A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice and a January 2020 IndieNext Pick. An Amazon Best Book of January. One of Vogue's 22 Books to Read This Winter, The Washington Post's 10 Books to Read in January, ELLE's 12 Best Books to Read in 2020, The New York Times's 12 Books to Read in January, Esquire's 15 Best Winter Books, Paste's 10 Most Anticipated Nonfiction Books of 2020, and Entertainment Weekly's 50 Most Anticipated Books of 2020.
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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-of-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.
|Publication Date||Jan 14, 2020|
"Extraordinary . . . Wiener’s storytelling mode is keen and dry, her sentences spare―perfectly suited to let a steady thrum of dread emerge." --Jennifer Szalai, The New York Times
"[Wiener] is here to fill out our worst-case scenarios with shrewd insight and literary detail . . . Wiener is a droll yet gentle guide . . . The real strength of Uncanny Valley comes from her careful parsing of the complex motivations and implications that fortify this new surreality at every level, from the individual body to the body politic." --Lauren Oyler, The New York Times Book Review
"Biting and funny . . . Uncanny Valley will speak to you as well as any book about millennial culture. Its humor is a proxy for the despair Wiener feels about tech culture’s predicament and her helplessness at doing anything about it . . .Uncanny Valley ought to be read by policymakers just as closely as any set of statistics." --Mark Athitakis, Los Angeles Times
"[Uncanny Valley] defamiliarize[s] us with the Internet as we now know it, reminding us of the human desires and ambitions that have shaped its evolution . . . Wiener’s book is studded with sharp assessments." --Sophia Nguyen, The Washington Post