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Nerds: How Dorks, Dweebs, Techies, and Trekkies can save America and why they might be our Last Hope

by David Anderegg

"Anderegg's clear-eyed look at a damaging cultural truism does nerds and jocks-all Americans, really-a service. " (The Washington Post). Thick glasses, socially awkward, a math whiz with a pocket protector- everyone knows what a nerd is. But where did this stereotype come from? Children aren't born knowing what a "nerd" or "geek" is, so why do they know by the age of five or six that they don't want to be one? In this revised and updated paperback edition of his thought-provoking book, family psychotherapist and psychology professor David Anderegg reveals how the systematic disparagement of "nerds" in our culture is bad for our children and even worse for America. In Nerds, Anderegg examines why science and engineering have become socially poisonous disciplines, why adults wink at the derision of "nerdy" kids, and what the cost of this rising tide of anti- intellectualism is to both our children and our nation. Drawing upon education research, psychological theory, and his own interviews with nerdy and non-nerdy kids alike, Anderegg argues that in order to prepare rising generations to compete in the global marketplace, we need to revisit how we think about "nerds. " .

Nerds: Who They Are and Why We Need More of Them

by David Anderegg

Are you socially awkward? Technologically sophisticated or just 1 extremely passionate about one or more subjects? Well, maybe you're a "nerd." And what's wrong with being a nerd? In this fascinating book, child and family psychologist David Anderegg examines the process by which kids learn what nerds are, and what happens to their identities as a result of their developing awareness of this uniquely American stereotype. In Nerds, Anderegg surveys the long history of American anti-intellectualism and its current avatar: antinerd sentiment. Although at first glance it may not seem so bad to call someone a nerd, this stereotype is wreaking havoc in the lives of our children, affecting their performance in school and ultimately jeopardizing American economic competitiveness. (It may not be an accident that international math and science testing shows American fifteen-year-olds in twenty-fourth place among the world's most developed countries.) Deftly revealing layers of cultural "knowledge" about nerds, Anderegg explores such topics as: * the conformity of adolescence and the endurance of adolescent stereotypes, long after people should know better * the pathologizing of nerds with diagnoses such as Asperger's syndrome O the archetypal struggles of nerds and jocks in popular culture and history . Using educational research, psychologic theory, and interviews with kids themselves, Anderegg urges readers to start deconstructing this most harmful of social constructions before any more smart and self-confident kids stop being so interested in what they're interested in In other words, before they stop being kids.

Worried All the Time

by David Anderegg

A much-needed book for parents about themselves. In the tradition of Dr. Benjamin Spock, who in 1946 revolutionized parenting with the famous opening words of his classic child-rearing guide, "You know more than you think you know," child and family therapist David Anderegg reminds contemporary parents that "parenting is not rocket science. It's not even Chem 101." So why do those of us with children worry so much? Whether they're thinking about school violence or getting a child into the right college, American moms and dads are a pretty worried crowd. Even though most American families are safer and healthier today than at any other time in our history, studies show that parental worrying has, in recent years, reached an all-time high. In Worried All the Time, Dr. Anderegg draws on social science research and his more than twenty years' experience as a therapist treating both parents and their children to clarify facts and fantasies about kids' lives today and the key issues that preoccupy parents. In the process, he offers a comforting and useful message: Parents are suffering needlessly -- and there are things they can do to take the edge off and focus on what their children really need. In Worried All the Time, Dr. Anderegg identifies some of the causes of worry in contemporary American families, including fewer children, exaggerated fear of competition, and overblown media reports of children at risk. Anderegg calls this the "tabloidization of children" and critiques the fashion for media portrayals of "children in crisis." One at a time, he takes on the hot-button issues of our times: the use of day care and nannies overexposure to media school violence overscheduling experimentation with drugs and looks a little closer to see the facts and the fantasies beneath the hysteria. Calling himself a "crisis agnostic," Anderegg persuasively argues that needless worry has negative consequences for families and for our culture as a whole. The cardinal rules of good parenting -- moderation, empathy, and temperamental accommodation with one's child -- are simple, he says, and are not likely to be improved upon by the latest scientific findings. Anderegg helps parents to understand the difference between wise vigilance and potentially crippling anxiety and to gain the confidence to trust their own common sense.

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