Down and Out in Silicon Valley: The High Cost of the High Tech Dream

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9781573929264: Down and Out in Silicon Valley: The High Cost of the High Tech Dream
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Like Icarus flying too close to the sun, many once-promising dot.com entrepreneurs have been burned by overweening ambition and come crashing to the ground. Besides the economic wreckage left in the wake of their high-flying dreams there is also a good deal of psychological turmoil. Psychologists Mel Krantzler and his wife Pat, both counselors who have helped hundreds of managers and CEOs of high-tech companies cope with dreams turned to nightmares, expose the shadowy side of Silicon Valley in this revealing book about the personal costs of "success." In addition to being a psychologist, Dr. Krantzler is also a trained economist. His economic expertise, combined with his psychology practice, enables him to uniquely illuminate Silicon Valley's culture from both perspectives. This is the first book to explode the romanticized myth of Silicon Valley, which is still so prevalent in advertising and the media.
What you never hear about this Mecca of high-tech culture is that it has one of the highest divorce rates in the world, more children who are psychologically disturbed than in less-affluent areas, almost no affordable decent housing even for those earning $50,000 a year, and widespread alcohol and drug use. What the Krantzlers make clear is that aside from the simple geographical designation, Silicon Valley is the name for a psychological obsession found any place where people believe that instant fame and fortune can be gained through silicon chips and Web sites. This dream nourishes itself on an illusion of power and instant gratification. And like heroin and cocaine, it is highly addictive, promising total happiness, but often ending in disarray and despair.
Based on interviews with many Silicon Valley executives who have decided to change their lives to achieve true well-being for themselves and their families, this book concludes with a formula for real success - a well-rounded, balanced, and fully human life.

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From the Inside Flap:

Reminiscent of the gold rush of 1849, thousands of bright, promising, enthusiastic young people flocked to northern California in the 1980s and 1990s to find their fortunes. Whereas the miners of the nineteenth century believed the streets to be lined with gold, these twentieth-century prospectors saw the streets lined with microchips, personal computers, the Internet, and the World Wide Web. Leaving their old lives behind, these information technologists pursued the rags-to-riches fantasy cultivated by the media and wanted to live the Silicon Valley dream. What they found was, in many cases, more terrifying than they could ever have imagined.

Drawing on their extensive counseling practice, psychologists Mel and Pat Krantzler, who have helped hundreds of managers, CEOs, engineers, and human resource specialists of high-tech companies cope with dreams turned to nightmares, expose the shadowy side of Silicon Valley, the mind-set it exported to other areas of the country, and the awesome personal costs of "success." DOWN AND OUT IN SILICON VALLEY presents a side of high-tech, dot-com culture never explored by the media. The authors reveal the haunting truths that Silicon Valley and its techno-cloned communities throughout the country have one of the highest divorce rates in the world, more children who are psychologically disturbed than in less-affluent areas, no affordable housing even for those earning $50,000 a year, eighty-hour work weeks, and widespread alcohol and drug use.

Although the main focus of this illuminating and intriguing work is the overwhelming impact of the Valley on those who work there, the Krantzlers also present the life cycle of Silicon Valley high-tech industry, from its birth in the early 1970s, through its boom in the late 1990s, to its virtual collapse in the year 2000. They have also incorporated a thought-provoking investigation of the myth of gender equality in the high-tech industry and an encouraging section detailing how a number of archetypal Silicon Valley workers have made the decision to achieve true well-being for themselves and their families, with a formula for real success--a well-rounded, balanced, and fully human life. The book concludes with a chapter exploring the shattering effects of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, on the area and the industry. These attacks may have caused more layoffs, more red-ink for bottom lines, and greater uncertainty about sales and the future, but this does not! preclude a sense of self-renewal based on a more humanistic lifestyle from being felt in the Valley.

DOWN AND OUT IN SILICON VALLEY is the first book to explode the romanticized myth of Silicon Valley, which is still so prevalent in advertising and the media. It will leave readers with a vastly different perspective on technology and the Internet in the world around them. It projects a vision of new technology in the service of humankind rather than in exploitive greed.

About the Author:

Mel Krantzler, Ph.D., and Patricia Biondi Krantzler, M.A. (San Rafael, CA), are the director and codirector respectively of the Creative Divorce, Love & Marriage Counseling Center and the authors of eight books, including the best-selling The Creative Divorce (over 3 million copies sold), The New Creative Divorce, and The Heart of a Woman. The Krantzlers often appear on local and national radio and television talk shows. Their books have been excerpted in major publications, including Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Men's Health, Woman's Day, and Reader's Digest.

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