Practicing Virtues

What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture by Ben Horowitz introduces the reader to a variety of surprising examples of leaders who paid attention to building a sustainable culture.

He probes into the only successful slave revolt in history (in Haiti), a prison gang leader in Michigan who transferred his experience upon leaving prison, the Samurai in Japan (who ruled for several hundred years and whose influence remains), and Genghis Khan.

The Samurai had a set of practices or virtues. Sort of like what I try to teach about spiritual disciplines–life is not about sitting around telling people your opinions, rather it’s about the practices you exhibit in your daily life.

The Samurai oath sounds strangely familiar. It is worth bringing in one way or another into our lives.

  • I will never fall behind others in pursuing the way of the warrior.
  • I will always be ready to serve my lord.
  • I will honor my parents.
  • I will serve compassionately for the benefit of others

Horowitz’s book is one of the rare business books that is worth reading to the end. Too many in that genre say everything they have to say in two chapters and then fill 150 more pages just so a book can be published. Also, the ideas are transferable into any organization.

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