Talking with friends and subscribers, I often find myself referencing books that I read and how that's influenced my thinking. In an attempt to consolidate and drive more value specifically for startup investors, I'll be test driving a new format called "The Bookish Investor" (working title.) This type of content is very popular, as you'll see at the bottom, and I will outsource much of my work to those sites. The specific value add here is to deliver a recommendation as well as specific takeaways for the startup investor. I will only write these posts for books I've actually read/listened to completion. As always, feedback welcome, feel free to comment on this post or write me at—thanks!



Horowitz authoritatively introduces surprising structure to a popular and often "soft" concept that startups pursue (a strong "culture".) Horowitz, one half of Andreessen Horowitz, is also one of the gold-standard venture capitalists in the Valley today. Book might be useful more useful to startup founders/operators.


  • To remember who you are, remember who your heroes are.
  • Accidental behaviors of leaders cause accidental precedent.
  • Ethics is about hard choices.
  • A16z's rules for treating founders: "Show on time, respond timely, give useful feedback, don't insult a founder in public, and tell the truth even if hard."
  • Many Muslim prison gangs in Michigan during Shaka Senghor's time.
  • Another way to drill home culture is constant contact.
  • Culture and strategy have to support each other, one does not eat the other.
  • Scarcity vs Abundance CEO
  • Different companies delivering different strengths will have different cultures they can pull off, there is no one size fits all (Amazon can't be Apple and vice versa.)


  • Case studies of four startling strong culture builders: Toussaint Louverture, the Samurai, Shaka Senghor, Genghis Khan
  • Maggie Frontier "Listening" tour
  • Clinton's laxness about email security causing Podesta's email leak
  • Kalahnick actually built a hyper intentional culture... but the competitive nature he built eventually became the dominant feature
  • Okta built integrity into their culture because their a cybersecurity company... this is pivotal.

Want to read the whole post?

You don't have access to this post on Startup Investing for All by Muhan Zhang at the moment, but if you upgrade your account you'll be able to see the whole thing, including comments, as well as all the other posts in the archive! Subscribing only takes a few seconds and will give you immediate access.