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A thorough, important examination of the often sleazy, male-dominated world of Silicon Valley.

An in-depth analysis of the tech-industry brotherhood.

Why aren’t there more women working in Silicon Valley? According to Bloomberg TV journalist Chang, “women hold a mere quarter of computing jobs in the United States, down from 36 percent in 1991.” In her first book, the author takes a deep dive into this frat-boy–like society of engineers and designers, an environment that has “become toxic for women.” Beginning with a brief history of the invention of the first computers and the roles women played in developing software for them (think Hidden Figures), Chang shows how personality tests helped force women out of this burgeoning industry. “If you select for an antisocial nerd stereotype,” writes the author, “you will hire more men and fewer women; that’s what the research tells us.” Companies flourished in this male-dominant world, and Chang describes the excessive partying that commonly takes place on the weekends at work-sponsored events. Networking sometimes takes place while sitting in hot tubs, joining in “cuddle puddles,” and/or going to a strip club. The women who do manage to find positions in the industry are constantly subjected to sexual harassment and advances, made to feel inferior; many have even been threatened with rape and/or death. While conducting research, Chang interviewed countless women in the industry, including engineers, video game designers, and those who have scaled to the top—e.g., Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. The women who persevere endure these daily stresses in order to work in a field they love. As the #metoo movement accelerates, this unveiling of the sordid world behind some of the most valuable companies in the world comes as no surprise, but Chang’s scrutiny breaks open a wide doorway, allowing fresh ideas about a tainted industry to circulate and spark discussions.

A thorough, important examination of the often sleazy, male-dominated world of Silicon Valley.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7352-1353-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2018

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Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.

A helpful guide to working effectively with people from other cultures.

“The sad truth is that the vast majority of managers who conduct business internationally have little understanding about how culture is impacting their work,” writes Meyer, a professor at INSEAD, an international business school. Yet they face a wider array of work styles than ever before in dealing with clients, suppliers and colleagues from around the world. When is it best to speak or stay quiet? What is the role of the leader in the room? When working with foreign business people, failing to take cultural differences into account can lead to frustration, misunderstanding or worse. Based on research and her experiences teaching cross-cultural behaviors to executive students, the author examines a handful of key areas. Among others, they include communicating (Anglo-Saxons are explicit; Asians communicate implicitly, requiring listeners to read between the lines), developing a sense of trust (Brazilians do it over long lunches), and decision-making (Germans rely on consensus, Americans on one decider). In each area, the author provides a “culture map scale” that positions behaviors in more than 20 countries along a continuum, allowing readers to anticipate the preferences of individuals from a particular country: Do they like direct or indirect negative feedback? Are they rigid or flexible regarding deadlines? Do they favor verbal or written commitments? And so on. Meyer discusses managers who have faced perplexing situations, such as knowledgeable team members who fail to speak up in meetings or Indians who offer a puzzling half-shake, half-nod of the head. Cultural differences—not personality quirks—are the motivating factors behind many behavioral styles. Depending on our cultures, we understand the world in a particular way, find certain arguments persuasive or lacking merit, and consider some ways of making decisions or measuring time natural and others quite strange.

These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.

Pub Date: May 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61039-250-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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