About the Manual

The Nerd Manual is meant to be both a useful resource for nerds and a guide for the people involved with nerds. If you're a nerd you can find information here that will help you improve your life and perhaps better understand yourself. If you're close friends with, dating, or married to a nerd, I want to give you insight into things nerds do that a lot of people have difficulty understanding.

I hope to avoid offending anyone--either nerd or non-nerd--but please understand that the manual will get into some sensitive topics, stray into contentious territories, and even use stereotypes to illustrate points. It's OK to disagree with something, but keep your comments civil.


Nerdism: Do...or do not. There is no try.

Axel B├╝hrmann, Yoda
One of the most deceptively simple quotes in popular culture comes from a 900 year old little green guy living on a swamp planet.

In Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Yoda (the little green guy) tells Luke (the hero of the story) to levitate his space ship out of the swamp using the force (a somewhat mystic power that can be harnessed to move large objects without actually touching them). Luke, smirking, says, “I'll give it a try.”

Here's the genius of this scene. Everyone watching knows exactly what Luke feels like at that moment, we've all been in the situation where a parent or teacher or manager tells us we can do something great with our lives if we try, and we just nod and go, “sure, I'll give it a try,” but we're actually thinking, “there's no way I can do that.”

But Yoda, wise old Jedi that he is, cuts through Luke's bullshit:
Try not.
or do not.
There is no try.
You could spend a lot of time unraveling all the ramifications of that statement, but the genius of it is how it simplifies everything--either do it, or don't. Yoda makes no judgment, he doesn't pander to Luke's self esteem, and he makes no excuses. It comes down to knowing what you can do and doing it.

Imagine if you live your entire life by that principle.

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