Summary of Sarah Frier and Anna Wiener: US National Book Festival 2021

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Sarah Frier and Anna Wiener: US National Book Festival 2021 summary

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Laurie Segall of CBS News welcomes Sarah Frier, author of No Filter, and Anna Wiener, author of Uncanny Valley, to the 2021 Library of Congress National Book Festival. Frier covered Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram. Working for start-ups in Silicon Valley, Wiener witnessed tech entrepreneurs who believed they were changing the world. The authors discuss how technology intersects with culture and shapes society as they reflect on women in tech.

About the Speakers

Bloomberg News senior technology reporter Sarah Frier wrote No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram, which won the 2020 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award. NPR, The Boston Globe, The Atlantic, Forbes and The Washington Post named New Yorker correspondent Anna Wiener’s Uncanny Valley as one of 2020’s best books. Laurie Segall, a correspondent for 60 Minutes Plus and CBS News, founded Dot Dot Dot Media.

Summary

In the 2000s, young, inexperienced techies in San Francisco believed they would change the world.

Anna Wiener’s book, Uncanny Valley, is a coming-of-age story. Moving from New York to San Francisco in her 20s and starting out in low-level positions, she witnessed the disruptiveness that defined start-up culture. To young tech entrepreneurs, building apps and platforms was the most important work 20-somethings could possibly do. 

They worked hard, built friendships and believed that, if they were making money, they must be performing a worthy, useful social function. Wiener found the environment so incredibly seductive that it distracted her from deeper questions: Is this work really valuable? And, does this work align with my values?

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