Uncanny Valley: A Memoir
I led a startup for the last decade, and am way too familiar with the 'growth-at-all-costs' mindset in Silicon Valley (including my own stint in an accelerator). This is a somewhat-cynical look at begin an employee at three different venture capital-backed startups, one in NYC, then two in SF. I enjoyed her writing, desire for diversity, and many jokes at the expense of 'tech bros.' Though, I don't know where the happy medium is, but I think it's neither this nor that of the bombastic mid-20s CEO. Enjoyed the perspective & inside look.
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
"A definitive document of a world in transition: I won't be alone in returning to it for clarity and consolation for many years to come." --Jia Tolentino, author of Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion
A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice and a January 2020 IndieNext Pick. An Amazon Best Book of January. One of Vogue's 22 Books to Read This Winter, The Washington Post's 10 Books to Read in January, ELLE's 12 Best Books to Read in 2020, The New York Times's 12 Books to Read in January, Esquire's 15 Best Winter Books, Paste's 10 Most Anticipated Nonfiction Books of 2020, and Entertainment Weekly's 50 Most Anticipated Books of 2020.
The prescient, page-turning account of a journey in Silicon Valley: a defining memoir of our digital age
In her mid-twenties, at the height of tech industry idealism, Anna Wiener--stuck, broke, and looking for meaning in her work, like any good millennial--left a job in book publishing for the promise of the new digital economy. She moved from New York to San Francisco, where she landed at a big-data startup in the heart of the Silicon Valley bubble: a world of surreal extravagance, dubious success, and fresh-faced entrepreneurs hell-bent on domination, glory, and, of course, progress.
Anna arrived amidst a massive cultural shift, as the tech industry rapidly transformed into a locus of wealth and power rivaling Wall Street. But amid the company ski vacations and in-office speakeasies, boyish camaraderie and ride-or-die corporate fealty, a new Silicon Valley began to emerge: one in far over its head, one that enriched itself at the expense of the idyllic future it claimed to be building.
Part coming-of-age-story, part portrait of an already-bygone era, Anna Wiener's memoir is a rare first-person glimpse into high-flying, reckless startup culture at a time of unchecked ambition, unregulated surveillance, wild fortune, and accelerating political power. With wit, candor, and heart, Anna deftly charts the tech industry's shift from self-appointed world savior to democracy-endangering liability, alongside a personal narrative of aspiration, ambivalence, and disillusionment.
Unsparing and incisive, Uncanny Valley is a cautionary tale, and a revelatory interrogation of a world reckoning with consequences its unwitting designers are only beginning to understand.