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Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys' Club of Silicon Valley

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  4,616 ratings  ·  526 reviews
For women in tech, Silicon Valley is not a fantasyland 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 jour
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Kindle Edition, 317 pages
Published February 6th 2018 by Portfolio
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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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Vlad
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
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
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Amy Young
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
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Kimberly
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 experience in a w ...more
Holly Brown
Feb 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Shauna
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
Dian
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
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
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Diego
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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Anat Knot
Feb 12, 2018 rated it did not like it
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
Beth Newhart
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Ariel Jackson
Jul 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
A damning and brutal account of the realities of Silicon Valley, worth a read. but seems to implicitly (and explicitly) suggest that the solution to these problems is to have more women founders/CEOs/executives...when the fundamental problem is the existence of these fucked up platforms, extremely rich companies, and the systemic beliefs that sustain them.

Also, the author spent a lot of time “outing” the gross sex parties and non-monogamy in silicon valley...it borders on moral fearmongering an
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Angela
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
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Joy Ebertz
Sep 12, 2018 rated it liked it
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
Katrina Michie
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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.
Lillian
Apr 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
As someone who works in the tech industry and is on a team with all men I really really REALLY understood and sympathized with the experiences had by the woman in this book.

If your interested at all in the role woman played (or didn’t play) in the evolution of the tech industry then this is a good book for you to read.

It’s a pretty short book, and relatively easy to read, but at times was a little dull and found myself having to reread past paragraphs to remember what point the author was tryi
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Alok Talekar
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
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.
Katherine
Jul 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
I appreciate this book a lot and hope the ppl (and especially the men) in my community read this or something like it. As a woman who just graduated from a super male-dominated software engineering program and who has been the one woman in the room more times than I can count, many of these stories and lessons were familiar. Even so, I still thought it gave me clarity and context, showing the patterns, causes, effects, and history of tech's inhospitable environment for women and basically everyo ...more
Hina
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
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Maddie
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
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.
Dav
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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.
Ola
Mar 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Brotopia by Emily Chang is a decent, but very surface level, examination of Silicon Valley’s misogynist culture. Considering the significance of the topic, Brotopia feels like a missed opportunity to expose and critique the tech industry in a productive way; instead, I felt that only summaries were given on most topics.

Not to say that there were no interesting sections. The beginning of the book, which describes the evolution of the tech industry in the 1960s, was a beneficial history lesson on
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jasmine sun
Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
David
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bros, nerds, venture capitalist, founders, founder hounders, people who go to cuddle parties
Sigh. This is not a rigorous analysis of gender discrimination in Silicon Valley. It's a screed about nerds and rich dudes.

I found myself sighing throughout Brotopia, because it felt like the author was just going through a checklist of complaints. When Yahoo! tanked under Marissa Mayer, she was blamed because of sexism. Okay, in fairness probably nobody could have saved Yahoo! - it's been a dead brand walking for years. But Emily Chang doesn't really cite any "sexist" condemnation of Meyers, ju
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Marks54
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
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Olga Gamer
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
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David Shinabarger
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 way
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Lloyd
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
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Timothy Liao
Jan 02, 2020 rated it liked it
An insightful look at the origins and reaches of the "bro-culture" prevalent in Silicon Valley. I was expecting the book to take a look at more how the culture is spread throughout different companies, and how it's effects, but the book is more of a top-down approach, and focuses a lot of what is happening behind the scenes.
Jessica Jin
May 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Thorough, kinda dry reporting. If you're a woman in SF/SV in tech you know most of this already. It doesn't add anything new to the conversation, unfortunately. Glad somebody's committed to documenting this though!
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Women in Tech Boo...: Brotopia: Break Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley 8 1 Apr 01, 2020 07:01AM  

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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
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Articles featuring this book

Who says old dogs can't learn new tricks? Inspired by all the kids heading back to school, we rounded up the best recently published books for ...
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“More fundamentally, meritocracy is impossible to achieve, because, as Young says, a meritocracy is always based on an imperfect definition of merit and often narrowly defined to favor training, connections, and education primarily available to the wealthy. Take Stanford. Because Stanford is filled with students with top high-school GPAs and SAT scores, administrators can pat themselves on the back and say, “We only admit the best students. We’re a meritocracy.” The students are encouraged to think similarly. But is it just a coincidence that the median annual family income of a Stanford student is $167,500 while the national median is roughly one-third that? Did those high-achieving students naturally get high SAT scores, or did they benefit from their parents’ paying for tutors and sending them to private schools? Privilege accumulates as you advance in life. If the college you attend is the basis of your future employment networks, then it is impossible to say that your employment success is solely based on merit.” 1 likes
“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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