The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth by Alexandra Robbins

The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth by Alexandra Robbins
Published by Hyperion

Alexandra Robbins follows seven high school students in seven different cities for one year in order to examine the psychology behind popularity. She shows how the characteristics that make people outcasts in high school are the exact same characteristics that cause them to be successful and interesting later in life. Halfway through the year, she surprises each student with a challenge that will force them to go outside of their comfort zones and challenge the status quo of their schools. Throughout the book, Robbins deftly weaves the narratives of these students with essays exploring many of the issues they deal with.

THIS is the type of nonfiction I go crazy for. I absolutely love these kinds of books, exploring the psychology or sociology of a particular issue, especially one I personally care about. In high school, I wasn’t an outcast by any means but I certainly wasn’t “popular” either. So I totally get how bullying and that type of behavior are serious problems in our schools, and Robbins not only goes in detail about how this affects high school students, but also gives actual solutions that parents, students, and schools can put into place.

Just as in Robbins’ two previous books (The Overachievers and Pledged – both of which I enjoyed tremendously) she does a fantastic job in this book balancing the stories from the people she’s following with facts and essays to prove the point she’s making. As a result, the book is extremely easy to read, not heavy at all. The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth would be a great choice for those who don’t typically read nonfiction for that reason. I have to say, also, that these seven people she followed made their way into my heart. Just like when reading a novel, I cared about these characters and truly hoped that things would work out in their favor – only they aren’t characters, they are real people, and that makes caring about them even more emotional. I connected to these students in a way that is very hard to do with nonfiction.

I have to say that Robbins makes some very poignant observations and important findings in this book. I would have to agree with her initial belief that many of the most successful and interesting people in the world today were outcasts in high school. I appreciate the fact that she explored the why behind this but also that she provided some ways for parents, students, and schools to fix this. Nobody should feel as horrible about themselves as some of these students did, and while parents can certainly play a part in remedying this, schools have a lot of power to fix this too. For that reason, I think The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth is an important book for parents and educators to read. I would even go so far as to say that every person who works in a high school should pick up this book.

The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth is an incredibly readable, interesting, and most of all important book that I highly recommend. Alexandra Robbins is truly fantastic at what she does and with this book she has impressed me once again.


16 thoughts on “The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth by Alexandra Robbins”

  1. I had heard of this book before, but didn’t know much about it. It sounds like there are some really interesting stories inside, and I would have to agree with you that the people who were most likely to be unpopular in high school are the ones that do the best in later life. I think it’s wonderful that you got so invested in the people who were highlighted, and your reaction has made me really want to read this book! Great review on this one, Heather! I am glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Great review! I have this book but keep forgetting about it. now Im super excited to read it! I don’t realize she wrote those other books. I’m going to have to look into those. I agree about people who are the out asta often succeeding, but where I went to high school many of the very popular people are still so and are very successful.

    1. I agree that it certainly isn’t a rule – popular kids can become successful too. But it’s funny when you look at some of the most successful people in the world – the Bill Gates types – they almost always say they were picked on or not liked in HS.

  3. What a great review! I think this sounds fascinating, and I agree that there must be a reason that those who are most vulnerable and somewhat awkward in high school are the ones that become very successful after school. And the reverse is true so often as well. Great idea to study in more detail!

  4. I’ve been thinking this book sounds good. I was fascinated by Pledged! I’m also curious to read this because I think it would be very unlike my own memories of high school. I was a geeky(ish) kid but I went to a geeky high school so I didn’t have to deal with any of the usual geeky kid trials and tribulations. :p

    1. I definitely think you would like it, Jenny! Especially if you liked Pledged. 🙂 Sounds like your experience of HS was actually pretty awesome. I would have loved to go to a geeky high school!

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