Kim-Mai Cutler

Kim-Mai Cutler

Partner at @initialized. Previously @techcrunch. When life hands me lemons, I make tarte au citron.


20+ Book Recommendations by Kim-Mai Cutler

  • @antoniogm This was a really good memoir by a law professor functioning with schizophrenia

  • "With the New Economics Foundation"--Cover.


  • The Swamp

    Michael Grunwald

    @marksecada @sarthakgh This is an excellent book

  • Something for Nothing

    Terrence Daryl Shulman

    David Sears and Jack Citrin wrote a whole book on this in 1982. It was titled, "Something For Nothing."

  • Uncanny Valley

    Anna Wiener

    The prescient, page-turning account of a journey in Silicon Valley: a defining memoir of our digital age In her mid-twenties, at the height of tech industry idealism, Anna Wiener—stuck, broke, and looking for meaning in her work, like any good millennial—left a job in book publishing for the promise of the new digital economy. She moved from New York to San Francisco, where she landed at a big-data startup in the heart of the Silicon Valley bubble: a world of surreal extravagance, dubious success, and fresh-faced entrepreneurs hell-bent on domination, glory, and, of course, progress. Anna arrived during a massive cultural shift, as the tech industry rapidly transformed into a locus of wealth and power rivaling Wall Street. But amid the company ski vacations and in-office speakeasies, boyish camaraderie and ride-or-die corporate fealty, a new Silicon Valley began to emerge: one in far over its head, one that enriched itself at the expense of the idyllic future it claimed to be building. Part coming-of-age-story, part portrait of an already bygone era, Anna Wiener’s memoir, Uncanny Valley, is a rare first-person glimpse into high-flying, reckless startup culture at a time of unchecked ambition, unregulated surveillance, wild fortune, and accelerating political power. With wit, candor, and heart, Anna deftly charts the tech industry’s shift from self-appointed world savior to democracy-endangering liability, alongside a personal narrative of aspiration, ambivalence, and disillusionment.

    Congratulations to @annawiener for ending up on the @nytimes 100 notable books list this year. I hope more people in industry read this exquisitely written memoir of a very recent, and yet distant, time period in tech industry history:

  • The Two-Income Trap

    Elizabeth Warren

    This groundbreaking expose brings to light the surprising financial consequences of mothers going to work, and the precarious position of today's middle class"

    @briannekimmel @jomayra_herrera @APatelThompson @helena @AmandaMGoetz There’s lots of books on it. @ewarren’s Two Income Trap. @ehaspel’s Crawling Behind. We have portfolio founders like @ShadiahS on it with @GetKinside

  • Crawling Behind

    Elliot Haspel

    “I’ve totally washed away the dream of having one more child.” “I had never intended to be a stay-at-home-parent, but the cost of child care turned me into one.” “We had to pull our toddler out of his program because we couldn’t afford to have two kids in high-quality care.” These are not the voices of those down on their luck, but the voices of America’s middle class. The lack of affordable, available, high-quality childcare is a boulder on the backs of all but the most affluent. Millions of hard-working families are left gasping for air while the next generation misses out on a strong start. To date, we’ve been fighting this five-alarm fire with the policy equivalent of beach toy water buckets. It’s time for a bold investment in America’s families and America’s future. There’s only one viable solution: Childcare should be free.

    @briannekimmel @jomayra_herrera @APatelThompson @helena @AmandaMGoetz There’s lots of books on it. @ewarren’s Two Income Trap. @ehaspel’s Crawling Behind. We have portfolio founders like @ShadiahS on it with @GetKinside

  • Locking Up Our Own

    James Forman Jr.

    Winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction Long-listed for the National Book Award Finalist, Current Interest Category, Los Angeles Times Book Prizes One of The New York Times Book Review's 10 Best Books of 2017 Short-listed for the Inaugural Goddard Riverside Stephan Russo Book Prize for Social Justice Former public defender James Forman, Jr. is a leading critic of mass incarceration and its disproportionate impact on people of color. In Locking Up Our Own, he seeks to understand the war on crime that began in the 1970s and why it was supported by many African American leaders in the nation’s urban centers. Forman shows us that the first substantial cohort of black mayors, judges, and police chiefs took office amid a surge in crime and drug addiction. Many prominent black officials, including Washington, D.C. mayor Marion Barry and federal prosecutor Eric Holder, feared that the gains of the civil rights movement were being undermined by lawlessness—and thus embraced tough-on-crime measures, including longer sentences and aggressive police tactics. In the face of skyrocketing murder rates and the proliferation of open-air drug markets, they believed they had no choice. But the policies they adopted would have devastating consequences for residents of poor black neighborhoods. A former D.C. public defender, Forman tells riveting stories of politicians, community activists, police officers, defendants, and crime victims. He writes with compassion about individuals trapped in terrible dilemmas—from the men and women he represented in court to officials struggling to respond to a public safety emergency. Locking Up Our Own enriches our understanding of why our society became so punitive and offers important lessons to anyone concerned about the future of race and the criminal justice system in this country.

    @blader there's also generational nuance here, between the period of time she grew up in SF, when violent crime was more prevalent, and subsequent and up-and-coming generations of Black political leadership. I would look at @jformanjr's book

  • Grant

    Ron Chernow

    @anniefryman @ben_mathes @webdevMason @micsolana I wish there was a “take a break until you finish Ron Chernow’s Grant biography and whatever the best Fidel bio book is which I sadly don’t know” button and then we could all come back together and have a deep discussion.

  • A rich, multifaceted history of affirmative action from the Civil Rights Act of 1866 through today's tumultuous times From acclaimed legal historian, author of a biography of Louis Brandeis ("Remarkable" --Anthony Lewis, The New York Review of Books, "Definitive"--Jeffrey Rosen, The New Republic) and Dissent and the Supreme Court ("Riveting"--Dahlia Lithwick, The New York Times Book Review), a history of affirmative action from its beginning with the Civil Rights Act of 1866 to the first use of the term in 1935 with the enactment of the National Labor Relations Act (the Wagner Act) to 1961 and John F. Kennedy's Executive Order 10925, mandating that federal contractors take "affirmative action" to ensure that there be no discrimination by "race, creed, color, or national origin" down to today's American society. Melvin Urofsky explores affirmative action in relation to sex, gender, and education and shows that nearly every public university in the country has at one time or another instituted some form of affirmative action plan--some successful, others not. Urofsky traces the evolution of affirmative action through labor and the struggle for racial equality, writing of World War I and the exodus that began when some six million African Americans moved northward between 1910 and 1960, one of the greatest internal migrations in the country's history. He describes how Harry Truman, after becoming president in 1945, fought for Roosevelt's Fair Employment Practice Act and, surprising everyone, appointed a distinguished panel to serve as the President's Commission on Civil Rights, as well as appointing the first black judge on a federal appeals court in 1948 and, by executive order later that year, ordering full racial integration in the armed forces. In this important, ambitious, far-reaching book, Urofsky writes about the affirmative action cases decided by the Supreme Court: cases that either upheld or struck down particular plans that affected both governmental and private entities. We come to fully understand the societal impact of affirmative action: how and why it has helped, and inflamed, people of all walks of life; how it has evolved; and how, and why, it is still needed.

    Started reading Melvin Urofsky’s history of affirmative action, and it’s remarkable that it was the Republican Nixon administration (not LBJ or Kennedy) that was the one to first instate hard quotas for fear of riots.

  • The Guarded Gate

    Daniel Okrent

    And so is "The Guarded Gate," which is almost like a prequel to Yang's book about the run-up to the 1924 immigration law and its roots in eugenics and race science.

  • As you can tell, I like U.S. immigration policy histories. "Impossible Subjects" by Mae Ngai is also great.

  • Still reading. Check out her book.

  • Reading @jialynnyang's book. Rekt by this paragraph. Imagine being an Asian-American fighting all the way to the Supreme Court for citizenship, losing, and then having your only son die fighting for this country in WWII.

  • White Fragility

    Robin DiAngelo

    Explores counterproductive reactions white people have when discussing racism that serve to protect their positions and maintain racial inequality.

    @bramcohen I have a book suggestion for you. You can take it or leave it. But I hope you'll at least consider it.

  • @johncalhoom @BenChiarelli @eriktorenberg Please go read Ari Berman's book about the 1965 VRA, the DOJ agreement and Shelby vs. Holder and then we can have an informed conversation if you are sincerely curious and open-minded. Otherwise, I'm not going to engage with a troll. Thanks.

  • The Great Influenza

    John M. Barry

    An account of the deadly influenza epidemic of 1918, which took the lives of millions of people around the world, examines its causes, its impact on early twentieth-century society, and the lasting implications of the crisis.

    From John Barry’s history of the 1918 pandemic:

  • Epidemics and Society

    Frank M. Snowden

    A "brilliant and sobering" (Paul Kennedy, Wall Street Journal) look at the history and human costs of pandemic outbreaks The World Economic Forum #1 book to read for context on the coronavirus outbreak This sweeping exploration of the impact of epidemic diseases looks at how mass infectious outbreaks have shaped society, from the Black Death to today. In a clear and accessible style, Frank M. Snowden reveals the ways that diseases have not only influenced medical science and public health, but also transformed the arts, religion, intellectual history, and warfare. A multidisciplinary and comparative investigation of the medical and social history of the major epidemics, this volume touches on themes such as the evolution of medical therapy, plague literature, poverty, the environment, and mass hysteria. In addition to providing historical perspective on diseases such as smallpox, cholera, and tuberculosis, Snowden examines the fallout from recent epidemics such as HIV/AIDS, SARS, and Ebola and the question of the world's preparedness for the next generation of diseases.


  • Whistleblower

    Susan Fowler

    In 2017, twenty-five-year-old Susan Fowler published a blog post detailing the sexual harassment and retaliation she'd experienced as an entry-level engineer at Uber. The post went viral, leading not only to the ouster of Uber's CEO and twenty other employees, but 'starting a bonfire on creepy sexual behaviour in Silicon Valley that... spread to Hollywood and engulfed Harvey Weinstein' (Maureen Dowd, The New York Times). The moving story of a woman's lifelong fight to do what she loves - despite repeatedly being told no or treated as less-than - Whistleblower is both a riveting read and a source of inspiration for anyone seeking to stand up against inequality in their own workplace.

    I didn't think I could respect @susanthesquark anymore than I already did, but then I started reading her book and learned that her first job as a child was working on a spider farm that "milked" spiders for venom to sell to research labs to make ends meet for her family. (?!) 🕷️

  • Americanah

    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie