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Geek Wisdom: The Sacred Teachings of Nerd Culture
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Geek Wisdom: The Sacred Teachings of Nerd Culture

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  1,579 ratings  ·  227 reviews

Computer nerds are our titans of industry; comic-book superheroes are our Hollywood idols; the Internet is our night on the town. Clearly, geeks know something about life in the 21st century that other folks don’t—something we all can learn from. Geek Wisdom takes as gospel some 200 of the most powerful and oft-cited quotes from movies (“
Hardcover, 223 pages
Published August 2nd 2011 by Quirk Books (first published January 1st 2011)
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Average rating 3.56  · 
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 ·  1,579 ratings  ·  227 reviews

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Nov 26, 2011 rated it did not like it
I thought this book would be far more amusing. It takes itself far too seriously. I don't really need the quotes of my generation and my culture explained to me in black and white. I doubt that anyone not embedded in this culture would find it in interesting enough to pursue. This book feels pretentious. ...more
Aug 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books where I often found myself thinking "I wish I had written that." It is a collection of quotes mostly from popular cultures, science fiction, and fantasy books, movies, and video games that most fans of the genre know. With each quote is an explanation of what those quotes mean in a larger context. This book is likely to do a number of things: provoke many arguments among fans of each of the entries, lead to late night dorm room discussions, and make a lot of people thi ...more
else fine
Apr 30, 2011 rated it liked it
I'm not going to finish this. I'm not actually sure where I put it. I didn't particularly like or dislike it. It was enjoyable for a few minutes, but didn't have much substance. Segal's tone was a little wary, which I thought gave the book a tinge of defensiveness and a little too much detachment, but who can blame him? No geek wants to discuss Geekdom with normal people within earshot, not really. And if this book fails to give an accurate depiction of the sincere and deeply held ethical belief ...more
Zain Hashmy
May 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
After a few heavy reads, this book seemed ideal to relax with. As I guessed, it was light reading, with pop-culture and science fiction references all over the place. It's a very short read, but the writing style is just right, it never takes itself too seriously or goes into being too preachy.

Simply put, this book is a small collection of quotes and references from all of Geekdom, ranging from Terminator to Doctor Who to the famous "Leeroy Jenkins" from World of Warcraft. Those quotes have been
Jan 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
A life manual based on nerdy quotes that is surprisingly profound. I felt in-the-know when I knew the quotes, and educated when I didn't. Geeks are definitely my people, and those who love them should read this, too, for insight into the geek personality. The footnotes, index, and up-to-the-minute trivia are amazing. If nothing else, I am convinced that I need to get acquainted with Dr. Who, which is mentioned about 627 times.

Favorite bits:

"What is religion?...It's a framework of ideas -- a bod
Jan 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
I'll admit, I was intrigued when I saw the title and description of this book on I'm very much a geek, and anything including the pop culture references with which I am intimately familiar must be worth investigating.
Yes, it was worth investigating, but it wasn't what I expected. To tell truth, I'm not sure what exactly I DID expect - perhaps a collection of quotes, where they came from, some humorous anecdote - but what I got was a very in-depth, sometimes stretched, application
Oct 18, 2011 rated it did not like it
I only got 23 pages into the book + a full-book-skimming before giving up. I couldn't figure out who the intended audience was (it's not me, though) - was this written for people who are confused by geeks and nerds and want to know why they quote the things they quote? Was it written as a geek reflection, opening the door to a more thorough understanding of why geeks and nerds are the way they are? Whatever it was, I didn't feel the title matched the content; this was not a collection of sacred ...more
Aaron Maurer
Sep 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
This is a great read to have on your bedside or bathroom or in your work bag. It is not one of those books where you sit down on page 1 and just read straight through. I found myself bouncing around finding a quote that struck a chord with me and then reading the short essay.

This book will be in my collection and will be read over the course of a long time. Not because it is bad, but because I will read at moments when I just need some good old geek talk. I really liked reading the various quote
The Sacred Teachings of the Nerd Culture: Really what more needs saying- snippets of our favorite movies, comix, and novels are blazed across the top of each page with a bit of back story or commentary supporting it.
From Jefferson to Darth Vadar; Vonnegut to Wolverine pithy statements that evoke pondering or a smile. Fun.
Fraser Simons
Apr 06, 2021 rated it did not like it
Shelves: essays, dnf, comedy
Wow. Got this as a gift a while back. Found it in a box the other day. It is very pretentious and off the mark. Basically construes pop culture references considered nerdy and recontextualize them based on his own world views, which are deeply privileged and seem to have foundation in moral absolutism. The first page has him digging on Paris Hilton because unlike Spider-Man, she doesn’t take responsibility for her actions.

Yeah, that’s a miss, for me.
May 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
“Computer nerds are our titans of industry; comic-book superheros are our Hollywood idols; the Internet is our night on the town…Yes, this collection of min-essays is by, for, and about geeks—but it’s just so surprisingly profound, the rest of us would have to be dorks not to read it. So say we all.”

Finally, a book of witticisms and wisdom for those of us who grew up entrenched in science fiction, computers, robotics, and so much more. “Geeks are passionate fans of stuff, and particularly of stu
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
I like the premise of this, and some of the short essays, but I had qualms about the broad use of a supposed dichotomy "we" meaning "Geeks" and everyone else who just doesn't understand. I preferred the selections that focused on what a particularl quote says about humanity rather than geekdom.

I kept thinking of a line from a song by the band We're About 9. The song is called "Human Experience" the line is "if the nerd is still the odd man out / then it's cool to be a hypocrite." We can apply t
Jan 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: geekdom, philosophy
I picked this book up in the humor section of my local Barnes & Noble. But, in reading it, I found it grossly misfiled. This collection of various pop culture quotes from everything from movies to books to historical figures is not just a collection of cool quotes (which it is). It is an exploration of what exactly these quotes actually mean, exploring the meta-meanings very profoundly, revealing the deeper meanings of statements which everyone, geek or not, has heard in their lives. I often fou ...more
Aug 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Loved it. Loved it. Loved it. My family and I have been ripping this book out of each others hands and reading aloud from it. My teen son loved it so much that he bought a copy to give as a birthday gift to another teen!! What teenager gives BOOKS as presents!?
Apr 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
I’m kind of glad I read this but I’m also kind of glad I didn’t pay for it. This book is basically made up of well known sayings from nerd culture and each has a little paragraph of wisdom relating to each quote. It’s an interesting read but don’t pay full price for it.
May 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Lots of food for thought. Not nearly as self-congratulatory as I expected. Anyone who considers "geek" and related cultures as part of their identity should find at least a few insights here. ...more
Aug 07, 2018 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
I only got about 20% of the way through this book before dumping it. I was hoping for more thoughtful essays, but instead I got little blurbs about iconic geek quotes that I’ve figured out for myself. I just don’t feel like skimming through the ebook version to find something deeper, which is why I gave up so quickly. I only picked it up because NK Jemisin was listed as one of the writers, but as far as I could tell, none of the chapters have writer names on it, so I couldn’t even look for her s ...more
Rick Giles
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a fun little book of inspiration and support for all of the geeks who love sci-fi, fantasy, and pop culture. It doesn't say we will rule the world, but it does let us know we can happily exist on it. ...more
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
100% more boring than expected
Julio Biason
Mar 10, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fun
Although it is getting common in my reviews, I have to say this again: I have no idea what's the target of this book.

Everything starts with a quote: A scientist, a meme, a movie quote, a game character, take your "geek" pick". Then, it is followed by a commentary about the quote. And, finally, some piece of trivia/explanation about the quote itself.

The content of the book, then, is the commentary about the quotes.

And that's where my confusion comes.

Some explanations seem targeted to other geeks:
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Geek Wisdom: The Sacred Teachings of Nerd Culture is a collection of mini-essays written by N. K. Jemisin, Genevieve Valentine, Eric San Juan, and Zaki Hasan. It was edited by Stephen H. Segal.

With such a diverse team of writers, I was happy to see the emphasis on positivity and inclusion present in Geek Wisdom. It highlighted the positive elements of geek culture that we can all learn from, while gently reminding us that we still have a ways to go. Each of the 200 or so mini-essays takes a popu
Mar 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One line in Geek Wisdom sums up my childhood, my teens and my twenties: "Sometimes it's hard to accept one's inner weirdo."

Geek Wisdom brought back memories of forgotten moments in my life; I didn't expect the trip down memory lane but was grateful for it. It reminded me of books and movies I want to revisit. The book also introduced me to some bits of geek culture that I missed somehow.

It's impossible for a book like this to cover all available material out there. I'm hoping for another volume
Nov 11, 2013 rated it did not like it
Facts about me: my water bottle and lunchbox have Superman logos on them; I've read the Lord of the Rings trilogy about a dozen times, and have seen the movies about thirty times each; for my birthday this year I got a plastic Captain America shield; about fifty percent of the daily blogs I read are tech blogs and I'm not in the tech industry. In short, I am a geek, which is why I really, really wanted to enjoy this book. The book is essentially a series of short (VERY short) musings about ident ...more
Jul 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
Copy received through the Goodreads First Reads program.

If you're a geek, you probably enjoy quotes. If you're an especially nerdy kind of geek, you might like your quotes annotated. If you're beyond that (like me), you will certainly enjoy that many of the quotes in Geek Wisdom also have footnotes.

This handy, pocket-size volume claims to explore the wisdom to be found in the holy texts of geekdom. Never fear--said explorations are bite-sized, keeping to a single page. Inside, you'll find a bit
Feb 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humor, nonfiction
Think of every great geek movie quote ever (well at least through 2010 when this book was published). And consider what it's meant to you. Why might you toss it into a conversation, dare to utter it during an important presentation, call upon its sentiments in your hour of need? That's what this book does--in a tongue-in-cheek yet serious manner, finds the wisdom even as it laughs at such phrases as (if you can't finish the quotes, you probably wouldn't like this book...) "By Grabthar's Hammer.. ...more
Aug 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
*Goodreads Giveaway*
This is a great book that anyone who considers themselves a "geek" will love. The quotes are pulled together, in an enjoyable way, from all sorts of sources (cartoons, sci-fi, movies, comicbooks, etc.) The writing is witty and humorous. Where else can you find quotes from The Kids in the Hall, Firefly, Simpsons, Star Wars, and Clue? The insight that is shed on every quote is wonderful. I recommend Geek Wisdom to anyone (self-proclaimed geek or not) and would make a perfect gi
Mar 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Geek Wisdom is a collection of mini-essays that expand on, interpret, comment upon, and philosophise about, some of the most well-known quotes from movies, television shows, literature, games, science, the internet etc. Some essays are humorous, most are profound, and as a collection, I’m sure that they all speak to our inner nerd.
The fact that most of these quotations are now a part of everyday pop-culture says it all - maybe "the geek shall inherit the Earth". So get your geek on and read thi
Irene McHugh
Oct 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A perfect read for those times when you're too tired or too busy to read a chapter of another book. Each page has a geek quote like "As you wish," "I find your lack of faith disturbing," or "I have been, and always shall be, your friend" from books, movies, video games, comics, and the Internet. I usually only read a few pages at a time because I liked thinking about the points Segal made with his analysis of each quote. Definitely going to have to read this book again to absorb even more. ...more
Apr 22, 2014 rated it did not like it
I picked this up on a whim while at the library, and I still don't know why. The authors take a defensive tone in some of the short blurbs and that really turned me off. I don't feel the need to self proclaim myself as a "geek," I am a person who happens to like geeky things. So maybe I am not the intended audience. The section on the universe also made me slightly uncomfortable because many of the snippets were written with a bend towards atheism and its superiority to religious belief. ...more
Cameron Meiswinkel
Oct 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I consider myself a partial geek. I certainly contain geek DNA. And though I did not get every reference this book talked about, it wasn't truly necessary that I did. The author took an interesting idea and executed it wonderfully. Life themes are exemplified through our favorite childhood movies, books, and comics, and Geek Wisdom lays them out in a nice, neat format. ...more
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