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Nerds have come a long way in America — Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Alan Greenspan. Talk about "revenge"! There's even "nerd chic" these days.

But it wasn't always so. As author Benjamin Nugent tells us in his rich new history, "American Nerd: The Story of My People," you're more apt to think of high pants, taped glasses, pocket protectors, and a fondness for math.

Nugent looks back and traces two centuries of nerds and nerd lore, from literature to comedy.

This hour, On Point: That archetypal character, the American Nerd.
Guest host, Jane Clayson:

Guests:

Benjamin Nugent, author of "American Nerd: The Story of My People." He has written for The New York Times Magazine, Time, New York, and n+1.

This program aired on June 30, 2008.

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