Brotopia

Breaking Up the Boys' Club of Silicon Valley
Narrated by: Emily Chang
Length: 9 hrs and 6 mins
Categories: Nonfiction, Gender Issues
4.5 out of 5 stars (685 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Instant National Best Seller

A PBS News Hour-New York Times Book Club Pick!

"Excellent." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"Brotopia is more than a business book. Silicon Valley holds extraordinary power over our present lives as well as whatever utopia (or nightmare) might come next." (New York Times)

Silicon Valley is a modern utopia where anyone can change the world. Unless you're a woman.

For women in tech, Silicon Valley is not a fantasy land of unicorns, virtual reality rainbows, and 3D-printed lollipops, where millions of dollars grow on trees. It's a "Brotopia," where men hold all the cards and make all the rules. Vastly outnumbered, women face toxic workplaces rife with discrimination and sexual harassment, where investors take meetings in hot tubs and network at sex parties.

In this powerful exposé, Bloomberg TV journalist Emily Chang reveals how Silicon Valley got so sexist despite its utopian ideals, why bro culture endures despite decades of companies claiming the moral high ground (Don't Be Evil! Connect the World!)--and how women are finally starting to speak out and fight back.

Drawing on her deep network of Silicon Valley insiders, Chang opens the boardroom doors of male-dominated venture capital firms like Kleiner Perkins, the subject of Ellen Pao's high-profile gender discrimination lawsuit, and Sequoia, where a partner once famously said they "won't lower their standards" just to hire women. Interviews with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, and former Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer--who got their start at Google, where just one in five engineers is a woman--reveal just how hard it is to crack the Silicon Ceiling. And Chang shows how women such as former Uber engineer Susan Fowler, entrepreneur Niniane Wang, and game developer Brianna Wu, have risked their careers and sometimes their lives to pave a way for other women.

Silicon Valley's aggressive, misogynistic, work-at-all costs culture has shut women out of the greatest wealth creation in the history of the world. It's time to break up the boys' club. Emily Chang shows us how to fix this toxic culture--to bring down Brotopia, once and for all.

©2018 Emily Chang (P)2018 Penguin Audio

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Double Standards

This book was a big waste of my time. The author promotes double standards by criticizing men for behaving in a certain way, whilst at the same time applauding women for doing the same. I have no doubt that harassment in the workplace is a big problem, but harrresment and hiring someone from your university is quite a few steps apart. In the end the book underwrites a short-sighted solution to the problem.

18 people found this helpful

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Justified topic, poor execution

This is an extremely important topic which requires taste and professionalism, neither of which delivered. The flippant attitude and personal attacks directed in the book lead to nothing more than literary revenge than addressing the problem. The author is better suited to writing for gossip columns than important social topics that need to be resolved with professional, adult supervised, urgency.

12 people found this helpful

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Total waste of time!

This is the most biased, one-sided, ill-researched book out there. If there is a zero star option, I would have selected that. What irritated me the most was the 'orgy' chapter. It has nothing to do with the theme of the book whatsoever. Right in the middle of the book, the author starts to describe the sex lives of tech entrepreneurs. First of all, it is NONE of your business. Second of all there was no illegal activities happening. Third of all, why bring it up at all?? It seems to me the author is using the motto "sex sells" to increase the number of sales of this useless book. What am I suppose to think , 'Wow Elon Musk in a costume at an orgy!!" I must read that book.

Regardless of that chapter, the super thin content of the rest of the book makes you wonder what is the point of all this. The way the author is reading the book as if it is pure gold and it is supposed to change the world without giving any useful "solution" to the "problem" she contrived. Is she aware that STEM programs are male dominant? Does she tackle any of this in her book except mention that high school students are attending code camps.

What about Elizabeth Holmes? No mention of her at all in the book. A famous female entrepreneur that deceived investors, how can she be omitted from the VC chapter. (granted I have skipped some parts to speed up the process of going through book).

Clearly this book is one sided.

10 people found this helpful

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trashing men is not going to help women in tech.

I am a software engineer (not US citizen) and in my country the percentage of women in tech is the same as the US. in my country there is NO silicon valley or bro culture... this book does not explain this VERY IMPORTANT DETAIL.
crying about men is NOT going to help women in tech.

9 people found this helpful

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Out of s[ace and reality

It would be an understatement, if I wrote that this book was okay. It wasn't. Au contraire, it was far from okay.

Well, first things first. Whole book came to me as a cry out into the darkness, that women and minorities live in a big bad world built by white men. Newsflash, they actually do. This "world" and society was built on countless "crusades" by white men, no matter how You look at it. And I'm pretty positive that yapping about how it's bad won't change it, like ever.

The main point I fail to understand regarding Brotopia is how the author is trying to force women to an environment built by men and men's effort and blood. Don't get me wrong, but I won't be using political correctness in my review, I'd rather stick to a common sense.

Emily is crying out loud at least 20 times about: "How it's unfair, that a woman working in a company built by man, or men is behaving inadequately towards women." Well, how about woman/women build their own companies? And not just parasite an big bad white men's opus and obstruct about how men made companies are bad for them.

In one part, I paraphrase, Emily said: "Imagine that Twitter or Facebook were made by a woman/women." Well, hello? They weren't, none of them. And I suggest to any woman out there to try to establish a comapny like Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg did and see what it takes at the absolute beginning.

Don't get me wrong, I believe there are some great women out there that deserve all the fame and stuff, but...I studied women psychics for 8 years, as a hobby. Well, all in all, it comes "okay" to me, when most of the simple guys out there see women as crazy. Women aren't crazy, it's just their "logic" is based upon emotions, not on mathematical/arithmetic algorithms, thus leading to false conclusions like women should be treated "equally" in men built environment.

No...no they shouldn't. It's a men's playground, built by men. Is it that hard to digest? In current society, there's not gonna be 50:50 men vs. women like Emily says there should. Why? Because on the side of power and dark acts, the society was build by white men, that's why.

When a successful woman will go through everything men had to in the past two millenia, there will, I'm extremely positive about that. Till then, women will be belittled by men. And men won't change. Most of men are primitive, simple, superficial pigs adoring rape culture and chugging on power and control. You don't like this fact? Either deal with it, or create Your own [everything].

In the end, I'd like to state that I myself belong to a minority [I'm being asexual] and I'm okay with it. And I hate rape culture and most kinds of abuse and violence, they're foreign to me. Although, from the point of view of my 8 years hobby study where I tried to/helped raped and abused women and from what I know plenty of men, I can only state and say what I wrote above.

So kudos for a nice "speech" You've had in Your book, though, be advised, things won't go as You imagine they should. Due to simple facts I stated above.

6 people found this helpful

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it might take you a while

the main reason it took me a month to finish was because I would get so frustrated with how accurate it was that I would need a break to accept the reality of our culture and really let myself digest it. to have this information laid out in such a thoughtful way, it is almost comforting for women to have these experiences validated by data and hopefully eye-opening for men to understand why women are so frustrated. I am not in the industry, but I really appreciated this book and the author on so many levels.

5 people found this helpful

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Eye Opening

This book should be required reading for all silicon valley leaders. Having lived in the silicon valley since 1993 I am familiar with many of the stories shared with in this book and to get the perspectives from the victims themselves has increase my awareness surrounding professional behavior in the workplace. Emily Chang did a fantastic job! Congratulations to her and her team!

5 people found this helpful

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What an eye opener! Well written, well read,

WOW! The charm and grace of silicone valley is pretty much expressed in the farmer's markets but not the workplaces. The power and abuse are more reminiscent of the 40s and 50s only now they're jacked up to the max.

Education, economy, parenting, it'll never be as easy as yesterday, the fate of women in any industry, and especially computer science will, I feel, eventually develop into its own subculture for growth and sustainability. Equal pay, rights, respect, and recognition? I think we have a long way to go and hopefully, the daughters of today will have the backbone and personal strength not to succumb to the dominant pressures of the workforce.

The book was very enlightening about the inside cultures and past norms that are still experienced today. Well done.

5 people found this helpful

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Lifting the veil on patriarchy

Whenver someone takes on the topic of women, it is essentially opening Pandora's box.Chang does an amazing job narrating, and goes really deep into a problem that has dogged us for centuries: treating women as things. A must-read!

5 people found this helpful

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A Critical Read

This is a scary and sad story with a real possibility of hope..IF we take the situation seriously and make achievable changes. Reporting, contributing to, and writing this book took courage. We owe all who participated a debt of gratitude, and Emily Chang enormous credit for so clearly showing us how to save our future.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Rick Da-Ruler
  • 07-07-19

an eye opener

this was a really insightful book I did enjoy it overall it was well written and highlights some very important and and intriguing to see how the tech industry has evolved over time.

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  • Rhiannon
  • 07-24-18

Listen in small doses, but definitely listen

I was drawn in to reading this novel by the shocking Vanity Fair article describing Silicon Valley's sex parties, but quickly discovered that Chang's work is much more than just a look at the underbelly of the tech world. Heavy at times on the ear due due to the heavy research, but in the same way, brilliantly detailed with facts and figures, allowing the reader enough fodder to springboard off into specific areas if they choose. Listen in small doses, but definitely listen.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-28-18

Current, and a must listen!

Highly listenable. Clear discussion on issues we all live (put up) with in tech and STEM fields.

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  • Di
  • 02-20-18

Highly recommended

It is a shameful ‘story’ and many in Silicon Valley should be hanging their heads in shame. The book is thoroughly researched, concise and well narrated. Highly recommended. It will give you a very different perspective on what seemingly passes for work in the Valley.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-13-18

simply awesome.

this was one of the most well researched books on silicon valley I have come across.

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  • Luke
  • 02-28-18

Great Read!

Well done Emily, its a game changing book. Well researched, written and narrated.

I was shocked, intrigued and disappointed at big tech and their failures and yet I remain hopeful that we can make a difference.