Jon Katz's book Geeks describes the life of two just out of high school young men living in rural Idaho as computer repair people. Tired of this depressing, repressive life, they get on a van and move to Chicago, IL and get high paying jobs.

Although they are making a lot more money in there new location, and don't have to deal with the repressive conformity of Idaho, they still feel lonely and isolated. The rest of the book describes one of the young mens attempts to get into the university of Chicago.

In the middle of all of this, Jon Katz breaks in with several chapters on his thoughts on Columbine, and the geek persecution that followed.

The book concludes with one of the protagonists getting into the U of C and the other continuing his life as a working geek.

There are two possible problem with this book:

  • First, as Jon Katz admits, he becomes more of a participant in the events of the book then a reporter. He often steers his subjects one way or another, or actually provides them with money. So this book can not be considered "objective journalism".
  • Second, the saga of "getting into college" seems to be an important part of this book. This suggests that despite the independence of the geeks that Jon insists is so important, there intellectual worth must be validated by the university system. I e-Mailed Jon and asked him about this, and he said that while this was an important part of this particular story, he does not think that this is always true.

So, all in all, this is an important read, but as with everything by Jon Katz, take some things with a grain of salt.

The introduction to this book also contains a quote which I think may explain the popularity of e2's favorite corvid, from the founder of wired: "Magpie nature is the essence of geekiness"

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