Book Review: American Nerd

american-nerd The 2009 book, American Nerd: The Story of My People, written by Benjamin Nugent, is an exploration of the history behind the word "nerd" intermixed with stories from Nugent's past. It reads like a long blog post or magazine article on the subject, covering the wide breadth of the issue of bias toward nerds. I just finished reading it and I found it to be a light, engaging read on the subject, a tad different from my previous review of Nerds by David Anderegg. Anderegg is an academic and Ph.D, while Nugent is a writer, which definitely benefits the latter in the feel of the book. They cover very similar territory but where American Nerd differs is in the personal stories and a more thorough delving into the history, where Nerds goes more into why the bias against nerds is bad by extrapolating about what it means for our future.

I found Nugent's anecdotal stories from his past to be spot on of my own experience with fellow young nerds back in the day. The reasons why people are "nerdy" are highly complex and diverse. It might be an escape or it might be a bonding mechanism, both of which can take varying shapes. Nugent also gives a nice overview of different aspects of nerd culture for those who may be unaware, which I appreciate since it allows for this book to lean towards a wider audience.

This book is great for simply existing and expanding the conversation of the issues facing the geek/nerd community. I'm excited to keep engaging in the literature behind the debate so that I can be the best informed I can be. I definitely recommend this book as a great place to start for anyone interested.

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