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Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys' Club of Silicon Valley

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  2,394 ratings  ·  319 reviews
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 tru
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published February 6th 2018 by Portfolio Penguin
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Rose Luther I wouldn't say new; just a newer environment for the same old. As for MeToo… it feels present throughout the book to me.
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4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,394 ratings  ·  319 reviews

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Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I know how tricky it can be for a white, straight cis-dude to write anything negative about a book like this. I feel that my identity will be held against me, and my review discounted as a result, but I’m going to share a review anyway.

This book is a missed opportunity. So much hype for it. So much interest in it. But so little promise fulfilled.

A big problem with the book is that there’s almost nothing in it you can’t find in many of the articles and reporting of the #metoo movement. The sectio
Amy Young
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
It sucks that the really long review I originally wrote was deleted, but I care about voicing this opinion SO MUCH that I'm willing to give it another go ...

Like other readers expecting an in-depth, revelatory historiography on the tech industry and how it has come to tolerate the behavior that it does, this book is instead a collection of Silicon Valley's most offensive hits, slap-dashed together without more than a cursory/ surface exploration for the profit of the author. This book failed on
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't get enough of this book. You don't need to be someone who works in Silicon Valley or identify as female to appreciate this book. As someone who works on the fringe of this world and with many of these companies (and the women & men of Silicon Valley) I found the history lesson incredibly valuable. I appreciated Chang's artful mix of data, anecdote, and interview to paint an informed picture of who, why, what, & how. So, much of the narrative and data validated my own experienc ...more
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-tech
This is a well written book. You can tell Emily uses her Bloomberg speaking skills and translates them on paper about an important discussion about the lack of women in technology; this specifically in Silicon Valley. There are reasons for that and it’s the bro environment. Some CEOs and venture capitalists sound like utter douchbags who need punched in the face. They just don’t know how to act. Women are the future of technology; they are needed badly to be involved more with the emergence of A ...more
Mark Miano
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
BROTOPIA: BREAKING UP THE BOYS’ CLUB OF SILICON VALLEY popped onto my reading radar while speaking with a former colleague about her experiences going to B-school (Stanford) and working at a prominent tech firm (Salesforce) in Silicon Valley. My friend’s graduate school project involved collecting and analyzing data about the gender disparity in the tech world. Her research was the basis for a recent cover article in Atlantic Monthly and received a mention in this book by Emily Chang.

Overall, t
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was really interesting. While many of us are all aware of sexism (in general and in tech), I learned a lot I didn't know, like how the first few tech companies got started and how the culture at those companies rippled throughout Silicon Valley. And that even good intentions, like Google's commitment to hiring women from the start, don't always go well because it can be hard to maintain those numbers when a business starts growing rapidly. I like that she includes examples from companies th ...more
Holly Brown
Feb 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is well-researched and well-considered. While Silicon Valley has been impacted by #metoo, with some powerful men stepping down from their companies, it's not enough just to think in terms of a few bad apples; the entire culture could use a reboot when it comes to gender relations, equality, and the broadening of the talent pool. It's been shown that diverse teams produce better products (for more on this, I'd recommend another book I just finished and reviewed called "Technically Wrong ...more
Anat Knot
Feb 12, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 final ...more
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I REALLY wanted to like this book. This is a topic I care a lot about. I called out the CEO of my company at all hands for not having enough women on the leadership team. I read in my neighborhood blog that Emily Chang is a neighbor. She seems rad. I want to be friends with her. But even still...

I had hoped this book would capture what it felt like to be woman working in tech in SV and why women are treated the way they are. It felt like that Emily Chang focused on the big names that she was con
Beth Newhart
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'd hand out copies of this to everyone I know if I could. The groundbreaking books I've read by journalists lately are really setting my reading standards high and I LOVE it. Emily Chang spent years writing this book and it shows through every page. The stories she uncovers and facts she shares are wild and the overarching message of severe gender inequality is wildly important. I wish she went a little further beyond "women in Silicon Valley" and explored how race, gender identity and sexualit ...more
Joy Ebertz
I really wanted to like this book. I thought it did a good job of laying out the history and hitting most of the main events in the diversity in tech scene. That said, I thought it was overly sensationalized. While I don't doubt any of the stories told, they aren't quite as prevalent as the book made them seem - I doubt we'd have any women left in this industry (myself included) if that were true. While I don't want to down play how unacceptable any of it is, I also think making it seem like the ...more
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a good book about the ways sexism runs rampant in the tech world. I don't think it broke any major new ground, but it was certainly an interesting overview of all the ways women are missing out on enormous opportunities for wealth and satisfying careers. It had many specific anecdotes from the author's deep connections in the tech world. I'd recommend it to people who are sitting around thinking "boy, it sure would be a lot easier to be a woman in this day and age, I'm so discriminated ...more
Douglass Gaking
Men do so many things that seem harmless without realizing the impact they have on the women they work with. Emily Chang shows how the leadership in Silicon Valley firms–sometimes deliberately and other times more subtly–treated women horribly and made it difficult for them to advance professionally. This is an important read for anyone who takes leadership roles in their career.
Nov 14, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: technology
Jaké to je být ženou a pracovat v Silicon Valley? Těžké! Ostatně kdy to ale měly ženy lehké, když vstupovaly do (omlouvám se za to spojení) čistě mužské sféry? Kniha je o ženách, které narušují mužské prostředí a diví se, co vše nenajdou pod pokličkou mladých, statných a úspěšných géniů ze Silicon Valley. Přiznám se, že část o sexuálních praktikách mě malinko zarazila, ale ruku na srdce, dalo se to tak trochu čekat. 
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book by a journalist associated with Bloomberg Technology that provides an update on gender issues in the technology sector - in particular why tech has been and remains a lousy place for women and what can be done about it.

It is sometimes difficult to rate an effort like this, since most if not all of what is included has been covered elsewhere - and the stories recounted here have been well covered. It is certainly a good time to produce a book like this, since major controversies r
Katrina Michie
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Required reading for leadership in tech and advertising

This could have been a word-for-word book about the ad industry. Read this, especially if you are a man in tech or advertising.
Alok Talekar
I wish this book was less biased and more researched - it seemed like emily just wanted to make money off of metoo and wave of feminism. Lots of highly cherrypicked incidents. It is surprising that she doesn't bring up bloomberg culture.
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is probably the most important book ever written about Silicon Valley. It's also very well written and very much a part of the current zeitgeist.
Lloyd Dewolf
Nov 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'll recommend this book without hesitation to anyone who is unfamiliar with the gross behavior and entrenched problems of the technology industry. The book is hard investigation of male Silicon Valley leaders’ immoral treatment of women. The author describes many aspects of women's experience in Silicon Valley.

Some of the strongest topics or lines from the book for me are:
• how common the problems are and the rampant abuse of power
• the myth that reputations would keep VC and founders in check
Olga Fry
Dec 17, 2018 rated it liked it
I’d picked up “Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley” because the subject matter felt relevant in today’s day and age but ultimately, I felt disappointed by the material. In full disclosure, I read over halfway through the book and ended up putting it down.

I didn’t feel that it covered new ground from what I’ve read already about the big technological companies and female employees. Some of it read like a summary rather than an exploration of the issues, and there were instances
David Shinabarger
Great book. First I've read in a long time that I couldn't put down.

A great incite into criticizing "meritocracy" the effects on gender inequality within Silicon Valley and the inability and unwillingness of so many to change the status quo.

Also talks about a plethora of cultural norms that unknowingly discriminate against women - drugs & alcohol, strip clubs, las vegas trips, and so many cases of harassment you can't keep track of them all.

The author talks about all of these issues in a
jasmine sun
Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
good and really interesting overview of both cultural and structural factors that alienate women in the tech industry. lots of interviews with insiders, narrative examples.

probably not shocking for women already familiar with valley dynamics, but highly recommended for men in tech and those outside the area. can be a little overly identity politics ish at times, specifically re sheryl sandberg worship
Mar 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
A timely book about the sexism and misogyny that is unfortunately a prominent issue in the Silicon Valley and how it has hindered advancement (for women, for companies, for the entire industry). Examining everything from hiring practices to harassment to even some of the really zany stories such as sex parties Chang looks at how women in SV and surrounding culture have handled the issue and how it has affected them.

I have to agree with a lot of the negative reviews. The intriguing cover, the cat
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was recommended recently on a Women Who Code Slack I'm on, and it's so, so very on-point. This is basically a timely, up-to-the-minute account of the State of the Patriarchy in Silicon Valley. I didn't mean to crush this (I've been in an anti-reading mood lately), but I did. It was so very readable.

I'd agree with some of the critical reviews that, for those that already follow this issue, much of this is old hat. This book is basically a series of low-lights from the tech sexism of the last
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Let me start by saying that I am a woman entering the technology industry and I have been explicitly told that I do not belong. By friends, by relatives, by teammates, by coworkers, by strangers. I have witnessed and heard about my peers (other young women in tech) being harassed, assaulted, and discouraged from entering this field and by teaching assistants, instructors, managers, and advisers. This issue matters, and I talk about it a lot, and it is still not enough.

Brotopia does an excellent
Initial Thoughts: Raises some serious points but sometimes undermines them by going on speculative tangents. Also walks a line between providing evidence for claims and coming across as a salacious tell-all that wants to name names and gossip about shocking acts by specific people.
Ines Silva
This book should be mandatory reading for anyone working in tech, specially founders and VC's.
On the surface, this is a compelling book that sheds light on one of the biggest social issues of our time and attempts to dissect what the root of the problem is. But if you think about the arguments presented in a little more depth, many of the claims don’t seem to hold up.

I first read about this book when Vanity Fair published part of the chapter on sex parties. At first, it seemed like this book was going to blow the lid off Silicon Valley’s darkest secrets and prove that many of the things
Aug 15, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
55% = 3Star

Okay, a book about bro-culture, or majority male environments in the workplace.

This was a book I picked up on the fly, not knowing much about it.

This book gives examples of women being the initial computer programmers in the 60s until profiling for that career field was geared toward antisocial personalities, which were more likely to be male, and a few years later, the male nerd/geek became a thing. Neat to read about. Emily Chang does reference the hiring practices and w
There are reviews of this book that call it 'anti-feminist' and grossly over-simplified when it comes to discussing the issue of female involvement in tech, to which I would have to wholeheartedly disagree. I even saw a review that said the book was written too much like a news report. Hello? She's a reporter? That's probably likely?

Chang's writing interweaves facts and stories of individual women who have experienced first hand the blatant misogyny of the tech industry. She makes case studies o
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Emily Chang is the anchor and executive producer of Bloomberg Technology, a daily TV show focused on global technology and Bloomberg Studio 1.0, where she regularly speaks to top tech executives, investors, and entrepreneurs. She was previously a CNN correspondent based in Beijing and London, and has won five re
“Getting to fifty-fifty is incredibly complex and nuanced, requiring many detailed solutions that will take decades to fully play out. To accelerate the process, change needs to start at the top. Like Stewart Butterfield, CEOs need to make hiring and retaining women an explicit priority. In addition, here is the bare minimum of what we can do at an individual and a systemic level: First of all, people, be nice to each other. Treat one another with respect and dignity, including those of the opposite sex.That should be pretty simple. Don’t enable assholes. Stop making excuses for bad behavior, or ignoring it. CEOs must embrace and champion the need to reach a fair representation of gender within their companies, and develop a comprehensive plan to get there. Be long-term focused, not short-term. It may take three weeks to find a white man for the job, but three months to find a woman. Those three months could save three years of playing catch-up in the future. Invest in not just diversity but inclusion. Even if your company is small, everything counts. And take the time to educate your employees about why this is important. Companies need to appoint more women to their boards. And boards need to hold company leadership to account to get to fifty-fifty in their employee ranks, starting with company executives. Venture capital firms need to hire more women partners, and limited partners should pressure them to do so and, at the very least, ask them what their plans around diversity are. Investors, both men and women, need to start funding more women and diverse teams, period. LPs need to fund more women VCs, who can establish new firms with new cultural norms. Stop funding partnerships that look and act the same. Most important, stop blaming everybody else for the problem or pretending that it is too hard for us to solve. It’s time to look in the mirror. This is an industry, after all, that prides itself on disruption and revolutionary new ways of thinking. Let’s put that spirit of innovation and embrace of radical change to good use. Seeing a more inclusive workforce in Silicon Valley will encourage more girls and women studying computer science now.” 0 likes
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