I must admit that I’m intrigued by the whole “Self Help” book genre. I can’t say that I’ve read a huge number of them, but I’ve sampled some. I’ve always been a firm believer that you can learn just about anything from a book, and it’s definitely the first place I go when I’m trying to become familiar with a new concept.
There’s something about self help books, though, that have always given me the feeling that I was somehow cheating. The real big “lessons of life” need to be figured out on your own. They’re like mistakes — someone else can’t make them for you.
Having said that, I was intrigued by the title of Sean Stephenson’s book, Get Off Your “But.” It had a good sound to it, and I’ve always been a proponent of getting up and doing something when you want to solve a problem.
While Get Off Your “But” was a good title, the book itself lacked real meat, and I didn’t feel that it added much original content to the subjects that it presented.
I’ve talked a couple of times on this site about how I go about picking the next book I’m going to read. The book in this review came to me through a somewhat different route.
I listen to a podcast about technology called This Week In Tech (or TWIT for short). It allows me to keep up on all things tech and is quite entertaining. If you’re like me, and are interested in technology, it’s certainly worth checking out. Not to mention, quite often they talk about books.
In this case, the book was Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely, and I’m guessing I would not have picked this book up if not for the discussion on the TWIT podcast. However, I’m very glad I did.
Can one person really make a difference in another person’s life? Just by showing a bit of caring in what happens to another person, can you change a life’s direction? Does the simple act of taking an interest in someone really mean anything?
Those are the questions that are really at the heart of Geeks by Jon Katz. You wouldn’t know this from looking at the book, or really from reading the introduction. From that, you would think it was an essay on geeks living in the world today. I figured it would start with a good definition of what a geek was, which it did in a way, but from that point on this book became something I really wasn’t expecting at all.
What’s a Geek?
The defining aspect of geek-hood given within this book was a feeling of being outside the mainstream. The definition didn’t revolve too much around technology. Many of the people interviewed within the book talked about being geeks, and what it meant to them, and it wasn’t all about how they lived their life through a computer.