"A man is made by the books he reads."
It's not a past at all. The passive is just something more to learn. It may be confusing because like the proximate past it also uses participles like "fatto". But it's much like English in that respect. ("A man has made" and "A man is made" both use "made.") Maybe this will help: http://www.italianlanguageguide.com/grammar/passive-voice.asp