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

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4.07  ·  Rating details ·  234 ratings  ·  42 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
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Hardcover, 304 pages
Published April 30th 2019 by Currency
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Average rating 4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  234 ratings  ·  42 reviews


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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
Elyse  Walters
Dec 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Audiobook....narrated by Kim Mai Guest, and Julian Guthrie

Menlo park… Sand Hill Road...country 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 did...it was definitely *juicy-interesting*.

I live here in Silicon Valley... along with the Apple, Google,
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Laura
Sep 22, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
KLM
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...
Christine
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
Csparrenberger
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.
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
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Jessica
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.
Cassandra
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,
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Beth
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.
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
Beth
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
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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.
tinydancer3
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Topical and super relatable for me. Loved it!
Priyadarshi Ranjan
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
Great read. Very well written. Recommended for all.
Yanitsa Ilieva
May 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Definitely a learning material for me listening to all those successful women stories! Inspiring
Rachel
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
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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 ...more
Bonnie_blu
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 ...more
W.  Frazier
Something about this book is just off. Alpha Girls by Julian Guthrie is an in-depth biography of four very successful women in the venture capital world. The action centers around Menlo Park, Palo Alto, and the esteemed San Hill Road. The women are all super high achievers, the start-ups listed on their resumes impressive. This expose drops names and locales, movers and shakers, the “in” places to work, to live, to eat, to vacation, and even the cars to drive. The start-up histories are ...more
N. Yasmin
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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Allyson
May 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: girlboss
Really enjoyed hearing the four women's stories from junior employee to top of her field. My only compliant with the book is that it felt like a lot was skipped over in terms of meaningful moments. The author also spent a lot of time focusing on female-specific challenges and personal challenges of the women, which I totally understand are all important to their stories. However, this was a book about the women's careers, so I think there should have been a greater emphasis placed on diving into ...more
Buddy Burke
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a high-speed journey of four determined women whom I quickly felt I knew.
Among the standout lessons of the book are how none of the women took the “victim” role, but dealt with unique career obstacles in a positive, roll-with-it manner; and how each discovered and used her individual skills without looking back. I really like the buildup style Julian used- she whet my appetite, jumped to another character, left me hanging just long enough, then hit me with action. She kept the suspense
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John
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I spent a decade in Silicon Valley myself and really wanted to like this book more. I guess I expected more of a deeper look at gender inequality in tech, but this book turned out to be basically a small collection of mini-biographies. As others have commented, it was easy to lose track of who's who as the narrative jumped from person to person. It was never clear exactly how these women were chosen or how they relate to each other. Until the last chapter, I found it very difficult to empathize ...more
Brian
Dec 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Alpha Girls follows the lives of four venture capitalists in Silicon Valley and their bumpy rise to the top of the VC game and the prejudices and tribulations that face women in the tech industry. From closing deals on Facebook to Salesforce this book lets you see the behind the scenes on some of the greatest stories in tech from the venture capitalist side. This is a fascinating book for people of all genders and does one of the best dives into the VC world that I have read to date. The four ...more
Carolyn
Nov 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Carolyn by: Silicon Valley Reads 2020
Unlike other females-in-tech books that I've read, Alpha Girls emphasizes the positives. It celebrates the success of four women who were accepted by tech companies and venture capital firms early in Silicon Valley evolution. The women talked about the importance of having women role-models, friends and allies who understood the challenges of being one of only a few women at their firms. The women didn't whine about the men who occasionally disrespected them. They discussed the strategies that ...more
Andreana
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent, super inspiring, super necessary book. My main issue is the structure. For the first third to half of the book, I couldn't keep the different women straight, as the beginnings of their stories were pretty similar and the tone was a bit drier. So, perhaps if the first third to half were written so each of the four women's backgrounds were outlined up until a point instead of in bits and pieces, I would've gotten a better grip on their early lives.

That said, the back half of the book
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Roy Carlisle
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Just a quick fan "letter" as I loved reading Alpha Girls. As the father of 3 adult daughters I am always aware of their unique challenges in work environments. My oldest daughter, Erica, just got promoted to VP at Zymergen in Emeryville, and she has such a good attitude about supporting both the women and men on her team. Although she does make us laugh at our weekly Friday night dinners when she tells us anecdotes about how hard it is sometimes to teach men to be collaborative and supportive. ...more
Alla Alimova
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: feminism
I very much enjoyed reading personal and professional stories about female VC. Hats off to ladies who were brave to share their stories with the world and the author to pursue this theme! The topic is fascinating especially because there is not much written about it (this is the first book I came across at least). Giving 4 stars because it was hard to switch context between 4 different tracks. Would have been easier to read each story individually. Other than that, fascinating read and ...more
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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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