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The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth: Popularity, Quirk Theory, and Why Outsiders Thrive After High School Hardcover – May 3, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
Robbins follows her previous book, The Overachievers: The Secret Life of Driven Kids, with this insightful and timely look at the current state of America's teenage wasteland commonly known as "high school." Robbins follows the lives of seven students across the nation with very different and unique personalities—from "the gamer" and "the band geek" to "the popular bitch" and "the new girl"—as well as interviewing hundreds of other students, teachers, and counselors from a range of public, private, urban, rural, technical, college prep, and arts schools to prove what she calls her "Quirk Theory:" that "Many of the differences that cause a student to be excluded in school are the identical traits or real-world skills that others will value, love, respect, or find compelling about that person in adulthood and outside of the school setting." Robbins's keen eye shows us how the eternal adolescent struggle between individuality and inclusion lures many students—and teachers—into a mindless "groupthink" about what is conventionally popular and acceptable behavior. At the same time, she shows how the qualities that set her subjects apart from their classmates are the same qualities that make them stand out in positive ways. She ends with an effective list of tips for parents, teachers, students, and schools on how to support and encourage students who value "original thought and expression." (May)
Insightful and timely...Robbins' keen eye shows...how the qualities that set her subjects apart [also] make them stand out in positive ways. She ends with an effective list of tips for parents, teachers, students, and schools. --Publishers Weekly
An excellent overview of the complex social environment of high school, told in an accessible and often humorous and touching manner...Very highly recommended. --Library Journal Starred Review
Offers real hope to adolescents... The author has a gift for writing fact like fiction...and the students and their stories are thoroughly engaging... These stories are not just entertaining but important.
A fascinating read, and an important one for parents. I highly recommend this book.
Required reading for anyone who has ever felt left out...or misunderstood. Schools everywhere would do well to incorporate it into their curriculum.. Robbins' ode to the cafeteria fringe will have you laughing, cheering, shocked.
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Top Customer Reviews
I am an educator of 26 years and a high school assistant principal. The information I have gotten from this book has certainly helped me to look at my student population in a totally, new light. Not only does Robbins examine the labels that students assign themselves and others and the harm it causes but "The Geeks" also looks at the way that the faculty that educates them treat students and each other. I had never thought of the way that faculty groups mirror the groups of students.
Also, it was an eye opener to think that the influence of the media has caused "mean girls" to be mean, as a way of protecting themselves. We often misunderstand and think that they mistreat other kids because they enjoy it. The fact is that many of these young ladies don't enjoy it at all but the influence of shows such as "Gossip Girl" and "90210," make it "cool" to be mistreat others. It is hard to believe that many students who are viewed as being a part of the "Popular Crowd" are truly miserable but lack the courage to leave for fear of rejection.
Thanks again to Alexandra Robbins for a fantastic read!!!
Why should you buy this book?
Have you ever been bullied?
Have you ever bullied someone?
Have you ever dressed a certain way to try to fit in?
Have you ever hidden your "true self" because you did not want to be mocked, questioned, judged?
Are you an educator?
Are you a parent?
Are you/were you a student?
If you answered yes to any of the above, go buy this book today.
On a side note, I did my action research paper for my masters in education on stereotyping and cliques in schools. I wish this book had been around when I did the project. At the time I worried my "stereotypes" seemed too much like a John Hughes movie, but after reading "Geeks" I feel more validated in my own research. "Geeks" is action research at it's finest. Robbins is an inspired and detailed writer and chooses fascinating topics that everyone will enjoy learning more about.
The organization of the book is a bit haphazard, with Robbins going willy-nilly from one character to the next, taking time outs here and there for pop psychology and looks at "studies" new and old. The purpose of this "science" is to show group dynamics and human behavior -- the how and the why to cruelty in school cafeterias and hallways. The arrangement can be discombobulating at times, but the story lines carry the day.
I especially like how Robbins included one teacher's story here to show how cliques and nasty games do NOT always disappear with age. In fact, there are "popular" teachers, too, who would much rather hang out with other popular teachers and ignore the nerdier ones. You'd think these behaviors would look transparently pitiful at the advanced ages of these teachers, but Robbins shows that you'd have to think again. Some people never learn, alas, though, in this book, a lot of the kids do. It is, in that sense and in the final analysis, a hopeful book. You'll find yourself cheering for these guys and girls, who should but probably do not take comfort in the fact that they have odds-on advantages to become successful in life after school -- and for the exact same reasons they were teased and ostracized in school. God loves irony, after all, making the Biblical title especially apt....
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Robbins follows seven teenagers throughout a school year, challenging them halfway through to step outside their comfort zones.Read more