Uncanny Valley (memoir)

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Uncanny Valley: A Memoir
Uncanny Valley (Anna Wiener).png
First edition cover
AuthorAnna Wiener
CountryUnited States
PublisherMCD Books
Publication date
14 January 2020
Media typePrint (hardcover), e-book
ISBN978-0-374-27801-4 (hardcover)
338.4/760979473 B
LC ClassHC107.C2 H5335 2020

Uncanny Valley is a 2020 memoir by writer Anna Wiener. The book focuses on Wiener's transition from the publishing industry to a series of jobs at technology companies, and her gradual disillusionment with the technology industry.

Background and composition[edit]

Wiener moved to San Francisco from New York City at the age of 25 to pursue a job in the tech industry. Upon arriving, she had few friends, and corresponded over email with friends still in New York. Wiener also emailed herself notes about amusing conversations or interactions she overheard or witnessed and saved them in a folder she dubbed "Notes to Self".[1] These emails and text messages later proved useful when writing Uncanny Valley.

The earliest version of what would later become Uncanny Valley appeared in literary magazine n+1 in 2016.[2] Wiener did not include the names of the companies at which she worked, in the original piece or the book, opting instead to describe the companies' business models and reputations.[3] She employed the same descriptive strategy when referencing other technology companies, and other organizations with connections to Silicon Valley and tech generally, such as Stanford University. Examples include referring to Facebook as "the social network everyone hated" rather than referring directly to the corporation.[4]


According to literary review aggregator Book Marks, the book received mostly "Positive" reviews.[5]


  1. ^ Westenfeld, Adrienne (14 January 2020). "Anna Wiener Dissects the Brain Rot of Big Tech in Her Searing New Memoir". Esquire. Retrieved 5 February 2020.
  2. ^ Rankin, Seija (20 January 2020). "Meet Anna Wiener, the debut author whose memoir could change Silicon Valley". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 5 February 2020.
  3. ^ Kois, Dan (7 January 2020). "A Complete Guide to the Handful of Proper Nouns Anna Wiener Uses in Uncanny Valley". Slate. Retrieved 5 February 2020.
  4. ^ Harris, Malcolm (3 February 2020). "The Uneasy Promise of Life in Silicon Valley". The New Republic.
  5. ^ "Uncanny Valley: A Memoir". Book Marks. Literary Hub. Retrieved 6 February 2020.