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Just a Geek: Unflinchingly honest tales of the search for life, love, and fulfillment beyond the Starship Enterprise

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3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,380 Ratings  ·  723 Reviews
Wil Wheaton has never been one to take the conventional path to success. Despite early stardom through his childhood role in the motion picture "Stand By Me," and growing up on television as Wesley Crusher on "Star Trek: The Next Generation," Wil left Hollywood in pursuit of happiness, purpose, and a viable means of paying the bills. In the oddest of places, Topeka, Kansas ...more
Hardcover, 267 pages
Published June 29th 2004 by O'Reilly Media (first published January 1st 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Patrick
Jul 07, 2011 Patrick rated it it was amazing

I've always known Wil Wheaton as one of the greater internet Powers.

That's how I think of people like Wheaton, Doctorow, Scalzi, and Jerry over at Penny Arcade. They are people who occupy the internet community on an almost deific level. They're actively engaged in discussions about things like creative commons, and web freedom, and other bigthink information-age issues. When they speak on a subject, the air shakes, people tweet and link and perform other media-appropriate types of adulation.

The
...more
Jason Pettus
Mar 26, 2009 Jason Pettus rated it it was amazing
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com:]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.)

In case I've never mentioned it, since opening CCLaP I've had a growing amount of friends here in Chicago start to loan me older books on a regular basis, simply because they're interested in seeing what I have to say about them; that's how I ended up with Just A Geek, for example, the 2004 personal
...more
Tripp
Dec 22, 2008 Tripp rated it it was ok
A friend of mine got me this book after one of my "why does anyone give a fuck about Wil Wheaton" rants. He is so pervasive in online and geek culture, I really just don't understand why.

Anyhow, the 1st half of the book was good --- it was basically like Paul Shirley's "Can I Keep My Jersey." You've heard the stories of people going to Hollywood to "make it" and end up waiting tables for a decade. You've heard about people being crazy famous. How about being kinda famous as a kid, then to be cha
...more
P. Aaron Potter
Apr 27, 2012 P. Aaron Potter rated it it was amazing
Shelves: geek
Alright, I owe Wil Wheaton an apology.

The structure of Wheaton's life parallels Romantic poet William Blake's Songs of Innocence and of Experience: a childhood period of perfect happiness, when everything simply falls into one's lap...then the difficult, painful transitions of adolescence and young adulthood, into an awareness of loss, of disappointment, anger, and an understanding of what fear really means....then, if one is fortunate and perseverant, a final transformation into what Blake scho
...more
Katy
Aug 08, 2013 Katy rated it did not like it
From the second Humble eBook Bundle.

Okay so. Before I started reading this book, which is a collection of Wil Wheaton's blog posts and some extra autobiographical commentary, my opinion of him was on the positive side of indifferent: I watch his show Table Top and he's alright in that and I liked him in Eureka, but since his characters in that show, Leverage, The Guild and The Big Bang Theory all seem to have the same personality I didn't believe him to be a particularly good actor. So I didn't
...more
Marisa
Mar 15, 2009 Marisa rated it really liked it
I knew Wil Wheaton as Wesley Crusher from Star Trek: The Next Generation when I was growing up, but I had no idea he had grown up to be an actual writer. Just a Geek is a fantastic collection of essays and memoirs that chronicle Wil's evolution from unhappy actor struggling to get out of the shadow of The Franchise to happy writer, blogger, and all-around geek whose life is no less interesting for being fulfilling. For me, the most interesting part of this book was watching the blog entries (cop ...more
James
Dec 01, 2011 James rated it it was amazing
I'm not a fan of biographies or memoirs. I find them to be self-glorified, embellished tales written by ego-centric individuals looking to capture (or recapture) their fifteen minutes of fame. Wil Wheaton is not that guy and Just A Geek is not that kind of memoir. It is well-written, brutally honest, intriguing and filled with enough pathos that you truly care about this guy, and what he's been though - whether you know him or not.

For those that don't know Wheaton, he was the youngest cast membe
...more
Kim
Apr 02, 2011 Kim rated it liked it
I'm not quite sure what I was expecting when I read this. I had heard of Wil Wheaton through Star Trek and then over the last couple years popping up all over the net but never really looked further. I've never been a reader of his blog.

I think the reason I picked it up was because I was curious as to why I was starting to see him or references to him in all my favourite webcomics, etc. And after reading this book I'm still not sure why.

This book really felt like it was missing something. I kno
...more
Sdluvingit
Aug 05, 2011 Sdluvingit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was telling my sister I was reading this interesting book by Wil Wheaton. She goes "who"? "Wesley Crusher!" "Doesn't ring a bell." "He's been on The Big Bang Theory" "Oh, Sheldon's nemesis?" (Of course my sister is someone who if you say William Shatner, she thinks Denny Crane.) So, I don't know if Wil would think it bad that he's known for a role where he's known for being known rather than the reason he is known in the first place; sort of a meta-character. Anyway, I enjoyed his reflections. ...more
Andrea
I was never much one way or the other about the Wesley Crusher character on TNG, but picked this up as part of the Humble Bundle and read it because Wheaton has a reputation of being an engaging writer, and because I quite liked TNG generally (though much of it doesn't hold up to a rewatch).

The book (a combination of blog posts made in Wheaton's late 20s, and later further commentary) is an easy, interesting read, giving the reader a very relatable look into the feelings of a former child star a
...more
That70sheidi
Could be cut by about 67%. The parts that were good were REALLY good, and his reading of them is also great. I loved the asides. But...

After a while the angst is just really pathetic, especially when he whines about auditions. [Newsflash - being stuck in a room with 3-9 other people who are also bored silly hearing nearly identical readings the same goddamn script over and over again day after day to cast someone is not fun for them, why should THEY be responsible for making it "fun" or "relaxed
...more
Ben Babcock
I am not in the habit of reading actor memoirs. In fact, I think the only actor memoirs I’ve read are from Star Trek actors: Shatner’s, one of Nimoy’s (I think I Am Spock as opposed to the more bitter predecessor volume), and now Wil Wheaton’s Just a Geek. I added this to my to-read list years back, when Wil Wheaton first surfaced on my social networking radar on Twitter and here on Goodreads. While I don’t regularly read his blog, I dip in here and there when one of his posts comes to my attent ...more
Sofia
Jan 19, 2011 Sofia rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Trekkies / Wil Wheaton fans
Shelves: memoir
Posted on my book blog.

A little background on how I came to read this book: like many other people, I watched Star Trek when I was little. Because, in that time, tv shows would appear in my country 10 to 20 years after their debut, I managed to watch both the original series and the others in the same decade. However, I was pretty much indifferent to Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton's character on The Next Generation). And I didn't watch Stand By Me until much later in my life.

Cut to the year 2007.
...more
Eric
Jul 23, 2013 Eric rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Trekkers/Trekkies, and other sci-fi geeks
I got this book as part of the latest Humble Bundle, and since I like the author, I thought I would give it a read.

Now, when I say I like the author, I don't mean from his child star years. I didn't watch Star Trek as a kid (I was all about Star Wars), and I'm pretty sure I've never seen Stand By Me, although I could have seen it when I was too young for it to have made an impression. I mean to say I like him as an "Internet Power" (as Patrick Rothfuss labeled him), and also as a writer, a book
...more
Catherine
This book was given to me by a friend who shares my love of Star Trek. I read up to page 154 and, not really knowing much about Wil Wheaton's online life and writing, was surprised to find a thoroughly depressing life post-Star Trek. Going through some difficulties myself, I didn't feel able to read any further.
Today, after a week of emotional lows and highs, and thinking of my friend, I thought perhaps I might try to finish it and I did so in a single sitting. It turns out that page 154 was a t
...more
Kylara Jensen
If I had to give a synopsis, I would say this book is about Wil Wheaton's journey from actor to writer/family man/web phenomenon. But mostly from actor to writer.

I found it very moving and inspiring. I read Dancing Barefoot first (which literally moved me to tears on 3 separate occasions.) and this does overlap a tiny bit, but in a way that gives you a much broader picture of things. This book is obviously longer and covers more time. Also it's more linear, while Dancing Barefoot is just a colle
...more
Camilla Hansen
Apr 01, 2014 Camilla Hansen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, memoirs
Since this is not the usual book I read, I won't do the usual review.

It's a book filled with personal stories, website entries and general thoughts of Mr. Wheaton himself. What more is there to say?

It's thought-provoking reading his book, getting his take on his role in the acting-world and how he struggled with not only that, but also himself on so many levels.
Life is typically a battle against yourself in many ways, but it takes a lot more than willpower to win. I felt inspired and in awe afte
...more
Sarah
Dec 29, 2008 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2006
*dreamy sigh*
i admit it, i have a girl crush on wil wheaton.
i read dancing barefoot a few months ago and really enjoyed it. i enjoyed this book too.
i think wil’s a pretty good writer, and i enjoy most of the stories that he tells. he writes on his own blog of course, but also on tvsquad, suicide girls, and a myriad of other online sites. i think it’s pretty cool that he’s been able to (successfully) move from actor to writer. he’s not an actor/writer or a writer/actor. i think he’s both. it s
...more
Eva Nickelson
Dec 19, 2011 Eva Nickelson rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
This book has a few different types of stories in it. There are the "Holy Crap, I can't believe that I get to hang out with " sections where Wheaton divulges his inner geeky thoughts while recounting his quickly passing time with different celebrities. I found these sections to be entertaining and enjoyable. There are the "I am such a good actor, but I can't get hired" stories that focused on what it is like trying to make a living in Hollywood, which I have no interest in whatsoever. There are ...more
Julianna
Sep 09, 2010 Julianna rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of Wil Wheaton, Star Trek, Humorous Memoirs
Reviewed for THC Reviews
Although I've seen most of the Star Trek movies and several episodes of the various Trek TV shows, I can't really call myself a true Trekkie. I didn't even watch Star Trek: The Next Generation, so I became a fan of Wil Wheaton, the geek, rather than Wil Wheaton, the Star Trek actor. Several years ago, my husband told me that Wil was hanging out on Slashdot, one of his favorite sites at the time, and I couldn't help but think how cool it was that a celebrity was chatting w
...more
Tracey
Mar 13, 2015 Tracey rated it it was amazing
I have reviewed this book; the review can be found here, on Booklikes, and here, on my blog. However, I will no longer be posting reviews on Goodreads, due to its recent changes to terms of service and, far worse, the boneheaded and incomprehensible way it is proceeding with the new policy. Deleting content, almost randomly, and without warning (whatever they may have said) is wrong, and a half-hearted apology later doesn't make it all better. Failing to provide a sitewide announcement is wrong. ...more
Moira Fogarty
Feb 20, 2012 Moira Fogarty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Just a Geek' promises "Unflinchingly honest tales of the search for life, love, and fulfillment beyond the Starship Enterprise".
I'm very happy to say, it delivers on that promise.

In 1991, I was 13 years old and Wil Wheaton was about to retire from Star Trek at the ripe old age of 18. My friend Alyssa and I went to a convention in Toronto to hear Wil speak.

I was floored by the difference between the character I'd seen on TV - clean shaven, immaculate spandex attire, smiling, polite and drippin
...more
Joseph Szupiany
Aug 08, 2013 Joseph Szupiany rated it really liked it
When Star Trek The Next Generation (TNG) came out, I was much aligned with the general populace as a "Wesley Crusher Hater". Seriously, the character added nothing to the show, and every time he had a scene, there was a collective "Shut Up Wesley" shouted by "haters" world-wide. Unlike some people, I did not hate Wil Wheaton. As a thinking adult, I knew he was not responsible for the lines he said, and it was the writers that really should have born my ire.

Fast forward to 2013. Wil Wheaton has b
...more
Marilee
Nov 28, 2015 Marilee rated it liked it
I heard about this book and it brought back memories. Bryan used to check Slashdot a lot, and he had told me about Wil Wheaton being a regular there. I've seen him on Big Bang Theory, and I feel like this autobiography fits the persona he presents on the show. America's geek. I hope he continues to find success. Recommended to true geeks and Slashdot peeps.
Jen
Jul 17, 2009 Jen rated it really liked it
This book is like candy for Star Trek fans and fellow geeks like me: I ate it up almost entirely in one sitting. There are sweet Trek anecdotes and memories - no backbiting or grudge-nursing here, which is refreshing - and bittersweet tales of the trials and triumphs Wil faced when starting his blog and writing in the public eye. As a blogger myself, I empathized keenly with his struggles with trolls and the fickle tide of public opinion.

All in all, anyone even remotely interested in reading Jus
...more
Rhonda
Oct 15, 2013 Rhonda rated it really liked it
I sort of bought this book on accident. It just happened to be included in a "Humble Bundle" I purchased and late one night when I couldn't sleep I thought, "Well, this ought to be quick light reading that won't keep me awake."

I was wrong.

I think I actually learned a lot from reading this book, not just about Wil but about connecting with people, online and in three dimensions. About holding back and about honesty. I enjoyed this book far more than I expected to and I'm quite likely to pick up W
...more
Melissa
May 02, 2013 Melissa rated it liked it
Shelves: for-comic-con
For Comic-Con? No, not really, but while I'm there I would really like to try to meet Wil Wheaton. I was a kid when ST:TNG was on tv & I because of my tender age, I never twigged to all the reasons that everyone thought Wesley Crusher was so annoying. It's hard to not feel that there really was some sort of conspiracy against his character; how can you have Denise Crosby & John De Lancie stand up while telling them how they were such an awesome, integral part of the show & let Wheato ...more
Sheryl Olszewski
I'm familiar with Wil's work as an actor (before and after the publishing of this book) and he's great - but what I truly like is his writing. His presence on the interwebz is funny, informative, touching or even a combo of the above. His writing style is both polished and personable - as if you're having a conversation (but not as disjointed as my own!). I read it from cover to cover in one day and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Sometimes getting a glimpse behind the facade of a performer leaves me wis
...more
Angie
I decided to read Wil Wheaton's memoir after reading Felicia Day's. I have been a fan of Wheaton's from his awesome performance in Stand By Me and as Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation. More recently I have enjoyed his performances in The Guild and Eureka. He has also become a geek-icon with his presence online and on social media. He was even name checked in I Kill the Mockingbird.

Just a Geek is ten years old and talks about a time in Wheaton's life before he became a geek icon.
...more
Lori
Apr 24, 2014 Lori rated it really liked it
I would give this an almost four. I found this book when I "googled" Wil Wheaton's name. after seeing him on an episode of The Big Bang Theory. A few of his books showed up so I ordered "Just A Geek" this was actually written ten years ago. It is part memoir, part blog. Wil Wheaton started a blog a few years before he wrote "Just a Geek"
I remember seeing Wil as the boy Gordy in Stand by Me. he was one of the talented actors in this well done movie. this is an honest memoir of trying to find wo
...more
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Wil Wheaton began acting in commercials at the age of seven, and by the age of ten had appeared in numerous television and film roles. In 1986, his critically acclaimed role in Rob Reiner’s Stand By Me put him in the public spotlight, where he remains to this day. In 1987, Wil was cast as Wesley Crusher in the hit television series Star Trek: The Next Generation. Recently, Wil has held recurring r ...more
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“Sometimes we know in our bones what we really need to do, but we're afraid to do it. Taking a chance and stepping beyond the safety of the world we've always known is the only way to grow, though and without risk there is no reward.” 148 likes
“As an adult, getting paid thousands of dollars a week to say, “Aye, Sir. Course laid in” is a seriously sweet gig, but when I was a teenager, it sucked.” 10 likes
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