaining and edgy lessons in virtue formation and culture building, drawing from the author's credible experiences and from the lives of a few anti-heroes.
Alex Lyashok
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Ben Horowitz
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Ben Horowitz is the cofounder and general partner of Andreessen Horowitz, a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm that invests in entrepreneurs building the next generation of leading technology companies. The firm's investments include Airbnb, GitHub, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Previously, he was cofounder and CEO of Opsware, formerly Loudcloud, which was acquired by Hewlett-Packard fo ...more
“Because your culture is how your company makes decisions when you’re not there. It’s the set of assumptions your employees use to resolve the problems they face every day. It’s how they behave when no one is looking. If you don’t methodically set your culture, then two-thirds of it will end up being accidental, and the rest will be a mistake.” 1 likes
“Without trust, communication breaks. Here’s why: In any human interaction the required amount of community is inversely proportional to the level of trust.” 0 likes
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