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John Carreyrou, Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup (2018).

Bad Blood is a blood-curdling example of the startup principle “fake it ‘til you make it.” This is a cautionary tale for startup founders and investors and sets the standard for workers who see something wrong and choose to take action instead of remaining silent.

Max H. Bazerman and Ann E. Tenbrunsel, Blind Spots: Why We Fail to Do What’s Right and What to Do about It (2014).

Bazerman and Tenbrunsel illustrate how ethical blindness leads us to act unethically while believing we are acting ethically. This book approaches business ethics from a behavioral science perspective.

Emily Chang, Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley (2018).

Chang examines sexism and gender inequality in Silicon Valley. This book shines a spotlight on how industry culture is built and perpetuated for better and worse.

John Mackey and Raj Sisodia, Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business (2013).

Mackey and Sisodia articulate four pillars of Conscious Capitalism: (1) higher purpose, (2) stakeholder integration, (3) conscious leadership and (4) conscious culture and management. The second tenet, stakeholder integration, focuses on the value creation that results when corporations recognize the value of all their stakeholders.

Joseph L. Badaracco Jr., Defining Moments: When Managers Must Choose Between Right and Right (2016).

Badaracco explains that the moral dilemmas faced by managers often require choosing not between right and wrong but between right and right. This book draws on philosophy, literature and case studies to provide guidance on asking the questions that help managers reach ethical solutions.

Cennydd Bowles, Future Ethics (2018).

“Claiming that technology itself is morally neutral is a reassuring fig leaf worn by many technologists, but evidence against that idea has mounted to staggering proportions, and many digitally-savvy thinkers are confronting these apparently unprecedented moral dilemmas with fresh eyes.” Cennydd Bowles, Future Ethics

Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind, The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron (2003).

The collapse of Enron was the result of a dysfunctional workplace culture where ethical blindness existed mostly unchecked and fraud was almost inevitable.

Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow (2011).

Kahneman, a Nobel laureate in Economics, summarizes his research on System 1 and System 2 thinking and why humans should not trust their gut instincts when making important decisions. “Daniel Kahneman demonstrates forcefully in his new book … how easy it is for humans to swerve away from rationality.” Christopher Shea, The Washington Post

Ben Horowitz, What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture (2020).

Horowitz, a leading venture capitalist, offers lessons from history and modern organizational practice to help leaders build healthy, sustainable cultures. “Because your culture is how your company makes decisions when you’re not there. It’s the set of assumptions your employees use to resolve the problems they face every day. It’s how they behave when no one is looking. If you don’t methodically set your culture, then two-thirds of it will end up being accidental, and the rest will be a mistake.” From What You Do Is Who You Are.

Susan Fowler, Whistleblower: My Journey to Silicon Valley and Fight for Justice at Uber (2020)

Fowler details the culture of sexism, harassment and retaliation at Uber and her decision to blow the whistle in a blog post that led to the eventual ouster of the company’s co-founder and other executives.

Eugene Soltes, Why They Do It: Inside the Mind of the White-Collar Criminal (2016).

Why They Do It is based on interviews with some of the white-collar criminals involved in the biggest corporate scandals of recent history. Soltes shows that these scandals did not all arise from greed and hubris, but at times resulted simply from executives making decisions based on misdirected intuition.

Edward Snowden, Permanent Record (2019).

This memoir recounts Snowden’s disclosure of mass surveillance by the U.S. government. “I did a dangerous thing for a man in my position. … I decided to tell the truth.” Edward Snowden

Katy Cook, The Psychology of Silicon Valley: Ethical Threats and Emotional Unintelligence in the Tech Industry (2019).

“The Psychology of Silicon Valley offers a revealing look inside the world’s most influential industry and how the beliefs, culture, motivations, and behaviors of Big Tech are harming society. The book explores how bad values and a lack of emotional intelligence in the industry will have lasting consequences on everything from social inequality to the future of work to our collective mental health. Drawing on hundreds of interviews and over six years of research, Dr. Cook expertly walks readers through the psychological landscape of Silicon Valley, including its leadership, ethical, and cultural problems, and artfully explains why we cannot afford to ignore the psychology and ethics that are behind our technology any longer.” From

Ellen Pao, Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change (2017).

“Pao sued a powerhouse Silicon Valley venture capital firm, calling out workplace discrimination and retaliation against women and other underrepresented groups. Her suit rocked the tech world—and exposed its toxic culture and homogeneity.” From

Marianne Jennings, Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse: How to Spot Moral Meltdowns in Companies...before It's Too Late (2006).

Jennings identifies seven common threads in business that cause good people to act unethically: (1) pressure to maintain numbers, (2) fear and silence, (3) young ‘uns and a bigger-than-life CEO, (4) a weak board of directors, (5) conflicts of interest overlooked or unaddressed, (6) innovation like no other company and (7) goodness in some areas atones for evil in others.

Margaret O’Mara, The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America (2019).

This history of Silicon Valley is the story of the entrepreneurs who built a homogeneous community that has come to rule the world and “whose belief in its own mythology has deepened into a collective hubris that has led to astonishing triumphs as well as devastating second-order effects.”

James O’Toole, The Enlightened Capitalists: Cautionary Tales of Business Pioneers Who Tried to Do Well by Doing Good (2019).

O’Toole explores the paths of leaders who built profitable companies with ethical organizational practices, from 19 th century British industrialist Robert Owen to entrepreneur Anita Roddick of The Body Shop, by adopting business practices designed to serve the needs of all stakeholders.