The Geeks' Guide To World Domination: Be Afraid, Beautiful People by Garth SundemThe Geeks' Guide To World Domination: Be Afraid, Beautiful People by Garth Sundem

The Geeks' Guide To World Domination: Be Afraid, Beautiful People

byGarth Sundem

Paperback | March 10, 2009

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Sorry, beautiful people. These days, from government to business to technology to Hollywood, geeks rule the world.

Finally, here’s the book no self-respecting geek can live without–a guide jam-packed with 314.1516 short entries both useful and fun. Science, pop-culture trivia, paper airplanes, and pure geekish nostalgia coexist as happily in these pages as they do in their natural habitat of the geek brain.

In short, dear geek, here you’ll find everything you need to achieve nirvana. And here, for you pathetic nongeeks, is the last chance to save yourselves: Love this book, live this book, and you too can join us in the experience of total world domination.

become a sudoku god
brew your own beer
• build a laser beam
classify all living things
clone your pet
exorcise demons
find the world’s best corn mazes
grasp the theory of relativity
have sex on Second Life
injure a fish
join the Knights Templar
kick ass with sweet martial-arts moves
learn ludicrous emoticons
master the Ocarina of Time
pimp your cubicle
program a remote control
quote He-Man and Che Guevara
solve fiendish logic puzzles
touch Carl Sagan
unmask Linus Torvalds
visit Beaver Lick, Kentucky
win bar bets
write your name in Elvish

Join us or die, you will.
Begun, the Geek Wars have
GARTH SUNDEM is the bestselling author of Geek Logik: 50 Foolproof Equations for Everyday Life. He and his wife live in California with their two kids and a large Labrador.
Title:The Geeks' Guide To World Domination: Be Afraid, Beautiful PeopleFormat:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 7.97 × 5.17 × 0.61 inPublished:March 10, 2009Publisher:Crown/ArchetypeLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0307450341

ISBN - 13:9780307450340

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Read from the Book

Welcome to my GEEK brain.It has exactly 314.15 information slots. While I wish there were more slots, alas, there are not. And while I wish these slots were packed with things like mathematical proofs of Millennium Prize problems, the mechanics of teleportation using Einstein- Podolsky- Rosen entanglement, and the physics behind NASA’s new plasma propulsion engine, this is not the case either. Instead, elbowing out useful, enriching, or scientific facts are folding instructions for a jumping origami frog, lists of English words you can spell on a basic calculator, and haikus written in praise of SPAM (the pork product of questionable lineage), all of which threaten at any second to burst through my facade of normalcy like parasitic aliens from John Hurt’s chest. Geek attack: Picture it. It’s not pretty.And, for better or for worse, I’m not alone.Today’s ubiquitous geek is like a massive musical mixing board, withvarious geeks turning up or turning down different dials, boosting–forexample–80s pop arcana or programming languages or fantasy footballStats or behavioral economics or quotes from This Is Spinal Tap (the lastOf which have the relevant dial turned up to 11). We don’t all boost thesame dials and we certainly don’t appreciate being defined; however,there is one constant that applies to all brands of geek–in all of us, thesedials are turned way up. In fact, our geek informational dials are turnedup to the point that they sometimes drown out our ability to functionsmoothly in the social world; in other words, with our geek specialty ofchoice thumping away inside our brains at maximum decibels, thingslike social niceties, our wardrobes, our anniversaries, and our ability tocontribute to dinner conversation without injecting weird factoids fromThe mating strategies of clownfish can be effectively silenced.Take heart, dear geek: With the world evolving toward ever- higherLevels of required specialization, more and more people are turning upTheir information dials to the point of usurping their ability to functionNormally. In short, more people are becoming geeks.To illustrate this geekification of modern society, imagine–if youwill–a middle- school rocket club. One kid follows the directions, carefullypenciling in exact fin placement and then, after allowing the requireddrying time, painstakingly sanding, painting, and applying decalsuntil the finished rocket is a mere blip in a wind tunnel. All another kidwants to do is send a live payload as high as possible–into the clearplastic cockpit of a three- stage D- engine rocket, he packs intrepid (andpotentially ill- fated) caterpillars, each with a name like Buzz or Chuckor Neil. A third kid has a vision: a center fuselage flanked by auxiliarytubes, each with a separate nose cone, the whole contraption having thepotential to arc gracefully skyward or, three feet off the launch pole, tostart spinning wildly, explode spectacularly, and negatively affect hearingin the faculty adviser’s left ear.Yes, I knew these kids. (Today, the first is in the Stats departmentat Oxford, the second is an entomologist specializing in system changedue to catastrophic events, and the third is an environmental architect.)OK, I was one of them–I oscillated between keeping a meticulous flightlog and pirating the rocket engine gunpowder for use in more terrestrialpyrotechnic experiments. Thanks in part to genetics–my dad is a formerpresident of the American Accounting Association–I also programmedchoose- your- own- adventure stories in BASIC, circa 1987, eagerly anticipated the logic puzzles in the next installment of Games magazine, anddesigned multilevel dungeons on graph paper. In an especially crueltwist, my mother is a psychoanalyst, so I was especially aware howthese pursuits were likely to affect my social and emotional development(adversely).Back to geekification:In the sepia tones of yesteryear, we rocketeers remained geek kingsand queens of only the rocket club (and–in the spirit of full disclosure–later the jazz band and the math and chess clubs. Wow, this is actuallyrather cathartic). Today, with highly specialized knowledge of all sortsdriving the world, it is as if more and more people are clamoring forinclusion in these clubs. Everyone now wants and needs information,leading to a much wider pool of adoration for the alpha geeks in eachdiscipline.It may be no revelation that yesterday’s geeks rule today’s world.A quote widely misattributed to Bill Gates: “Don’t make fun of geeksbecause one day you will end up working for one.” But with most ofsociety now acting as phytoplankton at the base of the ecosystems inwhich geeks are alpha predators, we are not only driving the traditionalgeek fields, but we’re starting to drive cool as well.For example, imagine a twenty- four- year- old dude with an unevenpeach- fuzz beard, wearing a green foam E = mc2 hat, a red Che Guevarashirt, and Converse All Stars, and listening to an iPod while riding a longboard to his job as a Web designer. By any definition, this person is ageek. This person is also very, very cool. He probably owns an island inSecond Life and has an algorithmic tattoo, too. Women want him, andmen want to be him. (We assume he dates a girl with piercings.) And withthis shift in cool, we see that instead of struggling to join society at largeas we have always done in the past, now society at large is joining us.OK, now that you are versed in hypothetical, external geekification,it’s time for a bit of self- examination (no, you needn’t undress). Doeswhat you know affect how you act? In light conversation, do you unintentionally inject your personal geekery? Does this make things a littleawkward? Last Friday, instead of trudging through another of theseawkward conversations, did you decide to order Chinese again (and eatit while watching Red Dwarf reruns and/or blogging about it)? Do yourfriends and family buy you books with “geek” in the title?If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re a geek. Goahead and skip to this book’s first entry. Go on, you know you want to.But maybe you thought, Oh shit! After reflection I’m not a geek and will thus be relegated to a lifetime of groveling at the feet of my great geek overlords. Oh how I wish I could be a geek too! Or you might’ve answered, Oh shit! I used to be a geek but have spent the last f fifteen years perfecting a veneer of social competence in order to pimp real estate and have thus let my geek credentials lapse. Whatever shall I do?Never fear: you hold in your hands the secrets you need to function–again or for the first time–as a geek. In fact, if you read and enjoy thisbook, you will necessarily be transformed into a geek by the simple actof partaking in the geekiest of geek activities: the enjoyment of knowledgefor its own sake (Descartes: “I think, therefore I am [a geek]”). Withthis book, you, too, can gain the cultural knowledge necessary to peekbehind the Wizard’s curtain–to glimpse the Matrix–and can thus joinin the experience of total world domination. Think of this book like a benevolent werewolf, ready to give you a friendly nip in the jugular; comenext full moon, you’ll be howling too.And then, during the geek uprising, when your IT guy rediscovershis Klingon spirit and the Web- widgets girl down the hall goes Xena:Warrior Princess, you will be able, when the pogrom reaches your cubicle, to demonstrate complex handmade shadow puppets against thewhiteboard and recite pi to at least the fifth digit, thus proving your allegiance and claiming your rightful spot in the coming Geek World Order.(Which, you have to admit, is worth the price of a book.)