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Whistleblower: My Journey to Silicon Valley and Fight for Justice at Uber

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  1,711 ratings  ·  228 reviews
The unbelievable true story of the young woman who faced down one of the most valuable startups in Silicon Valley history–and what came after.

In 2017, twenty-six-year-old Susan Fowler published a blog post detailing the sexual harassment and retaliation she'd experienced as an entry-level engineer at Uber. The post went viral, leading not only to the ouster of Uber's CEO a
Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published February 18th 2020 by Viking
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Kenny Smith
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Later in the memoir, Fowler relates a seemingly minor anecdote, one that might seem insignificant given the level of mistreatment she's experienced during her time in Silicon Valley. Basically, Uber ordered all the engineers on her team leather jackets. Just like the other employees, Folwer provided her sizing information and promptly forgot about it. Shortly afterwards, she receives an email explaining that because there were so few female engineers, the company wasn't able to get the bulk disc ...more
Feb 19, 2020 rated it it was ok
She presents herself as the only one in the world who has ever struggled to reach success. Too much ego in this prose. Even as a memior, it's too self important. It's great to hear the female experience in tech, however, and I'm glad I read it. It's just not my prefered tone. ...more
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Uber blog post from several years ago left a big impression on me, as I was just emerging from my own experience with a toxic work atmosphere, harassment and issues with the Title IX office in a physics department. It was at a time when such things were not often discussed publicly, so that one learned by stumbling through the mess oneself. I barely knew what harassment was until it happened to me, and I was also naive to believe that I should trust people who told me they would help me (inc ...more
Natalie Walton
Nov 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, non-fiction
An absolutely necessary, very approachable (but still emotionally devastating, so be warned) read about sexism and sexual harassment.
Gemma Milne
I devoured this book in 48 hours, and, TLDR: you should too.

Susan’s blog post blowing the whistle on Uber’s horrific workplace culture in 2017 set in motion changes and tough conversations not just at the ride-sharing startup, but across Silicon Valley and beyond.

Her memoir tells the full story of what happened at Uber in much greater detail, but it would be diminishing to say that this is what this book is about.

It’s so much more.

This is an account of someone not taking no for an answer; of som
Ye Lin Aung
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I almost read it in one gulp but I had to take a break in between because what happened to Susan totally incensed me.

I loved every chapter of it, her upbringing, the dreams, the hunger for knowledge, awful stories of what to her happened (sexual harassment on her first day, Jesus Christ!).

And Susan, you are very very brave. You had to revisit and open the wounds again to write this book. You totally deserve to be commended.
Jordan (Jordy’s Book Club)
Apr 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
QUICK TAKE: I’ve been a fan of Fowler’s since reading SUPER PUMPED, the behind-the-scenes book about the rise and fall of Uber, last year. Fowler is a big part of the "fall" portion of that story, bringing to light Uber’s culture of sexual harassment and gender discrimination in a scathing blog post that went viral worldwide. Her memoir is insightful and infuriating and digs deeper into her time at Uber and in Silicon Valley and gives you hope for the next generation of tech entrepreneurs. Must ...more
Tamar overwhelmed by work, but forging on....
Hell hath no fury....and, from what I read, Uber had no conscience, no compassion, and no humility either. This book is worth reading, if for no other reason than to make you think twice about standing up for your right to be treated fairly, equally, and with respect. That might sound odd, but if you are going to take on the giant you better have a really thick skin, a strong constitution, and a solid base of supporters because the retaliation can be swift, cruel, and relentless.
Mar 04, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
No need to read the book - can look up her original blog post . The only difference is the book has much more of her large ego - tone. Proud of her for standing up but just wish she did it in a more relatable tone to the readers
Afref Fetter Fetter
Feb 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Rating: 3/5

It's hard to rate this book because I truly believe that what was achieved was very important for society and for the world. That said, rating this purely as a book, it falls a little short. For one, the ending feels quite sudden - this still feels like the middle of Susan Fowler's story and not the end. While the anecdotes about Penn were interesting, they seemed as though they would best align with the Uber story as a series of blogposts, rather than a book.

The audiobook felt a bit
Tim Jarrett
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What an incredibly difficult read. Fowler is honest and clear eyed about her life before Uber and provides all the details behind the infamous blog post that opened up the floodgates for stories about sexual harassment in Silicon Valley and led to the ouster of Uber’s CEO. It’s difficult because the gaslighting that Fowler faced every step of the way was so pervasive that it made me want to scream. Hats off to Susan and all those like her who have fought for the right simply to do their jobs wit ...more
Aug 29, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I can appreciate her struggle without connecting with the writing.
Niklas Pivic
It got to the point where I wasn’t able to hold back my tears until after meetings anymore. I found myself wiping tears from my face right there in the meetings, hoping that nobody would notice; then I’d go home after work and cry myself to sleep. On days like that, I thought seriously about leaving Uber. I even applied for several other jobs. But, ultimately, I decided to stay. I was twenty-five years old. Uber was the third company I’d worked at since I graduated from Penn only a year and a ha
Feb 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a straight-to-the-point account of the excruciating details she went through at Uber and how she survived the aftermath. It's shorter than I expected, but the suspense of being under covert and over surveillance carries the pace fully. My minor criticism is, the book builds up with her story as tech/science woman, until 3/4 in, when she gives it all up because, well actually, "her dream was to be a writer". Oh.

The bits where the current Uber CEO essentially admits Travis Kalanick had a
Aug 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
I truly hate giving this book so few stars. I really, really hate being so critical of such a brave woman who endured so much at the hands of sexist people both in higher-education and at Uber but, I have to be honest about my opinion.

To start with, the story itself is easy to follow and as someone who did not read her blog, it was enlightening to hear her side of the story. What I disliked about the book is her writing style and how it felt like she had to get across how she's so smart she can
Evelyn Ding
Feb 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I sat down and read this book in two sittings, after having left it on my shelf for over a year. Similar to "Know My Name," I avoided this book for a while, afraid that certain elements of the story would be too painful to read or hit a little too close to home. Susan Fowler's story beyond her time at Uber is incredible, and shows how her persistence and commitment to learning have helped her overcome a lack of access to formal education and various other roadblocks that were placed in her path. ...more
Ren (A Bookish Balance)
4.25/5 stars

Whistleblower is a memoir following Susan Fowler throughout childhood until after her difficult experiences with Uber.

Susan is such an inspiration, her passion towards education and her drive to get one was incredible. The hardships she faced before entering the workforce truly built her into a person capable of facing and exposing the toxic and abusive work environment at Uber. Memoirs from whistleblowers might be my new favourite thing, I mean why wouldn't I want to read about an i
I'm hesitant to read Silicon Valley books, because I live and work in San Francisco.

But! I also worked with Susan back in the day on some of her technical talks. I appreciated how kind, positive, and easy she was to work with, and was always impressed and inspired by her talent.

I sort of assumed, like everyone else at the company we were both at seemed to be, that she was "born that way." Born a genius, someone that everything came to naturally. Reading this book taught me I was SO OFF, and ma
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was ok
If you're interested in her experience with Uber alone, you need only to read the blog post. What makes up the volume of the book is a succession of adjacent experiences where the author found herself in a conflict, brought it to the appropriate people, and was ultimately told to put aside her concerns for the advancement/well being of men. Her time with Uber was ultimately the straw that broke the camel's back, and it's an important story. As a book, I rate it on the lower side due to writing s ...more
Apr 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
At first, I was a little put off by the extensive details of her childhood and experiences at college- I mean, this was supposed to be a book about the culture at Uber, right? But starting with her career at Uber, or even in Silicon Valley, wouldn't have explained her quick reflexes to document and report everything that happened to her along the way and it also would have made it seem like she complained at the first little thing that had ever happened to her. While I've read worse accounts of ...more
Apr 12, 2020 rated it liked it
I was pretty grossed out but not surprised. The heroic journey of a woman who pursued justice. She didn't want to be the woman who was sexually harassed, but who stood up to harassment. Like other authors of memoirs regarding sexual assaults & harassment, she claimed her existence by the pen. ...more
Megan Harris
Second book for the reading rush complete!
I don't feel comfortable giving memoirs etc star ratings most of the time, so I won't.
Such an important read. Enlightening, depressing, inspiring.
Parker Mayer
Oct 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Absolute beast, Susan Fowler is. 🚀
Jun 06, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. This is a fairly short, quick book, worth reading. I found her unusual upbringing and motivation to learn even more interesting than the Uber experience and a weird saga from college that didn’t make a lot of sense. Her tenure at Uber and in Silicon Valley before Uber was quite short, so it felt like she had to really do some expanding to try to fill out that portion of the book.
Jason Herres
Great and important read for anyone in tech

Author tells a tale that many of us can not only imagine but likely have seen the seeds of in our own tech careers. Hopefully a harbinger of changes to come.
Greg Stoll
Feb 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Very well-written book about Fowler's life and experiences with sexism/terribleness at UPenn, Plaid (a Silicon Valley startup), PubNub (another startup), and, most notably, Uber.

Obviously the stuff about Uber is here, and yes, it's terrible. (Fowler's blog post about Uber kicked off a wave of investigations that led to the CEO's ouster) Even setting the sexism aside (which you absolutely should not) it sounds like a dreadful place to work. And after the blog post there is more insanity.

But two o
Aug 22, 2020 rated it it was ok

I do not doubt that the events in this book occurred. But their unrelenting outlandishness makes for a strange read. Finally, on page 150 this is acknowledged, "I would share details of what was going on with Chad, my friends and my family; while they believed me, they often said that it was so far from acceptable or normal workplace behavior that it almost defied belief." The Uber events, combined with very similar and aberrant events as Penn, Plaid and PubNub start to create a numbing cascade.
Jun Chen
Jul 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
I liked and disliked this book. Fowler's story is an inspirational one - from how she taught herself what she needed to get into a school, to how she was courageous enough to pick the battles to fight - it showed me beyond what I believed was possible. What bugs me is some parts of the narrative, where she asked for a raise within six months of starting a job, complaining about the workload as a junior engineer in the office- "too eager", "too soon", "too aggressive" were the words that came to ...more
Mar 22, 2020 rated it it was ok
I really wanted this to be better. After reading the excellent “Know My Name” and “Catch and Kill,” this story of sexism and injustice fell short, by comparison, for me. The facts of Fowler’s story are compelling, so it’s disappointing that she didn’t have a better editor or ghostwriter to help her tell it. And honestly, if you’ve read all the media accounts of her story over the past few years (plus her original blog post), you don’t need to read this book. It doesn’t add much that’s interestin ...more
May 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Must read

Highly recommended for everyone in the tech industry.
Bigger take aways:
- being a whistle blower takes courage, energy, resources and a squeky clean record,if you don't have all four you are going to have a bad time.
- tech bros are the worst
- being a woman in a male dominated industry sucks, but thanks to people like Susan Fowler things will get better
- remarkable story well written
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The technology op-ed editor at The New York Times, Susan Fowler has been named a "Person of the Year" by Time, The Financial Times, and the Webby Awards, and has appeared on Fortune's "40 under 40" list, Vanity Fair's New Establishment List, Marie Claire's New Guard List, the Bloomberg 50, the Upstart 50, the Recode 100, and more. She is the author of a book on computer programming that has been i ...more

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