What You Do is Who You Are is a book written by Ben Horowitz. For those familiar with the business world, Ben Horowitz is one of the founders of the world-famous Andreessen Horowitz. Andreessen Horowitz is one of, if not the most successful, venture capital firms in the world. Andreessen Horowitz was founded in 2009 by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, and is famous for investing in companies such as Facebook, Lyft, Slack, Pinterest, and many others.
In his book, Horowitz talks about how to create a successful culture. While Horowitz has plenty of experience from both starting his own companies as well as companies he has invested in to use as examples of how to build successful cultures, he mostly focuses on examples from history to illustrate his points.
I think Horowitz’s decision to use more lessons from history rather than his own personal lessons gave the book an interesting perspective. In the book, Horowitz uses examples of people like the Samurai in Japan, Genghis Khan, and Toussaint Louverture (he led a successful slave revolt in the 1800s), and the tactics they used to build a successful culture.
The main points that Horowitz makes in his book are that culture cannot be developed in a day, and that culture is defined by what you do (not by what you say). I think these are good lessons to remember, especially if you are a leader at a company (or someone with authority). Having a good culture is one of the most important things for any successful company to have, but it is also a lot easier to create a poor culture than it is to maintain a great culture.
I listened to the audiobook version of the book, and it was only about 3 hours or so on 2x speed. It is a good read and has a bunch of interesting insights!
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