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Publisher's Summary

“A hero's tale of what’s possible when we unlock our potential, continue the search for knowledge, and draw on our lived experiences to guide us through the darkest moments.” (Stacey Abrams)

From a Black, gay woman who broke into the boys’ club of Silicon Valley comes an empowering guide to finding your voice, working your way into any room you want to be in, and achieving your own dreams.

Named one of the best books of the year by Fortune

In 2015, Arlan Hamilton was on food stamps and sleeping on the floor of the San Francisco airport, with nothing but an old laptop and a dream of breaking into the venture capital business. She couldn’t understand why people starting companies all looked the same (white and male), and she wanted the chance to invest in the ideas and people who didn’t conform to this image of how a founder is supposed to look. Hamilton had no contacts or network in Silicon Valley, no background in finance - not even a college degree. What she did have was fierce determination and the will to succeed.

As much as we wish it weren’t so, we still live in a world where being underrepresented often means being underestimated. But as someone who makes her living investing in high-potential founders who also happen to be female, LGBTQ, or people of color, Hamilton understands that being undervalued simply means that a big upside exists. Because even if you have to work twice as hard to get to the starting line, she says, once you are on a level playing field, you will sprint ahead. 

Despite what society would have you believe, Hamilton argues, a privileged background, an influential network, and a fancy college degree are not prerequisites for success. Here she shares the hard-won wisdom she’s picked up on her remarkable journey from food-stamp recipient to venture capitalist, with lessons like “The Best Music Comes from the Worst Breakups”, “Let Someone Shorter Stand in Front of You”, “The Dangers of Hustle Porn”, and “Don’t Let Anyone Drink Your Diet Coke”. Along the way, she inspires us all to defy other people’s expectations and to become the role models we’ve been looking for.

Praise for It's About Damn Time

“Reading Arlan Hamilton’s It’s About Damn Time is like having a conversation with that frank, bawdy friend who somehow always manages to make you laugh, get a little emo, and, ultimately, think about ­­the world in a different way.... The book is warm, witty, and unflinching in its critique of the fake meritocracy that permeates Silicon Valley.” (Shondaland)

©2020 Arlan Hamilton and Rachel L. Nelson (P)2020 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Hamilton’s story speaks to all the would-be entrepreneurs and dreamers out there. She brings a unique perspective that has enabled her to see opportunities that others cannot. Her message is simple: Those of us who are different can rule the business world, and no one can stop us." (Mark Cuban)

"The world needs more Arlan Hamiltons. Although full of practical wisdom, It’s About Damn Time isn’t the typical business book. Hamilton is unfiltered, vulnerable, and funny as hell. Her story teaches us we can be successful on our own terms, without sacrificing our values or personalities." (Sophia Amoruso, New York Times best-selling author of #GIRLBOSS)

"Hamilton is dead right: It is about damn time. It’s about damn time we as women start trusting our voice, knowing our worth, and being unapologetically proud of who we are. In her new book, Hamilton proves that none of us need to ask permission to show the world what we’re made of. If you want to feel inspired, read this now." (Jameela Jamil, actress, model, and writer)

"It’s About Damn Time hits at the heart of leadership and risk taking - that we must each foster an unwavering belief in our own capacity. Arlan Hamilton’s insights about the venture capital industry are met by her daring to build something intended for those left outside the gates. Hamilton’s story is a hero’s tale of what’s possible when we unlock our potential, continue the search for knowledge, and draw on our lived experiences to guide us through the darkest moments. For aspiring entrepreneurs and those ready to start a new chapter, It’s About Damn Time is a necessary reminder that every no isn’t the end." (Stacey Abrams, former minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives)

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Not Even My Cup Of Tea

... However, how wonderful was it to hear a black woman so successful, still taking time and critical attention to the fact that her success is nothing if it is not communal. She truly understands that no one, not even the furthest marginalized among us, is self-made.

6 people found this helpful

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Very inspiring story

I finished reading Arlan Hamilton’s book "It's about damn time". Her story is so inspiring and it relates to everyone of us: not having the support system that you need, not having the knowledge in the field you are passionate about, not having people believing in you and especial coming from an underrepresented community. But with all that she did it, so you too, can do it. 💪

I m sharing 4 quotes I liked from her book and I m reflecting on each one of them:

💡“𝗜𝗻 𝗼𝗿𝗱𝗲𝗿 𝘁𝗼 𝗯𝗲𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝗜 𝗻𝗲𝗲𝗱𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝗯𝗲” - You can’t wish for something without working towards it, if you wanna be something, just do it and start doing it, don’t wait for anyone’s approval, don’t try to fit in a place that is not yours, go after what you want and do something about it.

💡“𝗣𝗿𝗶𝘃𝗶𝗹𝗲𝗴𝗲, 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝗵𝗮𝘀 𝗶𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝘀𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝗱𝗲𝗴𝗿𝗲𝗲"- 100%; I talk about that all the time to my friends, my menteers, students and whoever think that they don’t have the “Privilege”. Whether you are person of color, a woman, a Muslim or Arab, African or whoever, be confident that you have something to bring to the table, that you have this different view for things that others may not see and you can bring the value. So be proud of that.

💡“𝗬𝗼𝘂 𝗱𝗲𝘀𝗲𝗿𝘃𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝗯𝗲 𝗯𝗮𝗰𝗸𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗴𝗲, 𝗼𝗻𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗴𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗻𝘁 𝗿𝗼𝘄”- Know your worth and ask for what you deserve, how much you wanna get paid, if you want that raise or promotion, if you deserve it ask for it. There should be no limit to your ambitions if you are capable of doing the job, don’t let anyone tell you that you don't belong there or you don't deserve it.


💡“𝗨𝘀𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗲𝗻𝗲𝗿𝗴𝘆 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗮𝗻𝗴𝗲𝗿 𝗴𝗶𝘃𝗲𝘀 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝘁𝗼 𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝘀𝗼𝗺𝗲𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗻𝗲𝘄" - This quote speaks to me, personally, because I get angry so fast and I had to find a way to control my anger and calm myself, and the only way was to put all this energy into doing something that will make me feel better, proud of myself and contribute to my growth.

Thank you for this piece of inspiration.

#womenintech #womeninbusiness #womensupportingwomen #ellepodtalks #ellepod

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Not bad

Not bad, but it seemed to be repetitive about straight white men benefiting from Silicon Valley. Plus, although Hamilton beat the odds in an admirable manner, there were forms of luck that I wished she emphasized about, especially when they could be related to the VC course she took in the Bay Area and the artists who toured with her. The social media section of her book was an unnecessary addition because it’s not only not cliche and a symptom of a whole social problem but not the biggest issue of human beings. It’s ostracism and a lack of a sense of belonging that makes people most depressed and disengaged. A lack of belonging goes beyond social media. Besides, you can always turn it off and still have the same misery and a lack of desire without it.

2 people found this helpful

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Well read

I really enjoyed listening to this author read the book. Her voice made it very easy to digest the information being given , I would also say that the book is more motivating and inspirational, than informative. It leads you to the places you can go to get the information, and the author tells many inspiring story about what motivated her along the way on her journey . I found it very helpful for encouragement. In the book the author seemed to be very pro black which I though was excellent and when hearing the author speak on racial differences, and the need for empowering among the groups that fall in the category of others so many times throughout the book, you wouldn’t think that after all that she’s said and seen that she wouldn’t be with the partner she chose , it just seems hypocritical after hearing her speak passionately for 5 hours on diversity and topics or situations she’s encountered throughout her journey. Non the less it was a very well written book and If nothing else extremely motivating.

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Great Book with Practical Advice

Loved it! Arlan is very inspiring and sincere. I related to this book on several levels, so MANY gems, and I think it will be one I re-listen to over and over. Thanks Arlan!!

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Highly recommend!!

Great delivery and a great personal testimonial. Great read/listen for ANYONE feeling underestimated. And even great for those that don't.

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You Go Girl!

Inspiring, encouraging, down to Earth and totally real information. For anyone struggling through the vicissitudes of life whether it is in investment funds or just life, there are a number of tips and wisdom in this book.

Big thanks Arlen I wish you great success and to all those start ups in your nest.

-Thera, A woman in construction for 22 years and still wearing a toolbelt

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This is a must read for anyone

I have been looking for this book my whole life and I never knew it. It reads well and the references are golden (e.g., books and other media). Thanks to the author and to the audible for making this happen.

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Inspiring and important

I am so grateful for this book! As someone who resonates with being underestimated due to my identity, Arlan’s story was medicine. It provides hope, comedy, and clear, practical guidance on how to own your value and create opportunities for success. Highly recommend!

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My Inspiration

I've been inspired by Arlan from the first time I came across her story. Learning the back story of her most prominent career moments has been insightful and moving. Books empower me to take action and this one is no different. I look forward to meeting, interviewing, and working with her soon!