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Do Geeks Make Better Adults?

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the well-not-you-exactly dept.

Education 335

mcgrew writes "What makes people unpopular in the hallways of high school, mainly an unwillingness to conform, tends to translate into success as an adult. Robbins lists several companies—including Yahoo!—that prioritize hiring quirky individuals who shun conventional thinking. She also name-checks historical and current celebrities, including director Steven Spielberg (who was taunted for being Jewish in high school) and Lady Gaga (a self-described former theater 'freak'), whose weirdness led to later fame. (Other now-validated former outsiders she touts: Steve Jobs, Taylor Swift, Bruce Springsteen and Angelina Jolie.)"

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Time to bring back a Slashdot classic: (4, Insightful)

Bozzio (183974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094588)

ahem.

Correlation != Causation.

ty.

Selection bias (0)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094684)

Famous people are famous. Film at 11.

Other former outsider 'geeks': (4, Interesting)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094788)

Timothy McVeigh: "McVeigh claimed to have been a target of bullying at school and that he took refuge in a fantasy world where he retaliated against those bullies." "While in high school, McVeigh became interested in computers and hacked into government computer systems on his Commodore 64"
David Koresh: "Due to his poor study skills, he was put in special education classes and nicknamed "Vernie" by his fellow students, but by the age of 11, he had memorized the entire New Testament."

Re:Other former outsider 'geeks': (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36095042)

Throw in Ted Kazinsky, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. And these names all fall much closer to the "geek" category than Lady Gaga, Bruce Springsteen and Angelina Jolie, who were all just weirdos and not at all geeks.

Re:Time to bring back a Slashdot classic: (5, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095136)

Agreed. But, there isn't even a real correlation here.

"Robbins lists several companies—including Yahoo!—that prioritize hiring quirky individuals"

That is NOT a widespread practice. Most companies want - most companies DEMAND that you show up for work, do your job, and mostly go unnoticed. They don't want quirks. Author found a niche market for geeks with quirks, and he thinks that he has discovered something really noteworthy. Phhht.

Re:Time to bring back a Slashdot classic: (1)

bipbop (1144919) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095338)

I assure you, Yahoo! is one of those companies, despite what "Robbins lists".

Re:Time to bring back a Slashdot classic: (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095476)

The other thing is the premise ignores that successful individuals might have other additional traits that made successful. For instance, Lady Gaga probably wouldn't have gone very far if she couldn't sing and dance. For all her weirdness, she seems to be very deliberate and calculating in her actions. I'm not a fan but I did see her interview on 60 Minutes and it showed a young woman who understood the business.

Re:Time to bring back a Slashdot classic: (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095276)

As far as hiring decisions go it makes perfect sense. One of the most dangerous things a project can fall into is groupthink, believing this as a group that no individual would have believed on their own. Ask a group of developers how long a project will take and they'll talk about it and come up with a number, but if you ask each developer individually it's entirely possible that no single person will come up with the same number; that's normal. Groupthink is when no individual developer comes up with a number that is within an order of magnitude what the group arrived at and every individual, if they were impartial, would say that the group estimate was unrealistic.

Groupthink tends to correlate with how alike members of the group are, it's believed to be driven by a desire to conform. Geeks are generally not like other people, not even like other geeks. Even geeks that are close friends tend to have different hobbies and beliefs, especially in the formative years, simply because the treatment they received from non-geeks has driven them together. They've also shown a willingness to break conformity, many of them have put up with, or found ways to avoid, being bullied, teased, and ostracized throughout their adolescence. Both of these, the fact that they are different and the fact that they are willing to be nonconforming can help avoid a group falling into illogical thinking.

When I grow up (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094592)

I'll let you know when I grow up. However right now, I believe the original premise is stupid.

Re:When I grow up (1)

Kelbear (870538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094854)

I have doubts about how my differences might predispose me towards being "a success", particularly in environments where career advancement hinges upon socialization. I'm friendly, but I'm just too different from them to make the same easy connections that they can make with each other.

However, I do know that I love who I am(and so does my wife), and I wouldn't want to give up my differences just so I can be more like the mean.

Re:When I grow up (2)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095166)

"However, I do know that I love who I am"

Spot on. I can be characterized in a lot of ways, some complimentary, some not. But, I am what I am, and I like it. To hell with anyone who doesn't like it, LMAO!

Urgh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094600)

What the hell is wrong with whoever wrote this!!?? What the fuck is 'better' about the listed 'celebrities'?

Re:Urgh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094902)

What the hell is wrong with whoever wrote this!!?? What the fuck is 'better' about the listed 'celebrities'?

They are more famous than you. Probably richer, too. And by the sound of it, they have a little bit better reading comprehension. What makes them better... Isn't it obvious?

Only with an "Edge" (4, Insightful)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094626)

If you're only a class-c geek with an unwillingness to conform but without a layer of pizazz to roll it all together, you end up too unstable for a business to hire you, so you end up at fast food or retail with some gaming at night and weekends and the random day you skipped work to go on a raid/campaign.

That's the life to have ... up to about age 25, then it starts to crash hard.

make your own opportunities (1, Interesting)

nido (102070) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094828)

Oh noes, the corporate machines won't hire me.

you end up too free-spirited for a business to hire you,

There, fixed that for you.

Government schools train people to be cogs for the machine (ref: John Taylor Gatto [johntaylorgatto.com] . "The Seven Lesson Schoolteacher" essay is also very good, and is on any number of sites). Some people rebel against being slotted into a position in life (the group you refer to who "crash hard" at age 25), while others recognize the game and make their own rules.

One must "learn the rules" in order to avoid the cog/machine outcome in their life. Gatto's Underground History of American Education (free at the site above) is a good start. :)

Re:make your own opportunities (0, Flamebait)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094916)

Ah what a load of left wing reactionary crap. Schools don't train , they educate. If you can't tell the difference then you need some more education yourself - assuming you're not too "free spirited" (aka ADD) to be educated.

We all live in society and have to conform to some extent - if you don't want to conform at all then go live in a shack in the woods and shout at the bears. Society is what makes mankind strong - if everyone was a solitary individualist we'd have gone extinct a million years ago.

Re:make your own opportunities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36095130)

FTFY: Schools don't train , they educate.^H^H^H^H^H indoctrinate. Questioning -every- assumption is not tolerated. There is only way to do things.

If you _actually_ studied what Education truely means you would discover Education comes from a Latin word which means "draw out" - NOT fill up with useless facts.

UnknownSoldier

Re:make your own opportunities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36095144)

...if everyone was a solitary individualist we'd have gone extinct a million years ago.

Agreed, but if nobody was a solitary individualist we'd still be living in caves.

Re:make your own opportunities (1)

DigitaLunatiC (452925) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095162)

...Schools don't train , they educate...

Having just spent a dismal semester at a technical college, I have to disagree with you about schools educating rather than training. Really, there's just a distinction to be made: Good schools educate students, bad schools train them - and there's an upsetting number of bad schools.

Re:make your own opportunities (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095180)

Ah what a load of left wing reactionary crap. Schools don't train , they educate

Where? All I've ever experienced is demand for training from K-12 and also higher level.

Lots of making fun of people who get an education; that french literature degree sure will be helpful at McDonalds ha ha. No interest in computer science, only in being trained on the latest language or tool set.

I think you made a typo and intended to write that schools don't educate, they train. Sure, they should educate, and back when no one went to university unless they had a multimillion dollar net worth, they did.

Re:make your own opportunities (1)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095196)

Schools don't train , they educate.

Education is the stated goal. Education might be what schools used to do. Sadly, the current state is much closer to training than education.

Re:make your own opportunities (1)

nido (102070) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095220)

Schools don't train , they educate

Not the schools I went to.

The word education is derived from the Latin "educare" which literally means "to draw forth from" ... it does not mean to "dump into."

-The savvy communicator: three ways to connect your information to their reality [thefreelibrary.com]

Standardized, age-separated schools treat kids as if they're all ready to learn the exact same thing at the same time. The Socratic approach to education involves helping the individual discover their world.

Here's that essay that you didn't bother to look up: The Seven Lesson Schoolteacher [newciv.org] . I know people can't click on every link they see, so here's a section that discusses the implications of the seven lessons Mr. Gatto taught in his standardized government school:

II.

It is the great triumph of compulsory government monopoly mass-
schooling that among even the best of my fellow teachers, and among the
best of my student's parents, only a small number can imagine a
different way to do things. "The kids have to know how to read and
write, don't they?" "They have to know how to add and subtract, don't
they?" "They have to learn to follow orders if they ever expect to keep
a job."

            Only a few lifetimes ago things were very different in the United
States; originality and variety were common currency; our freedom from
regimentation made us the miracle of the world, social class boundaries
were relatively easy to cross, our citizenry was marvelously confident,
inventive, and able to do many things independently, to think for
themselves. We were something, we Americans, all by ourselves, without
government sticking its nose into our lives, without institutions and
social agencies telling us how to think and feel; no, all by ourselves
we were something, as individuals.

            We've had a society increasingly under central control in the
United States since just before the Civil War and such a society
requires compulsory schooling, government monopoly schooling to maintain
itself. Before the society changed, schooling wasn't very important
anywhere. We had it, but not too much of it and only as much as an
individual wanted.
People learned to read, write, and do arithmetic
just fine anyway, there are some studies which show literacy at the time
of the American Revolution, at least on the Eastern seaboard, as close
to total. Tom Paine's Common Sense sold 600,000 copies to a population
of 2,500,000, 20 percent of which was slave and another 50 percent
indentured.

            Were the colonists geniuses? No, the truth is that reading,
writing and arithmetic only take about 100 hours to transmit as long as
the audience is eager and willing to learn.
schools preempt the time of children for 12 years and teach them
the seven lessons I've just taught you.

(emphasis added)

Re:make your own opportunities (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095238)

Ah what a load of left wing reactionary crap. Schools don't train , they educate.

There's not much chance of education without training. :P

If you can't tell the difference then you need some more education yourself - assuming you're not too "free spirited" (aka ADD) to be educated.

A lot of transparent beliefs in play making it impossible for you to reason clearly, I see...

We all live in society and have to conform to some extent - if you don't want to conform at all then go live in a shack in the woods...

That's pretty much what I'm doing, though I have something a bit nicer than a "shack".

...and shout at the bears

Why would I shout at the poor bears? They never bother me. Of course, I do have to secure the trash, but no biggie.

Society is what makes mankind strong - if everyone was a solitary individualist we'd have gone extinct a million years ago.

Individuality is also what makes humankind strong, the flip side of that coin you're stuck admiring one side of. :) If everyone was an unthinking conformist we'd have been far less likely to achieve our current level of development.

Maybe you should spend a little introspective time to learn what it is you're really angry about?

Re:make your own opportunities (1)

wertigon (1204486) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095374)

But most so-called "education" today is about making people ready to enter the workforce.

Sure, an education is all well and good. But many of the methods today are outdated and built for a world that existed 50 years ago. Take history. The things you learn from it in school are not the important lessons - Why was it a bad thing that Hitler and Stalin put lots of people in concentration camps? Why did metric get invented, and why do we use it over imperials? What was the founding fathers prime ideals in stating the US constitution? Instead we learn the boring stuff, like birth and death of Napoleon, when the American civil war was etc.

We are taught to consume, not criticise, at a time where we need to start criticising the most. No wonder people can't see that the US essentially is a one-party system.

Re:make your own opportunities (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095496)

Personal anecdote, I choose you!

Yeah, sorry, but this has not been my experience or that of any other refugees from public education of those I've heard. When I was in first grade and first exposed to math my response was roughly "woo! math!" and I went and did about 25% of the entire textbook (correctly) in one sitting. For this I was *punished* and given stern warning to not do that again. That is not only training but also, in fact, discouragement of education. Ironically this was from the same teacher who would later privately tell my mom that I would be better served in a more advanced program and that the mainstream system would do me more harm than good.

Most schools, public and private, are about inculcation, not education. They inculcate order first, "self-esteem" (even for doing nothing) second, and some knowledge third. Education, by which I mean real learning, can only occur when an environment is open. I recommend you read Jiddu Krishnamurti's Education and the Significance of Life. He actually founded several schools, all of which are producing students of a quality unimaginable by most other institutions. The average SAT score of students from the Oak Grove School in Ohai, CA is around 1300, and that without the conformism you seem to think is so necessary. I would send my own daughter there except I don't believe in their insistence on Vegetarianism.

Re:make your own opportunities (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095040)

Expenses 1 Gatto 0.

Ordinary Rebels have trouble coming up with the $6000 to dig out of the flood expenses that show up at the worst possible time all at once when the hand-me-down car blows a head gasket, First-Last-Deposit on a new apartment, and a grand in medical that a sleazy insurance company won't cover.

Re:make your own opportunities (3, Insightful)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095114)

>Government schools train people to be cogs for the machine

School, like anything in life, is what you make of it. Its not exactly a North Korean indoctrination facility, regardless of how often conservative pundits say they are.

The GP makes a good point. Too many "geeks" become asocial nerds unable to work effectively with others or understand basic social skills. This isn't some kind of free-wheeling "I'm running a startup" mentality, but the often seen smart-guy or smart-gal that is unable to motivate themselves or move up Maslow's pyramid to self-esteem or self-actualization and they become self-loathing WoW addicts or smelly neckbeards.

Re:Only with an "Edge" (2)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094894)

Exactly. Just because you're "odd" or "non-conformist" doesn't mean you'll automatically be successful. My list of friends from HS would probably be in the "unpopular" column, and thier success ranges from doing well to unemployed. Also, generally success comes with the application of some level of social skills, so the isolated loner is probably a unlikely to see fame or fortune unless they're a good novelist or marksman.

Re:Only with an "Edge" (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094996)

If you're only a class-c geek

WTF is a "class-c" geek? Is there some designation hierarchy I'm unaware of?

I've been a geek for almost my entire life, and I have no idea what you're talking about.

Re:Only with an "Edge" (4, Funny)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095206)

If you're only a class-c geek

WTF is a "class-c" geek? Is there some designation hierarchy I'm unaware of?

I've been a geek for almost my entire life, and I have no idea what you're talking about.

C doesn't have classes. He meant to write "C++ geek" or something like that.

Re:Only with an "Edge" (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095322)

"WTF is a "class-c" geek? Is there some designation hierarchy I'm unaware of?
I've been a geek for almost my entire life, and I have no idea what you're talking about."

It's the whole "Geek-Nerd spectrum". It's (at least) two dimensional. One direction is the attitude. The other is Da Skillz. It ranges from "mildly obsesses with spelling on slashdot and can fix stuck cd drives with paperclips" to CmdrTaco and Randall Munroe of xkcd. If you're just a rebel but don't have an awesome concept that pays the bills, it's called Cheap Signaling.

Re:Only with an "Edge" (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095326)

He is referring to type C personalities:

A is a leader/alpha ape, B is a social butterfly, and C is the overly serious obsessed with details type.

Re:Only with an "Edge" (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095002)

Or you go work for a small business, never become a millionaire but make about the same as the USA median income. Then you get a wife and do the normal thing, all without the headache of working at some soul-sucking giant corporation.

Re:Only with an "Edge" (4, Insightful)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095250)

Or you bust your ass with some small business, suffer, and fall into deep debt. That's much more likely than "becoming a millionaire." Its kinda sad how many people live their lives on the assumption that great wealth is just a couple different decisions away.

I have a side-business running, I've worked for myself, but I never, ever went on with a "SCREW THE MAN, I'LL BE RICH SOON" because it so fucking improbable I'm not going to embarrass myself by assuming its going to come true. Its the business equivalent of the kid who goes to art school, acts all snobby because he know that in a year or two he'll be rich and famous. That's a losing attitude both in art and business.

Unfortunately, the "success is around the corner with no hard work or compromise" is used politically to advance the agenda of billioanres who feed you this myth and tell you "when you're rich like us, you'll be glad you have a low tax burden and that social services are underfunded."

Re:Only with an "Edge" (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095402)

Why would you fall into debt?
You work for them and just take a couple grand less than a corporate job will pay. I am not suggesting starting your own small business.

I will never be rich, nor is it even a goal. I just want to do what I love and get paid for it. I save as much as I can and because of that when an unanticipated cost occurs it does not hurt too much. I buy cars in cash and never buy brand new ones. I have liability coverage only and keep enough cash in the bank to replace my car if I wreck it. I don't have cable, but netflix and hulu have more media than I will ever be able nor want to consume. I would rather be worry free than have more shiny shit I cannot afford.

I agree on your last point. Those who have most of the money should pay most of the taxes. The top 1% own over 70% of the financial assets in this country, yet they want tax breaks. The rest of us have seen our after tax income decline while services are cut. Only in the USA do I see the poor supporting low taxes for the richest. Only in the USA will you hear "Keep the government out of my Medicare".

See kids? (1)

Nukedoom (1776114) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094652)

If you're weird like me, you can be successful and famous like me. And no worries if you're normal. We can fix that too.

Re:See kids? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36095036)

... And no worries if you're normal. We can fix that too.

I'm not sure that encouraging children to take massive doses of hallucinogenics is terribly responsible.

Better? Maybe, but not healthier. (1, Interesting)

Dr.Bob,DC (2076168) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094666)


Maybe being a "geek" will make a better adult, but that person will not be healthier.

I'd guarantee that 80%+ of subluxations occur in people who sit at a desk all day looking at a computer. People doing NOTHING, in other words, are the ones coming in for critical spinal adjustments.

It's no longer the bricklayer or laborer coming in with back and nerve damage, it's the folks doing nada.

Re:Better? Maybe, but not healthier. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094712)


NEWS ALERT: Chiropractors are quacks.

Re:Better? Maybe, but not healthier. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094856)

I'd guarantee that 80%+ of subluxations occur in people who sit at a desk all day looking at a computer. People doing NOTHING, in other words, are the ones coming in for critical spinal adjustments.

Way to alienate your entire audience there.

Since when.. (2)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094670)

..does being taunted for being jewish qualify you as being a geek? I know more than a few jewish individuals that are not geeks, more just nebbish.

Re:Since when.. (1)

Stargoat (658863) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094944)

Huh? What about Ryan Braun, the Hebrew Hammer. Or Sandy Koufax. Or Steve Stone. Or Gabe Carimi.

Being Jewish no more qualifies someone to be a geek than having brown hair.

Unwillingness? (3, Insightful)

ratnerstar (609443) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094672)

I was unpopular in High School, but I question whether that was because I was unwilling to conform, or because I had absolutely no idea how to do so.

Spielberg, I imagine, was in a similar position, unless he discovered a method of magically becoming a goy.

Re:Unwillingness? (2)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095108)

I'm not sure whether I was 'popular' or not. Practically everyone knew me. I got along with almost everyone. But I didn't give a shit if my behavior met with everyone's approval. I had too many interests that didn't mesh with any particular social group so I couldn't be bothered when some people whined about my not hanging out with the gang.

Too many people expend too much energy trying to fit into a slot in the social order. And once they have achieved their position, they don't dare stepping out of it, in some cases by excelling beyond their peers. As a result, they hold themselves back.

Geek is a label that others apply to you. If you even care about whether you are a geek or not, you are allowing others to define you instead of doing so yourself.

Re:Unwillingness? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36095376)

Spielberg, I imagine, was in a similar position

Was he? Do we have any evidence that Spielberg was picked on other than his say so? I greatly doubt it.

Re:Unwillingness? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095458)

I was unpopular in High School, but I question whether that was because I was unwilling to conform, or because I had absolutely no idea how to do so.

Too binary. My choice was simply to not care about high school beyond academics. Before illegal aliens and the economic collapse, a teenage kid could pretty easily get a job, so my social group was partly my coworkers. Also all the kids in my city that were 'pre-military' hung out together, regardless of artificial "school rivalry", so another part of my social group was kids who mostly went to other high schools. Then the non-age segregated social activities like ham radio club and on the radio nets and stuff. Finally, of course, online, including a couple of people I still keep in touch with, so many years later...

High school reunion came around a couple years back, I couldn't bother going, because frankly I didn't hang out with any of those kids.

this observation doesn't make causation (3, Insightful)

alta (1263) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094676)

How many non-geeks are also wildly famous.

How many former geeks are now terrorists or serial killers?

Come to me when you have some numbers.

This is not to say I don't agree with the trend... but don't sell it like someone's done some quantitative research.

Re:this observation doesn't make causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094874)

Terrorists and serial killers tend to be famous too.

Re:this observation doesn't make causation (1)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094978)

Indeed, pulling a few big names doesn't do much. I'd be willing to bet if you take samples from the NFL and NBA, a very large number of them were steriotypical jocks in their teens, and now they are making millions. What does that say about jocks and success, absolutely nothing. Vin diesel played D&D growing up, so I'm going to equate D&D to becoming a muscular tough movie star, after all it happened once to one person so it must always be true.

Amazing! (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094690)

People famous in creative fields are sometimes "quirky". Who would have thunk it.

People who do well running tech companies are sometimes "geeks" who like tech. Who would have thunk it.

Re:Amazing! (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095080)

And ... the vacuous, shallow socializing of school children don't always equate to valuable life skills. Who would have thunk it?

Though, from the sounds of it, they come in handy if you're a teacher. :-P

I wonder if there are other occupations which still carry forward the high-school level of mentality for this kind of thing.

and on and on and on and on... (0)

The Dawn Of Time (2115350) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094714)

Geeks think being a geek is better.

Slashdot's "No Shit Week" continues.

My boss hires weirdos (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094720)

He said he does it intentionally to maintain a creative and highly diverse staff.

Re:My boss hires weirdos (2)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095460)

"A client is coming in for a meeting, clean that role-playing shit off the conference table. Someone call Fred and tell him to get his ass into the office. I don't care how late he stayed up. John, here's a razor. You have 10 minutes to shave that monkey-tail off your face before the client gets here. JOE PUT SOME DAMN PANTS ON!"

Oversimplification day at Slashdot... (1)

divisionbyzero (300681) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094728)

First, the "process is killing my creativity" whining and now this "I'm not weird I'm special" self-aggrandizement. Here's the deal. Just like process *can* kill creativity doesn't mean that it will, so also the characteristics of a geek can also lead to success. They can also lead to suicide.

I got wierder (1)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094744)

as I got older. I figured if I could not actually be a brilliant eccentric then at least I could behave like one and hope someone would fall for my ploy.

Lady Gaga is a geek now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094766)

Where do I sign off from being a geek?

Re:Lady Gaga is a geek now? (1)

CarsonChittom (2025388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095172)

First, climb into this egg....

unwillingness to conform? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094768)

"What makes people unpopular in the hallways of high school, mainly an unwillingness to conform"

Geeks are geeks in high school usually because of a deficiency in social skills.
They don't pick up well on social clues and are slow to learn them.

Stewie (1)

Flipstylee (1932884) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094782)

Look what i can do, *jumps*

Being Jewish makes you a wierdo? (1)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094794)

Alrighty then!

Re:Being Jewish makes you a wierdo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36095100)

Yeah, that ranks about as high as using Lady Gaga as an example of how well geeks turn out.

I'm Special! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094830)

I while ago, I realized that at this point in my life, it's not really just an awkward phase anymore; it's just the way I am. I've been going with it ever since and I think it's been working out for me.

www.awkwardengineer.com [awkwardengineer.com]

Poorly Written (1)

Eulogistics (905277) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094836)

The Yahoo! article cited in the Slashdot post that's cited by this post starts off the first paragraph or two talking about the "Geeks make successful adults" idea, then veers off and becomes an observation on the ideas of social conformity telling stories of teacher cliques in schools, peer pressure and social hierarchies; I had to read it twice just to figure out what the point of the article was.

Re:Poorly Written (1)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095258)

Read TFA = you know you're on /., right?

Read TFA twice = your account has been closed. Permanently.

sounds like a geek stroking geek ego (4, Insightful)

krnpimpsta (906084) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094866)

Not saying the headline's claim is true or untrue, but... these are all examples of very rare individuals - the luckiest or the most skilled of all the geeks, that made it big.

If you go by that argument, I can also point out that alot of the jocks from high school are now making many, many millions of dollars as professional athletes (NFL, NBA, etc.)

Disclaimer: Didn't RTFA, but still, dumb argument.

Correlation may not mean causation, BUT (1)

ForgedArtificer (1777038) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094906)

I think there's a lot of truth to this.

Sometimes, the harder someone is pushed, the stronger their drive ends up being.

I feel that a lot of people became rich and/or famous just because they were "pushing back" hard, as it were....

Besides which, doesn't the ability to think differently mean success in a lot of cases?

Now, the term "better adults" I might argue with.

"unwillingness to conform" misses the point (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094908)

"What makes people unpopular in the hallways of high school, mainly an unwillingness to conform..."

Unwillingness to conform is NOT what makes people unpopular in highschool. In reality people are unpopular in highschool because they are physically unattractive, bad at sports, and have social anxiety problems of various kinds, in no particular order. "Unwillingness to conform" is a way nerds try to spin and justify their social anxiety. They frame it as if they could have chosen to be popular at any time by "conforming", whatever that means. As if it were totally in their control the whole time and they chose not to be popular because it's "shallow" or something like that. This attitude is delusional and self-destructive.

Define "better adult" (1)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094920)

That's basically the crux of the question now, isn't it?

What's a "better adult"?

The whole think just sounds like a big circular reference kind of thing:
- Geeks make "better adults" as per the definition of "better adult" that's most commonly held by geeks.

Somehow I suspect that in the eyes of, say, born again christians, geeks do not make better adults.

Re:Define "better adult" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36095154)

Somehow I suspect that in the eyes of, say, born again christians, geeks do not make better adults.

Being a born-again christian geek, I'd like to respond to this. Yes, we do exist.

You could -not- be more hella-wrong.

I absofuckinglutely think geeks make better, more well-adjusted, open-minded, and rational adults.

Re:Define "better adult" (2)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095214)

That is an interesting question isn't it. Is Lady Gaga a "better" adult than a good Kindergarten teacher?
What is success anyway? Many studies have shown that making more money doesn't make you happier. There is a peak of curve of happyness that peaks right around the point where you make enough money to not sweat paying bills and then it goes down again.
I think it is very ungeeky to say money==success or fame==success. Shouldn't happy==success.
I am sure that there are a lot of happy geeks out there.
BTW there are Christan geeks.

Bad examples, decent premise (1)

painehope (580569) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094926)

Non-conformists show a higher tendency towards doing unique things. No shit. But then again, you have to have some sort of structure. I'm a great sysadmin and a decent programmer, and I'm a high-school dropout, never finished college, all that. But I truly regret not spending more attention to college when I was younger. Sure, I'd read all the books required to get a PhD in CS, but I never spent the time in class working through everything. So I didn't have that experience or grounding in my career, so I often forget things after a while of not working with them. Unemployed for a while, or don't spend enough time staying abreast of a certain technology? Oops, fail on that job interview.

I'd say it's the unorthodox people that apply themselves more that do the best.

What's "Better"? (1)

Stempy (148748) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094986)

So, by your article summary, a "better" adult is one that's in show business?

Looking at it backwards. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36095004)

It's not that lacking the willingness or social skills to get along with people makes you successful, it's that, among all of the other reasons for someone to be disliked, looked down on, or excluded (most of which are due to negative traits), mediocre people will gang up against obviously superior peers in order to compete.

It's a natural social instinct. In a tribal setting, if the large mediocre group manages to marginalize the best and the brightest, they can push them into specialized, subordinated, undercompensated roles and benefit from their talent without having to compete with them in mainstream pursuits for the largest shares of the tribe's resources.

In the modern day real world, where people go their separate ways after high school, there's little to no local benefit for the mediocre group, although it can be collectively beneficial for all of the mediocre people in society. For the most part, this is a sign that the schools and parents are doing a poor job of socializing the student population with modern adult values.

Re:Looking at it backwards. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36095444)

Bitter much?

I think we all know the answer to that question... (1)

WSOGMM (1460481) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095010)

Of course!

Yes (2)

bigpaperbag (1105581) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095012)

Biting the head off of a live chicken is a key component to functioning in society.

Do Geeks Make Better Adults? (2)

mrman18766 (1231734) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095014)

Maybe, but we do make better lovers...

Do adult geeks... (1)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095084)

...write geekier narcisist headlines?

Re:Do adult geeks... (1)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095168)

i wondered the same thing. cmdrtaco get over yourself.

Don't forget to average over all geeks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36095112)

Many of us non-conformists who were the perfect archetype of geekdom in our youth have turned out to have accomplished nothing of value with our adult lives.

Units? (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095124)

What are the units of conformity and success. I'd like to make a graph. Surely there must be an XKCD for that...

Re:Units? (1)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095298)

Good news. They are both measured in Beibers.

I think that though detrimental, the No Child Left (1)

spads (1095039) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095140)

Behind tie is a red herring. Cliquishness has been around long before that. If anything, the NCLB mentality is a (guilt driven / politically correct) backlash against the previous abusive behaviors of those administrators responsible for conceiving and implementing such programs.

I thought it was interesting about the cliquishness of some teachers, though we have long heard that many who teach are simply those who failed to do anything else, further supporting the author's central thesis. Truly, an unwillingness to conform might prove to be modern society's holly grail.

What is the opposite of geek? (5, Insightful)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095190)

The article draws a false dichotomy between geeks and bullies. The most successful adults in today's society combine intellect with emotional intelligence. The successful adult, today, is the one in high school who could make the jocks & cheerleaders and the nerds, alike, feel like a million bucks.

And then there is the question of what constitutes success. Is it money? Is it number of progeny? Is it spiritual tranquility? Is it lack of hostile interactions? Strangely, the article seems to focus on this last one, whereas in centuries and millenia past, hostile interactions would have been seen as "success", assuming they were directed toward competitors for women and scarce resources.

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36095202)

We do not

I thought that Uncomfortable Thruthasauros (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36095236)

would have settled lot of those misconceptions by now...

http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2079

Money/Fame != Success (2)

PoopJuggler (688445) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095254)

I detest how America sees becoming rich and famous as the only measure of being successful. I have a good job, wife, and kids, and wouldn't trade them for all the money or fame in the world. In fact, I've had money, but now money and fame would make me miserable, and who knows what it would do to my relationship with my family. It's like how people win the lottery and it destroys their life. I would say you have not become successful in life until you have shed your desire for material things, ego gratification, etc... Money might buy temporary pleasure, but not true happiness.

interesting not better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36095264)

Geeks tend to make more interesting adults; not necessarily better. For example Unabomber Ted was geeky and interesting but probably not, in most estimations, better than the boring non-geeks he grew up around.

famous = better? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36095280)

Since when being famous makes you a better adult? That maybe makes you more successfull than others depending on what you're famous for, but not necessarily a better person.

News that matters to Nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36095302)

I see about 30% of /. stories somewhere else before they show up here, usually 2 or 3 days before - np with that, it's obviously the result of a deliberate editorial process.

Or not, this story broke "outside" about 2 hours ago...

I guess some topics are on the /. fast track.

Another liberal apologist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36095312)

Blaming the No Child Left Behind Act for social hierarchies in high school is like blaming GPS systems for road rage. There were bullies and cliques LONG before the NCLBA, and there will be forever. Another leftist liberal attempting to state the obvious and then getting it wrong. Way to totally miss the societal bus.

Angelina Jolie (1)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095344)

Well I think that says it ALL. IF Angelina Jolie is a geek, she really has nice tits.
I thought having nice tits only qualified you to be a bimbo. Perhaps I read the
wrong article.

Article fail. (3, Insightful)

funkify (749441) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095390)

Quirky non-conformity is NOT the same as social retardation. From the way I see it, most "non-conformists" conform quite well to their smaller, alternative cliques.

So you named a few isolated incidents (1)

Khoa (935586) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095398)

But what percentage of geeks and those who got picked on *actually* turned out successful? My guess? Not very high.

Article's like this are false (1)

Marko_Doda (1434879) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095426)

I think that the article is kinda false, for every weird showbiz star there is a famous high school retard that got into sports. IMHO the down to earth folks make the best adults (adult as a person not job or status). Geeks and Jocks that got over it fail second and there is a large amount of dwebs who never fix their life as well as popular high school guys that have a messed up after high school, i mean just look at the weird uncle stereotype and the "once most popular guy at school", now future less uncle stereotype.

non-conformity for its own sake is silly (1)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095462)

Something I try to explain to my kids -- if your way is actually better, then by all means don't conform. But sometimes conforming isn't following the herd so much as realizing that the way everyone else does something is actually the best way to do something.

Lady Gaga (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36095474)

Comparing Lady gaga to the average person is like comparing an LED to a goldfish. If you're hiring people based on how big a freak show they are willing to be to get sucess, you're probably in the circus or a bad businessman.

Geeks (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095518)

I would say it's hard to find geeks that don't conform to the things that make us geeks.

This reminds me of all my "non-conformist" friends growing up who all skateboarded and wore plaid. All of them. They were so non-conformist that they all dressed the same way, had the same hobbies, and liked the same music.

define "better" (1)

tyme (6621) | more than 3 years ago | (#36095532)

Is professional success or fame the definition of a "good" adult?

just sayin'.

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