Book Review: How to Be a Geek Goddess (Win a Copy!)

By Linsey Knerl on 29 December 2008 (Updated 30 June 2009) 126 comments

If you’re a Twitter-fiend, a long-time blogger, or you customize PC’s in your spare time, this book is probably too elementary for you.  If there’s a special lady in your life who could use a little lesson in basic computer skills and etiquette, however, I’ve found a solid guide for you (and her.) 

Christina Tynan-Wood and No Starch Press have put out a perfect beginner’s manual to all things computer.  How to Be a Geek Goddess:  Practical Advice for Using Computers with Smarts and Style has it all.  Written from the perspective of a tech-savvy chic who  has written for the pages of PC World and PC Mag, it combines girl-speak with street smarts.  This book addresses all the core issues with little fluff, slang, or double-speak. 

Some of the topics are covered in traditional chapter style.  Others are discussed with “Dear Abby” type sidebars that use wit and wisdom to relay the message.  Sample subjects include: 

  • Buying a PC (or Mac):  What do you really need, and how much will it cost you?
  • Customizing your setup:  Get your settings just the way you like them.
  • Shopping online:  Where to find the best of everything for less.
  • Security 101:  Worms, and Botnets, and Viruses. (Oh my!)
  • Social Networking for Dummies: So you want to be on Facebook? 

Other cool chapters in the book go over digital camera specs, DVR, and how to have a wireless network.  While the details are basic (and you’ll probably need additional info to actually set up your home office), you can get an idea of what’s needed to achieve your desired results – and feel fairly confident doing so.   

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW

Note:  Chapter 12 is titled, “The Sexy Geek” and upon first glance, appears to give advice on hooking up online.  A little reading will tell you, however, that this section is just an outline of dating resources, tips for having a safe internet relationship, and a page and half of links to more titillating online entertainment (i.e. p*rn for women.)  Keep in mind that while there’s nothing overtly explicit in the content, this book is written for the mature woman (not your adolescent daughter.) 

Who’s this book designed for?  While definitely aimed at women (it’s complete with handbag references and fashionable USB accessories), it’s actually a well-written approach that any gender can appreciate.  If you’re especially concerned that a grandma, aunt, or sister needs a bit of a tech lesson (and don’t wish to have all the responsibility fall upon yourself), this book can be a lifesaver.  Likewise, if your uncle happens to skim a few chapters, it can only enrich his computer usage. 

Like a much-needed pep talk from a well-meaning friend, How to Be a Geek Goddess is heavy on the help, light on the lingo. And isn’t that what women really want? 

Want to give it a read?  No Starch Press has 4 new copies of How to Be a Geek Goddess to send to a few lucky Wise Bread readers.  To enter the giveaway, post a comment below by January 9th, 2009. U.S. and Canada only.  Must be 18 or older to enter.

Wise Bread will not sell or use your email address for any purpose other than to contact the winner. 

 

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Guest's picture
karpat

I would love to have a copy of HOW TO BE A GEEK GODDESS for my 85-year-old mother who has finally decided to go online with my Dad's computer. She is semi-homebound and is interested in learning to shop online, find new recipes, and play games online.
Since she is trying to teach herself, this book would be an awesome guide for her.

Guest's picture
Amy

Great site! And this book sounds perfect for someone like me: born on the wrong side of the computer divide but have to use it for work and beyond. I've figured out enough to make something [b]bold[/b], but don't know what an RSS Feed or Twitter is.

Please sign me up for the free book giveaway! Thanks.

Guest's picture
Amy

So the new phrase is strong, eh? ;) Got it.

Preview would help, too. :)

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Amy

I'm a pretty geeky girl, but I know some people that could definitely use this book!

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Brin

Wow. What a fantastic sounding read! I spent time over the holidays trying to teach my trendy, recently-widowed friend how to blog, facebook, etc. Could we both have used this book! I'd love to get my hands (and hers!) on a copy.

Cool giveaway. Thanks for the opportunity.

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b-wyn

My mom is a savvy woman, but she is older and finds it challenging to do more than email or create a Word document. I know she would like to do more and to be less dependent on me to fix problems and scan for virues. She would appreciate the simple explanations and fun style, and I would appreciate not having to buy her a computer book with the word "dummy" in the title.

Thanks!

Guest's picture
Guest

I would love to give this book to my mother who is endlessly asking for computer help but does not take the advice as easily. She also blames every single struggle she has on "Damn, Vista!" or "Oh, this stupid new mouse".

Guest's picture

But I think I could use this book.

I am going to appear on "Jeopardy!" this week (New Year's Eve).

Check me out here, I'm the one with the pigtails:

http://www.jeopardy.com/showguide_thisweek.php

Guest's picture

I'd love to read this :) *Thanks* for the giveaway!

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Georgiana

I'm in the market for a new desktop... sounds like this book would be a great help to me!

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n

what a great book subject idea. this would be awesome to win.

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Kathleen

Definitely would like to read this! Btw, Vista really does suck so I can see where your mom is coming from.

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Erik

I'm a guy who, if I had this book, would read it carefully and share it enthusiastically with various women in my life.

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carole lucas

As a mom of a teenager, would love this book to stay one step ahead...if that's possible. I've taught myself all I know about computers. Pretty proud of what I know, but again, that's not much.

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Erica DeCirce

I would really love to be a geek goddess. How cool it would be to impress my husband and male friends with my new tech knowledge!! can't wait to read this book!

Guest's picture
Leigh

This would help my wife understand me so much better. Even if she doesn't absorb it all. It would be a start.

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Anna

This seems like it'd be a great secret weapon, especially since computer skills are so necessary when looking for jobs now. I hope I win!

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Therese

I would love to win a copy! Please enter me in the giveaway.

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Kevin Elizabeth

and now am lost, so sign me up for a copy.
I'm still trying to learn Excel, Word and animate Power Point and they're over too!
At this point, needless to say, I'm afraid to ask, and help is sometimes helpful, but office.microsoft.com still hasn't answered my question as to whether I can save my 2008 Outlook calendar entries.
And RSS and Digg - get real!
I'm so glad items like Geek Goddess are still being written - thanks for letting me know about it Wisebread!

Guest's picture
Vik Dulat

All right. I would love to win this copy so I can give it to my friend. She is a geek and a geek goddess in the makings. Thanks for this contest. Keep up the great work folks.

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Jacquelyn Craddock

Finally, a solution to my problem! I would love to have this book. It may finally put me on par with my husband. He is definitely a Geek God, and I'm struggling to catch up.

Guest's picture
Guest

I'm so happy to hear about this book - the "tech world" is something I definitely need to learn more about - I will be checking it out even if I don't win =)!

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Rachel

I would love a copy! I'm a bookseller, and I promise, if I receive one of the giveaways, to order it for my store and match it to customers who might want it.

(I wasn't gonna enter this contest -- I would've just asked the publisher for a review copy, but it seems that we get their books from a US wholesaler, so sadly, no review copies are to be had. :-( )

Guest's picture
Lindsey

This would be perfect for my mother. She's CONSTANTLY asking me how to do things on her computer. I wouldn't mind if she didn't live over 200 miles away and be almost comically inept at following directions over the phone.

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Lucy

Would love to have a copy of this book! I'm about to be a stay at home mom & would love to know more about how to get more out of my computer!

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Rachel

I would love something like this, as a geeky-but-not-terribly-tech-savvy chick.

Guest's picture
bjs1109

I could use this, as I know a little - not enough to actually do something useful, just enough to get into trouble.

Guest's picture

Despite the fact I am blogger I'm technically challenge. I love writing but have very little knowledge about technology. I just know that this fabulous little book would improve my non geek status.

Please universe I've been a good girl this year and deserve a little help.

Carole

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Lynnie

This book would just prove it to the rest of the world LOL. Heck, even in our wedding vows, part of my hubby promises were to be in-house tech support! I used to be just the goddess but then I became a geek too.

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virgil

I know there's someone in my life this book is for, though the kitsch value may be too much.

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lori

I'm a geek girl

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Amanda

I am awesome and would like this book.

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Erica Thomas

Please enter me.

Guest's picture

I'm no geek goddess but aspire to be one! I'd love to win this book.

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Cammy

I'm not afraid to admit I could use some help sorting it all out. Defining "it" would be a good place to start.

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zyphax

That sounds interesting!

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Isabele

Good review, and I'm looking forward to either winning or purchasing a copy. I just now hooked into this website from Slate.com, and I must admit, all that I've read here is pretty salient and useable.
Looking forward to the 9th (gee, that is, if I can wait that long!)

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Edna

Would love to read this book. Thank you kindly. Look forward to winning!! LOL

E

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Rich

I like free stuff, if it's good. :-)

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Amber

My mom has just discovered the computer and the internet. This would be great to give to her to build some confidence, and also to help me impress my computer savvy husband. : > Thanks!

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Lizsu

Looks like a good read, but I wonder how useful this would be from a design/designer perspective :)

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Ayesha

Sounds like a great book.
What a cool opportunity.

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Kathryn

I am saying that is because it was during the later 70's that Atari (the granddaddy of todays PS3 and XBOX360) and they started marketing home computers - it is not technology that we grew up with.

I have been using the internet for over 10 years and still just know only basic stuff and have had to rely on my now 15 year old son to set up and program stuff on the computer and all the gizmos and gadgets we get.

Guest's picture

Love this concept for a book and could really use it! Pick me!

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g

I'd love to get this book for my wife. I work in I/T and struggle explaining some things to her and this might be the perfect thing for her.

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Michelle

I would love a copy of this book--it is too perfect! Thanks for the give-away!

Michelle

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Guest

Looks like a great read, I hope to do so!

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ryan

i am going to win!

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aeko

I need this book, badly....... My computer drives me crazy, and my children are tired of me asking them for help

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Guest

This book sounds great, I'd love to own a copy! might be a good idea to suggest to my book club too....

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Greg

The book sounds interesting...would love to present it to my wife.

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Guest

Wow! Love the title: "Geek Goddess". My husband would agree, it's soooo me.
Sharon

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Tabatha

I'd like a copy, please enter me in the drawing

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LeeAnne

I definitely need this book... it just took me 10 minutes to figure out how to leave a comment! LOL

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Lynn

Single (on-line dating) mother of 4 would greatly appreciate help, in any form, when it comes to my computer! If I win this deliciously titled book, I would start with the section on "how to get rid of pop-ups that say, your virus protection has expired", which occurs every time I time on my computer....next I would flip to the section on "what to do when you're prompted to upgrade your email page, but now you can't find your favorites and your contacts are a thing of the past!" Don't get me started on my work computer, the IT guy is great, I just can't comprehend hyper-speak and if I could think that fast, I wouldn't be working here!!

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Robbie

...or NOT! ;-) I would learn a lot from this book.
Good review!

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audrey

My mom *SO* need this book!

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gracie

This book looks great. I am a WOACA (Woman of a certain age) and was NOT born clutching a silver mouse. While I am fairly proficient at computers, it is always great to learn new skills, especially when they are provided in English rather than Computerese!

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Gnimsh

This book would be perfect for quite a few girls I know who want to be more tech savvy but aren't sure where to start!

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KarenV

Pick me! Pick me!

Wow - I wish I had known about this book before Christmas. I am the tech support for my family. This would have been a perfect gift for my nieces, sister and my daughter.

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Katie

Sounds like a great book.

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Knah

I'd love to win one of the copies for the budding Geek Goddess in my life.

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ryan

I would like the book i have a few prospective gals that could learn a lesson or two.

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Shannon

I'd love to win a copy of this book for my mom. maybe someone else can explain things to her in a way that I can't seem to.

Thanks!

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Anne

This would be a great book for me and my daughter.

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Tamara

This sounds like a great book. I could finally keep up with my geek boyfriend!

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Lizzy

This looks like a cool book, I'd enjoy it a lot I think :)

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Guest

.... but this book is one I'd love to read AND review for my blog :D

Ohhh how exciting! A geeky book for girls that isn't covered in pink and glitter :P

Fabulously Broke in the City
Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver...

Guest's picture
Yaffa

I'd love to read that book! *crosses fingers* hope I win!

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Ginny

This book looks really good, I just came across it yesterday!

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Tisa

Please count me in - I'd love to read this! ~ :) Thanks!

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Katharine

This is a book that I could definitely use - I'm so glad you featured it! While I am able to do everything necessary in terms of daily tasks, there are certain things I'd like to do in the future (without the help of a more knowledgable male) and this seems like the perfect reference. I hope I win :)

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charissa

I keep trying, but it's nice to know there's a manual (of sorts) out there now!

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Guest

I'd love to win this book. Sounds like a must read!

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harmzie

It's like it was written for me!

I know just enough about technology to seriously screw things up, but not quite enough to fix them when I do (but I plough in anyway)

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Sally

What an aspiration! Sure, I'd love this book. I don't know what I don't know until I find it.

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Amy Lynne

This book would be a wonderful addition to my school's library. As inadequate as I feel with computers, software and the Internet- at times I function as the guru for staff and students.

Amy

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DK

I love freebies and could use some help in the techno geek world.

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Guest

in case it hasn't been noticed, January 9, 2009, not 2008 for the end of the contest...

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KelR1

Though I use technology every day I honestly don't know much about it. It'd be nice to be able to better keep up with my hubby who is very knowledgable about computers so I can actually know what he's talking about and trying to teach me sometimes!

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Amy

Everyone wants to win! Even if I don't, I think I am going to buy the book for my mom!

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brenda

i would love to move beyond the computer basics. this book is the answer.

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Rowan

Even if I don't win a copy, I'm going to have to check it out for my mom and my aunts. Perhaps even some of my cousins. Are they planning a second book?

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Patricia

Thanks for the contest and review of this book. I have a good friend who could definitely use this book. If I don't win it sounds like a perfect gift for her.

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Matt

Sounds like a potential good read for my wife. Thanks for a great year Wise Bread!

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Wendy

Would love the book to find out if I am indeed a geek goddess.

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Christine

This looks perfect! If I win, I'll give it to my daughter.

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Mark

Thanks for the review!

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boognish1

I dearly wish to set up a wireless network in my home, but I haven't any idea how to begin. I'm woefully inept in other areas of technology as well, so this book would be perfect for me.

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Guest

sounds like a good read - esp. section on shopping advice!

Guest's picture

With a book like this, I could finally understand what my boyfriend is talking about! He's a Geek God in his own right!

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Alejandra

I would love to read, enjoy and then pass along this book. My boyfriend is always telling me how much my work would be improved if I stepped up my digital efforts. Help me out, please :)

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sylrayj

I plan to check it out from the library, maybe, or ask my husband if he'd look into getting a copy for me. Which he won't, because (being a geek god and being the main programmer for an expanding company) he's too busy doing the things this book talks about to get me a copy so I can do it too...

I bet that I'll even be more able to talk to him about work stuff, if I learn more about what my computer is about etc. Going to go get a link to the book, and see if the library has it in their catalogue yet... :)

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Laura

I'd love to win--this is just what I need! Thanks!

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Anna Barrie

I used to be a geek girl (worked in the Uni's computer lab, doodled circuits all over my jeans) but have been out mothering for a while - and missed the revolution! Would love to be a geek again!

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Caroline

I was once very much a geek girl who could do anything computer. Now my skills have expanded, so while I can't keep up with the computer programming crowd, I can fix plumbing or deal with car problems pretty well. However, a girl could always learn more!

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dcfox

my wife was an early PC owner, bringing a Kaypro to our marriage a coupla decades ago. but over time she's become ambivalent about such matters. this book, read on the right day could be just what the doctor ordered. and i could read it on the wrong days!

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Ruth Ann

Looks like a cool book that would be as useful as it would be interesting to read.
Thanks for the chance to win!

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jenna

Looks like a great book. I would love to read it! Thanks for the giveaway!

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CC

I'd love to win. Thanks!