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Alpha Girls: The Women Upstarts Who Took on Silicon Valley's Male Culture and Made the Deals of a Lifetime

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  506 ratings  ·  82 reviews
An unforgettable story of four women who, through grit and ingenuity, became stars in the cutthroat, high-stakes, male dominated world of venture capital in Silicon Valley, and helped build some of the foremost companies of our time.

In Alpha Girls, award-winning journalist Julian Guthrie takes readers behind the closed doors of venture capital, an industry that transf
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published April 30th 2019 by Currency
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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Start your review of Alpha Girls: The Women Upstarts Who Took on Silicon Valley's Male Culture and Made the Deals of a Lifetime
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

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DNF @ p.176

This is a tough review to write because I did like the beginning of the book. I just felt like it was too long and the subject matter was a little too... uninteresting. Part of that is also on me because I misunderstood what the book was about. The subheading-- "the women upstarts who took on Silicon Valley's male culture and made the deals of a lifetime"-- made me think it was going to be about women in tech, engineers and cr
Elyse  Walters
Dec 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Audiobook....narrated by Kim Mai Guest, and Julian Guthrie

Menlo park… Sand Hill club communities - in the heart of Silicon Valley was mostly ruled by men.
Less than 2% of start ups were started by women.

Today a whole new bred of women are giving rise to advance levels of technology and business here in Silicon Valley.

It took awhile for this book to get juicy-good. When it was definitely *juicy-interesting*.

I live here in Silicon Valley... along with the Apple, Google,
Laura Skladzinski
This book sounded so good, but ended up being rather disappointing. I found it difficult to keep track of which Alpha Girl was which because of how the narrative jumped around. It felt like I was just starting to get to know / remember one woman when the chapter would end and the perspective would jump around, which was frustrating. However, it was interesting to see how many different approaches there were for women to be successful - not just one way to do it. And, there were a lot of great qu ...more
Rebecca Eisenberg
**PREFACE: I have a feeling that I may be one of the few people with strong opinions about this book that actually read this book. This has happened to me before (see, e.g., Sheryl Sandberg _Option B_, where I'm pretty convinced that almost no one who commented on the book actually read it). I enjoy reading, so I read a lot. I did read this book. And I have very mixed feelings. 2.5 stars**

I wanted to love this book. It has so much buzz and so much potential. And I did like, not love, the second
May 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book grew on me as my initial impressions were not good — first, the title itself Alpha Girls (but the author later explains why she she chose that title) and then the physical descriptions of the women and their clothes which I thought was kind of bizarre. But, the stories are similar in many ways and yet distinct. I liked Guthrie’s intro of women rebels: “tempered radicals“ who learn to play the game to perfection-whatever the game is-before trying to change the rules i.e. Maggie Thatcher ...more
Jun 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Interesting book about these women venture capitalist pioneers. We never hear about women VC's and their successes. I'm happy to know their stories and appreciate the author researching and reporting the stories. The authors note at end should be the beginning in my opinion.

On the other hand, I am not a fan of the story telling style - bouncing between four women's stories. Why not just tell one whole story followed by the next? At least until they come together...
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this book more; I spent a decade in Silicon Valley myself. I guess I expected more discussion of gender inequality in tech, but this book turned out to be a collection of four mini-biographies, woven together. As others have mentioned, it was easy to lose track as the narrative jumped from person to person. More importantly, it was never clear exactly how these four women were chosen. Until the very last chapter, I found it difficult to empathize with the individuals profiled (r ...more
Aug 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
I would watch a show based on this book. It was a fun and inspiring and sensationalist read. Almost makes me want to get into VC.

"Sonja wondered if her efforts to gain approval from her male colleagues had been misguided. She concluded that she did what was right to stay in the game and succeed and now to pave the way for other women to enter the field."

"..Magdalena had discovered the joy of the unknowable, the scary yet exhilarating notion that she could not rely on her brain alone with absolut
Chelsea Downey
May 10, 2020 rated it liked it
I used to work at a software company with a woman CEO, and yet every other exec was a man. Women have always been underrepresented in tech, but consistently provide higher returns. If the men shooting them down DID care more about money than ego, they would wake up and work with them.

I found this book through the Amazon Vine program and so my copy had some leftover grammar and editing errors left in. Either way, it still reads a bit much like a fawning Wikipedia page (hence, 3 stars). I WAS inte
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book offers a view of a profession that not many people know about. I found the interaction between the venture capital list and the corporate founders to be most interesting this is a great insider look at how ideas become companies. It was also interesting to follow the careers of the women profiled.
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this well written and thoroughly researched book on the topic of the women in Silicon Valley venture capital firms. At a time when virtually all companies in the area were male dominated, and VC firms even more so, a handful of intelligent, driven and focused women made inroads into VC firms in the 1980's and 1990's and battled their way to the status of partners, facing systemic sex discrimination, harassment, and all the other challenges of raising a family and maintaining a m ...more
Jul 22, 2019 rated it liked it
The stories of these women is one I will never forget. They are names I have never heard of and I have lived in Silicon Valley for over 10 years. While the writing is the reason I am giving the book 3 stars, that shouldn’t take away from the lives these women have led. Their stories have inspired me to dream bigger and push harder for what is right.
Very interesting to follow the lives of multiple women of different backgrounds and personalities through the decades.
Jo-Ann Duff (Duffy The Writer)
May 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Alpha Girls is a comprehensive and intriguing look into the lives of four incredible women.

Magdalena Yesil who arrived in the USA with $43 in her pocket and through grit and determination would go on to help Marc Bentoff build Salesforce.

Mary Jane Elmore came from country Indiana and became one of the first women in the US to make partner at a Venture Capital firm.

Theresia Gouw who was an over achiever since childhood and from working class roots helped build companies such as Facebook, Trulla,
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great book I was introduced to for a women in business book club at work.

I loved the truth in the ladies stories. Everything is so relevant, as it tracks the women through ~2018. Thank you for writing this book!
Therese Wiese
Loved this book. I was not familiar with the four women highlighted, but their experiences and observations were totally relatable to many of my own experiences In business. In other hands, this book could have been pretty dry. The author did a good job at really providing insight.
May 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Remember your favorite books that kept you up until 3:00AM because you just couldn’t put them down? Alpha Girls is one of those 3 AM books for me! Julian Guthrie endears her characters to the reader; I had to stay up to finish the book and find out how their lives evolved. The women of Alpha Girls are role models for females, and the book has significant messages for men as well.
Alpha Girls is one of those rare books that truly inspired me. Without a doubt, women in the venture capital world are
Katie Janson
Sep 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
The content of this book is so interesting, it follows the stories of a handful of woman VCs in the Sillicon Valley. However the writing is so jumbled and bland I found it extraordinarily hard to get through. Also referring to these women as “Alpha Girls” and talking about their retreats at spas as opposed to the men’s retreats at cigar shops (etc) just feels a little belittling considering their successes and ages. I feel like it may have been intended to be a book showcasing women empowerment ...more
Ashley Szofer
Sep 17, 2019 rated it liked it
While I firmly believe we need to tell way more stories of female power and success, and this book certainly does that, the actual prose is hard to follow. It jumps around a lot without giving you any real sense of the characters or any reason to be attached to them in particular. There were certainly interesting anecdotes and it's important to see stories of women like this to provide role models for girls. But as a book, it could have been done better. ...more
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Topical and super relatable for me. Loved it!
Yanitsa Ilieva
May 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Definitely a learning material for me listening to all those successful women stories! Inspiring
Priyadarshi Ranjan
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
Great read. Very well written. Recommended for all.
Because we work with start-up companies and venture capitalist firms everyday, it was insightful to learn more about what our clients do through Julian Guthrie’s 2019 book which tells the story of 4 successful women entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.

How do they change the world? VCs invest in the ideas of entrepreneurs. Successful start-ups shape and change how we live, from the way we communicate to the technology we use, from the cars we drive to the breakthrough medical treatments we may
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
really enjoyed this book and was happy that I understood all the business language after taking a class of intro to business

"evertytime she turned, she felt as if society were telling her she needed to be less of a succes at work to be more of a succes at home"
• the first investor and board member of Tesla was a woman, Laurie Yoler
• Margaret Thatcher took elocution lessons to deepen her voice, to better be heard
• Magdalena Yesil, originally from Turkey, was the first woman who got a master deg
Mark Bullock
Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I figured I would love this book, and I did. It follows the careers of four women who dreamed of a career in Silicon Valley VC (venture capital), and made it a reality. At different firms, they knew what they wanted and persevered in spite of male bias, the old boy's club, and occasional unwanted advances. They demonstrated determination in the face of these obstacles and overcame them to become general partners in VC firms, having a say in and leading rounds of investing in young startup compan ...more
Jan 30, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2020
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 02, 2020 rated it liked it
There have been a number of books about the success stories of Silicon Valley. Almost none of these are about women. We need to hear more about those women who have jumped into SV and fought against the male majority. This book, Alpha Girls, is an attempt to do so. It contains the detailed stories of four women who persisted against all obstacles in Silicon Valley. But I have some problems with the execution:
- The story of each women is chopped up and told little by little in each chapter. This
Aug 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: current_events
Guthrie highlights four women who succeeded in Silicon Valley during the heyday of venture capitalism, IT, and the internet's birth. All of the women were extremely intelligent, skilled, and driven. And all four had to deal with the worst of "toxic masculinity." They handled it in various ways, but mainly by becoming more like the "boys" and developing a thick skin (and working twice as hard for half the credit). In addition, even with all of the adjustments the women made, they were still viewe ...more
Nov 01, 2020 rated it did not like it
I couldn’t read more than the first chapter of this book, it was too infuriating to endure. The book clearly thinks of itself as feminist literature, but I should have realised from the title that it was yet again sensationalising female entrepreneurs, implying somewhat offensively that it’s incredible that a WOMAN of all people could do something like this, and simultaneously enforcing the narrative that one must be in business or finance to be successful. The women in this book are truly wonde ...more
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely riveting read.

You follow a small group of women as they grow and develop their careers in Silicon Valley and beyond. Though the women share a few path similarities (like having an engineering background), each woman follows a pretty unique path. Known names like Amazon, Steve Jobs/Apple, Elon Musk, Sephora, etc. show up throughout the book, reminding us that these companies were only created a short time ago and that women most definitely had an important hand in their development
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Julian Guthrie is a NYT best-selling author who spent 20 years as a journalist with the San Francisco Chronicle. She is drawn to improbable underdog stories that combine great human drama with game-changing innovations. Her feature writing and enterprise reporting have been nominated multiple times for the Pulitzer Prize.
Ms. Guthrie's new book, Alpha Girls: The Women Upstarts Who Took on Silicon

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