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Publisher's 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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Brilliant book

I struggle think that anyone could listen to this and not take something away from it. I will likely listen to it once a year to remind myself.

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Fabulous take on culture as the enabler.

An interesting addition to Ben's library, can't wait for his next installment.

Will definitely listen to over and over as the insights will have greater meaning on subsequent listen.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-06-2021

informative and entertaining

I found this book to be informative and a nice listen with interesting historical references. Whether you run a small business or a large company it’s worth the read/ listen. Also the narrator was fantastic!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-07-2020

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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  • Danielle
  • 03-04-2021

A 1 hour lecture would’ve sufficed

The narrator was excellent, but the content felt a bit drawn out. I think the points could’ve been made sufficiently and succinctly in a 45 minute to 1 hour lecture and didn’t need an entire book to be effectively communicated. I’m also not sure that I agreed with some of the ‘war time vs peace time’ comparisons (namely making it sound okay for profanity to be used strategically. That itself feels like a cultural preference that some people (and country cultures) might feel very uncomfortable with rather than something that can be spoken about as normal ‘across-the-board’ behaviour).

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  • Iain Laing
  • 15-02-2021

Insightful in parts

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

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  • Kristina Johnson
  • 29-11-2020

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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  • Chris Lombard
  • 03-07-2020

Great listen

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

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  • LC
  • 24-05-2020

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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  • Olly Buxton
  • 01-03-2020

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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  • Sergii R.
  • 01-02-2020

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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  • Amien Krisna
  • 17-01-2020

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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  • Mr Ben Bland
  • 10-01-2020

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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