Despite the luring title “Nerds - Who they are and why we need more of them” I would not have bought the book – it was a gift. The author David Anderegg, PhD has his academic degree printed on the book’s cover. I am always a bit suspicious of people insisting on the public use of their degree. At least as a means to promote their work, to lend credibility to their expertise. Nevertheless, I mostly enjoyed reading the book.
The author gives an assessment of the nerd and geek stereotype in American culture. He pays special attention to children and adolescents and how the nerd label may affect their personal attitude towards academic achievements. I think his observations are quite to the point. Even though the book is rather American-centric the same observation can be made in Germany. There is a general aura of anti-intellectualism in Germany as well. People are actually proud of their lack of math skills and little understanding of science at large.
This is a serious problem for society as people (children) who do not want to be labeled as nerds or geeks may choose not to reach their full potential. This is a loss for society. Technological and scientific advancement could be improved if only it was not hip to be dumb or just mediocre.