Pretend less, read more

nerd-glassesSince being a nerd has become cool I don’t like it any more. Big glasses are no longer the indicator of a visual impairment caused by too much reading, and pasty skin is less likely caused by long hours spent in libraries, archives or labs. It’s more likely the result of an overpriced holiday in Finland and cleverly applied make-up.

It is now socially acceptable, even hip, to be seen sitting by yourself in a murky café reading Camus. It is even more so if you’re wearing a baggy jumper you found in a charity shop, while frantically scribbling notes into your Moleskin notebook or are indeed staring into your MacBook. Not even questionable personal hygiene or unkempt hair are a safe indicator that the person next to you is a borderline genius.

On the other hand, real nerds are now heading to the gym to fight the pen pusher’s wobbly thighs and bingo wings, while buying the pretty plaid skirts and cardigans now cheaply available in American Apparel. So how am I supposed to tell them apart?

Chances are you will never know if someone is a real nerd until you have seen them walking into a glass door or actually had a conversation with them. In conversation, watch out for tell-tale signs: if the first association they make with the name ‘Churchill’ is that of a nodding dog in the back of a car, they might not be the real thing. If they can tell the difference between Thomas and Oliver Cromwell, you might be on to something.

But here’s the worrying thing: while more of us are pretending to be nerds, fewer of us actually are. Two stories made the news this week. The first told us that our maths skills are so appalling they’re costing the economy billions. The second revealed that 18 per cent of adults in the UK have never read a physical book. Admittedly, there was a social subtext to the story, showing a shocking class divide when it comes to reading, with those living in the most deprived areas also being deprived of education.

I suspect most of the pretending is done by the middle and upper classes though, where it seems to be more important what you are seen to be doing than what you are actually doing or who you really are. We might look like Einstein, but we are no good at maths. We might buy Sartre’s Being and Nothingness, but it’s no good if we only use it to prop up the telly.

It might just be that the whole nerdiness thing is no more than fear of our own inadequacy. If we all try to look cleverer than we really are, then maybe we are scared that we are not really as clever as we should be. So what’s the solution to our own cultural decline? It’s so simple. Pretend less, read more. Now, that’s really cool. And bring on the fake tan!



By thehistorywoman

Historian & journalist.


  1. Wow, I had no idea that 1 in 5 have never read a book. That’s amazing. As far as pretending to be smart, I am suspicious that is becoming more and more common all across society, and not just in academics. I was the Safety Director for a gas tanker company some years ago and it was my job to hire and test drivers. Unreal. I would say that 4 out of 5 drivers who had the credentials failed my driving test (granted it was a three hour test). And when I planned the route, I made sure it was relatively benign. Those who passed got a second, much more stringent driving test for tankers. I couldn’t believe it, 80% failure rate on a basics road test for accredited truck drivers. (In the end only 1 in 20 actually made it through to the fuel training level and half of those failed – so it was 1 in 40 who were qualified to make it to being a company driver.)

  2. The concept of exlnaiping the Kommam man of our country is simply exceptional.This shows the level of creativity.Your minute observations and presenting them in a better way to make it picture perfect is what stands you tall in the Industry.May such new talents emerge from your kingdom of arts.Good luck!!RegardsHARISH

  3. I really enjoyed reading this post
    and I agree with you that there is a certain amount of pretence.

    For example, I know quite a number of people who like to appear to be well read by having a set of well stocked bookcases in their home with various weighty titles from great
    authors, Booker prize winners etc. However, when you ask them questions relating to the detail within their books they will often admit that they haven’t actually read them.

    The famous theoretical physicist Steven Hawking’s popular science book ” A Brief History of Time” is sometimes referred to as his “widely purchased book” because many people who have bought it have bought it to impress people and haven’t actually read it because they have found it far too difficult.

    The Science Geek

  4. I completely agree. Being nerdy used to be about having an ounce of brain capacity and taking the time to pick up a book, now all it seems to be is a fashion statement. I cannot believe that one in five have never read a book. That’s ridiculous.

  5. This is a great view point. I understand where you are coming from and the transformation from today to 20 years ago is astonishing. I really enjoyed reading this XXX

  6. Let’s call it an international observation. Here in India we have a lot of people who actually take reading and knowledge seriously but they are outshine by dimwits (seen often in geek glasses and journalist clothing) who have just a superficial idea of the real depth and implication of what the utter.
    What’s even more annoying is the scarcity of a meaningful conversation now a days. People who like to pretend have this annoying habit of not giving in at all and portraying all the little bits they have acquired over minutes of reading or watching something informative.

  7. Great post, I’m trying to figure out if I am nerd or not, probably somewhere in between. But anyway I’m feeling challenged to read more and for that I thank you.

  8. I recently got one of those handsome “faux-antique prop” (you know the kind, the ones they set out on shelves and armoires at flea-markets to emphasize the antique-ness of a piece) 4 volume box sets of Churchill’s complete History of the English Speaking peoples for a mere $10. I would not be surprised if I’m the first owner in this copy’s 25 year lifespan with the actual intent on sitting down and reading it.

  9. Great post!
    I did get some mixed emotions.
    On the one hand, I love the idea of not being able to tell how ppl are just based on looks. I appreciate, rather than despise, the development of stereotypes.
    In the other hand, I share the concern about ppl just not readung at all. Which gets worse since I am writing from a spanish speaking country in a totally different continent from yours. And I can say the same thing about pretentious illiterate dumbs.
    Still, it does get me thinking. Even though the power of knowledge is undeniable, the ways to acquire knowledge are underated. As if ppl believed geniuses were born with whichever knowledge helped them conceive and develop new ideas.
    But it also gives me the creeps thinking that (educated bloggers, serious journalists, dear teachers) we are encouraging the idea that if you devote time to studying is because you have to be some kind of genius. Otherwise, you need to focus on something else.
    I really hope we show our little kids something better than that. And they only learn values through example.
    Gotta love a post that moves me and my brain cells like this. We’re already debating about it at the office!

  10. i completely agree that more and more people are pretending to read just to show that they are “intellectuals”. here in India , people went berserk quoting maya angelou , describing what a great writer she was , when in reality they couldn’t even name one of her poems !

  11. Wait, are we really talking about nerds here? This sounds more like something a hipster would do, I believe. At least that’s what I get called when using the Starbucks as a study HQ.

  12. I think there is a fair bit of backlash from the nerd/geek community who feel cheated of their image by the so-called posers. What the world first ridiculed is now being imitated, albeit not in its original intended form, but imitated only in outward appearance, not in attitude and values. Where do the original nerds fit then?
    Kinda feels like a study in evolution.

  13. Well the reverse is also applicable. Most people try to be cool and popular, when they are not much interested in socializing. Enter into a college or school domain and you can see all sorts of personality pretense in action.

  14. The same thing is happening in the United States. Just five years ago, people used to ask me if I’m near-sighted or far-sighted. Now they ask me if my glasses are real or a fashion statement. I absolutely agree with your solution: read more!

  15. Being nerdy also implies having an unbridled and outspoken passion for something that many others do not. I’ve seen this same development in the US, particularly in my next-door Brooklyn where the Fort Greene Hipster has taken the name “nerd” without any of the authentic enthusiasm. That is what is most frustrating, is the PRETENDING OF INTEREST in something they honestly do not love. “Pretend less” is fantastic advice.

  16. Amen to this. My own father has a Russian edition of War and Peace on his top shelf, just to show off he can speak the language. I don’t think he’s actually opened it, though. For me, books are meant to be read and enjoyed, not used a symbol of status. People think I’m exaggerating when I say I read a lot. Then they’re shocked when I bring a couple of different books every week!

  17. If people pretended less and read more, they could find super-cool quotes in actual books instead of retweeting stuff found by other people. They would also know the context of the quotes too! Would be interesting! Ha!

  18. In today’s world everybody is expected to sell themselves, and with all this information coming at us from all directions what other way to prove you can handle it? Well-respected web-sites have articles on ‘How to talk about books you have never read.’ It’s all about how good you are at shallowness.

  19. It seems sad that people are more concerned with looking smart than actually being interesting. All the effort that goes into faking it should indeed be spent actually reading. Great post, by the way.

  20. We’re all pretending. No one is authentic. Reality and honesty are two scary to be able to keep up for long. A friend is a member of a Book Club, she doesn’t read the book, but glances at the reviews on Amazon for her contributions…

  21. Too funny, people pretending to be nerdy. I suppose with Big Bang Theory becoming a new generation’s “Friends” and the evolution of technology it is somewhat inevitable. However, I have spent much of my life not fitting in. I have never been the stereotypical nerd. I shower, I talk to people, and haven’t clue what the rage about Star anything is. Yet when I tell the less than nerd-folk I am a mathematician…well..its like saying “I eat rocks in my free time”. Somehow being good at math isn’t ‘as cool’ as looking like a math genius. #cantwin #notgoingtotry

  22. I feel like this hasn’t caught on yet in India. It has to an extent, but not completely. People are claiming to love reading after read just one book (The fault in our stars). Also, I talked to this a 17 year old girl who told me that she absolutely LOVED The Alchemist, which despite being a good book can be overly philosophical, especially for a 17 year old girl.

    Oh and I posted this from a Macbook. 😉

  23. Great post. I hate that being nerdy is now more about fashion than it is about intelligence and knowledge. You can’t just wear the clothes and get smart; it comes with effort!

  24. It’s horrible when looking smart wins out on actually being smart. People are so concerned with faking it, that I’m afraid one day, they’ll look back and be highly disappointed. We’ll have a large population of lost souls that can only find life purpose through likes, follows, and how cool their lives look through pictures. People should really live life to be better people, not for the approving nods of strangers. Great post.

  25. I appreciated this post. It has always been puzzling to me to put so much energy into pretending to be something instead of intensely pursuing what you love. What does disturb me is that to read, to think, to pursue knowledge with excellence at one time seemed to be the mark of a person fully alive. Now we call such a person a “nerd” instead of a fully alive person. I wonder why?

  26. What a great post :-). I have been wondering for some time now, what is going on really, when notebooks have brand names and need to look pretty when what’s written inside is many times not much more than the occasional shopping list.

  27. I love wearing my bi-focal ray bans…I’ve earned them. My next purchase is a larger tablet so i can see my tech books easier. Love being a geek…was one before it was popular.

  28. I think you’re comment on the ways people act as though what you’re seen to be doing is more important than what you’re actually doing is really astute, though I think it’s been the case for a long time. I’m glad intelligence is fashionable at the moment, but I guess in the end, it too shall pass, and the majority will move on to the next way of being seen to be.

  29. Very nice…projection has become part of the life for some people…..May be the deep seeded insecurity that lies beneath a being looks out for validation or acceptability….anyhow….you aptly said pretend less, read more….if you don’t mind I will add to it be real and polish your strength….we cannot be good at everything right….beautiful post

  30. That was an interesting post. I think more and more people balance both on the fashion of “having a bit of a nerdy or geeky side”, and that of living an easy carefree life without putting much effort into any more serious activity. Being a nerd associates with something comfortable, casual and intelligent. Media often presents such people as a bit wacky but interesting, funny, friendly, sincere. And who doesn’t want to be that likeable and unique? On the other hand, being too intelligent for real is not so good because many people tend to shy away from the smarter ones so as not to be seen as being stupid themselves.

  31. Awesome post~ and thank you~ finally, someone who agrees that i should act the way i wish, not the way the society wants me to~!!! though i don’t think it’s fair that we classify anyone as a hipster or nerd before we talk to them~ most of the time, the notebooks i carry with me are gifts and it’s such a waste to leave them lying in my drawer~

  32. Does a macbook count as a book? Kidding.

    But yeah I totally get what you’re saying. On that note though, while many ‘pretend’ just to ride on the popularity, I bet a lot of them have a genuine interest but they have no idea where to start. They may buy a book that they want to read, but find it to be a very hard read right off the bat. Like one comment mentioned, A Brief History of Time. Maybe these people are really interested, but they would be more suited to trying a book like A Short History of the Universe by Bill Bryson or watch the new Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey that just aired and build that scientific knowledge before attempting Hawking’s book.

    Nerds can get really defensive when someone seems to be faking interest in their passions just to ride the popularity. I’ve actually hidden my new-found interests from other people until I feel like I have the knowledge to “prove it” to the hardcore fans so I wasn’t passed off as a poser. Sometimes there is a true interest there that just needs to nurture it and they may become true nerds themselves.

  33. The only problem with this idea is that it can also lead to the Nerd Inquisition, which gives rise to things like Fake Geek Girls – just because a girl might not know all the trivia about her favorite X doesn’t mean she’s not a nerd.

    But then, there is a lot of pretending going on, and I do agree with your solution.

  34. Really enjoyed reading this post 🙂 I love reading and especially writing and hope to do this, this summer in a coffee shop with my new mac. I have loved apple macs for years but can only now afford one as I’m currently on a paid work placement. What you say however is true about the change of character. For the past few years I have been going to the gym and more and more people come in with their work clothes on straight from the office. Such an interesting concept 🙂

  35. Amazing!! I don’t know what I would do without my books! Hard to imagine there are people who have never read a physical book!

  36. This is so true. Nerd isn’t just a term for someone who reads a lot. It’s for someone who dresses weird and wears nerd glasses. Be yourself, you can’t just follow the “new thing”. I totally understand what you are saying, and I thank you for saying it.-Rena

  37. Awesome, thought provoking and dripping with authenticity. You have a new follower and I look forward to reading more of your work. “Truth is stranger than fiction, but not so popular.” Anonymous – But…..”The truth shall make you free.” John 8:32

  38. 18% of ADULTS have never read a PHYSICAL book.. holy wow… as a legit pasty-skinned, glasses wearing nerd and book lover, this fact alone is so very disturbing…
    Isn’t it a shame that when things become “cool” they in essence cease to exist..

  39. This truly an amazing article. Thank you for sharing this interesting, yet informative insight.

  40. This entry quite interesting and although you our entirely entitled to your opinion, i believe it is not up to us to make the judgement as to if one is a nerd or not. I would agree to the fact that it certainly has become a ‘trend’ to wear huge glasses and baggy jackets, but judging by ones appearance doesn’t help in identifying which one is a nerd and which isnt. Looks cannot and should not, be the identification of ones nature.

  41. Touche. I found this honest and it tickled my funny bone. I am an admitted wanna-be nerd. I’ve always wanted to be smarter, and yes, be seen as smarter than I really am. I do read more, or try, but admittedly, get hung up on many of the books that are considered classic literature. The day I realized I needed glasses because I really was reading too much and the eye strain was causing headaches, was a BIG moment. Such a proud girl was I. I sit in bookstores and try out titles and intellectual magazines that are so far over my head that I start laughing to myself. Luckily, I have a sense of humor and have no problem with my wanna be status. If it makes me try that much harder to be more knowledgeable and read one more book, I’ll take it. Great Post!

  42. Wow, really got my attention, I agree that “looking like nerds” has been part of today’s culture, pretending to be smart by looking like one. Sometimes pisses me off because I wear thick glasses (not that I consider myself a nerd) but that eye defect was basically caused by being a heavy reader + watching tv (tv shows were cool in the 90’s) so yeah, when I explain to them why I have such thick glasses I see them doubting. Anyways, good point.

  43. I guess when something becomes sexy and trendy (like reading Camus or wearing Clark Kent glasses for the sake of what it represents), everyone who can´t make it, fake it. I don´t mind, as long as I can see what´s real.

    Who are we to deny anyone who they want to be; fake or not fake? Nerd or bimbo, who cares?As long as we are minding our own business, let people be who they want to be, fake or not fake.

    That you have read and know your Camus or Sarte, doesn´t necessary make you a good person; it only means that you just happened to have read them, digested them perhaps intellectually and emotionally.. Maybe you understood it, maybe not, and maybe those nerdy books makes you a damn good conversationspartner that in the right contexts, will get you laid or a good job. But the matter how nerdy you become because of all the things you did study or read or learn, none of these nerdy things matters if you don´t know how to behave, how to love, how to be a rightous human, loyal, honest etc. All the good etics belongs to everyone who has the guts to achieve them. Being fake or real nerd is just anoter id-label that some group of people need to identify themself with. WHat does´t these id-labels do for you in the long run, if it doesn´t teach you hove to love`? The less brave people that I have come across, just happens to be nerds. But that doesn´t means that being nerd equals being chicken. See?

    I think everyone has to start somewhere if they want to become something. Someone is born that way, someone becomes that way. Nature vs enviromental influences…What matters in the long run, is happiness, truth, love and kindness. That is what everyone deep inside wants to have. Stop judging. Just be happy.

  44. I found your post really interesting. You are right. We have too many people pretending to be what they are not.

  45. This is right on, I’ll declare myself a nerd, been awkward my whole life, been reading since I was 2.. Society kind of likes to play pretend, everyone wants to be a genius, so they try to look like one.. And since they decided being nerdy is cool, everyone is looking accordingly, looks only go so far.. A great post!!

  46. It amazes me that so many people around the world can read and write the English language. Most of the book that I read are paper back and they are motivational and never fiction.

  47. Agree! I know age has never been the case, but i think at some point in our life, perhaps younger, we are told to prop up our game no matter what the cost. So when being a nerd was a neccessary but unfit perk to have during schools and college, the social butterfly and culture maker created their own myth of the nerds, based on looks and general ideas. Nobody is pretending… just interested to understand the socially awkward and the less obvious of the herds.

  48. I can’t believe how true this is! I’m part of the younger generation, and I actually have glasses for the purpose to see… and I can’t express how much I’m angered at people who wear fake “nerd” glasses to look “cool”, or when people pretend to be super smart and know-it-all’s, when they have low academic marks!
    Besides, “nerds” aren’t people with glasses, buck-teeth, suspenders, bowties, and pocket calculators.
    They might be very “popular” people.
    Moral of this story: never judge a book by it’s cover.
    Very nice post!

    1. “super smart and know-it-all’s, when they have low academic marks!”
      Please, I have an I.Q. of between 146-150 and haven’t received an A since 6th grade. I usually just skip the work, ace the tests, and sleep through the lectures.

  49. I enjoyed reading this post because even though you are talking about the UK, your words are relatable across cultures. I’ve seen this trend in the US and even in China, amongst my schoolmates. I’m sure the media has something to do with making nerdiness cool, but it does not account for the lack of actual education. I actually aspire to be a nerd– a real one. It’s my dream to be able to discuss existentialism on the one hand and compare the works of the Bronte sisters on the other. I’d like to be able to argue teachings of Islam and read Confucius in his original language. Alas, I have much more reading to do before I ca even say I’ve scratched the surface. 😉

  50. I think it’s less to read more and perhaps revalue how we look at education and intelligence. Because one usually pretends for fear of inadequacy. Because in some ways intelligence was once disparaged while now it is now. It can’t be a constant seesaw back and forth; we need to change what reading and intelligence mean to us and how they are used. If there is a legitimate want to read and be intelligent, rather than it be something to put upon the mantle as a trophy, maybe people wouldn’t pretend as much.

  51. Fantastic post that emphasizes how “nerd” culture has become much more amorphous. As a reader, brewer, writer, board game designer and gym junkie I definitely can relate to the difficulty of pigeon holing people into the nerd role nowadays. Keep up the great work!

  52. when i saw the title for this i was relieved and excited. I’ve been thinking similar sentiments for so long.. the connection to “pretend less” i first had was the whole fad of reality TV… people living in these worlds constructed by realms upon realms of social media and “reality TV” that is no closer to reality than we are to living on Neptune. ..
    So yes ,pretend less, read more, and try living your life instead of wishing it was someone else’s. …

  53. Well written and too true! I wish “nerd” had been cooler when I was in high school… I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more. Great post!

  54. I used to wear big glasses and read paperback. Now I use lenses, read my Kindle, and go to the gym. Still consider myself a nerd, but now I need the fake tan.

  55. I like that people can dress “nerdy” with big glasses and pale skin or dress like a “popular person” with fake tans and short skirts. It all reinforces the “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” thing. It encourages people to try and talk to others and get to know them rather then making assumptions based on their appearence.

    Also I like that people view being a “nerd” as cool because in a way it’s also like saying being smart is cool.

  56. This is such a great post. It really gets someone to think about things. However, nowadays it is not that easy to read more. I remember sometimes during school I had not even the time to think about the next book I am reading because I had multiple exams in a week, plus tests, quizes and presentations. But then I suddenly I have enough time again to read a book a week (sometimes more).
    The bottom line is that with our today’s society where everyone has to be “online” And available it can become less easy to find actual free time.
    Nevertheless, lucky as I am I have solid 3 month free before my fall semester at university which I will take to read, read and read since I love reading a lot, always.


  57. Reblogged this on Tea is for Tina and commented:
    Even the word ‘Nerd’ bothers me. I no longer associate it with an intelligent person who would rather sit, read, learn, absorb information. When I hear that word now, I think of the t-shirts with the word on, I think of people wearing oversized, blank lens glasses.
    I have heard people calling themselves nerds or geeks because they like to read sometimes. I’ve watched children be asscoiated with it because they are interested in the world around them.

    This blog has hit a nerve – which can only be a good thing.

    I agree, people should pretend less, read more. I’m all for fashion, but don’t use it to fake a personality. It would actually be ironic to see a real ‘nerd’ wearing one of those t-shirts.

  58. This movement of valuing intelligence over anything else is concerning. Rather than learn for the sake of learning, people are using intelligence or even faking intelligence to get ahead of the game. I know this all too well. I’m all for reading books and learning what I can, but there’s no way I can even think of gaining all this knowledge unless I give up everything else in my life.

    Far too often I feel overwhelmed by peers who seem like they know everything and anything. Do they really? Or have they just brushed up on Wikipedia articles so that they can throw out trivial facts?

    I’m glad you touched up on this topic because I believe quick and easy “intelligence” should not be gained for the sake of power or being on top of things, but rather, true intelligence should be earned because of a passion for something.

    What frustrates me is when people think they’re better than others just because they know more. No it doesn’t make you better; it makes you a douchebag when you make someone feel bad for not knowing something. Rather than boast about all that you know, why not teach something eh?

    When I’m berated for my lack of knowledge on certain topics, like the Game of Thrones series (You don’t know how many times I’m bombarded with “Well, you haven’t read the books, so you know nothing.” when I try to discuss the TV show. Uhm, those books are insanely long and there’s a loooong line of books waiting to be read lol) and it’s getting tiring hearing people proclaim themselves as “true nerds” because “They’ve read the books” or “They dress the part.” Sure, there are people who actually exercise that kind of behaviour, but I admire those who do not boast about it. It makes them seem like they are actually genuine.

    I wouldn’t say I’m a nerd because honestly I don’t know that much. My memory retention is deteriorating but I still enjoy learning.

    People shouldn’t have their intelligence put down just because they’re a little slower at developing their knowledge and people shouldn’t be judged by appearances either. Just because you throw on a nerdy fashion ensemble doesn’t automatically make you intelligent. It makes you intelligent at the game but again, this article reinforces the fact that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

    A very well-written article!

    1. Try the Method of loci for memorization. I have issues memorizing things too (especially names) and it definitely helps. Also, I don’t “know everything”, I only learn what I find interesting.

      Random facts off the top of my head:
      The formula for IQ is IQ = Mental age/ Actual age * 100 (read that ONCE in a dictionary). A psychopath and sociopath are the same thing (suck it sherlock), jam is made with the fruit, jelly with the juice (one episode of dirty jobs), thermite is composed of approximately 73% iron oxide and 27% alluminium powder (not quite sure where that came from), KNO3 is pottassium nitrate which is an ionic salt, a trebuchet uses a large weight to launch a projectile whereas a catapult uses a tension device, riot police use an mk9 fogger for crowd control, dynamite was made with peanut butter, the song one by metallica was inspired by johnny got his gun which was made after world war one as a protest to war and was used by isolationists as a reason to stay out of world war 2, the easiest way to chop down a tree with an axe is to make one strike perpendicular to the ground and one 45 degress from the other cut, the most common round for hunting was the 7.62, the most popular the 30-06, equal parts of petroleum jelly and KNO3 make a plastic explosive filler, an engineer’s degree is higher than a masters, meth is made from ephedrin, bananas usually cost between $.33 and $.45 per pound at walmart, firewood must be air-dried for a year before use or kiln dried, a piece of railroad track is suitable for use as an anvil, hollow points and shotguns are illegal to be used against enemy combatants according to the geneva convention, sarin gas can be made out of ingredients purchased at walmart, alternatively chlorine gas can be made with alluminum and bleach and requires much less know how, brake fluid and chlorine can be used to start a chemical fire, humans use (about) 100% of their brain; the 10% myth came about because we only use 10% on CONSCIOUS actions, cocaine is made by soaking the cocoa leafs in gasoline then adding ammonia, capsaicin is what makes peppers spicy, anti-virus is not going to stop people from stealing your data, Arabica bean was the best coffee bean during the 1900s and has become the most common bean grown, so common that other inferior beans are now more expensive, penny stocks usually earn the most, leo tolstoy wrote “war and peace”, Odin lost an eye to gain knowledge, I could go on.

      Us ‘know-it-alls’ don’t. Personally, I thought I was an idiot (my brother is smarter) until I met other people. Don’t take this as an insult, but slow to you is painful to people like me. In school, I had to force myself not to answer the teachers questions so the other kids could learn, even the ‘gifted’ kids were slow to me! I’ve been able to tolerate slow people, but try to feel for people like me as it is not easy, and not everyone knows how to talk with others without coming off as ‘douchebags’. We’re not trying to put-down your intelligence, if we act like we’re talking to a child it’s because we don’t want to come off as pompous pricks.

      As far as insults, if it’s any consolation most people who insult others’ intellect are slow to me (with only one known exception, but he means well). 🙂

  59. Very true. People are pretending to be what they think will make them look cool. That’s not uncommon. Look at the past, it’s there too. What we have to do is keep on being what we are and others will see who is real and who is putting on a mask. Exist substantially, don’t substantiate your existance. -Sonnybaby

    1. Haha I have to keep this exact thing in mind, or I will just get mad all the time about it. The best thing for me is to think about how when it comes down to it, the people who actually know what’s going on are the ones who shine, and even if the little fakers try to hog all the glory, our impact will be known and so will their pathetic attention-seeking.

  60. This problem is rampant! It makes me sad. My girlfriend and I are big readers with big ideas and vast understanding of the way the world works while the younger sibling tends to get all news from clips and snippets on social media and make obnoxious judgments of authors based on what the internet says about them and not from actually reading anything! It’s maddening! Thanks for this post. 🙂

  61. Actually, being a nerd is in style. Id rather be Bill Gates than some loser. Id rather be sime rich nerd than meth user with no diploma. Even dating nerds is a style. Lol

  62. my thing in telling the difference in people who love to read and people who are acting like it… is that the people who are acting like it always seem to be reading those books that are popular or are meant to make you look smart… where as people who just read for the enjoyment have all sorts of books the others have never even heard of… and I have to admit I got the big nerdy glasses… but I really do need glasses and finally it was like I don’t care if I look cool I just want the lenses to cover as much space as they can so that I can see the world better…

  63. Nerdy is as nerdy does, not looks. Great! A bookaholic is as dangerous as an alcoholic because they are loaded with knowledge which they can use to shoot you down with. Being bird-brained is way more peaceful

  64. Hmmmm…I’m in the U.S, and the hipster movement is still slightly strong here. In the article that you referenced, it was stated that most people have dvd’s and other forms of social media. It takes away the need or desire to read literature, like how we used to. There is always a lot of pretension in whatever area you go, and many men and women who take their phones or computers into coffee houses here are doing homework, work, blogging, and such. I think people like do be seen doing the actual act of having the electronic item in a coffee house because it’s what you do now, whereas 10 years ago it was a book. I love what you wrote, because it was definitely thought provoking 🙂

  65. Haha I love this and I get your pain. I am legit really pale, not because it’s trendy, but I have a love-hate relationship with my skin, mostly because people always feel a need to comment on it, and say awful things like “Well, you’d be worshipped in the East, they love pale skin over there” Oh thank you for reminding me that people of my skin colour have been oppressing others for years and my skin colour is worshipped as a result of colonialism. Anyways, I think that many people can be partially, actually nerdy…I think people are becoming niche nerdy, about very specific topics. The “nerd” as we know it no longer exists.

  66. I was never one to go with the crowd. I always do what interests me and what I feel comfortable doing. Whilst I try not to judge people that do stuff that they see others do, I cannot disagree with you. It is very sad to what we have come to do these days.

    1. It’s interesting the spirit of this article should raise such a dead-end self-reflective question as this . ..I fear answering either way makes you feel a little less good about yourself, no? Either we’ve been lying to ourselves or we’ve been lying to the World…

  67. Reblogged this on our4graalianlives and commented:
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  68. I appreciate your expression. I never read because it was cool, I read when I was younger because my parents made me practice. In fact, I didn’t like reading, but I enjoyed making stories. Later I realized the personal benefits to reading, and I make a point to consume bits and pieces. I don’t want to choke my food down, I’d sooner chew it.

  69. I wish we would just do away with the whole”nerd” and “hipster” thing altogether. Just wear what you want, read where ya want. Why does there need to be a label? I’m over it.. Aren’t you?

  70. I agree.

    I don’t think it’s all negative though. At least our society’s values are changing to admire (and therefore imitate) geeks/nerds/intellectuals instead of thinking of them as “uncool”.

    I think you’re right that you have to talk to the geek-ily dressed person to establish whether they’re genuine or an air-head. But hasn’t that always kind-of been the case? In the past, with people who dressed in this “geeky” fashion, you had to talk to them to establish whether they were an intellectual, or were just socially impaired? (Not that those two are mutually exclusive, of course).

  71. It’s sad that “nerdiness” is a trend now when it used to be hurtful to so many people. What does that say about the world we live in?

  72. I was told the other day that the average reading age in the UK is 9 years 6 months. I find this truly shocking when I have always taken a love of reading for granted. It’s sad.

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