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Just a Geek Hardcover – June, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0596007683 ISBN-10: 059600768X Edition: 1st
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Editorial Reviews


"A cleverly constructed and vivid collection of memoirs with flashes of brilliant wit, this title betters even Dancing Barefoot." - Paul Hudson, Linux Format, Nov (top stuff award)

About the Author

Wil Wheaton may be one of the most unusual celebrities of our time. Born into stardom with the movie "Stand By Me", and then growing up on television as Wesley Crusher on "Star Trek: The Next Generation", Wil was in the spotlight nearly his entire childhood. Instead of burning out as a child star, he left fame behind and became a computer specialist in what Hollywood might consider the middle of nowhere: Topeka, Kansas. Now, Wil considers himself "just a geek", and both Dancing Barefoot and the forthcoming biography Just a Geek are about his journey in rediscovering himself and coming to terms with what it means to be famous, or, ironically, famous for being previously famous.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (June 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 059600768X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596007683
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (153 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,097,921 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Wil Wheaton's successful acting career began in 1986 with acclaimed roles in Stand By Me and Toy Soldiers. He continued to build his resume through his teen years as series regular 'Wesley Crusher' on Star Trek: The Next Generation and opposite Robin Williams in Flubber. But Wil is much more than just an actor; he's an author, blogger, voice actor, widely-followed Twitter user, and a champion of geek culture.

Wil currently splits his time between acting and writing. In 2010, he joined the cast of Eureka as Doctor Isaac Parrish, and recurs as Sheldon Cooper's nemesis, Evil Wil Wheaton, on The Big Bang Theory. He's published three acclaimed books: Just A Geek, Dancing Barefoot, and The Happiest Days of Our Lives. His latest books are Sunken Treasure, The Day After and Other Stories, and Memories of the Future, Volume One. All of his books grew out of Wil's immensely popular, award-winning weblog, which he created at WIL WHEATON dot NET and currently maintains at WIL WHEATON dot NET: in Exile.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

148 of 155 people found the following review helpful By Meryl K. Evans on September 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
If you wish you could be a famous actor like Wil Wheaton, after reading this book you might understand that being a famous actor is not all cracked up to be. This is a guy who has had a hit movie and a hit TV show. Not many actors can claim one of each, and yet, he suffers the life of a "has been" and doesn't enjoy the riches we all think famous actors of hit stuff enjoy for a lifetime.

This guy has impressed me with his brutally honest autobiography. The people and industry he speaks of are the people you and I are likely to have heard of. It's the kind of stuff that could get you kicked out of Hollywood for good.

Why would anyone want to read an autobio about a guy on a couple of hit shows who is a blogger? I can't answer that, but I can tell ya it is great reading. The people who would like this book are geeks, bloggers, Star Trek fans, famous people fans, actor wanna-bes, parents with step-kids, and Shatner haters.

Despite his being celebrity, he's a guy who faces problems many of us do. Financial, a difficult ex who is no help with the kids, balancing a career and family, and finding the right job.

His writing style is candid, conversational and comes across like a friend who is talking to you. Since he and I are parents, must mention that he uses a few cuss words. If you like his blog writings, you'll like this book - without question. However, if you've read every blog entry he has done, you've read most of this book. Furthermore, if you've read Dancing Barefoot, you've caught about a chapter's worth of this book.

Trek fans, don't expect an entire book on his life as Wesley. Wheaton, the actor fans, don't expect an entire book about acting although it covers a bit. WWdN, you're getting exactly what you see in his blog.
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130 of 142 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Caputo on June 28, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book is a frank, straight up look into Wil Wheatons life and transformation from actor, to writer (and believe me there is a lot that happens in between that transformation). I highly recommend this book, whether you are a Star Trek fan or not, its a book about simply being a loving, caring, individual.
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73 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Rich Rennicks on July 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Although Wil draws on his experiences during and after Star Trek for this book, it's not a celebrity memoir or similiar plea for attention. Just a Geek is a real-world story of one guy's struggles to be a good person/husband/father/actor/blogger/geek -- basically what we all deal with to some degree or another -- but funnier than heck. Wil Wheaton has great comic timing and a refreshing willingness to poke fun at himself and his mistakes.
And even though Trek isn't all this book is about, if you've ever attended a SF convention or watched Trekkies read this book for a glimpse of the actor's lives behind the scenes.
I never bother to get writers to sign their books, but if I ever get the chance to meet Wil, I'll ask him to sign my copy. Brilliant stuff.
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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful By dbltall on February 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The back cover of Just a Geek, by Wil Wheaton, says "Biography/Science Fiction", which makes it sound as if it were going to be something like "I, Robot". But this is not a book about Star Trek, although Wheaton does discuss the time he spent playing the character of Wesley Crusher on "Star Trek: The Next Generation". It's not a typical Hollywood celebrity gossip book, either. For a former child star, Wheaton seems to have led a life remarkably free of drug problems and felony convictions. What it is, is an insightful, humourous, beautifully written look at Wheaton's journey from, as he puts it, "That Washed Up Guy Who Used To Be An Actor When He Was A Kid" to "That Guy With The Cool Weblog Who Is Just A Geek Like The Rest Of Us".

By turns hilariously entertaining and deeply moving, Wheaton with brutal honesty shares the pain of pursuing his increasingly unsuccessful acting career, and his coming to terms with what Star Trek meant to him. It's a funny and bittersweet account of his growing up, his discovery of the power of blogging, his love for his wife and sons, and his realisation that writing was what he really wanted to do. He intersperses excerpts from his weblog, ([...] a very effective way of showing us what he was thinking and feeling at the time. I found it thoroughly enjoyable to read, and I'll be looking forward to his future writing.

The back cover also shows Wheaton at his desk. The books visible include "Running Linux" and "Learning Perl", and there is a stuffed Tux perched jauntily on top. Writer, actor, poker player, husband and father, Wil Wheaton is also a Linux geek and proud of it.

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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Duff HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 4, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Yesterday I had a package from O'Reilly awaiting me on the porch. It was Wil Wheaton's Just A Geek. Since I've been doing little but reading and reviewing tech books of late, I decided to take a break and dive into this one. I am so glad I did. It's quite the read...

Wheaton, as many probably know, played Wesley Crusher in the series Star Trek: The Next Generation and starred in the movie Stand By Me. He was a teen actor at that time, and decided that TNG was holding him back from moving on to feature films. When he left the series, little did he know that his acting career would never be the same. He resented and hated how people defined him as Wesley, not as Wil, and struggled hard with what role TNG should have in his life. During that angst-ridden time, he got married, became a father to two stepchildren, struggled to find acting jobs, and most importantly, started a blog before blogs were all the rage. His site, [...] became a hit and attracted a loyal following. While many readers were trekkies, there was also a large audience of people who visited due to his writing, his comedy, and his ability to open up his life and share his feelings and struggles with others. This book tells the story, through blog entries and vignettes, of his transformation from child actor to budding writer.

The style is raw, comedic, emotional... While most of us don't come from his background, all of us can relate to the constant companions of Doubt and Self-Loathing, two creatures who question our every move and live to make sure they're having more fun than we are. I'm not a big Star Trek fan, and mostly got this book due to having some fellow colleagues who know Wil. After reading the book, I've added his site to my list of must-read blogs and look forward to reading his other book.

Wheaton has found his life's calling... he's a writer. And those of us who are his readers are better because of it.
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