The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth
When school lunchroom doors open, hungry students rush in, searching for tables where they wouldn't be outsiders. Of course, in middle school and high school, almost everyone is an outsider: the nerds, the new girls, the band geeks, the loners; even the "popular" cheerleaders. Alexandra Robbins' The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth takes us inside the hallways of real schools to show us how shifting cliques and permanent marginalization affect children. Following individual students over the course of a year, she tracks the plight and possibilities of self-confessed nerds, freaks, punks, Goths, and weirdos. Her central message is heartening: Our increasingly homogenized society ultimately needs and welcomes the cafeteria fringe.

The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth Details

TitleThe Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 1st, 2009
PublisherHachette Books
ISBN-139781401302023
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Psychology, Education

The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth Review

  • Alexandra Robbins
    January 1, 1970
    To thank you awesome Goodreads friends for the Best Nonfiction win, I'll be giving away FREE COPIES of the new Geeks paperback. Just head on over to facebook.com/authorAlexandraRobbins for a bunch of giveaways over the next week or two. There's a contest up there right now, based on the new Geeks video.take care!Alexandra
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  • P. Aaron Potter
    January 1, 1970
    The title is, unfortunately, simply wrong.This *should* have been much more compelling. As an academic, an educator, a past and present (and future) geek, one with geeklings of my own, and a guy who genuinely wants to be optimistic about our future as a country and a species, I'd love to read about how the geeks - intelligent, semi-obsessive nerds who get way too into some abstruse knowledge - are going to take over and turn our overly pragmatic and materialistic society into the Star Trek unive The title is, unfortunately, simply wrong.This *should* have been much more compelling. As an academic, an educator, a past and present (and future) geek, one with geeklings of my own, and a guy who genuinely wants to be optimistic about our future as a country and a species, I'd love to read about how the geeks - intelligent, semi-obsessive nerds who get way too into some abstruse knowledge - are going to take over and turn our overly pragmatic and materialistic society into the Star Trek universe of Gene Roddenberry and Gary Gygax's dreams.Didn't happen in this book.What we get instead is a series of fairly dull anecdotes. No significant statistical analysis. Poor scholarship. And word choices that make it very clear that Robbins has a chip on her shoulder about the size of a Borg cube. She *wants* geeks to win, so she uses snarky language to insult anyone who is mean to her adoptive 'subjects'...but totally ignores any evidence that might actually, you know, prove her thesis. Instead, she just comes across as even more judgmental and mean-spirited than the jerks who used to give all us geeks swirlies back in the day. Replacing one group of oppressive goons with your own is not the future I'm looking for. Happily, Robbins is just a lone voice in the wilderness, some distance away from the actually interesting advances in geek culture which have come about because, thanks to teh intahrnets, we can now find each other.Mind you, while Robbins' thesis is deeply clouded by her personal wish-fulfillment, it's at least more sincere than all these yahoos jumping on the geek bandwagon because of the (90% false) belief that this is somehow a cultural watershed moment for nerds. The world is still, sadly, owned by business majors and jocks. Nerds do tech support and serve as the butt of jokes. The big difference is that improved communications technologies mean we now have conferences and readily available support groups. That's awesome, but let's not fall victim to the echo-chamber effect, guys.Verdict: Go read *anything* by Wil Wheaton instead.
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  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    WOW.I really struggled to get through this book. Nuance doesn't sell. I've been an educator for 10 years now, and I've become increasingly frustrated with our culture's mythologizing adolescence. The myths are based in truth - teenage years are awkward, there are bullies, peer approval/disapproval takes precedence - but our mainstream culture has bent and skewed and enlarged the truth to epic proportions, whether to sell books, movies, videos, merchandise, or a way of life. Alexandra Robbins is WOW.I really struggled to get through this book. Nuance doesn't sell. I've been an educator for 10 years now, and I've become increasingly frustrated with our culture's mythologizing adolescence. The myths are based in truth - teenage years are awkward, there are bullies, peer approval/disapproval takes precedence - but our mainstream culture has bent and skewed and enlarged the truth to epic proportions, whether to sell books, movies, videos, merchandise, or a way of life. Alexandra Robbins is riding the wave.Robbins is guilty of doing exactly what she purports kids do these days: she mass-labels. Robbins spends a whole lot of time setting up the two major sides, the popular kids and the fringe. The evil populars are straight out of Gossip Girl or Bratfest at Tiffany's or Heathers, and the fringe, well, they're every kid sitting at a cafeteria table that isn't the popular table, just waiting for the exclusion and wrath of the populars. However, the number of labeled groups that she rattles off as "the fringe" make up far more than a small handful (that the word "fringe" implies), also failing to identify that there is a whole mess of students that fall into the middle spectrum... Time after time, Robbins talks about how the fringe students are excluded. She uses the word exclude to actively blame the evildoers, but exclusion is far more nuanced. There are times we choose to remove ourselves. Many of the teens she follows have chosen to remove themselves. The heart of the story is really in giving them agency to make other active choices. Withdrawal may be the first strategy, but it doesn't have to be the only one.Robbins acknowledges in her book the neuroscience of the adolescent brain. Teens' brains are going through HUGE changes. They can be impulsive and highly emotional (because at this age, that IS what's fully developed). They are struggling with reason and judgment, and they rely heavily on others' perspectives as they try to frame their own. (Let's clarify that much of the scientific information Robbins shares focuses more on middle school development and all of her subjects are high schoolers.) So, if Robbins knows that adolescents are temporarily disabled - it's in the science, folks! - how does it make sense to only interview these adolescents and only share their views/perspectives? Because that would ruin her story. After getting to know these students and investing time and energy in understanding their stories, Robbins offers challenges to the students she's following - she offers them suggestions and the nuanced support that ALL adults should be offering adolescents to help them navigate teen life. She does what every involved adult should do. What many of us are doing. So, what about adult perspectives and adult involvement beyond Robbins herself? We know that adolescents are central to this story, but by no means are they the whole story. While where are plenty of involved adults, let's just look at how she depicts teachers and parents. Enter mass-labeling again. Robbins mass-paints teachers as either apathetic and unwilling to get involved, or like Regan. Regan, the ONE teacher Robbins highlights, is such an adolescent herself, that readers will walk away with that one, very skewed view of educators. So infuriating. So depressing. Same goes for the only parent in any of the story lines, who sounds just full-out off her rocker, yelling and threatening her son with a future in the military. The suggestions at the end of her book give a quick blip of suggestions for students and parents, but lays it on thick for the educators. If I read Robbins' book in a vacuum, I'd vilify teachers too. Seems to be the wave to ride these days. But parents are children's first teachers. Parents are helping to build children's character and giving them tools to steer through life way before we meet those children in our classrooms. Yes, schools need to take a good look at how we set up helpful structures and teachers need to do our best to teach holistically - to honor the whole child - but we have limited time and scope, especially in high school when our interaction with students may be an hour a day.Whew.
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  • Joy D
    January 1, 1970
    Non-fiction recounting the author’s analysis of a plethora of reference materials, along with results of interviews of both students and experts, showing the long-term value of non-conformity. The author has coined the term “quirk theory” to describe the results of her analysis. In the author’s words: “Quirk Theory: Many of the differences that cause a student to be excluded in school are the same traits or real-world skills that others will value, love, respect, or find compelling about that pe Non-fiction recounting the author’s analysis of a plethora of reference materials, along with results of interviews of both students and experts, showing the long-term value of non-conformity. The author has coined the term “quirk theory” to describe the results of her analysis. In the author’s words: “Quirk Theory: Many of the differences that cause a student to be excluded in school are the same traits or real-world skills that others will value, love, respect, or find compelling about that person in adulthood and outside of the school setting...Quirk theory is intended to validate students’ inability or refusal to follow the crowd. It serves as a way to explain that, once they leave the school setting, their lives can improve.”Robbins explains the science behind meanness, exclusion, social labeling, and group dynamics. She observes that high school groups tend to value popularity and conformity, while ignoring, excluding, or even bullying those viewed as “different.” She offers hope to the non-popular individuals that their lives will improve once they move on to college or work environments. She focuses on seven individuals who identify as nerd, band geek, new girl, gamer, weird girl, loner, and popular. She documents the pressures to conform and the inner struggles of those viewed as “inferior.” The author issues a challenge to the seven individuals and discusses their progress with them many times over the course of a school year. The book reads like a series of anecdotes (from the seven individuals) interspersed with a summary of research. I think has merit in helping understand the issues related to group intolerance. It could give hope to those feeling marginalized. Robbins offers suggestions on how to overcome (or at least better ignore) the ostracism they are currently experiencing. She also offers ideas for how parents and schools can help nurture the self-esteem of students with atypical interests, unique style, or extraordinary skills. The same individuals who are tormented in high school can become some of our most prominent thinkers, artists, entrepreneurs, and innovators. It encourages acceptance of others, which I think is an admirable goal. I found it informative and thought-provoking . Recommended to those interested in the psychology of groups, students feeling like they don’t quite “fit in,” and the educators and parents of such students. Contains profanity, homophobia, and references to underage drinking, sex, and drug usage.
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  • Harold
    January 1, 1970
    This was clearly written by someone who wanted to be more popular than she was. I understand the sentiment. Her thesis is accurately encapsulated by the title, and she gives in boring detail the stories of a number of quirky teenagers who may or may not ultimately thrive, but we don't follow them into adulthood (with one exception) so we don't know. She falls prey to stereotypes. In her world being popular is a synonym for not too smart, but bitchy and manipulative. So it is not that suprising t This was clearly written by someone who wanted to be more popular than she was. I understand the sentiment. Her thesis is accurately encapsulated by the title, and she gives in boring detail the stories of a number of quirky teenagers who may or may not ultimately thrive, but we don't follow them into adulthood (with one exception) so we don't know. She falls prey to stereotypes. In her world being popular is a synonym for not too smart, but bitchy and manipulative. So it is not that suprising that she concludes (with very little data) that quirky kids, meaning those classed as emotional, or nerdy, or geeky, or creative, or smart, but who are not in the popular crowd will do better in life than the dumb bitches who are. That is pretty appealing to those of us who think of ourselves as geeky, or nerdy, or emotional, or withdrawn, and are (or were) jealous of the popular kids. And if you or your children are not as popular as you or they wish, this may be an excellent book to read and share, to remind yourself that there are other important qualities than being popular. But this book is neither smart writing nor good science. Too bad. I so much wanted to believe I was really in the right crowd afterall.
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    I have enough to say about this book that I could write a good ol' fashioned book report on it, but I will try to keep my words to a minimum since I lack eloquence.This is an interesting book, albeit with an idea that isn't revolutionary. Geeks rule the world? Shocker. In an age where technology is king, it only makes sense that the skinny, albino computer nerd will one day become the next Silicon Valley employee and the popular jock will be seriously disappointed when he can't go pro. And altho I have enough to say about this book that I could write a good ol' fashioned book report on it, but I will try to keep my words to a minimum since I lack eloquence.This is an interesting book, albeit with an idea that isn't revolutionary. Geeks rule the world? Shocker. In an age where technology is king, it only makes sense that the skinny, albino computer nerd will one day become the next Silicon Valley employee and the popular jock will be seriously disappointed when he can't go pro. And although I see and somewhat agree with this idea, I also find it to be a flaw: generalizations and stereotypes ruled this book. Every single outcast was brilliant and amazing and destined for greatness (if only he could find a way to pass those classes, overcome his fear of talking, etc.) Guess what? Not all nerds are smart! I have taught this type and made the assumption that if he's a nerd, he must at least be smart. And of course everyone has their own skills and talents, but sometimes the nerds aren't school smart, or inherently good at math. And plenty of popular people ARE smart and have the qualities necessary to succeed in life beyond the confines of high school. I appreciated that she wrote about teachers but she made us sound like we all behave as bad as high schoolers with cliques and gossip and backstabbing. I experienced more of this working at Wells Fargo for a couple of summers than I did at all the schools I volunteered, student taught and taught in. Yes, teachers do have the potential to do this, but anything I saw was extremely mild and the "worst" of it was at a new high school with an unusually young staff. Robbins also portrayed schools as institutions that promote being cool and athletic, without giving merit to students who are involved in "educational" activities (math clubs, etc.) I am not so naive as to think these schools exist, but once again, I have taught across the country and this has never been my experience. During my junior year, being on the chess team became quite popular. In my calc 2 class, we made shirts (a tradition they did every year) and we wore them with pride on every test day. (And there were plenty of "popular" kids in this math class.) I have taught at schools where Debate Team, Mock Trial and the Robotics Club were big deals that were recognized in morning announcements. And I have NEVER been at or worked at a school where being smart was labeled as uncool. I found one of her examples especially ironic: at a school where a teacher tried to start a GSA club, the school wouldn't let her but they had a bulletin board displaying crosses and promoting a Christian Fellowship. I worked at a school with a thriving GSA club, but when some of my students approached the administration about starting a Christian Club, they said we couldn't even take it to the school board because it would be denied. Fortunately, I had a good rapport with the administrators and they allowed us to meet as an unofficial club.She also made some comments that surprised me regarding behaviors that students were getting in trouble for that she didn't agree with, including cross dressing and opposing authority. I really don't think cross dressing is okay and of course students should get in trouble for opposing authority! Why should we teach teens that it's okay to disobey teachers and administration? All this being said (and I do have more to say, but I will spare you), I did agree with her ideas that education should change. Having more creative, less standardized-test-oriented curricula would be a huge advantage for our students and our progress as a country. I am a fairly traditional teacher, but I would have loved more room in my units for exploration and imagination. There's so much pressure to get through 'x' amount of material that it leaves very little room for valuable outside projects and application. I also agree that high school is hard and teachers and parents need to be part of the solution, not the problem. Moms: it is not your job to be the "cool mom" and serve any Hump-day treats. And any teacher who witnesses any sort of bullying should have a zero tolerance policy. My students knew that you don't speak bad about anyone in my class (whether that person be in the room or not, be a student or a teacher, be an enemy or a friend.) I find it terribly difficult to rate this book: I disagreed with her, agreed with her, found the "characters" intriguing and appreciated her challenges to them, found her quick to generalize and stereotype and slow to appreciate that there is always another example to counter the ones she gave. Despite all of this, I enjoyed the book and would recommend it, especially to teachers and all who work with teens. In fact, I would even recommend it to teens. It sheds some light on those tricky adolescent years and reminds all of us to be just a little more sympathetic.
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  • Gary Anderson
    January 1, 1970
    The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth is an important book for parents, educators, and any students who feel marginalized in their school or social life. Alexandra Robbins once again has her finger on the pulse of a critical issue faced by countless young people: persecution or ostracism because of being different from those who are considered popular. Robbins takes readers inside the lives and perspectives of “geeks, loners, punks, floaters, dorks, freaks, nerds, gamers, weirdos, emos, indies, scen The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth is an important book for parents, educators, and any students who feel marginalized in their school or social life. Alexandra Robbins once again has her finger on the pulse of a critical issue faced by countless young people: persecution or ostracism because of being different from those who are considered popular. Robbins takes readers inside the lives and perspectives of “geeks, loners, punks, floaters, dorks, freaks, nerds, gamers, weirdos, emos, indies, scenes.”Robbins presents profiles of several individuals from what she calls the cafeteria fringe, those who cannot find their way into the popular crowd or, in some cases, find anyone at all to relate to at their schools. Woven through the profiles are relevant research findings and insights from professionals who provide psychological and sociological background that moves Robbins’s observations about the individuals into more generalized territory.Robbins finds that the exact characteristics that cause students to be kept out of the popular cliques are the same characteristics that frequently create successful adults: courage, creativity, originality, freethinking, vision, resilience, authenticity, self-awareness, integrity, candor, curiousity, love of learning, and passion. Robbins calls this quirk theory, and provides numerous examples of well-known individuals who were ostracized in adolescence but triumphed as adults. What I admire most about this book is how Alexandra Robbins takes readers from an understanding of the problems to how schools, parents, and students can take steps to minimize this phenomenon in their own environments. Robbins helps each of the young people who are dealing with some degree of ostracism to arrive at a “challenge,” a specific plan for finding a more satisfying, less threatening social life without compromising the individual traits that each of them takes pride in. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that not all of the challenges are met and fulfilled, but all of the individuals do make important realizations about themselves. Near the end of the book, Robbins offers 31 specific, eye-opening ways that schools, parents, teachers, and students can move to prevent or improve circumstances that lead to bullying, ostracism, and intolerance. For example, Robbins recommends that schools “[m]ake credit requirements equitable: … If participation on a school sports team counts as a gym credit, then participation on an academic team or in a drama production also should fulfill a requirement.” I was particularly interested in how educators are portrayed in this book. Although some teachers make important contributions to the well-being of the students, most educators, especially administrators, are shown as oblivious, unsympathetic, and in some cases, complicit conspirators in the difficulties based by ostracized students. One thread of the book deals with teacher cliques, how they affect individual teachers who are not part of the “power group,” and the ways that students become embroiled in negative faculty interpersonal situations.As with her previous book The Overachievers: The Secret Lives of Driven Kids, Alexandra Robbins writes with authority and credibility about what is happening in classrooms, hallways, parties, living rooms, bedrooms, and malls as today’s adolescents deal with unique pressures and problems. If you are interested in today’s high schoolers, both Geeks and Overachievers are must-reads. Cross-posted on my blog at What's Not Wrong?
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  • Andrea Borod
    January 1, 1970
    As a high school teacher, I was excited to read this book after reading an eloquent interview with Alexandra Robbins in Salon.com. The problem with the book lies not with Robbins' sharp and accessible social analysis (this is her strength and, why she strays from it to include unbelievable dialogue, remains a mystery), but with the central characters: while trying to promote an understanding of the Cafeteria Fringe, Robbins follows a bunch of teenagers who speak as though their dialogue were wri As a high school teacher, I was excited to read this book after reading an eloquent interview with Alexandra Robbins in Salon.com. The problem with the book lies not with Robbins' sharp and accessible social analysis (this is her strength and, why she strays from it to include unbelievable dialogue, remains a mystery), but with the central characters: while trying to promote an understanding of the Cafeteria Fringe, Robbins follows a bunch of teenagers who speak as though their dialogue were written by a cheesy CW television writer. I simply could not get into the stories of these students, and did not buy the simple wrap-up to their high school lives. I also found it unsettling that celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, etc. were the ones chosen as examples for those reading the book, as having experienced a tough time in high school. It seemed almost hypocritical, and way beneath Robbins' obvious level of intelligence. I would, however, give her other books a try. As long as there isn't too much focus on what seems to be somewhat contrived social situations and dialogue.
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  • Kressel Housman
    January 1, 1970
    No matter how old I get, school politics, i.e. the tensions between the cliques and the cafeteria fringe, never cease to fascinate me. Since the title and thesis of this book declare victory for the fringe, it was pretty much irresistible. Though it wasn’t as life-changing as I’d hoped, it was definitely a compelling read and particularly uplifting at the end.The book tracks six young people over a year of high school. Most of them are oddballs who fit into the stereotypical labels: the loner gi No matter how old I get, school politics, i.e. the tensions between the cliques and the cafeteria fringe, never cease to fascinate me. Since the title and thesis of this book declare victory for the fringe, it was pretty much irresistible. Though it wasn’t as life-changing as I’d hoped, it was definitely a compelling read and particularly uplifting at the end.The book tracks six young people over a year of high school. Most of them are oddballs who fit into the stereotypical labels: the loner girl, the band geek, the gay gamer. In reality, of course, their personalities extend far beyond the labels. Two of them are much more in “the norm.” One is different because she’s a Jamaican immigrant, neither white nor “ghetto,” and the other is a popular girl ready to break away from her clique. The book alternates between the six stories and adds analysis in between, covering such subjects as social media, parents, drug and alcohol use, and includes one chapter on successful people who were teenage freaks, such as Steven Spielberg, Stephen Colbert, and Taylor Swift.If you grew up on the cafeteria fringe, most of this book won’t be news to you. Living with social rejection may be painful, but once you learn that there’s really nothing wrong with you, you’re freer to be who you really are. However, I disagree with the author that finding your niche gets easier in college. For me, college was even crueler than high school. It was the cool competition gone wild because it was without parental constraints. This ties in with the biggest new insight I got out of this book: that teachers are as cliquish as students, and there’s something about the school setting itself that brings it out in people. Cue in Excellent Sheep and The Road to Character. School has become increasingly about achieving a competitive standard, which is inherently conformist, rather than about educating people to maximize their own unique potential. The whole system needs restructuring.Though I enjoyed the book and agreed with most of it, parts of it were a bit redundant and could have been edited out. But if I were a teacher of high schoolers or college freshmen, I would definitely teach this book. Most teens don’t read much non-fiction or connect sociology to their real lives, but this is a non-fiction analysis of the air they breathe. If teenagers would grapple with the philosophical issues of coolness, nerdiness, bullying, ostracism, and kindness – in other words, the small-scale politics of their lives – perhaps it would bring about the large-scale solutions our schools and society desperately need.
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  • Colleen Martin
    January 1, 1970
    This book both broke my heart and made it soar. The author followed a handful of high school outcasts for a year and chronicled their experiences, and the stories they tell are so reminiscent of what I (and quite a few other people, I'm sure) went through that the long-dormant, but very familiar, feelings of anger, resentment and despair bubbled up inside me as I read. Danielle, the "Loner", is almost my perfect foil. When she detailed how her books were better friends to her than most people ha This book both broke my heart and made it soar. The author followed a handful of high school outcasts for a year and chronicled their experiences, and the stories they tell are so reminiscent of what I (and quite a few other people, I'm sure) went through that the long-dormant, but very familiar, feelings of anger, resentment and despair bubbled up inside me as I read. Danielle, the "Loner", is almost my perfect foil. When she detailed how her books were better friends to her than most people had been, I burst into tears...I can remember saying the exact same thing. But you knew that they would all turn out alright, that they'd finally find their niche and come into their own, and how could you not smile with pride when the book closed on just that note? It would have been nice to read a study like this back when I was in high school, just for the reassurance it offers. I may have been one of the more grounded ones, able to let things roll off my back and tell myself that life would be so much better once those four years were over, but to have that reassurance printed right in front of you in black and white would have made things a bit easier. Hang in there, all you geeks and nerds and outcasts...it may not seem like it at the time, but you will be a much better person for what you endure in that hell known as high school.
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  • Ken
    January 1, 1970
    As the title indicates, the final score is Geeks 1, Jocks 0. Well, they're called "Populars" here, but you get the idea and you probably had your own name for them. The "Means," maybe.Though non-fiction, Alexandra Robbins writes it like a novel, following seven story lines (six students, one teacher, all outsiders for one reason or another) and utilizing thoughts, dialogue, and actions, often with settings like the dreaded school cafeteria, hallways, and parking lots. Or parties. You know -- whe As the title indicates, the final score is Geeks 1, Jocks 0. Well, they're called "Populars" here, but you get the idea and you probably had your own name for them. The "Means," maybe.Though non-fiction, Alexandra Robbins writes it like a novel, following seven story lines (six students, one teacher, all outsiders for one reason or another) and utilizing thoughts, dialogue, and actions, often with settings like the dreaded school cafeteria, hallways, and parking lots. Or parties. You know -- where cruelty thrives like moss in moisture.She offers up the following: the Gamer, the Loner, the Popular Bitch, the Nerd, the New Girl, the Band Geek, and (a teacher) the Weird Girl ("girl" because she is a young teacher and looks the part). All of these players are fringe players, ostracized for one reason or another. Robbins identifies the "Quirk Theory" throughout -- how kids who are teased in school often succeed in life for the very reasons they were picked on in school. It makes sense, really.Also included is a lot of psychology and pop science to show readers the how and the why of gang behavior (OK, "group behavior," if you want a euphemism). These intermissions are placed without rhyme or reason all over the book, and you're never quite sure which "loser's" story will come up next, either. If I had one beef, it was with the organization. It looks as if Robbins could never quite figure it out.Still, it's all water over the dam due to the compelling soap operas. And it was pure brilliance to show that adults play these pitiful games, too. Teachers, in this case. Yes, there are "popular teachers" who think they're all that, and yes, they like to hang out with each other and exclude others, laughably lame as that sounds. Give them a bar, a restaurant, or a classroom (where they are the "students") and watch them clump together. Exclusion is power. Or at least they still think so.Some people never grow up, alas....
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  • Nancy
    January 1, 1970
    The book begins by introducing the reader to Danielle, a shy junior who feels uncomfortable during lunch. She has nobody to sit with. There is also a history of bullying in Danielle's past. The author then introduces the reader to a total of 7 "cafeteria fringe" and follow them throughout the year. These are the quirky people who are artistic, emotional, gay, shy, or geeky. Gathering data from sociological studies, the author ascertains that the skills used for popularity in high school are not The book begins by introducing the reader to Danielle, a shy junior who feels uncomfortable during lunch. She has nobody to sit with. There is also a history of bullying in Danielle's past. The author then introduces the reader to a total of 7 "cafeteria fringe" and follow them throughout the year. These are the quirky people who are artistic, emotional, gay, shy, or geeky. Gathering data from sociological studies, the author ascertains that the skills used for popularity in high school are not the skills used in work and life. The quirky are the Bill Gates, Steven Spielberg, Adam Sandler, etc.The most intriguing cafeteria fringe was Regan. I did not expect the surprise factor there yet when it was revealed and then discussed at greater length, I found myself definitely relating. (view spoiler)[Regan turns out to be a young educator teaching in a public school. The bullying and gossip is even more juvenile than some of the other stories but much more caustic. As a veteran educator, I couldn't agree more. There are cliques and unprofessional behavior. Bullying and the "in" crowd is much more difficult to address because there is no oversight. This behavior is not limited to educators but can be globalized to any office situation. (hide spoiler)]The crux of the book is the Quirk Theory. Behaviors that are aggressive and dominating in high school will often net a more popular person. This is not to be confused with "liked." However, the same skill set is not useful outside of the high school setting. Conformity and sheep like behavior is uniquely acceptable in a factory model school. Creativity, new ideas and approaches to problems will be rewarded in a workplace setting. Those who skirt the cafeteria very well may have the advantage after high school. The author provided anecdotal stories about the 7 individuals throughout the year and surrounded them with research by social psychologists from years past then offered interpretations to frame her thesis. She also suggested a different challenge for each of the 7 individuals that supported their individuality and strengths but also connected them with others with similarities. Six out of seven found moderate success. The exception was Regan. The cliques were too strong and the social group too small.Very enjoyable read for anybody interested in high school social dynamics or anybody scarred by their past high school social dynamics. Also would be an excellent resource for any public educator. I would go so far as to suggest that this book would be excellent reading material for professional development - especially if material is read by all faculty members and discussed throughout the school year.
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  • Kathrina
    January 1, 1970
    This was a great follow-up to reading It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living. While It Gets Better provided a great illustration of the far-too-precious expression of compassion to kids in crisis, this book explores just what that crisis feels like. Through the lives of 6 varied high school students and one teacher, Robbins presents the concerns, obstacles, weights and terrors of high school hierarchies. Every high school has its cliques, and we all mea This was a great follow-up to reading It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living. While It Gets Better provided a great illustration of the far-too-precious expression of compassion to kids in crisis, this book explores just what that crisis feels like. Through the lives of 6 varied high school students and one teacher, Robbins presents the concerns, obstacles, weights and terrors of high school hierarchies. Every high school has its cliques, and we all measured ourselves in some kind of accordance to them. Of course, most of us that finally graduated finally got a breath of fresh air, and found that the real world didn't much care if we were popular, preppy, goth, or emo once we left those personas at school. Robbins bases this book on the idea that it is the very traits that made us feel different or ostracized us in school that make us interesting, creative, successful adults. It's the "populars" that haven't learned how to think for themselves that founder once left to their own devices. So why are we perpetuating a system that teaches kids not to think independently? Yes, a lot of the pressure to conform comes from the kids themselves, but it is the structure of the school and the shortsightedness of faculty and administration that reinforces it. While each character that Robbins follows does end up making some kind of triumph in their life (through Robbins' interception), the core problem is left unresolved. Individuals can make changes in their own habits that affect the perceptions of others, but the schools themselves remain problematic, and the next class of kids will have to re-invent the wheel to make the same triumphs for themselves. Some of the anecdotes here are just heart-breaking, and many will be shadowed by your own experiences in high school. However, some of the stories were followed with so much detail that I was left with the work of framing it within the big picture. There's a good action plan for the loner nerd or geek in sharpening their social tools, but the school community of Anywhere, USA remains a very threatening place that you couldn't pay me to revisit. High school still sucks.
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    I checked this book out from the library because it looked like it might apply to me :)The author interviewed about 7 students (and one teacher), talking about how each person is excluded from school cliques, but how their unique interests and courage to go against the crowd are positive qualities. She then gave each person a challenge. For Danielle, a loner who barely spoke to anyone, it was to simply speak to others. For Noah, a band geek, it was to take a leadership role. For Whitney, who was I checked this book out from the library because it looked like it might apply to me :)The author interviewed about 7 students (and one teacher), talking about how each person is excluded from school cliques, but how their unique interests and courage to go against the crowd are positive qualities. She then gave each person a challenge. For Danielle, a loner who barely spoke to anyone, it was to simply speak to others. For Noah, a band geek, it was to take a leadership role. For Whitney, who was a "popular bitch" who started finding herself on the outside of her clique, it was to talk to students in other cliques. While each person had varying degrees of success, all of the interviewees realized the inner strength they had, that individuals were not necessarily the image given off by the clique they were in.In general I agree with the author's theory that those who can't seem to "fit in" have qualities that society values (but in high school makes one an outcast). However, I wished that author had talked about how she found the students and teacher she interviewed. Did she pick a student at random, or did she find the most outcast student at each school, or did the outcasts contact her? I also wasn't sure of what the challenge was for in regards to her theory. Yes, it seemed to help the interviewees to realize the valuable qualities they had, when most outcasts don't realize this until after high school. But the author speaks against "normalizing" students, and sometimes it seemed like this is what she was pushing the outcasts to do with their challenges. I wished this was more of a long-range study, where she simply interviews the "geeks" over a period of years and shows how they excel after high school. The author also mentions that you can get "character updates" on her Facebook page, but I didn't really see anything other than general non-related personal FB status updates... I suppose if I subscribed to her FB I would eventually get some nugget of info about the "characters" (doesn't seem like the right word to use) but I'm not that interested.
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  • Deborah
    January 1, 1970
    Reading Alexandra Robbins' non-fiction is kind of like eating candy that you later find out is good for you. Her writing is story-like so that you're absorbed by every real life person she writes about as if it were a great novel, and later you realize that you have learned from the book without realizing it.With that in mind, I was glued to the book, and eager to find out how the characters would be doing by the end of the book (particularly Blue and Whitney, although all were appealing). The O Reading Alexandra Robbins' non-fiction is kind of like eating candy that you later find out is good for you. Her writing is story-like so that you're absorbed by every real life person she writes about as if it were a great novel, and later you realize that you have learned from the book without realizing it.With that in mind, I was glued to the book, and eager to find out how the characters would be doing by the end of the book (particularly Blue and Whitney, although all were appealing). The Overachievers is an excellent balance of personal stories through high school students striving to have excellent GPA's in high school and go to good colleges, and interviews from experts in the education and psychology fields. In this book, while all of her real life characters are appealing, her research and presentation of "quirk theory" didn't really keep me drawn in and didn't teach me anything new. She is inserted into the story a lot more here than in The Overachievers, (she gives the students she's documenting an assignment or a challenge) which didn't really work for me. She did not approach this book like a journalist. She instead approached it like a self help author, and that weakened the story for me.Another thing that bothered me -- according to a Washington Post review, she reconstructed a lot of the dialogue that is quoted in the book. That's fine -- it happens. However, she doesn't really challenge that her subjects may not be being truthful 100 percent of the time. Not to say that they're lying, but I know that when I was sixteen, the way I interpreted the things that my parents said verses what my parents actually said were often two different things. With that in mind, I'd have loved some interviews with the parents and teachers involved with the documented characters. I think it would have only added to the way that "geeks" are truly perceived.
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  • Katie
    January 1, 1970
    I never quite understood that whole "High school is the best time of your life!" mantra, and after finishing this book, I can say with even more gusto that I'm so, so glad high school is over. In my high school days, I wasn't cafeteria fringe, but I was - to pick one of Robbins' descriptors - a floater: Lots of acquaintances and a few close friends, but no single, branded group I identified with and latched onto for social validation. At the time, I was sure it was my floater status that caused I never quite understood that whole "High school is the best time of your life!" mantra, and after finishing this book, I can say with even more gusto that I'm so, so glad high school is over. In my high school days, I wasn't cafeteria fringe, but I was - to pick one of Robbins' descriptors - a floater: Lots of acquaintances and a few close friends, but no single, branded group I identified with and latched onto for social validation. At the time, I was sure it was my floater status that caused me to miss parties, be self-conscious and feel inadequate, but with 10 years between me and my high school graduation tassel, I've since realized that my high school experience is just called "high school." It sucks, and fortunately - as Robbins says - it ends. Some of the stories are hard to read - kids can be incredibly cruel, and my heart can't seem to handle knowing that someone is feeling sad, or excluded, or lonely. I know these kids are going to be okay, but I want to look them in the eye and promise them that this is NOT the rest of their life. To quote Dan Savage's project aimed at gay youth, "It gets better." The book isn't perfect - some chapters/sections seemed a bit disjointed, as though the sequence or layout needed some work, and I came across a few sentences that I had to reread for clarity. Still, as a sociology enthusiast, believer in the need for massive school reform, and champion of geeks everywhere, I enjoyed this (brilliantly titled) quick read.Also? I want Blue to be my new best friend. Call me!
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  • Michael
    January 1, 1970
    This was an interesting read; I would consider myself a geek and an outcast so it was interesting look at high school Sociology. It was fascinating to peer into the different cliques and find that no matter who you are and what group you are in there is always the same gossiping and backstabbing. It’s sad but everyone was dealing with the same issues. For a non-fiction book I thought the narrative was excellent and Alexandra Robbins did of good job of telling a story; but I wish there was more a This was an interesting read; I would consider myself a geek and an outcast so it was interesting look at high school Sociology. It was fascinating to peer into the different cliques and find that no matter who you are and what group you are in there is always the same gossiping and backstabbing. It’s sad but everyone was dealing with the same issues. For a non-fiction book I thought the narrative was excellent and Alexandra Robbins did of good job of telling a story; but I wish there was more about the psychology and sociology behind this; but I think she glossed over it too much to make it a lighter read.
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  • Susie
    January 1, 1970
    I read her book on sororities years ago so I'm interested to see her take on the other end of the popularity spectrum!Update: So, I didn't finish it. I got over 1/3rd of the way through and it just wasn't doing it for me. It was very heavy on the individual narratives and while I realize the author got very close to her subjects and found them to be fascinating, I didn't need to hear every detail of their existence. I guess I felt like there was too much narrative and not enough analyzation.
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  • Cameron
    January 1, 1970
    I was expecting more of a focus on the adult lives of formerly bullied teens, but this book follows the travails of teens currently dealing with cliques and ostracism at school. Some of their stories are interesting, but ultimately the title is deceiving--we don't know whether or not these particular students "thrive" later in life because we don't see them into adulthood. I think the book's premise might have been more convincing had it been based on a long-term study. All we really see here ar I was expecting more of a focus on the adult lives of formerly bullied teens, but this book follows the travails of teens currently dealing with cliques and ostracism at school. Some of their stories are interesting, but ultimately the title is deceiving--we don't know whether or not these particular students "thrive" later in life because we don't see them into adulthood. I think the book's premise might have been more convincing had it been based on a long-term study. All we really see here are the painful details of the affected students' suffering as it unfolds, which most readers will be able to empathize with, especially if their own high school experience was less than idyllic. Among the better points is the dissection of the concept of popularity (turns out "popular" people are actually more often feared or resented than actually liked by their peers). The psychological/biological explanations of the underlying feelings (insecurity and fear) that drive most relationally aggressive behavior were also interesting to read about in depth. Personally, I was most surprised by the internal struggles of the one "popular" student who was tracked in this book. The stress she endured from the extreme pressure to conform within her group ended up not being worth the perceived benefits, and she sought membership in the "punk" group, only to be disheartened that they also pressured their group members, just in different ways. So, "geeks," take heart in knowing that the "popular" kids probably didn't enjoy high school all that much either, and the most successful adults who were mentioned in here were the ones who were able to maintain their individuality despite whatever group they belonged to (or didn't).
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  • Judy
    January 1, 1970
    Goodreads readers picked wisely choosing this book as the 2011 Readers Choice Winner for non-fiction. Although my edition was 396 pages I wasn't bored for a second. Robbins introduces the reader to 7 "outcasts" of the public school system and follows them through their school year: Joy, the new girl; Whitney, the popular bitch; Blue, the gamer; Eli, the nerd; Noah, the band geek; Regan, the weird girl and Danielle, the loner. The author did a wonderful job of finding diverse subjects with entire Goodreads readers picked wisely choosing this book as the 2011 Readers Choice Winner for non-fiction. Although my edition was 396 pages I wasn't bored for a second. Robbins introduces the reader to 7 "outcasts" of the public school system and follows them through their school year: Joy, the new girl; Whitney, the popular bitch; Blue, the gamer; Eli, the nerd; Noah, the band geek; Regan, the weird girl and Danielle, the loner. The author did a wonderful job of finding diverse subjects with entirely different personalities, viewpoints, home lives and motivations. Since the reader is allowed to get in each individual's head, so to speak, you can't help but learn to like each individual as well as expand your capacity of acceptance for different people.This book was a winner for me since I didn't understand where different groups were coming from or what they were about. I look at these young people more tolerantly since reading Geeks. From a writing standpoint, Geeks is organized in a way that gives the reader breaks from the 7 outcasts of the book. There are short explanatory or informative sections that go into more detail about topics related to the section. Usually they aren't more than 5-6 pages. This is nice because I found the information blander than the 7 outcasts sections, but a nice change of pace in addition to offering good information.From a wake-up standpoint, this book showed how much more complicated High School is for teens nowadays than when I attended. I do not envy teens today!An excellent book. I look forward to reading some of Robbins previously-published books in the future.
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  • Dmitry
    January 1, 1970
    I picked up this book because I enjoyed The Overachievers that much. The Geeks turned out to be a disappointment. While the individual character plots still read great, the analytical portion of the book is a whole different story. It is almost like it was written by another person - the writing is unstructured, hard to follow, lacking substance and factual content, while the topics do not seem well-researched (or even well-defined, for that matter). It feels like the author just slapped it toge I picked up this book because I enjoyed The Overachievers that much. The Geeks turned out to be a disappointment. While the individual character plots still read great, the analytical portion of the book is a whole different story. It is almost like it was written by another person - the writing is unstructured, hard to follow, lacking substance and factual content, while the topics do not seem well-researched (or even well-defined, for that matter). It feels like the author just slapped it together in the last moment and threw into the book to make it look thicker. Despite the subtitle, the topic of why outsiders thrive after high school was left virtually untouched.Also, Ms. Robbins, to her own detriment, made a decision to set objectivity aside and let her biases and liberal agenda carry the book deep into the field of a soap opera. Throughout the book she makes it appear that gay people are superior to everyone else and nothing good can come from any religious devotion. The gay agenda was given a highly disproportional place in the book. Gays are portraid as semi-angels that everyone around them fails to percieve as such. Any notion of religion (except for one example) is given in a negative context, ignoring the fact that religion (just as ethnic culture) plays a huge role in the lives of many teenagers.Very little in this book contributed to a better understanding of percieved popularity as a trend among the young people, its influence on the teen culture, and ways to overcome its negative aspects. I am convinced that the author put this volume together to promote her views and (most likely) make a quick buck.
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  • Sam
    January 1, 1970
    This is both a humorous and light hearted yet serious and heart felt look at how non-conformists (as Robbins terms us) suffer in high school yet kick ass as adults. She looks at the different types of non-conformists from gamers to unhappy prep kids, looks at why they are labelled as such and how they are treated by their peers, their teachers, their families and their friends. She also includes the results of interviews with various teens that fit the varied and numerous outsider labels. I do h This is both a humorous and light hearted yet serious and heart felt look at how non-conformists (as Robbins terms us) suffer in high school yet kick ass as adults. She looks at the different types of non-conformists from gamers to unhappy prep kids, looks at why they are labelled as such and how they are treated by their peers, their teachers, their families and their friends. She also includes the results of interviews with various teens that fit the varied and numerous outsider labels. I do have one massive bug bear with this though, in particular the challenges she set some of her interviewees, as to me they seemed to aim to change who they were rather than help them accept who they were. As an outsider I was raised to be myself regardless of what others thought and I feel that this should have been the biggest message, it is there but with a few caveats thrown in about making an effort to be nicer to people (not my strongest point), trying lots of new things (why if you're happy how you are) etc. She does make lots of excellent points about schools and parents being more accepting of all teens and not just those considered to be 'normal', which are really good but these should be applied to the teens themselves too. Yes being bullied sucks but living a lie is far worse. Overall an interesting read and one that could well help those struggling with being a non-conformist but worth taking with a pinch of salt.
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  • Brian Eshleman
    January 1, 1970
    I thought this book was going to be an objective study of the qualities that make those on the fringes of high school society stand out in later life, and it does contain snippets of data like that. Most of it, though, follows a handful of students on the fringes of their particular high school.As demonstrated by the four stars I gave the book, I ended up liking the direction it took. Following outsiders longitudinally as they reflect on the pain of being on the fringes and as some of them make I thought this book was going to be an objective study of the qualities that make those on the fringes of high school society stand out in later life, and it does contain snippets of data like that. Most of it, though, follows a handful of students on the fringes of their particular high school.As demonstrated by the four stars I gave the book, I ended up liking the direction it took. Following outsiders longitudinally as they reflect on the pain of being on the fringes and as some of them make different choices as a result was pretty compelling. I do not know how this author got this close to these kids, but they really seem to get beyond the clichés and stereotypes.As a Christian, I wish she had asked more spiritual questions about whether these kids find any connection in their faith communities. I understand that many kids today don't find this, and I don't expect her to superimpose it in order to make a happy story. But, since kids living a homosexual lifestyle were featured fairly prominently but not graphically, I think she could have found an adolescent trying to live out the Christian life biblically. Seeing this on the pages would have helped me know how to better reach out to the kids across the table from me as a community college enrollment counselor who attempts to do the job for the glory of Christ.
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  • Ebehi
    January 1, 1970
    I'm still not sure who this book was for. If it was intended for outcast students, maybe it's just me, but I know that I wouldn't have been able to read through the entire book if was actually a social outcast in high school. If it was for school teachers and administration, the book doesn't really rpovide any new interesting information. If ti was for parents, I guess the could take the time to read it, but then find out the book is saying the same thing they've been telling their kids: wait it I'm still not sure who this book was for. If it was intended for outcast students, maybe it's just me, but I know that I wouldn't have been able to read through the entire book if was actually a social outcast in high school. If it was for school teachers and administration, the book doesn't really rpovide any new interesting information. If ti was for parents, I guess the could take the time to read it, but then find out the book is saying the same thing they've been telling their kids: wait it out. The psychology part was interesting after the first couple of chapters then seemed like it was just in repeat mode for the book. The cafteria fringe stories got boring after a while, and I didn't like how they were all painted as nice misunderstood people. Just because you don't fit in doesn't mean you're nice. And they way the talked seemed so unrealistic that I was costantly having to re-read it to make sure I was right the first time.Ultimately, we don't really see the "cafeteria fringe" flourish in the futures. All we get is Robbins extolling their virtues. Oh, and is it just me or is every famous person nowadays talking about how they were bullied in school?
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  • Sabrina
    January 1, 1970
    Dear Jocks, Populars, Plastics and all those who belittle nerds/geeks/outsiders for the fun of it:Thank you!Sincerely,Sabrina, one of the biggest nerds in existance, representing the entire nerd/geek/outsider population (and there's a lot of us)- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -I was supposed to be studying for exams when I picked up this novel but I figured if I was going to read something, I might as well read something non-fiction and educational. Before reading this book Dear Jocks, Populars, Plastics and all those who belittle nerds/geeks/outsiders for the fun of it:Thank you!Sincerely,Sabrina, one of the biggest nerds in existance, representing the entire nerd/geek/outsider population (and there's a lot of us)- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -I was supposed to be studying for exams when I picked up this novel but I figured if I was going to read something, I might as well read something non-fiction and educational. Before reading this book, I had read another novel by Alexandra Robbins called The Overachievers: The Secret Lives of Driven Kids. I really enjoyed this novel because although it was non-fiction, it read like a story and was still informative and interesting.I am pleased to say that the same thing happened with this novel, Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth. It was not only educational but it was inspirational and also entertaining.There is nothing I hate more than to read a non-fiction book that is purely facts, facts and more facts. I usually dread reading non-fiction, commonly for school. But I read "Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth" willingly and I loved it. The book's main "plot" was a compilation of stories from different individuals in high school, and their experiences regarding popularity. We are introduced to the "Cafeteria Fringe" and for anyone in or who attended high school would know is divided into cliques. You've seen Mean Girls? Not as divided, but there is obvious differences in popularity. The "popular" crew sit at the best seats while the "nerds" are banished to the back.We seperate ourselves into various cliques, hesitant to allow anyone in and even more hesitant to break these cliques. We try to "stick to the status quo" thereby allowing popular people to stay popular and with power.Most of the time, this can make the people on the other side of spectrum, the unpopulars, feel dejected, alone and unwanted. Many "unpopular" individuals face bullying, teasing and overall unfriendly behaviour from their fellow peers. But, as Alexandra Robbins tells us, it does get better. One day, in the future, those geeky, acne-covered, straight-A-student nerds will be the heads of companies and great surgeons while the popular-muscular-who-needs-school-anyways jocks will become the janitors and will be working for the nerds! Try bullying your boss and see where it gets you?As a current student in high school, this novel gave me the reassurance that it does get better. It made me have pride for my high grades, instead of trying to hide them. The book helped me feel confident and have the motivation to do well in class. I shouldn't dumb myself down for popularity because that popularity is short-lived in the real life. The truth is, life after high school is so much different. You are based on your skills, not your looks and all of a sudden, being popular isn't the most important thing there is.The nerds already understand this truth. We have a higher maturity than some of our peers. We could devote our time to being popular, we obviously have the knowledge to be able to figure out how to, but instead, we devote our time to academics and achieving well in school, because we know that's what our future will benifit from.It's not fair, the life us nerds have to live. But fair isn't life. I liked how Alexandra Robbins also explained that even teachers can be unfair concerning popularity, by allowing popular children to get away with more things than other students. I especially enjoyed when Alexandra Robbins discussed the matter many teachers and educators become squirmy over: How athletics are becoming more important than academics. In my high school, there is so much stress on athletic success that if a student achieves academic success, they are not regarded as high as the athlete. Even the schools themselves are too much involved in popularity that they are forgetting the purpose of the schools, academics. High school, it's only four years of your life but it can be the best or worst experience. It shapes you. It organizes you into a clique. And if you're not careful, it can break you. It's a hell hole, that's for sure, but you got your whole life ahead of you then.Overall, a great read and I am so glad I read this when I did. I would highly recommend it to anyone in high school or parents of children in high school.Thank you Alexandra Robbins for writing another fantastic novel (and congratulations for winning the Goodreads Award for Best Nonfiction of 2011, you deserved it!)
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  • Vanessa
    January 1, 1970
    eh.
  • Meg
    January 1, 1970
    This book languished on my bedside table for 6 weeks before I finished it, which is never a good sign. If it had a different title I might have liked it better. As it is, the author gives a series of case studies of teens that she observed over the course of a year while they were in high school. She uses little in the way of evidence that either the geeks she observed or geeks in general go on to thrive, beyond citing celebrities who have self-identified as former geeks. She does cite the geeks This book languished on my bedside table for 6 weeks before I finished it, which is never a good sign. If it had a different title I might have liked it better. As it is, the author gives a series of case studies of teens that she observed over the course of a year while they were in high school. She uses little in the way of evidence that either the geeks she observed or geeks in general go on to thrive, beyond citing celebrities who have self-identified as former geeks. She does cite the geeks' creativity, but does little to show that the geeks have more creativity than the popular kids, especially in the workplace after high school. Furthermore, I objected to her insistence on categorizing teens into firm stereotypes. As much as she argues we should recognize individuality, her writing stereotypes as much as the worst high school student. Finally, I was unimpressed by the way that she seems to accept at face value many of the stories that the students told her. Many of the anecdotes read like a "he said, she said" with only part of the story told. If the title had not led me so far astray I might still have been able to enjoy this book. The author chose some interesting kids to portray and looking at high school life through this lens is intriguing. In addition, the "challenges" she gives the kids midway through are an interesting way to look at how we can change ourselves and others' views of us. Still, I didn't feel that the stories were enough to redeem the book, and I finally resorted to skimming the last few chapters.
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    Author Alexandra Robbins gives us case studies of many students who are on the fringe and some students that are the "popular" ones.Some of the background on students is so detailed that it gets a little slow, but things pick back up as individual stories progress. I did find that at times I got a little confused with who was who in which stories, nothing major though.I think this topic is very interesting and I found Robbins findings and thoughts very relevant. I do think that schools across th Author Alexandra Robbins gives us case studies of many students who are on the fringe and some students that are the "popular" ones.Some of the background on students is so detailed that it gets a little slow, but things pick back up as individual stories progress. I did find that at times I got a little confused with who was who in which stories, nothing major though.I think this topic is very interesting and I found Robbins findings and thoughts very relevant. I do think that schools across the country are very different and therefore have different inclusion problems.In the school system where I live and work, at least here in the western part of the county, being smart is a plus among the students. All of the high schools have at least one specialty center which draws students that are really into a certain area of study. For big school systems that can afford that model, I think they would find that is very helpful for students finding a niche. The author did not include any schools that have very popular Christian clubs like Young Life, Campus Life, or Christian Athletes. Unfortunately many school are pressured by political correctness to get rid of these groups. My findings are that these groups give many students the opportunity to feel included in a meaningful way.Many of the area schools where I live take part in Rachael's Challenge (http://www.rachelschallenge.org/) and I have heard many positive things about it.I love geeky smart people!
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  • Jenn Estepp
    January 1, 1970
    Although I think this book sometimes suffers from "using (social) science to justify things that are obvious, I still found it to be an engrossing and worthwhile read. And, for anyone who has forgotten just how serious things can be in high school, it's a good reminder. At the same time, some of the highlighted behaviours - w/r/t cliques, group think and passive aggression - are ones that we are lucky if we leave behind in school. Unfortunately, I've found the same sort of activities to be true Although I think this book sometimes suffers from "using (social) science to justify things that are obvious, I still found it to be an engrossing and worthwhile read. And, for anyone who has forgotten just how serious things can be in high school, it's a good reminder. At the same time, some of the highlighted behaviours - w/r/t cliques, group think and passive aggression - are ones that we are lucky if we leave behind in school. Unfortunately, I've found the same sort of activities to be true of "grown-up" interactions and workplaces, and the book is a reminder that our response to them can very much be rooted in our experiences with them during adolescence. The individual stories of the highlighted kids are, I think, the strongest aspect of the book. When Robbins tries to draw universal truths, I think she comes off a little too pop-psychology and, while she's obviously smart and dedicated, I don't know if she has the chops to back it up. At the same time, it's terribly insightful, especially for those of us who haven't logged much time in high school hallways since leaving our own education behind. And on the topic of modern education, yikes. I admit that I don't have tons of faith in the system and frankly this book does nothing to combat this. I think part of the reason why I don't have kids is because I wouldn't want to subject any child to this system and couldn't afford to quit work and homeschool them.
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  • Erin Ott
    January 1, 1970
    This book simply tells you what you already know and could have done so in about 10 pages. Summary: traits that make kids unpopular can be the same traits that later make adults unique, creative, innovative, great leaders etc. The author calls this idea "quirk theory" and by coining the phrase seems to want to claim this discovery as her own. On the way we find out that people's personalities don't change that much as they grow up, that the so-called, self-proclaimed popular kids aren't really v This book simply tells you what you already know and could have done so in about 10 pages. Summary: traits that make kids unpopular can be the same traits that later make adults unique, creative, innovative, great leaders etc. The author calls this idea "quirk theory" and by coining the phrase seems to want to claim this discovery as her own. On the way we find out that people's personalities don't change that much as they grow up, that the so-called, self-proclaimed popular kids aren't really very happy, and that it is very difficult (if not impossible) to upgrade your social standing in high school. But if you went to high school you already knew all that. I couldn't read more than a chapter at a time as the writing style is very dry and much of the anecdotes and dialogue seemed forced and unnatural.
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