What You Do Is Who You Are Book Summary - What You Do Is Who You Are Book explained in key points
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What You Do Is Who You Are summary

Ben Horowitz

How to Create Your Business Culture

4.2 (133 ratings)
24 mins

Brief summary

'What You Do Is Who You Are' by Ben Horowitz is a management guidebook that explores how leaders can create strong cultures by defining their core values and exemplifying them through actions, even in the face of adversity.

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    What You Do Is Who You Are
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    Culture is crucial – and it's unique to each successful company.

    It’s common for business leaders to say that culture is key to a company’s success. But ask for more detail, and the response is often vague. What exactly is culture, and why is it so important?

    Let’s start with what it’s not. Culture isn’t the same as values – values are more like aspirations, while culture has to mean something in practice. Culture isn’t the personality of the CEO, either: that can only ever be one part of it.

    What’s more, culture varies hugely from one company to the next. Compare Apple and Amazon: the former places such an emphasis on quality that it spent $5 billion dollars on a beautiful new headquarters. Amazon, meanwhile, is famously thrifty – an expense like that would be unthinkable on the Amazon campus.

    What culture should be is an expression of the business itself. Bob Noyce, who co-founded Intel in 1968, provides a great example. He found that the developing field of technology, in which it was the engineers who were really driving things forward, needed a new sort of workplace environment. So, he created a radically different business culture that profoundly influenced the development of Silicon Valley. His egalitarian system had no vice presidents; he gave most of his workers stock options; and he sat everyone in a single large room, rather than in separate offices. He also made people go to sessions on what was known as “the Intel Culture.” All of this created a culture in which ideas could flourish – exactly what this innovative company needed.

    A great workplace culture won’t magically transform your company into Intel. And a bad culture isn’t automatically a recipe for disaster. Think of a hugely talented athlete with a bad training regime: it’s still possible that they’ll succeed based on talent alone. A better diet and training schedule, though, will still help them to maximize their potential – which is also what culture can do for your business.

    In these blinks, a diverse range of examples from both business and the wider world – stretching all the way back to Genghis Khan – will demonstrate the many ways in which culture contributes to success, and give you some advice on defining your business’s culture for yourself. Because culture isn’t something that can be generalized; it has to be your own.

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    What is What You Do Is Who You Are about?

    In What You Do Is Who You Are (2019), venture capitalist and management expert Ben Horowitz offers his own definition of business culture. Through contemporary examples and some historical detours past such notables as Genghis Khan and the samurai, he offers fascinating advice on how to create a culture that’s best suited to your business.

    What You Do Is Who You Are Review

    What You Do Is Who You Are (2019) by Ben Horowitz is a thought-provoking book exploring the importance of culture in shaping the identity of a company. Here's why this book is a must-read:

    • Horowitz provides insights from diverse leaders to demonstrate how culture can transform organizations, making it relatable and applicable to a wide audience.
    • The book offers practical strategies for building a strong culture based on values, ensuring organizations have a clear sense of purpose and direction.
    • Horowitz's engaging storytelling style and use of historical examples makes this book both informative and entertaining, ensuring readers stay engrossed from start to finish.

    Who should read What You Do Is Who You Are?

    • CEOs and company founders
    • Aspiring entrepreneurs
    • Aspiring leaders looking to create an ideal workplace culture

    About the Author

    Ben Horowitz is a venture capitalist, management expert, and New York Times best-selling author of The Hard Thing About Hard Things. He is a co-founder of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, and former president and CEO of the software company Opsware, which was bought by Hewlett-Packard for $1.6 billion in 2007.

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    What You Do Is Who You Are FAQs 

    What is the main message of What You Do Is Who You Are?

    The main message of What You Do Is Who You Are is that culture is essential for building successful organizations.

    How long does it take to read What You Do Is Who You Are?

    The reading time for What You Do Is Who You Are varies, but the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is What You Do Is Who You Are a good book? Is it worth reading?

    What You Do Is Who You Are is worth reading as it provides valuable insights on creating a strong culture for impactful organizations.

    Who is the author of What You Do Is Who You Are?

    Ben Horowitz is the author of What You Do Is Who You Are.

    What to read after What You Do Is Who You Are?

    If you're wondering what to read next after What You Do Is Who You Are, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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