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.