What You Do Is Who You Are

Ben Horowitz

What You Do Is Who You Are



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In his book, Ben Horowitz takes us on a journey to both past and present, tracing connections between great characters, both in history and in business, who have made a difference in the world. To help us understand the importance of having a strong business culture, he hasn’t consulted with the Harvard elite or the Silicon Valley gurus. Horowitz has gone into the depths of history, and travelled the globe: in Siberia we get a glimpse of the lives of the ancient Japanese samurai, after which we head to Caribbean, and he even takes us to a Michigan prison. The result is clear from the moment we read the words of the title: what you do is who you are.

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Analysis and key concepts


A company’s culture reflects the values of everyone who works in it, and it is expressed through daily conduct


To create a new business culture, it is important to focus on everything that already works well


We need to set rules that disrupt the ordinary way of thinking and mesmerise


Knowing how to make decisions that show what our priorities are


The way of the warrior: the samurai can teach us the difference between values and virtue


Building a culture in prison based on the idea that we should embody our principles


Genghis Khan: a Mongolian leader from whom we can learn the importance of inclusion, meritocracy and loyalty


Inclusion means learning to understand people and seeing them for who they are


The establishment of our company culture must start with us




Take-home message

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Many useful tips to:

  • Help us become good examples to our employees, inspiring them to follow the company values.
  • Discover the strategies used by a few great leaders, who have built and sustained strong business cultures.
  • Learn the main difference between values and virtues.

Ben Horowitz is an American entrepreneur. He was CEO of Opsware-Loudcloud, which was sold to Hewlett-Packard in 2007, and is the co-founder of Andreessen-Horowitz, a company in Silicon Valley which has reached unexpected heights in only 4 years. After writing several articles in a blog about his experiences as CEO, Horowitz published the book, The Hard Thing About Hard Things, a useful guide for all aspiring and established entrepreneurs.

Publishing house:

Harper Business