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Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  1,489 ratings  ·  216 reviews
The "necessary and incisive" (Roxane Gay) account of the discrimination case that "has blown open a conversation about the status of women" in the workplace (The New York Times)

In 2015, Ellen K. Pao sued a powerhouse Silicon Valley venture capital firm, calling out workplace discrimination and retaliation against women and other underrepresented groups. Her suit rocked the
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Published September 19th 2017 by Random House Audio Publishing Group
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4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,489 ratings  ·  216 reviews


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Roxane
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was really interested in this story about a highly accomplished woman of color negotiating the white male-dominated tech industry, having followed Pao's story in the news. Overall, I wanted the book to be more rounded. There were certain moments and observations where I wanted Pao to sit and reflect more, tell us more. I wanted to see more of an acknowledgment of her privilege, which in no way negates the discrimination she faced at Kleiner Perkins but at times, it was like, "I went to Princet ...more
Jean
I first heard about Ellen Pao when our local paper covered her lawsuit against her employer Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers for gender discrimination. It was no surprise that she lost the case.

This book primarily discusses her case of gender inequality in the science and business world. Pao has her degree in engineering from Princeton, a law degree from Harvard and an MBA from Harvard. Pao describes the problem women have in male-dominated fields. She says ambitious women are seen as aggressi
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Trish
I venture to guess that anyone reading Ellen Pao's personal experience about the discrimination she alleges at the hands of partners in the Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins will find something in it with which to identify. I don’t expect anyone disbelieves her account. The cliquish melodrama of board meetings or the exclusionary after-hours drinking and strip clubs will be familiar to many, not all of them women. The truth is, the watch-your-back lifestyle of partners out for ...more
William Moses Jr.
I came to know who Ellen Pao was when she was the interim CEO of reddit. At that time, I learned that she was the evil CEO who fired Victoria, a much loved /r/IAMA community manager, and was trying to limit the freedom of a community. The Victoria incident pissed me off, but honestly, I was happy that she got rid of subs like /r/fatpeoplehate. And then it emerged much later that she wasn't the one who messed with Victoria. Instead, the former founder of reddit, Alexis Ohanian, was behind that an ...more
Jess Johnson
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This took me a long time to finish - perhaps because some of it just resonated a bit too well. While I respected Pao before reading it, it really hit me how hard she struggled after reading it and just how resilient she was. Having dealt with some discrimination and gaslighting in the past, I felt like it nearly broke me when people kept telling me the problem was me. When HR told me "Why would he hire women if he didn't treat them well?" it felt like the onus was on me justify someone else's ba ...more
Alana Benjamin
“Informing ourselves on all facets of the challenges we face is the first step to understanding how to overcome them”

Ellen Pao started her career in tech in the 90s. In 2005, she was recruited to join Kleiner Perkins, one of the prominent venture capital firms. Her experience at the firm ultimately lead to her highly publicised discrimination lawsuit. After working at Kleiner, Pao worked briefly as Reddit CEO where she oversee some of the more significant changes in handling online harassment.
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Emily
Dec 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a woman who has spent my entire career at startups and tech companies, a lot of Pao's experiences were a little too familiar, which made this a tough read for me. Diversity and inclusion in tech is an issue I feel strongly about, and this book helped energize me to do more to be part of the solution.

The absolute ridiculousness that Pao had to deal with was mind-boggling, and it's admirable that she kept showing up and persisting despite it all. As an avid redditor (which may surprise a lot of
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Mehrsa
Dec 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
It's too bad you can't win a law suit for the most pernicious forms of sexism--the exclusion, the vulgar comments, and the general unseen forces of sexism that is at the root and in the branches of practically every male-dominated sector. But no, you have to specify a bad egg and a specific line of causation that led to harm. Pao writes a convincing narrative showing how pervasive sexism is in tech. But it's not a scandalous narrative and it's not at all surprising to any woman who has every wor ...more
Doug
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book should be read by anyone who has ever worked with other people.
Melissa
What heights might we have reached as a society, what technologies might we have already developed, where might we be if we simply believed that women are as good as men at everything we believe men to be good at? I'm not positing that we'd be living in some utopian Themyscira or that women are capable of solving all of the world's problems, but honestly - what might we have already accomplished as a species if our culture wasn't so invested in protecting men's ability to have business meetings ...more
Mike Zickar
Sep 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business, memoir
Ms. Pao details her rise and then fall in the tech world, telling candid stories of success and failure, and calls out the many ways that men control the levers of success in the tech industry and business at large. These stories include big and small instances of discrimination and exclusion that contribute to a climate that makes it much harder for women to succeed.

This is actually a beautiful book that I hope gets a wide audience. Throughout much of the book, Pao details how her male colleag
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Jen
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While reading, the meta-processor in my head pondered how difficult this book must have been to write. I, like Ellen, identify as introverted and private – and this book is such a deeply personal story, one that takes courage to tell. At the same time, some of the best memoirs are actually the by-product of deeply emotional healing writing. With Ellen's story being made available for others, I hope it will inspire so many more to join the path towards progress and inclusion.

I'm taking this quote
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Stephanie Donahue
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Honest and well written book about Ellen’s experience with gender discrimination in the venture capital industry. I could relate to some of the challenges and the struggle to know how to handle them. I appreciate that she can acknowledge her mistakes as well. This isn’t a feminist ‘men are terrible people’ kind of book - she also acknowledges the men who were supportive throughout her career. It’s a good read and inspired me to do more to support other women, especially mentoring those just gett ...more
Sean Massa
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a powerful telling of Ellen Pao's story. I'm glad she was able to tell it freely.

This book is a necessary part of understanding the discrimination issues we're still facing today.

Everyone should read it.
Joerg Rings
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Let's bring out the critic first: Especially in the first third, the autobiographic narrative is a bit uneven. Well, but even so, it is honest, and powerful, and very thoughtful.
This is a testament to the horrific misogynistic world of both law and tech, documented with meticulous care; and makes the fact she lost her law suit both less and more surprising.
May the "Pao Effect" keep on going and burn down the patriarchy!
Sylwia (Wish Fulfillment)
More of a 3.5 but I'm rounding up because I recommend it as the first book you read about women in business. It's a memoir based on what it's like to be a woman in business, in terms of mistreatment, this time written by a woman of color who "lost" a lawsuit regarding discrimination/inappropriate behavior at work. It was like if Lean In was more personal and inclusive. If I had read this before reading Lean In, I would have enjoyed it more.
J
Oct 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
I feel a bit guilty for not loving this book. I admire Ellen Pao. The matter-of-fact tone that she keeps throughout the book, while describing years of both suspected and overt harassment, is impressive. I was excited to see Project Include launch and believe it has a lot of potential. The fact that Pao had the vision and spirit to launch Project Include shortly after losing her lawsuit, that she didn't fade away or give up, is tremendous. But the book is...middling. It feels solid and steady bu ...more
Kate Germano
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Reset rocked. I followed Ellen Pao's court saga from start to finish, and while I was heartily disappointed at the final verdict, I was certainly not surprised in light of my own experience in the Marine Corps and the results of many well known studies related to gender bias in the workplace. Ellen is a fighter and I knew that she would continue to advocate for gender equality no matter the outcome of her court case. I was thrilled when her book came out- and I couldn't put it down! I literally ...more
T Scott Saponas
Sep 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Amazing amazing amazing book. Should be required reading for everyone in Tech sector. Adds to the emerging canon of the female experience in the Valley and Tech in general.
Sujata
Oct 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Mixed review - the portions about her experiences in legal and tech worlds were most interesting, and i appreciate her ability to admit when she felt she was at fault and when she could have done things differently, but as I read her experiences it just made me think of all the similar things I and others have experienced. Her perspective of her trial and all that surrounded it was good to read if not depressing. I also liked hearing about her reddit experiences that I had only read about online ...more
Fraze
Jan 26, 2018 rated it did not like it
The premise: rich, privileged Pao wonders why she's not everyone's favorite and writes a book about being wealthy but unpopular.

If that doesn't get your juices flowing it's probably because your net worth is nowhere near 9 figures. Few can empathize with the struggles Pao has faced in her quest to join the league of billionaires, from marrying a gay black man to suing everyone who ever got in her way. With her abrasive attitude and lack of gratitude it's almost as if Pao's fight is against inclu
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Elaine
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Nothing but the utmost respect for Ellen Pao. She is an amazing role model for women everywhere and this book is a testament to her incredible drive and resilience. I would encourage anyone who believes in fairness and diversity to read this book.
Meg Coulson
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
An interesting “my side of the story” - particularly if you work/study in the tech industry or followed the Ellen Pao case.
Betty Peng
Sep 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The full story of Ellen Pao's experiences leading up to her gender discrimination lawsuit against Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

What I liked: It was an inspiring story to read, one that she turned down millions of dollars in settlements to be able to share, one that filled me with anger and added fuel to the fire that is my work and hopes of improving diversity and inclusion as a female working in the tech industry. More and more people are stepping fo
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Jamie (Books and Ladders)
Dec 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Actual Rating 4.5*

See this review and more on Books and Ladders!

So I really enjoyed this. I work in diversity and inclusion so it was really interesting to hear about a pioneer's journey to bring more diversity and inclusion to tech. However, I had to read some of the news articles and magazine articles to give myself more context for the court situation. I think Ellen assumes that you know that part of her story (which I knew some but not all - I was in the middle of fourth year university when
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Wendy Liu
The "memoir" aspects were kind of blah - wooden, weirdly impersonal, filled with superficial descriptions of people most readers don't know or care about. The explanation of how VC works was decent, though nothing new if you've been following tech news and/or coverage of the trial. Politically, it's pretty liberal, and thus disappointing: some good points about how the system is exclusionary by design; not enough reflection on the broader systemic issues of which VC's toxicity is just the tip of ...more
Ryan Lackey
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reset is Ellen Pao's book about her career, experiences with both law firm and tech employers, fight with Kleiner Perkins (KPCB), Project Include, and advice for firms and individuals. My rating is based on how clearly the ideas are articulated and supported, not my view of correctness. As a book, the first third really should have been cut down by 50-75% (rather than making it a biography, just focus the book on the most relevant period), and probably the law firm and university sections should ...more
Maya Bisineer
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book made me so angry and sad, maybe because nothing there was really surprising. It is a book that should be read. None of what Ellen talks about is really new or unknown to most women in tech...or any woman in a field that is filled with and driven by men. As an immigrant, I also related intensely to Ellen's approach to life and work and how that contributed to making the situation worse for her in so many ways. I am glad she put herself out there with this book.
The book itself could have
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Dawn
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm glad Ellen has taken the stands she has and I'm very happy of where she's gone after everything but I had a very hard time with this book.
While I understand it's written by her, her perspective, she'd make statements and never back them up. Also, I need some better insight to some of the things she had done to have empathy with her. But, for all of my feelings none of it matters. What matters is she got harassed and retaliated against because she is a she and not because she was annoying to
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“There was some awareness back then about hidden gender bias, particularly because of research like the famous “Howard and Heidi” study. Two Columbia Business School professors had taken an HBS case study about a female venture capitalist named Heidi Roizen and, in half the classes they taught, presented exactly the same stories and qualifications but called her Howard. In surveys of the students, they came away believing that Howard was beloved—so competent! such a go-getter!—whereas Heidi was a power-hungry egomaniac. Same person, just a different name.” 3 likes
“If you get an opportunity that someone offers you, take it. A business school professor of mine told me this 20 years ago, and it's just as relevant today. There are so many times that being a woman of color counts against you. If it ever gives you an advantage, don't feel guilty about it. Those situations are few and far between, and you should just consider each an opportunity.” 2 likes
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