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I guess I'll never stop being amazed by the books like these. They cling to this notion that it is better to be positive, even if it means writing utter nonsense, than not. I like to think of myself as a realist with a hint of idealism present. Realist part of me has huge problems with "The Geeks". Let's try to elaborate. The main premise of "The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth" is simple enough. It says that those who are bullied at school (high school), those who are not part of the in-crowd, are more likely to succeed in later stages of life because of unique set of skills they poses and/or reluctance to conform to the arbitrary norms of society. Robbins tries to show this by using several case studies (in narrative, almost novelesque form) that typify some of the behavior of "the outsiders". That is all well and good and I don't have any problem with that assumption. It is perfectly reasonable that highly intelligent computer "geek" (subcategory: gamer) will thrive once he hits the college or job market. It is perfectly understandable that a proactive lesbian will have easier life outside the boundaries of the school which takes its Catholicism seriously. One can understand these scenarios and that's okay. Problems are of different nature.
So, how do we picture a high-school outsider? Well, Robbins pictures him as a highly intelligent individual that has a "weird" interest or some kind of "exaggerated" character trait (like national pride) intensity of which makes him a target for his peers. Furthermore, this outsider of Robbins's doesn't conform to the high-school norms (whatever they might be, they tend to differ from school to school) and doesn't feel bad about it. Obviously, these traits can become burdens in a crude, unrelenting, environment like high-school. What is wrong with that picture? Well, apart from that fact that outsiders like these are minority among gen-pop of outsiders, nothing. Thing is, we can accept the follow-up scenario when dealing with intelligent, creative, proactive yet bit socially awkward individuals. What happens when we picture an outsider with a normal or sub-normal intelligence, no particular skills, no unique character trait - you know, the average guy/girl, who is an outsider because of the reasons totally beyond his control (being poor, being a bit "slow", being ugly", has a name like Jeff or whatever)? Robbins doesn't deal with these people. They are, despite being majority of "the outsiders", outside of her perspective, once again outside. Will someone who has no particular set of skills and IQ about 90 thrive in a non-high-school environment? Who cares, says Robbins. Let's just focus our attention on a weird but intelligent girl whose only crime is that she reads books in a public place. You can understand how this can be a problem in a book that tries to present itself as a well-documented research, sort of a definite answer to the problem of high-school outsiders.
"The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth" reads a bit like a self-help book that essentially says: "Cheer up, mate, it becomes better." Thing is, it doesn't. Or better, it doesn't necessarily become better. This is yet another example of Robbins detachment from a "real world" out there (first one being exclusion of an average guy/girl). To be a non-conformist in an "outside world"? Big no-no. System doesn't really change. Only thing that does change is that one can, in theory, have bigger pool of people to interact with. Try imagining a president of US having a tattooed forehead, long hair, and broken teeth. So much for a non-conformism in an outside world. We don't have to be radical about it. Try imagining the same picture only instead of a White House put the guy behind the counter in a random bank. High-school reflects the world outside and that is something that Robbins chooses to ignore. Sure enough, if one doesn't ignore it, one can hardly be positive about the outcome and it's all about being positive isn't it. Yes, it is more probable, statistically speaking, that intelligent individual will manage to succeed if they change their surroundings but to do so they will almost necessarily become conformists themselves. Even an Artist is a conformist amongst "his people".
"The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth" has an extensive bibliography which is, for some reason that I still didn't manage to understand, not indexed so it can become quite a bother to double check certain facts or important research so be prepared for that. Overall, "The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth" in hardly more than a cute melodrama that presents itself seriously. If he were still alive, Frank Capra might have made a movie about these case studies. It would probably be a tear jerker and, like many of Capra's movies, it would be a fantasy detached from the intricacies and complexities of life.