The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth: Popularity, Quirk Theory, and Why Outsiders Thrive After High School

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In a smart, entertaining, reassuring book that reads like fiction, Alexandra Robbins manages to cross Gossip Girl with Freaks and Geeks and explain the fascinating psychology and science behind popularity and outcasthood. She reveals that the things that set students apart in high school are the things that help them stand out later in life.

Robbins follows seven real people grappling with the uncertainties of high school social life, including:
  • The Loner, who has withdrawn from classmates since they persuaded her to unwittingly join her own hate club
  • The Popular Bitch, a cheerleading captain both seduced by and trapped within her clique's perceived prestige
  • The Nerd, whose differences cause students to laugh at him and his mother to needle him for not being "normal"
  • The New Girl, determined to stay positive as classmates harass her for her mannerisms and target her because of her race
  • The Gamer, an underachiever in danger of not graduating, despite his intellect and his yearning to connect with other students
  • The Weird Girl, who battles discrimination and gossipy politics in school but leads a joyous life outside of it
  • The Band Geek, who is alternately branded too serious and too emo, yet annually runs for class president
In the middle of the year, Robbins surprises her subjects with a secret challenge--experiments that force them to change how classmates see them.

Robbins intertwines these narratives--often triumphant, occasionally heartbreaking, and always captivating--with essays exploring subjects like the secrets of popularity, being excluded doesn't mean there's anything wrong with you, why outsiders succeed, how schools make the social scene worse--and how to fix it.

The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth is not just essential reading for students, teachers, parents, and anyone who deals with teenagers, but for all of us, because at some point in our lives we've all been on the outside looking in.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Hachette Books
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Published on
May 3, 2011
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Pages
384
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ISBN
9781401303778
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / Secondary
Education / Student Life & Student Affairs
Social Science / Children's Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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A groundbreaking manifesto about what our nation’s top schools should be—but aren’t—providing: “The ex-Yale professor effectively skewers elite colleges, their brainy but soulless students (those ‘sheep’), pushy parents, and admissions mayhem” (People).

As a professor at Yale, William Deresiewicz saw something that troubled him deeply. His students, some of the nation’s brightest minds, were adrift when it came to the big questions: how to think critically and creatively and how to find a sense of purpose. Now he argues that elite colleges are turning out conformists without a compass.

Excellent Sheep takes a sharp look at the high-pressure conveyor belt that begins with parents and counselors who demand perfect grades and culminates in the skewed applications Deresiewicz saw firsthand as a member of Yale’s admissions committee. As schools shift focus from the humanities to “practical” subjects like economics, students are losing the ability to think independently. It is essential, says Deresiewicz, that college be a time for self-discovery, when students can establish their own values and measures of success in order to forge their own paths. He features quotes from real students and graduates he has corresponded with over the years, candidly exposing where the system is broken and offering clear solutions on how to fix it.

“Excellent Sheep is likely to make…a lasting mark….He takes aim at just about the entirety of upper-middle-class life in America….Mr. Deresiewicz’s book is packed full of what he wants more of in American life: passionate weirdness” (The New York Times).
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