Carole's Reviews > Nerds: Who They Are and Why We Need More of Them

Nerds by David Anderegg
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Jul 01, 09

it was amazing
Read in July, 2009

Loved this book. Very thought-provoking.

I think I was a pretty nerdy kid, and my main thing as I was reading this book was that I kept thinking, "Oh, calm down. I didn't feel that marginalized as a kid. About a week later, I had a chance to revisit my old elementary school." It brought back some old memories and made me give this guy a little more credit.

The main point of this book is the effect the Nerd stereotype has on kids in particular and society in general. One interesting observation is that the word "nerd" doesn't so much descibe a specific type of person so much as it encompasses anyone who departs from a really narrow concept of what we're supposed to be.

Once he's identified the problem, his solution seems to be to eliminate the label. This is probably where I disagree. I think it makes more sense to "decriminalize nerdiness" rather than eliminate the whole concept. There are those of us who take a lot of pride in our nerdy identities.

One of the most interesting parts of this book for me was when he talked about interviewing kids about what super-power thay would like to have. The kids fell into three categories. There were the normal kids, the kids who were marginalized because they were different, and the kids who were marginalized because they were aggressive. The aggressive kids wanted powers to smash things and blow things up. The different kids almost all wanted either to fly or to be invisible. And the "normal" kids wanted really "super powers" that would make them popular. Like the power to have a cool car or the power to be the best cheerleader. To quote a movie, "That's not a power. That's a skill."
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