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The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth: Popularity, Quirk Theory, and Why Outsiders Thrive After High School Hardcover – 3 May 2011

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 436 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion Books; 1st Edition edition (3 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401302025
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401302023
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 518,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

* Find me on Facebook for more information, updates, and, in the future, contests to win free books*

I never know what to write for these things, so I'll just paste the short version of my publisher's bio: New York Times bestselling author Alexandra Robbins has written for several publications, including Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and Forbes, and regularly appears in the national media on shows such as "Oprah," "The Today Show," "60 Minutes," "The View," and "The Colbert Report." Robbins frequently lectures about her books and will be touring in fall 2010. To view topics or book a lecture, visit alexandrarobbins.com.

Product Description

The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth The "New York Times"-bestselling author of "Pledged" and "The Overachievers" returns to the world of high school in a riveting examination of--and experiment with--outcasts and outsiders. Full description

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. Ball TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 28 May 2012
Format: Paperback
Who'd be sixteen again? Not I, certainly! Reading this brought many painful memories of life as a teenager - and even though this book is specifically about American high schools, I think the lessons apply pretty much across the board.

In this book Robbins looks at the way teenagers label both others and themselves, the way they create cliques, 'in'-crowds and on the flip side, outcasts, unpopular kids, geeks. She argues that the teenage years are those when an individual's creativity and imagination is at their height, when kids are struggling to define themselves and their place in the world, and this is also the age when the desire to be 'in', to be part of a group, to conform, to belong is also at its heights. Some kids conform, and others don't.

Robbins' argument is that the kids that don't conform in high school, the kids with some kind of definable 'quirk' that sets them apart from their peers, are usually the kids who are more likely to succeed after high school, because those 'quirks', whilst not valued in high school, are precisely the qualities that will help them succeed as adults, that will make them stand out from the crowd.

One of the most interesting things for me about this book was the view on the educators, the teachers and school administrators, and how they can fall prey to the same kind of cliquish behaviour and stereotypic labelling - how the popular kids get away with more, how the geeky students are mocked, how higher esteem is placed on athletic success than academic, how so many schools seem to view equality with homogeneity.

My heart broke for some of the kids in this book, and others made me want to stand up and cheer. To have the self-possession and confidence to be yourself, regardless of what others think, at such a young age...Robbins is right, those are the stars of the future. I'll take the outcasts anyday too.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 65 reviews
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
A "Must Read" for educators, parents and kids! 5 May 2011
By Muffy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Let your Geek Flag" fly!!! I have thoroughly enjoyed this book - Alexandra Robbins does an amazing job (as usual)!

I am an educator of 26 years and a high school assistant principal. The information I have gotten from this book has certainly helped me to look at my student population in a totally, new light. Not only does Robbins examine the labels that students assign themselves and others and the harm it causes but "The Geeks" also looks at the way that the faculty that educates them treat students and each other. I had never thought of the way that faculty groups mirror the groups of students.

Also, it was an eye opener to think that the influence of the media has caused "mean girls" to be mean, as a way of protecting themselves. We often misunderstand and think that they mistreat other kids because they enjoy it. The fact is that many of these young ladies don't enjoy it at all but the influence of shows such as "Gossip Girl" and "90210," make it "cool" to be mistreat others. It is hard to believe that many students who are viewed as being a part of the "Popular Crowd" are truly miserable but lack the courage to leave for fear of rejection.

Thanks again to Alexandra Robbins for a fantastic read!!!
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Embrace your geekiness! 11 May 2011
By Stephanie A. Merlin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I can confidently say, with this new book and the others I have read (The Overachievers & Pledged), Alexandra Robbins is one of the first people I know who has poignantly identified and openly discussed struggles in teens and young adults lives. I grew up in a very competitive area academically and socially. I was insecure loner who desperately tried to fit in, but always came up short. I can completely relate to the stories of the teens in this book. Their backgrounds and experiences all have things I'm sure everyone can identify with. Alexandra also does an excellent job of supplementing these stories with psychological and sociological data and experiments. This is an excellent read, and one that I found therapeutic. As an young adult and college student, I definitely have noticed that the quirks and oddities I used to be ashamed of, are things that I'm appreciated for now, and that I fully embrace as an adult. It is these experiences and books like "The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth" that further inspire me to become a high school teacher, and make a difference in teens lives.
36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Explains what many of us see in high school and why the "preps" are sometimes sitting by themselves at class reunions 9 May 2011
By a user - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I went to two high schools, each for two years. At both, I was not a complete outcast, but hung out by myself and did what I wanted rather than what the conformists were doing in order to make themselves look good. I would say I was mocked pretty heavily in junior high. I've thought it was interesting that at both high schools, kids who were the equivalent of today's "preps" really had not done as much with their lives as kids who stood out on the fringes. It was interesting to attend class reunions and see some of these populars sitting at the tables in their same groups, not knowing what to say to others who had been living interesting lives and had long forgotten how insignificant they felt in high school.

Raising two kids recently out of high school, it surprised me to see how many parents were involved with orchestrating their children's popularity - making sure they drove the right car, plastic surgery if necessary, buying alcohol and holding parties at their houses. I knew it would be painful for my kids, but I am glad they both chose the paths they did - to be true to themselves.

I especially liked the character of the Loner but also Blue. To do as well as he has without parental support, sometimes no support at all, reminds me of a gay friend of mine who grew up in a turbulent household, no support, but always marched to his own drumbeat, and is now the CEO of a major company.

This book validates many things we've observed but didn't know why they were occurring.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
One Clique Pony 20 July 2011
By Ken C. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In her social documentary, Alexandra Robbins plunges into the treacherous waters of high schools across the country to tell the stories of six fringe students and one fringe teacher. She calls them by the labels we've all come to know and sometimes loathe: loner, popular bitch, nerd, new girl, weird girl, gamer, and band geek. What makes the book work is how the reader quickly gets caught up in each of these outsiders' separate soap operas. Robbins is adept at including the characters' thoughts, dialogue, and actions, giving it the feel of a novel splintered into seven sub-plots.

The organization of the book is a bit haphazard, with Robbins going willy-nilly from one character to the next, taking time outs here and there for pop psychology and looks at "studies" new and old. The purpose of this "science" is to show group dynamics and human behavior -- the how and the why to cruelty in school cafeterias and hallways. The arrangement can be discombobulating at times, but the story lines carry the day.

I especially like how Robbins included one teacher's story here to show how cliques and nasty games do NOT always disappear with age. In fact, there are "popular" teachers, too, who would much rather hang out with other popular teachers and ignore the nerdier ones. You'd think these behaviors would look transparently pitiful at the advanced ages of these teachers, but Robbins shows that you'd have to think again. Some people never learn, alas, though, in this book, a lot of the kids do. It is, in that sense and in the final analysis, a hopeful book. You'll find yourself cheering for these guys and girls, who should but probably do not take comfort in the fact that they have odds-on advantages to become successful in life after school -- and for the exact same reasons they were teased and ostracized in school. God loves irony, after all, making the Biblical title especially apt....
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Excellent analysis of the "cafeteria fringe" 13 May 2011
By Fiona - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I just finished this book & loved it. As the Mom of four girls it was insightful & I plan to buy a copy for both the high school my daughters attend and the one in our district that they don't! Their school does a great job in this area, the one they should attend (thank God for School Choice in Mass!), doesn't.

My eldest was pushed out of the "striving to be popular" crowd in 6th grade, and I am so thankful now. She is a smart geek who loves anime, draws beautifully, and is about to start college to be a biomechanical engineer. "Geeks" does a fabulous job of examining just why the "cafeteria fringe" possess the characteristics to become successful in life beyond high school.

I intend to use this book to show my kids (one starts HS this fall) that they shouldn't strive for "popular" status; just be happy, study hard, and do those activities that make you happy.
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