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Brotopia

Breaking Up the Boys' Club of Silicon Valley
Narrated by: Emily Chang
Length: 9 hrs and 6 mins
Categories: Non-fiction, Gender Issues
4.5 out of 5 stars (40 ratings)

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Summary

Instant National Bestseller

"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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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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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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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
  • 20-02-18

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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  • Cheryl B. McDonald
  • 17-05-18

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.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Lavina K.
  • 11-02-18

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.

15 of 19 people found this review helpful

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  • Marko K
  • 30-03-18

Meh

It's got some good content but much of the book is repetitive and just trying to sell its point too hard.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Luke
  • 21-12-18

Must read for diversity

It started off slow and negative, however it really became interesting later in and ended off really well with actionable ways to improve the status quo

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • ipmcfarland
  • 12-02-18

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.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • James
  • 05-02-19

Gender studies plus anecdotes

Anecdotes are supposed to add color to research that would otherwise be boring. They are not supposed to be the research. The one useful thing this book did is expose some really crummy hiring practices that have gone on in Silicon Valley. And it seems unsurprising that a bunch of immature men left to their own devices would come up with really terrible HR practices. This is an important issue to discuss, although probably not news to anyone.

But the author's gender studies approach doesn't address any arguments that don't support her conclusion. If you already believe that women are treated unjustly and we need new laws and regulations to level the playing field, then you will enjoy how this book confirms your biases.

13 of 25 people found this review helpful

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  • Nina
  • 06-09-19

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.

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  • Johan du Pisanie
  • 20-08-19

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.

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  • Doug V.
  • 15-07-19

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!

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  • Judith Myers
  • 18-06-19

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.