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The Geek Manifesto: Why Science Matters

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  528 ratings  ·  73 reviews
Britain's leading science journalist makes an agenda-setting argument that science matters to every aspect of politics with a rallying call to all geeks, wannabe geeks, and secret geeks to join together in a new force our leaders cannot ignore. There has never been a better time to be a geek (or a nerd, or a dork). What was once an insult used to marginalize those curious ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published May 10th 2012 by Bantam Press (first published May 1st 2012)
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WarpDrive
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
We live in a bizarre, almost dystopian period of history, with an intellectually challenged real estate clown at the helm of the most powerful country in the world, a puppet whose statement "climate change is a Chinese hoax" will probably be regarded by future historians one of the most moronic and dangerously stupid pronouncements by any leader in contemporary times. A period during which religious fundamentalism is still thriving in many countries (Evangelical Christianity in the US, ...more
Marc
I am nearly finished, and struggling to finish. Not that I don't agree with most of what Henderson says, just that he uses so many words to say it. I guess I am what you call the choir he is preaching to, and I have lived in the world of science geeks for a lot of my adult life. Most of what I read, has been painfully obvious to me every day so I guess I'm not the best person to review it. I still think that most of the arguments could have been a bit more concise.
Brian Clegg
May 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
It’s interesting that the ‘added puff’ fake sticker on the front of this book calls it ‘important’ because that is actually a very informative word about this book. What is packed into ‘important’ is that this is a really essential topic with lots of well argued material… but it’s a bit boring. And that’s kind of how I felt about the book.

In a way it suffers from the target of my agent’s non-fiction mantra: ‘Is this a book or is it an article?’ I felt that this really was more an article taken
...more
Simon Clare
Aug 06, 2012 rated it it was ok
I'd only have given it 2 stars until I got to the "Geeks and Greens" chapter, which was the only part I thought that actually contributed anything to the world.
While I generally agree with Henderson's views, there is nothing new here at all. I was expecting so much more considering the gushing reviews given by skeptics. I can't see this book changing the minds of anyone who didn't already value science. It's kind of a summary of the things that are already happening with a wish for more of the
...more
Alex Murphy
Apr 29, 2015 rated it liked it
This book raised some interesting points, which definitely need to be addressed by politicians and policy groups, about the abuse of scientific evidence and ignoring by mistake or design hard science proved facts. However the first third of the book did seem a bit of a slog, where the author went through how to apply scientific methods to politics and to get more scientists and science enthusiast involved in politics and campaigning. While important this part did seem a bit too long.
The rest of
...more
Bob Drake
May 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a great book for those with a science/engineering background or anyone with an interest in rationality and the importance of the scientific method. Henderson's premise is simple; the world needs more rational thinking, in politics, economics, government etc, but the very people who embody rational thought, the Geeks, are under-represented in these areas. The Geek Manifesto is a call to arms for rational thinkers to take back the ground lost to the pseudo-scientists, the religious zealots ...more
Paul
Feb 17, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have an issue with how to rate this book.

on the one hand it's powerful and important, a much needed scientific injection in the otherwise person-led domain of politics. It is important that every voter pays attention to the information imparted here, but they probably won't get it from this book.

Mark Henderson, for everything he's got right in this book, has failed to inspire enthusiasm in his writing. I myself am one of the geeks that this book claims to be a manifesto for - I get excited
...more
Cathy
Aug 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, social
"The Geek Manifesto: Why Science Matters to Government" is an attempt to encourage the active participation of scientists and geeks in political life. Henderson primarily addresses the misuse of science for political reasons. Themes within the media, justice, education and health are given as examples to explain the lack of knowledge about the scientific method and science-based evidence, and the distortion that is often made in the name of a "higher polical cause."
Personally, I enjoyed
...more
Bastian Greshake Tzovaras
Jun 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
A call for action for scientists and geeks alike. A great book on why it's important that geeks get involved with politics, why science is important for politics and what actions can be of help to make science matter for politicians. While the book has its focus strongly on the UK (most examples which are given are from there. I think because Henderson is UK-based and works as Head of Communications for the Wellcome Trust) most ideas are equally suited for other countries. Worth reading for all ...more
Ben
Dec 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: unfinished
I liked the basic premise of the book. But I didn't actually finish it as I found it just kept making the same points over and over again.
Hayley Fletcher
Feb 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A must read. It's a sad state of affairs that such a book is needed. The unwillingness to assess policies and do what works is a pitiful failure. The section on education contains some crucial observations about the curriculum it would be nice to know were being seriously considered.

Perhaps I am one of the converted and I've read many books on this topic, but it wasn't totally engaging throughout. There were one or two factual errors and a little bit of self-indulgence in parts that didn't sit
...more
Julia
Jul 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Important reading for those who care about science, but even more so for those who care how society functions and whether decisions are made based on evidence or dogma. The need for evidence touches every area of life, from how we educate children to which health services we provide. Mark Henderson explores how science and evidence interact with politics, education, the media, healthcare and the environment. A very knowledgeable insight in some of the major decisions taken in the UK and whether ...more
Solange
Jul 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
very interesting and important book for all scientists/geeks/nerds out there.
rhythm of the book can be a bit slow and sometimes feels like a newspaper column, but this doesn't detract from the research and clear exposition of his thoughts and opinions

highly recommended
Andrew Roberts
Jul 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
Covers a terrific variety of the applications of science to society, education, politics and more; somewhat narrowed by the focus on the UK context.
Harry
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I rated this book five stars as this is a must read for anyone with an interest in science or politics. Henderson conveys an essential message that science and evidence should be taken seriously in all area of our society. In addition to this, the amount of evidence and research that Henderson put into this manifesto is very impressive. This is an essential read and one of the best non-fiction books I’ve read in a while.
Josiah Lau
Oct 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great book but IMO doesn't quite address how geeks can help to engage the community at large about awareness of science/the scientific method and its importance. Feels a lot more politics-oriented, but then again the title 'manifesto' may have given that away.

We need to work together to help to address the misunderstandings and misconceptions about science.
Dan Rodgers
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic. Helps spell out many of the issues rife with politics and society due to the lack of appreciation for scientific theory and the application of logical reasoning. Highly recommended for ALL.
Kahlan Newman
Dec 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: abandoned
A book that makes some incredibly important points, but a difficult and often repetitive read
Elon
May 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobook
First off; geek does not equal scientist, or even someone interested in science.
Secondly, this was mostly boring. It did, however, raise some nice ideas and ideals to live and vote by.
Genetic Cuckoo
Sep 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: science
A wonderful book looking at the importance of the geek vote and the difference good science could make to politics if it was organised.
Jill
In Geek Manifesto, Mark Henderson makes a compelling case for why scientific thinking matters and how it is relevant to every aspect of society - whether in politics, the economy, policymaking, education, justice, etc. It is perhaps a book most useful for those who haven't really thought about the relevance of science in our society, who have spent most of their lives in the humanities and think of science as the esoteric stuff of labs and white coats. Henderson unpacks how and why science is ...more
Aurélien Thomas
It's a sad fact that, in societies relying so much on science and technology the great majority of our policy makers (politicians etc.) and, people truly having an impact on public opinion at large (the media) have no clue about what science really entails. If part of science is, indeed, a set of knowledge and all the products coming out of that knowledge (for instance, the technologies our economies rely so much upon) it is, also and most of all, a way of thinking -a critical scepticism ...more
Elizabeth Hauke
Aug 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
The book may be subtitled "Why Science Matters', but actually it's about a whole lot more than that. The book tackles how science is being used and abused in our political system (and a little about the US political system). However, in taking us through the problems in various areas - such as science in the media, policy making, education, justice and healthcare - it talks about much more than the simple (or rather complex) interface of scientific evidence and method with politics. It talks ...more
Michal Paszkiewicz
Apr 02, 2016 rated it it was ok
As much as I agree with the author that we need more scientists in politics, education, medicine and so on, I would not recommend this book to anyone else. Henderson shows a very naive view of science, statistics and politics and makes it a point to spread his own political agenda. The book (and especially the first 30 pages) suggested a profound lack of knowledge of philosophy (which is odd, considering this is to scientists what Plato's republic was to philosophers) and ethics, which are the ...more
Tim
Aug 10, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pop-sci
This book has some interesting ideas and points. It is an interesting and generally well written and uses lots of examples to illustrate the extent of the problem. It would be good if we could encourage government and other policy makers to use evidence based methods and used randomised trials to establish the effectiveness of policies. And the author is right that people involved or interested in science could do better at explaining the benefits of this approach.

I guess I have a couple
...more
Sam
Jun 27, 2014 rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand it is very informative and shows how important science really in to the world and how it influences pretty much everything from health to the environment despite how little credence is actually given to it. Then on the other hand Henderson is very much preaching to the converted. There is little in here that will get the non-geek up in arms about the lack of importance given to science and those of us who work in it, which to me should've been a ...more
Paul
Nov 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
In an unashamedly direct appeal to the geek community, Mark Henderson presents a discussion of the multitude of areas in which good science and critical thinking are ignored, misunderstood or actively attacked. He also talks about the harm that arises from these non-scientific attitudes and what we, as geeks, can do about it.

The Geek Manifesto isn't a set of specific policy prescriptions. Rather, it is concerned with the way in which policy is developed (often very badly indeed) and calls for a
...more
Ernest
Nov 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


Clearly written and clearly passionate about the subject, Henderson presents both a disappointing and at times despairing look at the misuse, abuse and ignorance of science and the times where the scientific method and science has been rationally used. His call for not only more scientific thinking and rationale but also a greater awareness of the use and misuse of science is not only welcomed but also needed. I do wonder, however, how much traction this call will get - those who hold this
...more
Oisin
Mar 22, 2014 rated it liked it
It's a wonderful reminder to all of us, of a scientific inclination, that complacency is not an option. More and more, in the mainstream media, "science" and scientists are portrayed as a group utterly separate to the rest of humanity. Science is attacked by people and organisation with their own motives in a desperate attempt to discredit scientists as a whole. Science is knowledge and prosperity and this book is a good introduction to some of the vital issues which more people need to be made ...more
Wally Muchow
Jul 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
The manifesto part of this book concerns what the author calls geeks getting more involved in society and the political process in order to enforce their view of reality as an important component of civilization. By geeks the author seems to include scientists and those interested in science or skeptical about such pseudo scientific issues as homeopathy and and anti-vaccination believers as well as global warming deniers.
It is full of anecdotes of what happens when Geeks are not involved as well
...more
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“Politicians know that if they fail to engage with the gay community, and fail to develop coherent positions on the issues that concern them, they risk punishment at the ballot box. If we can do that for science, we will have made an outstanding start.” 0 likes
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