Every self-respecting techie can recite some quotes off the top of her head and expect every one of her friends to know its origin and context: "With great power comes great responsibility," or "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic," or "Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration." You nodded at these, right? This is the book for you.
When I saw this short book among my Amazon Vine selections I thought that would be all it would be: A selection of large-print geek quotes, the nerdy equivalent of "Quotes for Writers" (I have several such titles because, y'know, I can't help myself). And that would be fine, because I could then attack-harumph about the selection (What?! Just one quote from Firefly?).
But Geek Wisdom is a little more than that, in a very nice way. Rather than try to assemble all the geek memes in one place, Stephen Segal uses these to illustrate how we use them "to guide us toward maturity by helping us ask and answer the big, cosmic questions about existence." And in so doing he illuminates why we care so much about these "sacred teachings." One page at a time, so we don't have to pretend this is incredibly deep, just enjoyable. It's like telling us that our favorite chocolate is also healthy for us.
The sayings and quotes and such are organized into sections examining wisdom about the self (My name is Inigo Montoya), wisdom about the universe (Billions and Billions), wisdom about the future (In the year 2929), etc. So under two quotes from Labyrinth (including "You have no power over me"), Segal discusses "girlhood in geekdom" with some sensitivity as well as humor: "...Which may be why David Bowie's androgynous, seductive, and artful Goblin King won the hearts and fantasies of so many geek girls. He was a bad boy... and yet, a pretty good babysitter. ... Bucking the trend of the typical Hollywood epic, Labyrinth showed a young woman learning to take responsibility for her actions, persevere in an unfair world, and own her sexual identity. She wasn't just a babe -- she was the babe with the power."
End result: This is a fun, quick-to-read book that is both good for geek quote-offs and thoughtful bathroom reading. If you're a geek, grab a copy. If you know one (and we are notoriously difficult to shop for, for some reason), it's a perfect *perfect* gift.
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