My Geek Culture Picks for O’Reilly’s Ebook Deal of the Day
O’Reilly Media gave me the opportunity to offer today’s Ebook Deal of the Day. I picked my favorite geek culture books to be 50% off today only. Are you a geek? If you’re like me, you might never have really given much thought to the question before. After all, what makes a geek? According to Jeff Potter, author of Cooking for Geeks, “a geek is anybody who’s curious about the details about how things work,” which “might be a car geek or somebody who’s into sports” as much as your classic “technology geek.”* I actually haven’t self-identified as a geek much in my life (though I may have been known as a “nerd” during those painful middle school years and have become something of a grammar “wonk” in my professional life), but while editing Jeff’s book, I ended up embracing the label. I’m not even much of a cook, but if this book is “for geeks,” then I’m guilty, because it’s definitely for me.
Of course, like any label, “geek” is an oversimplification, a useful convention for titling books, but one which still carries a hint of the pejorative for people who have not yet appropriated its positive meaning. Even with a broader definition, you still might not want to call yourself a “geek.” and that’s okay. Though each of my selections in this bundle includes the word “geek” in the title, I hope the subtitles make it clear that the content is interesting for any thinking person, even if you don’t consider yourself a “geek.” Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food. 128 Places Where Science & Technology Come Alive. The Software Developer’s Career Handbook. If you’re interested in the areas where cooking, travel, history, and your own career meet with science and technology, you’ll find plenty to keep you fascinated in this bundle.
I selected these books because each of them have made me “geek out” and change my thinking about a topic I’d previously never found particularly interesting. I’m not much of a cook and usually need to follow a recipe by the book if I have any hope of preparing a dinner anyone else will eat, but Cooking for Geeks taught me more about the science behind what happens to my food when it cooks than I’d ever considered before. I had the unfortunate curse of dry history teachers, who taught by reading textbooks out loud (or having students do so), so it never really came alive for me in ways I know it does with others (like my dad, for instance). But Geek Atlas made me want to travel and learn everything there is to know about what happened in the destinations where breakthroughs in science, mathematics, or technology occurred (or are happening now). And I’m no software developer by any means, but don’t let the subtitle of Being Geek fool you any more than the title: there’s plenty in this book to help anyone navigate their career, either in technology or in another field.
So, whether you consider yourself a geek or not, I’m sure you’ll find each of these books interesting. You might even find yourself “geeking out” over something completely new, which is a wonderful new feeling to discover.
- “New Frontier for Geeks: The Kitchen” on Science Friday with Ira Flatow, August 6, 2010