November 15, 2004
Just a Geek

I finished up my latest book, Just a Geek by Wil Wheaton tonight. Since I'm still waiting for Halflife 2 to finish downloading, I thought I'd take some time to write up a review.

Just a Geek - Wil Wheaton

This is the first book I've read, where I actually know the author and about him outside of what's in the book. I've met Wil several times but wouldn't consider him a friend, more of a casual acquaintance. We've had some beers, chatted, and bumped into each other several times at various events in LA, but not much more than that. He's a good guy but from our emails back & forth and insanely busy guy as well.

Most of what Wil wrote in his book was not a surprise or relevation to me since I'd been reading his blog for a long time. Wil's writing on the blog can be a bit scattered and loose when he gets excited and I wasn't sure what to expect from his book.

Pleasantly, I was happy to find a fairly tightly written book about what was going on with Wil for the last several years, showing both his public face and his private turmoil. Much more than a simple rehash of blog entries that some other 'famous bloggers' have foisted on the public.

The book deals with his coming to grips with life and becoming comfortable in his own skin. He give names to his inner voices like 'Prove To Everyone' that had him second guessing himself constantly. This was a little hard to for me to empathize with, since my self-confidence level is high. (Remember, I'm that ENTJ guy) But I know that lots of people have real trouble dealing with concerns over what other people think about them. I'm sure Wil's story hits home for a lots of people.

He never launches into 'poor me' mode when looking at the past in the book. He looks back as a man that is finally free of the demons of the past and ready for pretty much anything.

The one thing I've was expecting him to discuss in his book was noticably lacking, his relationship with his fans.

Wil is a celebrity and most of the times I've seen him, he is dealing with fans trying to get his attention. The net makes it even easier for people to try to connect to celebrities and Wil has left himself wide open. I can't imagine the onslaught of email and requests he gets from people constantly looking for his attention.

He had an entire community going on his site forums (bka The Soapbox) that grew beyond what he could realistically control. The community was so tight, that it now survives outside of Wil's direct supervision. Several of the people he thanks in the book are people that he met in his Soapbox forums.

Following his schedule, I can see him getting busier and busier and sweeping more and more people in as his fans. To me the interesting story would be how he deals with the adoration, the requests, and the stalking that most celebs deal with. It's a side of life that we civilians rarely hear about other than after a famous person gets into an embarassing situation. Wil's in the unique position to pull back the curtain a little and show people what a celebrity has to deal with.

Now that would be a book.

Posted by michael at November 15, 2004 11:47 PM