Geeksaroundglobe: Making High-Tech Wargames is an intriguing look at what it takes to become a geek in the 21st century. Author Aaron Diaz Thoroughly covers hardware, software, networking, and creative pursuits in his exploration of the world of geekery. Thoroughly researching the myriad of different computer languages and their histories, he puts together a readable, entertaining book that explores many interesting angles. It’s very different from the “how-to” books about computers that are so common and seem to exist only as dusty artifacts within the cyber world. In fact, much of the information in this book is referred to in various terms like the lingo used by programmers, or just simple terms used by the regular folks who work behind the scenes.
The book chronicles the adventures of five geeks who work for a special team called the Geek Squad. The group is assigned a variety of odd jobs, which range from solving murders to tracking pranksters. Each member is assigned a specialty – computer language, for example, would be defined by the code they use to communicate with one another. Being part of a team means that one has to understand the work of everyone else in the group, including how to work together to solve problems.
The book chronicles their mischievous escapades as well. For example, one chapter involves a sneak attack on an FBI office. The group sneaks into the building and a fight ensues, forcing all the members to flee in a van. The only one who is caught is a member of the Geek squad, and he ends up in solitary confinement. He is told that if he cooperates with the investigation, he will likely get released.
Thoreau is from a family of geeks, and she comes from a world where people are constantly surrounded by technology. Being from a very technological background herself, Thoreau is aware of the pitfalls of being surrounded by too much technology, too quickly. Her own family was plagued by strange cases, one of which resulted in murder. In her book, she describes what it felt like to live with a secret.
However, she also portrays a positive image of geeks, showing that even those who might have been soured by society’s labeling can find other ways of living. She is positive that people can find happiness and meaning in working together and communicating with each other. Geeks are just as capable of great things as anyone else. Thoreau even points out that those who are negative about their job will generally be unhappy at their job. People, she contends, can make their lives exciting by taking chances and working together.
The book includes a brief scene-by- Scene describing members of the geek squad meeting at a local coffee shop. It shows just how diverse the crew really is. Some are from a highly intellectual background and deeply involved in computer science; others are from ordinary lives. There are also members of the group who are avid fans of science fiction and comic books, as well as members of the football, basketball, and chess teams.
Through interviews, Thoreau shares her views on why working in teams is important and what each person gains from being part of a group. She shares what she has learned from fellow geeks about the importance of collaboration and why she always recommends that members of her team get to know each other. For those individuals interested in becoming team members, the book provides numerous activities that show participants how to work together effectively.
Geeks Around Globe is a humorous read with some good advice about approaching relationships. It also includes an interesting history lesson about how the term got formed. It is easy for the reader to relate to events that are featured in the book because it closely mirrors many of the themes that they already know and deal with. The author is very open and funny in her writing, which makes this book a nice complement to her other works. Geeks Around Globe is well worth reading. If you enjoy science fiction and also have a sense of humor, this book may be just the thing for you.