Uncanny Valley: Book summary and reviews of Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener

Uncanny Valley

by Anna Wiener

Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener X
Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener
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Book Summary

The prescient, page-turning account of a journey in Silicon Valley: a defining memoir of our digital age.

In her mid-twenties, at the height of tech industry idealism, Anna Wiener―stuck, broke, and looking for meaning in her work, like any good millennial--left a job in book publishing for the promise of the new digital economy. She moved from New York to San Francisco, where she landed at a big-data startup in the heart of the Silicon Valley bubble: a world of surreal extravagance, dubious success, and fresh-faced entrepreneurs hell-bent on domination, glory, and, of course, progress.

Anna arrived amidst a massive cultural shift, as the tech industry rapidly transformed into a locus of wealth and power rivaling Wall Street. But amid the company ski vacations and in-office speakeasies, boyish camaraderie and ride-or-die corporate fealty, a new Silicon Valley began to emerge: one in far over its head, one that enriched itself at the expense of the idyllic future it claimed to be building.

Part coming-age-story, part portrait of an already-bygone era, Anna Wiener's memoir is a rare first-person glimpse into high-flying, reckless startup culture at a time of unchecked ambition, unregulated surveillance, wild fortune, and accelerating political power. With wit, candor, and heart, Anna deftly charts the tech industry's shift from self-appointed world savior to democracy-endangering liability, alongside a personal narrative of aspiration, ambivalence, and disillusionment.

Unsparing and incisive, Uncanny Valley is a cautionary tale, and a revelatory interrogation of a world reckoning with consequences its unwitting designers are only beginning to understand.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Equal parts bildungsroman and insider report, this book reveals not just excesses of the tech-startup landscape, but also the Faustian bargains and hidden political agendas embedded in the so-called 'inspiration culture' underlying a too-powerful industry. A funny, highly informative, and terrifying read." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Wiener is an entertaining writer, and those interested in a behind-the-scenes look at life in Silicon Valley will want to take a look." - Publishers Weekly

"Alternately outrageous and outraging. What makes Uncanny Valley unforgettable is not just Wiener's unique take on tech, but the fun of being along on the journey with her...She's generous, quippy, introspective and always self-deprecating. Technophobes have nothing to fear; she employs jargon mainly for laughs." - Shelf Awareness

"Uncanny Valley is an addictive combination of coming-of-age story, journalistic memoir, and brilliant social critique. This is a stunningly good book. I loved it." - Dani Shapiro, author of Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love

"I've never read anything like Uncanny Valley, which is both a searching bird's-eye study of an industry and a generation, as well as an intimate, microscopic portrait of ambition and hope and dread. Anna Wiener writes about the promise and the decay of Silicon Valley with the impossibly pleasurable combination of a precise, razored intellect and a soft, incandescent heart." - Jia Tolentino, author of Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion

"Like Joan Didion at a startup." - Rebecca Solnit, author of Call Them By Their True Names

This information about Uncanny Valley shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Anna Wiener

Anna Wiener is a contributing writer to the New Yorker online, where she writes about Silicon Valley, startup culture, and technology. Her work has appeared in the Atlantic, New York, the New Republic, and n+1, as well as in Best American Nonrequired Reading 2017. She lives in San Francisco. Uncanny Valley is her first book.

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