10 Books All Women in Tech Should Read

May 17, 2019 | Georgina Varley

Women of Silicon Valley 2019 Books

From memoirs written by successful entrepreneurs, to best-selling books about the future of technology, we share our top pick of titles that all female tech workers need to read. 

Develop your work-related vocabulary, expand your knowledge of your discipline, and empower yourself by reading stories from other women in your field. Here's our selection of must-read books for all women in tech who are looking to smash the glass-ceiling.

1. Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys' Club of Silicon Valley by Emily Chang

Women are vastly outnumbered in America’s Silicon Valley, with female technology workers occupying just 11% of executive positions in the locality. Bloomberg TV journalist Emily Chang delves into this issue in her powerful exposé, Brotopia.

With insight from top women entrepreneurs such as Marissa MayerSusan Wojcicki, and Niniane WangChang helps to shed light on the tech hub's 'bro culture'. This is easily one of the best books about Silicon Valley that deals with its staggering gender diversity problem in a fresh and insightful manner. Described by the Financial Times as "an important examination of why the technology industry is so dominated by men", this national bestseller is a must-read. 


2. Life in Code: A Personal History of Technology by Ellen Ullman 

"The fierce intelligence of Ellen Ullman's writing has reached cult-like status" according to GQ.com. Indeed, the San Francisco-based computer programmer and author is recognised by publishers as one of the greatest technological minds, her first novel Close to the Machine, for instance, is arguably one of the best technology books of all time. Ullman has also been published in Harper's Magazine, Wired, and The New York Times, to name a handful.  

This, her latest triumph, opens a window into the development of artificial intelligence, the power of computers and how technology affects society. Life In Code will help you understand the last 20 years of technological advancement and provide you with the tools to master the next 20. 

3. Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future by Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson

The best way to keep a finger on the pulse is with books about the future of technology. Machine, Platform, Crowd is essential reading for any woman looking to find out more about integrating the strengths of humanity and technology to establish a better future.

Written by two academic authors from MIT, this is a "clear and crisply written account of machine intelligence, big data, and the sharing economy." Split into two parts, the initial focus is how humankind should embrace the rise of machines. McAfee and Brynjolfsson conclude by highlighting the upheaval caused by platform companies such as Airbnb and Amazon. For all you AI enthusiasts, we highly recommend a read.

4. Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change by Ellen Pao

Written by diversity and inclusion activist and former reddit CEO Ellen Pao, Reset is a firsthand account of a lost workplace discrimination lawsuit. What on the surface might have seemed like a crushing defeat for women working in technology, actually sparked the beginning of a crucial conversation, echoes of which can be seen today in the #MeToo movement.   

Back in 2015, Pao challenged Kleiner Perkins, one of Silicon Valley's top venture capital firms, calling out the alleged bias and discrimination she suffered whilst working for the company. As a result of her actions, there was an onslaught of gender inequality lawsuits in the tech hub, leading to the term "Pao effect" being coined. 

If you have ever faced discrimination in the workplace and are determined to change this, then this book is for you.


5. Female Innovators at Work: Women on Top of Tech by Danielle Newnham 

In 20 candid interviews with female CEOs, founders, and inventors from every corner of the tech world, Danielle Newnham analyses how these successful women have climbed the career ladder to the very top. 

mobile startup and e-commerce entrepreneur herself, Newnham interweaves personal anecdotes with advice from her interviewees in a title that has been reviewed highly by both readers and critics. Pioneers featured include Lynda WeinmanJudith Owigar, Carol E. Reiley and Anisha Singh

If you're interested in books for aspiring entrepreneurs, then Female Innovators at Work is an important addition to your library. 

6. The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries 

Creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty is a challenge, one that Eric Ries aims to shed light on – this is your guide to launching a successful startup. 

The Lean Startup offers innovators a way to test their vision continuously. This is a scientific approach to creating and managing a startup in an age where companies need to think quicker and dream bigger than ever before. Undoubtedly, this international bestseller is one of the best books for female entrepreneurs looking to launch or build their business.

7. Girl Code: Unlocking the Secrets to Success, Sanity, and Happiness for the Female Entrepreneur by Cara Alwill Leyba

Cara Alwill Leyba shares a new code for women in business, confronting pervading stereotypes throughout her work. This commentary is an empowering look into what it means to succeed when you stop pretending everything is perfect, start supporting other women in your field, and talk about your fears, missteps, and failures. Books about female leadership aren't usually so 'real'. 

Alwill Leyba is the author of 8 best-selling self-empowerment books and Girl Code is the ultimate roadmap for businesswomen looking to build confidence in themselves, eradicate jealousy, and harness the power of connection. 

8. Women in Tech: Take Your Career to the Next Level with Practical Advice and Inspiring Stories by Tarah Wheeler 

Tarah Wheeler alternates between teaching essential career skills aimed at tech professionals and delivering inspirational personal stories from successful women in technology. Wheeler herself is a startup CEO, and her collaborators are just as impressive. Contributors include angel investor and digital technology consultant Esther Dyson, Women 2.0 founder Angie Chang, cyber security analyst Keren Elazari, and video game developer Brianna Wu.

Women in Tech tackles the unconscious social bias that women aren't a good fit for tech. Readers will discover the best format for tech resumes, how to ace a tech interview, the secrets of salary negotiation, the perks of both contracting and full-time work, the secrets of mentorship and how to start a tech company. This is required reading for all women in tech.  

9. Technically Wrong: Sexist Apps, Biased Algorithms, and Other Threats of Toxic Tech by Sara Wachter-Boettcher

In Technically Wrong, the oversights, biases, and ethical problems posed by modern tech products are demystified, leaving the reader better able to make informed choices about the services they use and eloquently demand more from companies that are perpetrating these 'toxic tech' trends.

Commenting on Sara Wachter-Boettcher's work for the Evening Standard, journalist Amelia Heathman said, "Bias in algorithms is a major topic at the moment and, for that reason alone, everyone should read Sara Wachter-Boettcher's book."

Technically Wrong covers a lot of ground, from the way that most products are built with men in mind, to how chatbots have been able to harass women, this is an enlightening examination of a subject that we should all be conscious of.

10. The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America's Enemies by Jason Fagone 

Jason Fagone's national bestseller tells the true tale of Elizebeth Smith Friedman and her husband, William, the greatest American codebreaking duo. Elizebeth and William are credited with inventing the modern science of cryptology.

Initially, Elizebeth used her talents to catch smugglers during the Prohibition, later accepting a covert mission that unmasked Nazi spy rings and helped the Allies win World War Two. With a similar atmosphere to The Imitation Game, this book focuses on female innovation in relation to the Enigma machine and is a gripping page-turner.


Interested in finding out about 10 Books All Women in Construction Should Read? Click here.

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