It's About Damn Time

How to Turn Being Underestimated into Your Greatest Advantage

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Pub Date 05 May 2020 | Archive Date 31 Mar 2022

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“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.


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
“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...

Advance Praise

"Refreshing in its inclusivity, Hamilton’s book offers wise and practical lessons from the margins to all “underestimated people” looking to make a difference in the world of business and beyond. Inspiring reading for budding entrepreneurs." - Kirkus

“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 bestselling 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 

"Refreshing in its inclusivity, Hamilton’s book offers wise and practical lessons from the margins to all “underestimated people” looking to make a difference in the world of business and beyond...

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ISBN 9780593136416
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Featured Reviews

Part memoir, part self-help, Arlan Hamilton's memoir about how she build a Venture Capital fund from the ground up is inspiring. Her mission is exciting and worth supporting. Buy this book.

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Does "It's About Time" provide any NEW concepts that haven't been told to us a billion times in other self help books?

Not Really.

BUT - Does "It's About Time" present all these things in a more compelling and thought provoking way?


In this book, Arlan Hamilton guides the reader through her journey while giving suggestions and encouraging people to reconsider their own potential biases. She never comes across as preachy - but rather, as someone who truly and honestly wants you to succeed.

I took away a lot more than I had figured from this book - and I have to say that I found her thoughts on people's privilege very interesting. And I really love how Arlan Hamilton users big chunks of the book to encourage her readers to think about how they can help others.

Thank you very much to Netgalley; the publisher; and the inspiring author for allowing me to read this book in exchange for my honest feedback - I needed this read!

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An inspiring book a book that shows us how the author built her Venture Capital Fund.A book I learned from and at the same time really enjoyed and there were laughs along the way.Highly recommend,#netgalley #crown

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A great read for any entrepreneur, but it certainly hit home for me as a woman of color with her own business. To hear someone else expressing and experiencing the things you thought you made up in your head is somehow comforting and enraging at the same time.

Of course, the first chapter, with its explanation of who gets venture capital resources, will piss you off. Arlan Hamilton's story is peppered with tips on how you can cultivate a growth mindset when the game is rigged against and get ahead not in spite of your difference but because of it.

What was especially helpful to me was the section on imposter syndrome. While this hits most women, she points out that it hits underestimated groups even harder because we are often treated (even if it is unconsciously) like we don't belong. This means it's even more critical to do the work - on myself and on being visible in the world.

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A masterclass in persistence, self-reliance, and audacity. I am grateful for Arlan’s candor and authenticity, and for her making this book accessible to people who are far removed from Silicon Valley Venture Capital culture and lingo. As an entrepreneur, I found tons of practical advice, alongside inspirational tough love. If you are a fan of Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich,” you’ll see those principles in action throughout this book.

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I absolutely loved Arlan Hamilton's new book, in which she shares the roots of forming Backstage Capital, as well as her incredible, inspiring journey from outsider to insider. According to research cited by Hamilton, only one-fifth of 1 percent of all venture capital in the United States goes to Black women. Hamilton shares critical advice from the trenches for underrepresented founders and leaders, plus how the startup world can and must improve in order to be more inclusive. We're all familiar with "boys club" of tech and entrepreneurship, but Hamilton's wisdom is aimed at all folks, not just an elite who fit a stereotypical (outdated) idea of who should and can build amazing companies. I couldn't put it down. Highly recommended reading.

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Have you ever been underestimated? Ever wondered what would happen if you took a chance and if you showed people who you truly are? Do you know just how powerful making a connection can be?

I came across Arlan Hamilton a few years ago when she was featured on the cover of Fast Company and then again in 2019 as part of Forbes 30 Under 30. As I learned more about her, I became more intrigued about her journey and how she became one of the top leading Women of Color Venture Capitalist. I was so excited to learn that she was writing a book and I couldn't wait to read first hand about her experiences.

It's About Damn Time takes you not only thru Arlan's journey but it gives you an insiders glimpse into the world of business all while learning why its important to be authentically you.

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Arlan’s memoir, “Its About Damn Time,” of coming into her venture capitalist self, her redefinition of who the next generation of Mark Zuckerberg’s might be, her encouragement and words of wisdom, and her entertaining stories of tenacity, grit, and ingenuity…. They are enough to inspire me to get busy writing my own headlines, and asking my own questions about how I’m called here to be in service to the world. She reminds me that I too have a “hacker” spirit that I can wield so that I may also be bold and brave. What truths could I not live without ten years from now? How can I be the money? These questions and more are enough to keep me reflective and inspired for a long long time. I’ll never ask for crumbs again, I’m comin’ for the whole cake too. Thanks for passing me the scissors on this one, Arlan, I’ll pass them on to the next person and we’ll all carve out a whole new thang.

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