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  • Book
  • Open Access
  • © 2020

The Psychology of Silicon Valley

Ethical Threats and Emotional Unintelligence in the Tech Industry

Palgrave Macmillan


  • Explores the norms, values and characteristics that drive behaviors within the technology industry capital of the world, Silicon Valley

  • Argues that the values prioritized in this industry affect social values and behaviors of people globally

  • Presents recommendations for how to practically improve ethics in tech companies

  • This is an Open Access book

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 23.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Table of contents (10 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-viii
  2. Introduction

    • Katy Cook
    Pages 1-6Open Access
  3. Psychology

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 7-7
    2. Identity

      • Katy Cook
      Pages 9-35Open Access
    3. Culture & Environment

      • Katy Cook
      Pages 37-64Open Access
    4. Myths & Stories

      • Katy Cook
      Pages 65-94Open Access
    5. Motivation

      • Katy Cook
      Pages 95-122Open Access
  4. Impacts

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 123-123
    2. Truth, Information & Democracy

      • Katy Cook
      Pages 125-166Open Access
    3. Economic Inequality & Employment

      • Katy Cook
      Pages 167-195Open Access
    4. Mental Health, Relationships & Cognition

      • Katy Cook
      Pages 197-233Open Access
  5. Next Steps

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 235-235
    2. A Way Forward

      • Katy Cook
      Pages 237-289Open Access
    3. Conclusion

      • Katy Cook
      Pages 291-295Open Access
  6. Back Matter

    Pages 297-314

About this book

Misinformation. Job displacement. Information overload. Economic inequality. Digital addiction. The breakdown of democracy, civility, and truth itself.

This open access book explores the conscious and unconscious norms, values, and characteristics that drive behaviors within the high-tech capital of the world, Silicon Valley, and the sector it represents. In an era where the reach and influence of a single industry has the potential to define the future of our world, it has become apparent just how little we know about the organizations driving these changes. The Psychology of Silicon Valley offers a revealing look inside the mind of world’s most influential industry and how the identity, culture, myths, and motivations of Big Tech are harming society. 

The book argues that the bad values and lack of emotional intelligence borne in the vacuum of Silicon Valley will have lasting consequences on everything from social equality to the future of work to our collective mental health. Katy Cook expertly walks us 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 values that are behind our technology any longer.


  • Silicon Valley
  • Tech company ethics
  • history of Silicon Valley
  • identity
  • diversity in the tech industry
  • women in tech
  • technopaternalism
  • hypercapitalism
  • “free” advertising business model
  • social impacts of technology
  • fake news
  • misinformation on social media
  • impact of technology on employment
  • gig economy
  • wellbeing in the technology industry
  • leadership psychology
  • open access


“This unique psychology-based approach to the digital economy is a valuable, scholarly achievement. Many other authors have made these same connections over the past few years, but Cook offers a meticulously well-sourced compilation of these critiques. … Scholarship, timeliness, and an informed psychological perspective set this book apart from other Silicon Valley critiques.” (Kirkus,, December 17, 2019)

Authors and Affiliations

  • Centre for Technology Awareness, London, UK

    Katy Cook

About the author

Katy Cook is Founder and Director of the Centre for Technology Awareness. She is an expert on the intersection of technology, ethics, and psychology and holds a PhD and two MAs in psychology and modern culture studies.

Bibliographic Information

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 23.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)