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Uncanny Valley: A Memoir

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Uncanny Valley: A Memoir

Written by Anna Wiener

Narrated by Suehyla El-Attar

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars4/5 (99 ratings)
Length: 8 hours

Editor's Note

Editor’s pick…
In her debut memoir, Anna Wiener writes incisively about tech’s outsized influence in everything from politics to privacy. But she’s even more incisive when describing the way she herself was seduced by tech, and — initially — nearly blind to its faults. The memoir may be primarily concerned with the early 2010s, but these insights remain crucially relevant as we turn to face the 2020s.


The prescient account of a journey in Silicon Valley: a defining memoir of our digital age

In her mid-20s, 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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