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Geeks: How Two Lost Boys Rode the Internet Out of Idaho (2000)

de Jon Katz

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411946,451 (3.7)4
Jesse and Eric were roommates in the tiny town of Caldwell, Idaho, nineteen-year-old working class kids eking out a living with their seven-dollar-an-hour jobs selling and fixing computers. College was never in the cards. Their families had been torn apart by divorce and hard times, separation and illness. They had almost no social lives, and little to look forward to. They spent every spare cent on their computers, and every spare moment on-line. Jesse and Eric were proud geeks— suspicious or disdainful of authority figures, proud of their status as outsiders, fervent in their belief in the positive power of technology. They'd been outsiders as long as they could remember, living far from the mainstream of school or town life. Nobody spoke for them, they were on nobody's social or political agenda. Geeks is the story of how Jesse and Eric—and others like them—used technology to try and change their lives and alter their destiny. They rode the Internet out of Idaho to Chicago, a city they had ever set foot in, seeking the American Dream, a better life. Geeks describes this brave and difficult journey, as two self-described social misfits use the resources of the Internet to try to construct a new future for themselves, escape the boundaries of their dead-end lives, and find a community they could belong to. Geeks explores a growing subculture about which many of us know little, a world with its own language, traditions, and taboos. In telling the stories of Jesse, Eric, and others like them, Geeks is a story about the very human face of technology.… (mais)
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While Jon Katz himself is not a geek, he accurately portrays the story of two geeks that use their knowledge of computing to move out of their hometown and advance their lives significantly. While the two geeks that Katz describes are a bit more reclusive than some, the principles he discusses hold true for many members of the geek community. ( )
  chsbellboy | Oct 29, 2011 |
Geeks poses as a fair-and-balanced look at the rise of the computer geek but mostly comes off as a slobbering blowjob of the archetypical nerd. (He also makes a lot of really broad generalizations -- for instance, did you know all geeks are libertarians?) It mostly focuses on two particularly alienated kids from Idaho who come off as borderline Aspies and decide to move to Chicago, literally just because Katz emailed one of them telling them that they could probably get a job anywhere if they really wanted to. (It's a bit more complicated than that, but enh.)

It's not a bad book by any means, but I would certainly take its talk of "the ascendency of the geek" with a shaker of salt. The fact that this was written literally moments before the dot-com bubble burst probably helped give Katz a rose-tinted view of things. ( )
1 vote stochasticooze | Feb 18, 2010 |
It was an interesting study of 'geek culture' that was definitely made from the outside. I felt that author became a little condescending to his subjects at times. It did offer some good information on the early days on the internet, computing, and gaming. However, much of the other present (when the book was made), and future speculating was painfully dated to someone technologically involved. ( )
  jbernal | Jun 4, 2008 |
A cool story of some...well let's face it...geeks that turned their passions into careers. It is about friendship in the face of oblivion. A great human drama for the 21st century. ( )
1 vote Djupstrom | Apr 27, 2008 |
Jesse and Eric were computer geeks and hackers who were on the fringe of society. They had a limited social life in their small town in Idaho. After being encouraged by Katz, they set out to Chicago to start a new life. Will these geeks be able to make it in Chicago? Is the Internet the key to their future? ( )
  libraryleonard | Feb 27, 2008 |
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Jesse and Eric were roommates in the tiny town of Caldwell, Idaho, nineteen-year-old working class kids eking out a living with their seven-dollar-an-hour jobs selling and fixing computers. College was never in the cards. Their families had been torn apart by divorce and hard times, separation and illness. They had almost no social lives, and little to look forward to. They spent every spare cent on their computers, and every spare moment on-line. Jesse and Eric were proud geeks— suspicious or disdainful of authority figures, proud of their status as outsiders, fervent in their belief in the positive power of technology. They'd been outsiders as long as they could remember, living far from the mainstream of school or town life. Nobody spoke for them, they were on nobody's social or political agenda. Geeks is the story of how Jesse and Eric—and others like them—used technology to try and change their lives and alter their destiny. They rode the Internet out of Idaho to Chicago, a city they had ever set foot in, seeking the American Dream, a better life. Geeks describes this brave and difficult journey, as two self-described social misfits use the resources of the Internet to try to construct a new future for themselves, escape the boundaries of their dead-end lives, and find a community they could belong to. Geeks explores a growing subculture about which many of us know little, a world with its own language, traditions, and taboos. In telling the stories of Jesse, Eric, and others like them, Geeks is a story about the very human face of technology.

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