Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener [Book Summary – Review]


Over the years, the new gold was the attack of Silicon Valley. By selling personal data of users, fortunes that create mind-blowing wealth have been created by using venture capital financing by millions of confident twenty years old white men.

Not only tech-savvy users but also, skilled thousands of years old army, which has been paid abundantly so as not to think very watchful apropos their reflections, props the industry. One of them was Anna Wiener.

Anna, who has escaped from the tough world of New York publishing for the idealism of Silicon Valley, labored in the technology industry for four years. In this summary, she will be pursued for the reasons that the industry will be seduced by its positive vision for the future, gradually disappointed with false promises after eagerly starting a new career. Besides, when she starts valuing her skills in her terms, she may find a sense of her job.


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Chapter 1 – Anna wanted to continue her dream career, which was broadcasting in New York, but because of the stagnation in 2008, it looked like a dead-end street.


Before the financial crisis in 2008, graduating from top US universities with a high degree would guarantee a job and finally good a career. After the recession, Anna Wiener and other humanities departments wanted to enter the publishing world in New York, and success was far from certain.

In America after the recession, publishing was what became a nostalgic attraction that resonated with its environment. At the same time in Brooklyn, about being civic host were being unconsciously spoken by people, the garter was worn, and gin of home-made wild plum was drunk from Mason jars. Analog photos were taken and spare pins were bought to use for record players.

An industry that suits this relaxed and simple nostalgia has started the book sale and kept expanding to sell everything by matching its attitude towards the corporation of literature, is the definition of publishing. Publishing experts are people who are passionate about literature, whose executives fail to lose to companies that don’t care about books.

However, it was not a defendable career way anymore.

Everyone that Anna and Anna knew from the deputy publisher class had a secondary source of income. For example, they worked as copywriters or bartenders. Many people, including Anna, could work in publishing due to the financial safety net.

Moreover, they could be discarded. The reason for this is; there was always a fresher, more energetic, more idealistic graduate who could work with less money and someone with a more forgiving financial safety net.



Meanwhile, Anna’s age was beginning in companies in Silicon Valley. She thought she was doing her first million and doing what was important. On the other hand, she was smoking weed, buying shawl dresses that were too expensive to afford, and complaining significantly.

Anna desired to earn money, feel valuable, find her place in the world, and build a career. One day while she was eating salad at her desk with feeling sad and hangover, she saw a paper about a start to enterprise to increase three million dollars to reform book publishing. However, she had not yet known that this was an alteration in pockets for Silicon Valley and she was inside.


Chapter 2 – Anna was interested in the publishing start-up because the works appeared purposeful. However, she realized the cracks in the frontage.


It was an article about publishing, which revealed the photograph of the founders by grinning buttoned shirts and by telegraphing easy trust. How persuasive, high-functioning and unpretentiously ambitious were jealous of Anna.  In her interviews where she applied and was invited for an interview, she was affected by the normal man and their unpopular behavior.

A three-month trial, curated by book titles and copywriting from New York offices, was offered to Anna and happily accepted the job. The job was exciting. For the first time, she had the expertise for the first time in his career. Of course, although part of her job also included making coffee and choosing healthy snacks that founders can easily access, being in a small team of five would make Anna feel that her contribution was important.

Colleagues of her had doubts as to whether the business model was really good for the broadcast industry, which it largely brushed. What Anna thought was that they felt excluded.

In the end, the honeymoon term has ended. Anna’s relationship with the founders became increasingly nervous because she realized that they were not all in good harmony.



For a thing, Anna began to doubt whether the founders, about it or the users of the app care about literature. The attempts to establish a company book club were constantly ignored by the founders, and the names of Hemingway were incorrectly written on the field deck, again by the founders. When the CEO mentioned the company as a lifestyle service, Anna was convinced that this was designed not for people who read, but for those who want to indicate that they are readers.

She also realized that the founders did not have a confident authority and that she did not have a brassy feature, after all, Anna was the last blow.

As an early startup employee, what she eventually learned; was that you had to create your own business without instructions. More importantly, you should make it look indispensable. One day, the CEO accidentally wrote to the company chat group, designed only for other founders, “She was very interested in learning but not making.” Then, the CEO apologized profusely, but the post was on the wall. Her first start-up work had started its way.

However, her tale in the technology market had only just begun. Anna looked confidently into a future in Silicon Valley through a job interview established by the founders of the publisher organization.


Chapter 3 – Technology permits a lucrative and effective future, but when Anna came to San Francisco, she became estranged and displaced.


The thing, that Anna saw when she came in San Francisco, was a town that had already become a late-capitalist hell of spiked rents and associated company-branded Pride parades designed by heterosexual digital marketing managers. Artists and creative genres – people with whom Anna is friends in New York – were already moving to noble neighborhoods in other US cities, priced with new technology transfers like her.

She rented a room from a couple living in their basement and wanting to rent their homes full time, using a platform of thousands of years used by foreigners to rent their bedrooms. However, she did not ensure if she could exploit a knife from their kitchen or read a book on their couch. For this reason, she felt like an intruder.

Because of her job interview with the initiation of mobile analysis, increased feelings of becoming foreign. Once, when she wore the shift dress and blazer in the interview, it made her sense like a daffodil in an office dressed fluffy jackets and decorative climbing carabiners to cross over a glacier.

Later, for four hours, carousels were asked to do things like anticipating the number of employees in the U.S. Postal Service or explaining the internet, like a medieval farmer. The top cherry, the tech founder, allowed her to take an entrance exam to a law school while checking his e-mails.

For the first time, she found out that competencies in technology were invalidated by cheerful vivacious determination or running in Valley parlance. As she finally learned, interviews like this are common applications in Silicon Valley. The purpose of dense questioning is to designate whether a candidate is good at problem-solving and whether it is appropriate for the company culture.



Eventually, she managed to find a job, as she did not rely on any of her answers to the interview questions and certainly was not based on his absent background in data analysis. Instead, she received an offer thanks to her excellent score on the exam that they managed.

Her initial wage is $ 65,000 per year plus advantages. This was an incomprehensible amount for Anna, as the publishing world was used to the understanding of famine. When the desired drunk feeling admitted that she was ambitious, she professionally outweighed the feeling of sales she received.

But then she noticed that at this age and nowadays, making a sale is the best method for payment.


Chapter 4 – Anna effusively adopted the corporate culture in her new job and first of all, it provided her to feel useful in her career.


Anna’s new company, mastered in Big Data, was identified as a digging tool during Gold-Rush. It was a fact accepted by everyone; They didn’t know what they needed from Big Data, but everyone knew they needed it. The income model was not significant for them, but that was fine. Anna would discover that the simple economy has no impact on the enterprise-supported ecosystem.

Meanwhile, discovering the simple code and how to correct it made her feel like a smart. And the first time in her career, he was not in charge of preparing anyone’s coffee.

For correcting customers’ problems, she had to be able to see internal code infrastructures. This was named God Mode. Nobody did care about privacy. Beginning engineers who can work can search for users’ driving histories, without mentioning their business partners and former partners, by following the travel of celebrities and politicians. Engineers at her company are even able to use God Mode to buy, sell, or sell public companies based on their internal dimensions.



She had a room in a rented-controlled apartment and she shared the room with two other technology employees whose total revenue exceeded $ 400,000 per year. She thought that these weren’t people to whom rent-controlled buildings were designed. One night at a party, she heard someone talking about purchasing a house for investment in Oakland where is a historic black city across the bay. It would be very dangerous to live there.

Enterprise of mobile analytical was making money, and Anna was making good in it. She became friends with CTO, and the CEO said to her that as they desired her to lead her department one day, they needed more women in a leadership position.

She embraced the company culture and allowed it to be a part of her identity. She was proud when seeing a stranger wearing her company shirt in the gym, and she appreciated that she could have a strange self at work as long as she was productive.

She has also changed. Similarly like all other employees at her company, she began to wearing flannel and Australian work boots, dropping Vitamin B and listening to EDM. She was encouraged to advance code discovering by saying she would personally introduce her when she could create a networked, two-man checkerboard game by CEO. She made a weekend effort, then renounced. Her engineer colleagues told to her that this process was impossible for a beginner coder and there was not a fair difficulty for the CEO to adjust.

Within two months, it was again given an increase to her.


Chapter 5 – Although her excitement at work, Anna’s new life has been isolated from time to time.


Anna’s job might have been surprising, but she was having a hard time building a social life in San Francisco.

As she was in the office for more than ten hours every day, she got somewhat closer to her office coworkers. But outside of the technology stage, she would see most of the people recognized by her as neo-hippies sticking to San Francisco’s quickly disappeared radicalism culture.

Although Anna tried new events like ecstatic dance and Reiki, she couldn’t join them. And now, friendship applications knew how companies like her handled users’ data. Thereby she went to dinner with her phone, she sensed sorry for herself.

At work, she began to realize that the values ​​of her company did not reflect his value. Edward Snowden, a few months before his job, announced the government’s practice of reading individual communications of private citizens without their permission. Her company has also been healed with sensitive individual knowledge, but no one has spoken of the tale. Anna was feeling increasingly excluded.

The company’s recruitment policy only contributed to this emotion. While their companies are growing fast, the founders have employed people just like themselves: hundreds of ambitious men. Only eight out of 60 employees were women, and sexism was common in the office. Still, Anna loved her coworkers and tried to give her as best as she could. If she compared to other women she met in the industry, it was better. However, the thing, that had been very low, was the bar.



The distinction between technical and non-technical workers was becoming more distinct and alien by Anna. In Silicon Valley, coding improved culturally and pecuniary over softer ability sets. The operations manager who had been a public advocate in his company’s past life has now planned complaints about the choice of snacks for privileged men in their twenties. But coders were angry at non-technical workers to herald more bureaucracy and dilute the lunch conversation level.

As she thought of her old life, she realized how much she had shifted since she came to the Valley. One day at the job, Anna was desired to make a list of the five most intelligent people whom Anna knew before and try to hire them. She underlined the differences between her new self and her old friends. Thanks to money, she was motivated, obsessive with work analysis. On the contrary, the thing that was lustful, emotional and chaotic, was their world. She did not know where she belonged to anymore.


Chapter 6 – When she started having actual friendships, the glossy coating of Anna’s work started to corrode.


One day, while the CEO was at the watching of his favorite movie about hackers, Anna looked at him and was curious about how her boss was. After all, he was only a child. He never went to a fulltime job. Worse, it can be brutal and closed-minded. Sometimes he treated his employees quietly. When Anna promoted him to send positive feedback to the team, “Why must I appreciate them for doing their job well? I pay them a salary for this”, he said.

Anna was having actual friendships only from those who reinforced the belief that the CEO’s action was not ordinary. She got closer to Noah who was a well-loved worker in the company. Noah seemed like her friends at college, for example; they were like men who collected art books and knew how to keep a conversation. He also made friends outside the technology area and lived in common life experiences in Berkeley.

One night she met Noah’s flat-mate Ian at a party. Ian was friendly and polite. Anna started to feel beautiful and interesting thanks to him. Best of all, he was a worker in robotics but disliked talking about the work, at parties. They began dating each other.

Whereas she was starting to improve outside the office, her job area was getting worse and worse.



During Noah’s annual review, he desired for switching in goods, company culture, and compensation. The CEO briefly dismissed him and desired for the resigning of any of his shocked coworkers, who did not attend with Noah’s judgment.

Moreover, with new hiring, misogyny in the office was becoming insufferable. One of her coworkers has compiled a list of female coworkers ranked according to women workers’ charm. One of the new hires approached Anna’s desk with his scooter and; “I love flirting Jewish women and you’re very sensitive,” he said. Thereupon, Anna took the matter to her manager and the answer she received from her manager was; “I’m sorry for what happened, but that’s just who he is.”

Eventually, Anna was disappointed with her company’s mission. She started to think about the moral consequences of collecting and distributing data and noticed that she worked in a supervision corporate.

Anna delivered her notice to her employers with a small fantasy. However, she was not yet ready to quit her technology career.


Chapter 7 – In the beginning, the hacker soul of another attempt was energetic, but sexism and alienation still disturbed Anna.


One afternoon, Anna was found herself sitting in a spotlessly modeled reception room after the Oval Office. For another startup selling software to developers, she was doing an interview. The office is sticky and embarrassing, but it was liked by Anna. The hacker culture of the company, which has been exemplified by a flat hierarchy and your wage policy for years, has been imaged.

Still, it was known to have several red flags. The company had recently struggled with a fairly common gender discrimination scandal brought on by a female developer. The employment proposition of Anna also included a $ 10,000 payment cut and the insulting headline of Supportocat.

Nevertheless, Anna agreed to the job. The reason for acceptance is; it was the company’s intercultural, techno-utopian ethos that she thought was more in line with Anna’s values ​​and goals. She also said to herself that the discrimination scandal may help her to fix a healthful corporate culture.

But she did not wait for a long time to confirm her first fears. A few weeks after she started, and abuse campaign that was good prepared, was started against women in the game, with the help of the company’s platform to store knowledge about their targets, by a group of internet trolls. After weeks of controversial discussions, as the company shut down the warehouse, the trolls showed a reaction angrily, dispatching death threats and other harassment to supporting staff.

Anna was annoyed by the flame behavior that the rest of the team pointed toward abuse. “Don’t worry,” said Anna’s coworker, when she indicated him a particularly disturbing message. “She will not be pushed to kill by her mom.”

To contribute to her discomfort, he soon found out that the radically bare construction that charmed to her in the beginning indeed enlarged inequality and isolation.



While arguing the gender discrimination scandal with other female developers at a women’s computing conference in Phoenix, Anna discovered that the absence of hierarchy added up of the closest one to the CEO has the implicit power -namely young, white, male developers-

Flexible working policies also became foreign. She often labored from home and rarely talked to coworkers. Her job necessitates very little real job, but it required a lot of online time, so she constantly wasted her days to surf onto strangers ‘wedding offers and cats’ lemon-eating web pages.

As seen in the next section, she made a trip home to remove her out of the internet-based professional coma.


Chapter 8 – It was noticed by Anna that she should jeopardize herself for a successful career in Silicon Valley.


After returning to New York, cleaning up her parents’ basement. Anna read her bachelor’s thesis and tested her old clothes on her body. She wept at an experimental dance concert and sensed more like herself than she had for years.

However, she also noticed that she didn’t admire the person whom she had changed.

Strolling through her childhood neighborhood of Brooklyn, she saw how much the town had shifted. Realizing the development of modernist condominium on the Brooklyn beaches built for tech waters, she was long outraged at the end when San Franciscans felt their city was invaded by people like her.

She saw liked, low-paying creative employees, and was embarrassed that she needed to gain much more than when writing support letters and making significant civic contributions. She also got angry as she was too dependent on her health insurance and comfortable wage to job to reach her targets. The problem was that she didn’t know what her targets were.

When she returned to San Francisco, she realized a similar disturbance that spread among her coteries.

Most of her peers working on the software were disturbed only by the cliff in the Cloud between her work with them. As a way to address this, it was popular to undertake handicraft projects for men around them, such as woodworking or homemade.  When comes to Anna, she sensed so detached from her work that sometimes she gets up at the end of the day and thought: “Oh right – one body.”



However, she could not find logic in leaving her job for a more creative existence as a possibility for someone in her life stage. Radical principles were sacrificed for the stability of a reliable wage, even by her wildest friends outside the technology scene – for example; People who practice tai chi and have group sex on weekends outside the city. Even they were getting technology jobs: journalists contacted institutional; artists resided in the social network that everyone disliked.

After a few hours of work on Silicon Valley a successful CEO, who is a friend of Anna, at dinner one-night approved Anna had been feeling since her travel to New York: she would have to sacrifice herself to be successful in technology. We will soon find out how much sacrifice this will mean for Anna.


Chapter 9 – Anna’s last straw was when she noticed that the technology community was unable to identify real-world problems that could be solved much less.


One night, a few years after her arrival in San Francisco, when she delivered over a crazy friend’s phone outside the tech scene, Anna went out for a drink. According to her, the appliance would collect a file like a pervert or a spy from the places she frequently visited.

It took several years to get used to the knowledge that Anna’s every move was being tracked. So, when she didn’t shock or even surprise her friend’s revelations, also he looked at her as if she was a sociopath. She was concerned that she and her entire community had taken the moral test represented by the NSA information gap years ago. People have normalized and eased the design of databases of human activities that have been specially maintained.

Jobs at work also became frightening. The canals on her company’s platform were increasingly awful and hated. An article was published by a far-right journal that her company was anti-white, and the comments section exploded. Death threats flooded; one was reliable enough to close HQ for a day. Someone uploaded a game where players race to murder Jews.



The answer of the company was toothless. She and her coworkers dispatched emails using male aliases, kindly asked people to switch their swastika items and take off the anti-Jewish comics they had installed.

By the way, the housing crisis of San Francisco had been brought to a boil. Outside her window, homeless people, who wear t-shirts decorated with technology company logos, would defecate to plants. In the same neighborhood, according to each new technology IPO, it would get a new twenty-month crop of cash, offering 60 percent at the price of million-dollar homes.

The belief that entrepreneurs will save the world has been infused by the reflection chamber of the technology industry. And sometimes it was tried, but often this meant a comprehensive reinvention of the wheel, while significantly ignoring the underlying structural problems.

A great illustration: more than one founders have collected millions of dollars to build social living areas in San Francisco’s harsh neighborhoods where poorer, browner people are evacuated to live in similar social living conditions. Well, what is the difference?  Uncontrolled chunky could not only contribute to the enriching of investors but also, people, who live in it, had no other place to go.

Anna realized that people in the field of technology fighting with words passionately about a world that is not a world. Moreover, she finally realized that the real world was actually how it should be.


Chapter 10 – When she could separate her worth from those of the technology industry, Anna could discover meaning in her issue.


One night, after another tech world party, where she felt like a stranger, Anna told her boyfriend that she did not have the accuracy, confidence, and power to be successful in Silicon Valley. “I think so,” said her boyfriend Ian, “you’re despising what you don’t own.”

Anna adopted the industry’s prioritization of ability sets, placing them close to her bottom. Her empathy and emotional quotient had not been valued by the technology peoples, pushing them to be successful.

Anna was convinced that her goals and projects were more important than her by the technology industry. But now she realized that the whole country was seduced by these arrogant younger men from the suburbs of America and even the world.

However, at the end of his tenure at the start of open-source software, he saw a flash of how things could get better. He had a familiar look at his office for lunch, and the person who came in looked different than usual wearing a leather jacket and aviator sunglasses. He asked Anna if she had heard of a leak of documents that revealed the illegal activities and personal information of the very rich. Then he told Anna that he was the one who leaked the information.

She felt hopeful because of the revelation. She was thrilled because of some of the brightest people who started experiencing moral inaccuracies about the Silicon Valley project in the technology.



However, this information gap was the exception, not the rule. It was still a secret for Anna who completely motivated the technology world and her most successful actors. Anna was asking these two questions to herself; ‘Could they only be in building systems?’ or ‘Could their real desires, such as sincerity, community or desire to be loved, be more universally related?’

Eventually, she couldn’t discover it – and it didn’t matter. These were doing well by the men of Silicon Valley. But the one who wants more was Anna.

Three and a half years later she left her job at the start of open-source software to write full time. Before leaving, she used stock options. When she made a profit for the start-up, she earned about two hundred thousand dollars from taxes.

On the afternoon after the gain, one of her coworkers wrote something about that summarize Anna’s experience in the technology world rattlingly. She said that “It’s like having a battle diamond,” and “It’s precious, but it brings unforgivably human cost.”


Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener Book Review


For many y generations which including Anna, it was too much to resist from a job that promising effective work and reliable health insurance in Silicon Valley. But when she realized the darker side of the industry and found out value her abilities distinctively, she could quit her job that was high salary and discover the sense of her work.


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Savaş Ateş

I'm a software engineer. I like reading books and writing summaries. I like to play soccer too :) Good Reads Profile: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/106467014-sava-ate

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