Little Miss Geek is a fascinating book and a great manifesto for its sponsoring organisation. As a book it's short but I'm a big fan of short in manif...moreLittle Miss Geek is a fascinating book and a great manifesto for its sponsoring organisation. As a book it's short but I'm a big fan of short in manifestos. Either you can pitch the point of the change you're advocating or you need to rethink what you're doing :)
The main thrust of the book is a discussion of the reasons girls don't make it into technology (well it's actually broader, under the term STEM but I'm focused on the T). As a man in technology it's a thought-provoking read. The author has worked in advertising and so brings out key points with neat graphics and callouts. If nothing else just check this book out for the great stats in the margins of the pages. The book switches gear in later chapters, discussing why the workplace is challenging for women in technology. This section was also fascinating and sadly I caught glimpses of myself in the descriptions of wrong behaviour which probably brought the message home with extra force.
If I'd criticise anything I'd say that some of the graphics seemed needless, the one separating chapter 3 and 4 would be a good example. Also I wanted the conclusion to be broken into educational change, parenting change and workplace change. The single manifesto is great but it felt shallow compared to the breadth of change advocated elsewhere in the book.
In conclusion I would recommend reading this book. You'll get a lot out of it and moreover it should spur you to help change the world.(less)
The first thing to say in this review is that I took a long time to read this because I lost the book and was too stubborn to buy another for quite a...moreThe first thing to say in this review is that I took a long time to read this because I lost the book and was too stubborn to buy another for quite a while. So as opposed to other reviews I've had time to sit on the early parts of this book and draw perspective from them that wouldn't happen in my other reviews.
This book is an incredibly easy read and is very entertaining. As a popular science book it is probably one of the finest examples I've read of the genre. There is no doubt that this book contains a lot of information on what is a very fashionable topic right now. After checking the website there is a fair amount of research pushed into the book and the facts aren't glibly stated. Although I did hope for some more papers in particular around the sleep chapter. I found the chapter layout very appealing and it's certainly possible for someone to pick up the chapters they find most interesting without having to wade through the entirety of the book.
The arguments easily carry the reader which leads me straight to the biggest problem with the book, are you being played by someone smarter than you or is this truly compelling? Secondly I found myself vaguely irritated by some of the descriptions of people in the book, and that made me feel like I sometimes saw a veneer slip that I maybe oughtn't have. Finally there's a feel about some of the calls to action that they're not clear enough. If this is a manifesto for change what change should I make? If a second edition appeared with recommendations for me, my democratic representative and maybe my society I'd feel that a great evolution of the work.
Overall, why not? It's entertaining, has some scientific value and some bright ideas in it.(less)
It's taken me a day or so to get round to writing the review for this book. Not so much because I've struggled with the review more that I've found th...moreIt's taken me a day or so to get round to writing the review for this book. Not so much because I've struggled with the review more that I've found the lessons of the book running over me in waves. Which is one of the reasons that I gave the book five stars (not that my rating should matter, a Pulitzer prize tells you a lot about a book).
There are other reasons why I gave this book five stars, not least among which is the vivd characterisations within the book. The author clearly spent a large period of time living with these people and making a concerted effort to understand them. He doesn't slap them into boxes or shy away from the fact sometimes he can't unravel them completely. this leads to vivid and real people who are sensitively portrayed. Even better the author clearly cares for the people he documents, they're doing something tough and he gives them due credit for such. His examination particularly of the management styles employed by the senior characters is fascinating and he rightly criticises where some of the characters have a blind spot. As the project moves on the author brings the different elements of the environment together in a seamless way so you feel you understand why things are happening as they do. That's not simple for a complex project such as the one undertaken in the book.
if I'm critical it's really only that some of the technology terminology is explained in laymen's terms when as a technologist I didin't need the hand-holding. that lead to some skimming of sections within the book. I'd have preferred a glossary of terms but really, I'm picking out a tiny issue for a small number of readers.
Particularly because I work in technology and because I'm old enough to remember Data General machines (even having used one fleetingly) this book has a lot of meaning for me. Filling in the blanks on a heap of stuff I was barely cognisant of at the time. I wonder if this review would be as applicable to someone younger or not into technology. However, if you are late thirties plus and a geek buy this book. Marvel at the heroic efforts of the protagonists and maybe spend a moment asking yourself if we've really moved on that much. You should thoroughly enjoy yourself along the journey.(less)
I really liked this essay. Not least because it's not written for me as a programmer, it's written for a less specific kind of geek. Which means there...moreI really liked this essay. Not least because it's not written for me as a programmer, it's written for a less specific kind of geek. Which means there's a lot of glossed over points that could detract from the piece but don't.
Some of the technology is very dated and the outlook is definitely from a time when being a Linux geek was much more demanding than today but the points still resonate. If you're working an technology and you're thinking about open systems and their applicability you'd do worse than pick up a copy of this book.(less)