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Publisher's Summary

Bloomberg Technology reporter Emily Chang confronts Silicon Valley's rampant sexism, excluding women from the greatest wealth creation of our generation.

Silicon Valley has long prided itself on being the land of opportunity, where anyone with a big idea can make it a reality, and where the new Masters of the Universe change the world for the better. But the bitter truth is that women have been excluded, marginalized, and harassed from the start. Sexism and the gender gap in Silicon Valley are only getting worse. It's not a utopia - it's a "brotopia" for tech bros.

The scope of tech reporter Emily Chang's Brotopia is wide - from front-page scandals to behind-the-scenes stories that key players reveal directly. Chang reports on the forces conspiring against women in the workplace, and outside of it as well - from sex parties filled with VCs and entrepreneurs and rampant online pornography to outright harassment.

After decades of silence, women are now coming forward to bravely reveal their stories. Sixty percent of women in tech have experienced sexual harassment, but offenders don't get punished - they get excused because they're top performers, aided and abetted by a venture capital boys' club of extremely wealthy and privileged investors. Women in tech suffer devastating consequences, and many consider leaving the industry every day.

Chang explores how this culture came to be, what it means, and what can be done to fix it. She delves into the seedy underbelly of shiny Silicon Valley, weaving together hard-hitting interviews with major influencers like Sheryl Sandberg, Marissa Mayer, Tim Cook, Peter Thiel, Ellen Pao and more. She reveals the secrets that tech companies have tried to hide for years, and offers a fresh set of tangible solutions about what can be done to level the playing field.

©2018 Emily Chang (P)2018 Penguin Audio

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Superimportant

Sad, and a little bit disillusioned by the storyline, but hopefull that telling it will help change things.

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Everyone has a role ...

We are all impacted by the ubiquitous role of technology in our lives. Emily Chang brings to life the somewhat obscure and misogynistic idea of “Silicon Valley” and the Brotopia that exist in the tools, products and platforms we use everyday. Regardless of who you are, the profession you are in... a parent, teacher or in the tech industry, there is a role for you to make a change in the future of next generation. I definitely do after reading this for all the educators I work with - particularly as my young daughters enter formal schooling with aspirations of being an inventor, maker and change-agent.

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An industry-changing effort.

What did you love best about Brotopia?

Just finished "Brotopia", Emily Chang's much-anticipated study of the ingrown biases against women (and minorities) in Silicon Valley.

Working in tech (albeit in Seattle and on the sales end of the business) and raising two girls, I felt both pride for Chang's efforts and shame for the indifference with which I unkowingly embody the industry's biases against women.
Her tact was calculated and brilliant. While all of the write-ups on the book focus on the salacious details (and there are countless that make you ill), Chang begins with and continues to return to the fundamentals of a system that is inherently biased. Simple things like boys being targeted by toy companies selling entry-level computers goes so easily unnoticed, but if you hand a 3-year-old boy a simple computer and a 3-year-old girl a doll, who is more-likely to leave Stanford with a computer science degree 20 years later?

This is as important a book as has been written on the tech industry in years. You may love it. You may hate every word of it. But as tech becomes less about the technology and more about the user-experience, we cannot ignore 51% of the population.

The biases in the industry are no longer a problem for women, but a problem for us all.

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Insightful, Infuriating, and Important

Last year, Hidden Figures got me started on biography binge, devouring every book I could find on the accomplishments of trailblazing women in STEM. They left me inspired, empowered, and somewhat confused – how did the tech industry go from being built by the likes of Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper to the dire state of imbalance and discrimination that exists today? In Brotopia, Emily Chang answers that very question. She picks up where those stories left off, telling us exactly how women were systematically shut out a field that they helped create.

The book has been making waves for exposing some of Silicon Valley’s more salacious practices – think “optional” team bonding events and career-defining fundraising meetings set at strip clubs and in hot tubs. However, what really sets it apart are its revelations about the subtle and sometimes even unintentional forms of exclusion and intimidation. The little things - putting tech toys in the "boys' section" of the toy store until far too recently, universities choosing a provocative photo from Playboy as the standard rubric for whether or not students have built a successful image compression algorithm - these are the insights that make Brotopia the perfect read for a generation trying to change the norms that have necessitated the #MeToo movement.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Very insightful!

Perfect timing for this topic. I know this is not the only industry facing these issues. Such a brave move by the writer to expose this unnecessary evil. Thank you Emily!

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NEEDs some major fact checking !

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

This book should be classified as fiction. I know first hand that there are facts not checked and published. If that is the case with a major chapter in the book I am to conclude that other chapter contain poor fact checking as well. I expect much more from a Bloomberg journalist.

Has Brotopia turned you off from other books in this genre?

No.

Would you be willing to try another one of Emily Chang’s performances?

Perhaps if she issued an apology for he lack of journalistic integrity and accepted that she behaved in poor judgement to publish fake news to sell a scandalous book.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

I had high hopes for this book to be the book that addresses the gender biases in tech and the workplace. I was really hoping that a journalist at Bloomberg could shed some serious light on this timely issue. Instead I found the book to be poorly research and one that mostly read like Page-Six, name dropping and exaggerated story telling. Perhaps she is planning to go work at TMZ. One sentence on page 166 (yes I read the whole book) captures it all “whatever happened, men in technology are finally being held accountable." There it is. She does not care to get a fully story, to verify facts, or to take accountability for erroneous descriptions. I feel confident posting this because I first hand know that there are erroneous descriptions in this book. Hence, I can confidently deduce that the fact checking was loose or absent. Exactly what we need in todays world more fake news taunted as investigative reporting. Sorry Emily but you failed women, journalism and the current gender conversation.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful