Lion of the Blogosphere

Comment about IQ and life outcomes

“Glengarry” said in a comment:

For whatever reason, extremely intelligent people often seem to end up in these failed lives [referring to a person with a 163 IQ who was in prison and then worked a restaurant job]. Perhaps not as extreme as this particular case though.

This is a rewording of something I wrote a long time ago:

There is a shortage of career tracks for people with high IQs. Very few career tracks have an IQ floor much higher than 115. Therefore, the higher your IQ, the more important the wealth of your parents becomes (the very opposite of what most people think), because to get into the best career tracks you need better connections and not better IQ. People with exceptionally high IQs but inadequate parents often have poor life outcomes because of the mismatch.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

November 18, 2016 at 1:54 pm

Posted in Biology

113 Responses

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  1. Interesting theory, now where’s the data? This is something that would be very easy to prove.

    Everything I’ve read suggests that the vast majority of American millionaires are self-made. See here for example

    I’ve been to elite schools, and know tons of people that have gotten on the “right track” with prole parents. Most common method I’ve seen of becoming high income is you take a standardized test, which is the main determinant of where you’ll go to undergrad or law school. At that point, big corporations will recruit you. Standardized tests are the great equalizers, provided you get some bare minimum of schooling.


    November 18, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    • Stanley is a biased source of information. But by his own admission, he was most interested in people who were rich but didn’t have exceptional SAT scores.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      November 18, 2016 at 2:10 pm

      • So what’s your source? It would be easy to find evidence for what you’re asserting.

        Also, you act as if IQ is the only heritable trait. If you have an IQ of 160 and are a loser, and your kid has an IQ of 160 and is a loser, it may be because you both share intelligence and also some other trait that makes you a screwup. But I’ll take some correlational evidence regardless. Show us that after some certain IQ cutoff, parental wealth matters a lot more.


        November 18, 2016 at 2:38 pm

  2. I think there’s a lot to this theory, Lion.

    When I look at my family (Ashkenazi Jews ranging from above average to way above average IQ) I see that there is only one branch that did as well as their IQ would suggest – and guess what, grandpa gave them a shit ton of money (which he made by speculating). And that’s one Jewish family. Think of what it’s like to be smart and from fucking Appalachia.


    November 18, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    • Speculating?

      Are you saying there are Jews who speculate?

      What a fucking, unbeievable CANARD.

      I am reporting you to WikiPedia now (they collect such canards).

      A Alv.

      November 19, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    • There’s only great thing that the Ashkenazim has given to humanity. A decadent foodstuff that doesn’t require any fancy ingredients, not even butter. Jerry Seinfeld couldn’t even feature one on his show, because they were sold out at the bake shop.

      Simple, yet complex, and Einstein couldn’t figure it out: Ooh=Chocolate Babka


      November 20, 2016 at 10:57 pm

      • Jewish pastry sucks compared to Italian pastry.

        A Jew gave the world the Polio vaccine, which I think is more important than pastry.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        November 20, 2016 at 11:12 pm

      • Jewish pastries like the babka is actually quite ingenious, because it’s simple. It’s doesn’t require much to bake, no diary, no butter, and it’s delicious.

        Then there’s the mandelbread, which is the Jewish version of the biscotti, but softer and moist.

        A subset of non-Jewish SWPLs would prefer Jewish baked goods over Italian ones.

        There was an Italian baker who made a mint, because he made babka and challah bread, and they sold very well, more than the Italian pastries.


        November 20, 2016 at 11:22 pm

      • Butter is what makes everything taste better.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        November 20, 2016 at 11:33 pm

      • Jews gave the world monotheism, which is more important then a kokush cake or a polio vaccine. Jews totally dominate the world and we all know it.

        First their was Abraham who taught that the mind is most important.
        Then came Jesus and he taught that everything is from the heart.
        Then came Marx and he taught that everything is from the stomach.
        Then came Freud and he taught that everything is from below the stomach.

        I beleive in Abraham, what do you mates beleive in?


        November 21, 2016 at 1:55 pm

      • Then came Jesus and he taught that everything is from the heart.

        Then came Jesus and the Jews rejected him.

        Then came Marx and he taught that everything is from the stomach.

        Then came Marx and his ideas never came to fruition.

        Then came Freud and he taught that everything is from below the stomach.

        Then came Freud, who died of mouth cancer, after professing many years of a failed pseudoscience.

        Of course, kokush and rugelach are not very important among Jewish contributions…but I ask why not? You can find these items in Whole Foods.


        November 21, 2016 at 9:16 pm

  3. Nonsense. IQ is correlated with income, all the way up to the stratosphere, once both are forced onto a normal curve (~0.5 correlation). In other words, someone who is +4 sd intelligence will end up +2 sd income.

    This is just how smart people avoid feeling jealous of people who are smarter than them. Everyone wants to be just the right intellect, so lower is dumb and higher is maladjusted.


    November 18, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    • “Everyone wants to be just the right intellect, so lower is dumb and higher is maladjusted.”

      Yes! The economy has been eating up people along the left hand side of the bell curve for decades now due to a mixture of open borders, offshoring and automation. The process is accelerating and starting to eat those on right as well. What’s so shameful about admitting that you’re either getting eaten now, or will/might be in the future? Why the need to pretend that it was a meritocracy when it was happening to, say, the truck drivers but it’s hideously unfair when it comes to, say, lawyers?


      November 18, 2016 at 9:15 pm

  4. You don’t need a specific career to be rich.

    High IQ come in different shapes and sizes. Often there is aspergers/schizophrenia/OCD or low testosterone issues holding them back.

    If you are extremely smart you will figure out a way, even without Ivy League degrees.

    The 163 IQ man must have leaned very quant (heavy autism) or had a serious mental health issue to be working in a restaraunt.

    Even if we accept IQ floors have dropped….Most people who make the most money these days (without nepotism and good social skills) are interdisciplinary/multiple income streams/multiple careers. And that does take a much higher IQ/testosterone floor.

    Testosterone is more important in many ways…it predicts risk taking and aggression in the face of competition.

    The Philosopher

    November 18, 2016 at 2:47 pm

  5. There are careers that require high iq, but the problem is that those career also require experience, usually in the form of: top undergrad -> PhD -> PostDocs -> research jobs / tenure track, etc. RenTec only hire the cream of the crop, as so are other places la PDT for example. Yeah, you may even get a jobs at PDT out of undergrad, but you better have some gold medals at the IMO and some Putnam competitions, which are harder to pull than a PhD. RenTec rarely hires on promise, but rather accomplished people in their 40’s


    November 18, 2016 at 2:56 pm

  6. This reminds me of Ted Kaczynski.
    A highly intelligent person making bad life choices.
    Math is clearly a career where you need all the IQ you can get. Think of all the unsolved Millennial Problems.
    He made those choices because he’s contrarian. He doesn’t share the same goals and values. He has different priorities.
    What I’m trying to say is that high IQ people tend to take the path least travel and this always lead to wildly different result (Nobel prize, Yale or jail).


    November 18, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    • TK was autistic and possibly schizophrenic. He’s a bad example.


      November 18, 2016 at 4:01 pm

      • Not that unique among the high IQ though (it’s a scale and most of them have a certain degree of both). See John Nash. One with a Nobel and the other is in jail.


        November 18, 2016 at 5:32 pm

  7. All of the hard science academic positions select for IQ at above 115 – so Physics, Maths and Chemistry pHD students onwards. Here in the UK doctors are drawn from above 115 on average, so are those with quantative roles in banks, accountants and lawyers with the big players.

    You can go and find data that shows that increased IQ, on average, leads to increased income (you can find some on Steve Hsu). The data also seems to show that IQ is a better indicator than social background – which I cannot disprove, but has never seemed accurate to me.

    Partly this is because it is realtively easy to get quite far up the income distribution. However, I suspect if you ran the data with say 1 in 10,000 intelligence and with 1 in 10,000 wealth and some measure of 1 in 10,000 family background wealth, you would see a better correlation between the latter than the former (the bar might be lower than this – it is maybe 1 in 1,000?).

    Wealth is so valuable at the beginning of your life – better learning opportunities, better education, no education debt, first property bought – such a bonus not having to afford rent in a major city – which would be by far your highest cost. That this gives a huge kick to later wealth outcomes I would imagine.


    November 18, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    • “All of the hard science academic positions select for IQ at above 115 – so Physics, Maths and Chemistry pHD students onwards.”

      At the same time those jobs don’t make any one super-rich. An example of how high IQ are drawn into making less money.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      November 18, 2016 at 3:14 pm

      • If you are a professor you will tend to draw a decent salary (+consultancy+speaking) that puts you fairly up the income distribution – but you will be unlikely to make a dent on the wealth distribution. Many high IQ people are also bankers, lawyers, doctors, accountants – where you end up high on the income distribution very easily through just time and paying your dues.

        So IQ:income will correlate as others have noted, but that correlation is a poor relationship to describe the impact on your life as wealth is so much more valuable than income.

        People with wealth want their income to be as low as possible (or even negative, Donald) so as to pay less tax. People who are coming from nothing need their salary to be as high as possible (incurring higher taxation) to try to get by.

        So this is where the proven correlation breaks down.

        1. It is pretty easy for someone who is intelligent to end up in the top 2% income percentile.
        2. It is not so easy to end up in the top 2% wealth percentile if starting from nothing.

        I can’t prove it though, it’s just my intuition about why the IQ:income correlation does not seem to reflect my lived experience of IQ:my perception of rich.


        November 18, 2016 at 3:47 pm

      • A tenured math or physics professor at a top 20 university is living the dream. Why on earth would he want to go become a multi-millionaire grinding it out on some boring and stressful business?

        The really high net-worth financial outcomes always involve tremendous grit and grinding out crazy hours and dealing with mountains of stressful bullshit and politics. You have to be kind of dumb to bother, in a way.


        November 18, 2016 at 4:33 pm

      • True intelligence is making the most money for the least amount of risk/effort/time invested and only enough to cover a certain lifestyle or provide happiness to others – family, charity, political causes etc so that you can have leisure time as well.

        People throwing themselves into the Grinds>Ivy/Oxbridge > 1 Year Masters> IB 2 year programme>5 Year PE (often with a professional certification to boot like accountancy/CFA/JD) to break 6 figures after tax PPP USD may be advised to do a proper assessment of whether there are easier ways to break 6 figures – after tax – without having to contort your personality for shitty OCD clients and kissing rings of venal management whilst looking over your shoulder at Hang Lo Stay in Office for 20 Hours-O Li whose skin is blotching from pot noodles and lack of Vit D.

        The Philosopher

        November 18, 2016 at 7:37 pm

      • “True intelligence is making the most money for the least amount of risk/effort/time invested and only enough to cover a certain lifestyle or provide happiness to others – family, charity, political causes etc so that you can have leisure time as well.”

        That describes my life/work strategy. What’s the point of slaving away 40-plus hours a week for money I’ll never have time to enjoy? I’d rather lope along at 25 hours a week and make enough to cover expenses plus leisure pursuits and modest luxuries like restaurant meals, with a little surplus for emergencies. That’s living, baby!


        November 18, 2016 at 9:13 pm

      • Correct, why would you want to be a investment banker over a tenured professor?

        But here’s the rub: America values money over intellect. Status is more determined by monetary measures. Just look at our political elites, most of them act like buffoons.


        November 19, 2016 at 11:08 pm

      • Correct and that’s something the Asians haven’t grasped… For them, hard work is a virtue in and of itself… working hard gives meaning to their lives even if the work is pointless… just like discipline is the highest virtue in East Asian societies.. Doesn’t matter if discipline makes you unhappy or w/e..

        Deal with it!

        November 19, 2016 at 11:44 pm

      • East Asian elites are the Warren Buffet types, which is why East Asia have been a stationary continent for the last millennium.


        November 20, 2016 at 10:44 pm

  8. Except Pumpkinperson HAS DISPROVEN THIS REPEATEDLY, AND OTHER RESEARCHERS HAVE ALSO. The correlation between IQ and financial successful is linear up until at least IQ 150 (and probably higher).


    November 18, 2016 at 3:19 pm

  9. There is a shortage of career tracks for people with high IQs. Very few career tracks have an IQ floor much higher than 115?

    Whay do you mean? Like what careers are appropriate for high IQs in your opinion?


    November 18, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    • How about this guy?
      In biotech, all you need is 1 successful drug and you’re a billionaire… especially now that we’re at the beginning of the genetic revolution.


      November 18, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    • None, that’s the point. There aren’t really any careers in which having a 130+ IQ gives you a competitive advantage against a person with a 115 IQ. However, being super-rich gives you enormous advantages over people born into average or moderately above-average wealth.


      November 18, 2016 at 3:59 pm

      • There aren’t really any careers in which having a 130+ IQ gives you a competitive advantage against a person with a 115 IQ

        I don’t know, man. We’re picking nits, and it doesn’t really matter, but I had a harder time in medical school than my classmates who were smarter than me, I’ll tell you that.

        Samson J.

        November 18, 2016 at 7:19 pm

      • “There aren’t really any careers in which having a 130+ IQ gives you a competitive advantage against a person with a 115 IQ. ”

        That’s just not true and is not (I think) what Lion is saying. At a minimum the threshold should be 130+.

        Take a law student. Someone at 115 is destined to working Guido law for 50k while the smarter law student can work as a BIGLaw associate for three years and then transitions to cushy Fortune 500 in-house counsel. 115 IQ simply isn’t going to meet the prerequisite to that second career track: getting top 10% in his law school class at a decent school.

        Or programming– 115 lacks the potential to be anything more than an expendable/interchangeable grunt coder. Someone at 140 has the potential to be an indispensable software developer.


        November 19, 2016 at 1:50 am

  10. Most of you have probably seen this short documentary on Chris Langan. It’s worth watching if you haven’t. Langan has one of the highest IQs in the world. He comes from a prole background, endured severe abuse from his stepfather when he was a child, and spent much of his adult life working as a bouncer.

    Horace Pinker

    November 18, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    • Frustrating to watch.


      November 18, 2016 at 6:48 pm

  11. If you have a top 10% IQ, all else held equal, it doesn’t really help you out too much. If you are born into a family with in the top 10% of wealth, however, all else held equal, is a massive benefit.


    November 18, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    • It’s true currently because we don’t have many programs that actively identify high IQ individuals early on and put them into special programs. This will support and nurture them into future successes.

      They do have this, a little bit, with Math though and it’s the Math Olympiad (with its worldwide network of supporters). With its growing popularity, the people who are part of it are now more than ever becoming stars and superstars because the network won’t let them fail. See Terence Tao, Grigori Perelman, and maybe even Reid Barton. More and more, the big names in Math (winning Field Medal, becoming professor, running hedge funds, etc…) are former Math Olympiad participants.


      November 18, 2016 at 5:04 pm

  12. The biggest factors of success in the modern Western world are physical attractiveness, then family values. IQ has quite honestly nothing to do with success beyond a very low threshold (say, 90).

    Handsome men and women tend to encounter less psychological issues (shyness, self-consciousness and neurosis) due to less trouble with socializing and attracting the opposite sex. This is a taboo, hence why very few academics studied the subject. The benefits come less from being a “social animal” than from never developing the kind of issue that can morph into irrational neurosis and lots of years spent seeing a therapist instead of “making deals, great deals” or working.

    Ugly men and women can still succeed if their family values are good though. I know several very ugly persons who got into great study and career tracks because they came from traditional, Christian, loving families and privileged their studies over stupid teenage love stories during high school.


    November 18, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    • Interesting take.

      The Philosopher

      November 18, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    • “IQ has quite honestly nothing to do with success beyond a very low threshold (say, 90).”

      Bull to the shit. If you’re not rocking at least 110, you’ll have little success, I don’t care how attractive you are.


      November 18, 2016 at 9:38 pm

      • With less than 110 you will not meet success in medicine or law, even less in physics or mathematics, but being dumb is no obstacle to becoming a successful manager, business person or low-level civil servant (which is success compared to most private jobs).


        November 19, 2016 at 1:20 pm

  13. You can’t be a GOOD lawyer with just a 115 IQ. It’s impossible, especially in BIGLAW.


    November 18, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    • Michelle Obama worked in BIGLAW.

      However, in general, BIGLAW lawyers are smarter than that because of how they recruit, based very heavily on law school prestige and grades. BIGLAW hiring is a lot more meritocratic than hiring in corporate America.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      November 18, 2016 at 5:01 pm

      • Michelle Obama worked in BIGLAW

        Well, she was employed at Sidley Austin for three years; how much she actually worked is debatable. She did graduate from Harvard Law and pass the bar, and that’s not easy, especially for an Sociology/African American Studies major (from Princeton, so, yea, I’ll give her that).

        E. Rekshun

        November 18, 2016 at 5:29 pm

      • What’s your estimation of Michelle Obama’s IQ? I’d put it between 115 and 120.

        I agree. Law is actually one of the more meritocratic fields. Doctors tend to be pushy strivers. BIGLAW associates and partners are actually SMART. I’d bet the average BIGLAW associate is smarter than the average doctor.


        November 18, 2016 at 5:43 pm

      • Medicine requires a lot of hard work, but Organic Chemistry is supposed to be the hardest prereq and it’s mostly memorization.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        November 18, 2016 at 6:21 pm

  14. A contributing factor for prole genius failure is likely that they are raised by wolves, that is, their classmates and teachers (and everyone else) are 3-4 SD less in IQ. That could easily lead to alienation and anti-sociality. Perhaps there should be a prole genius rescue program.


    November 18, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    • I will second this one. Humans are social animals and group ostracism, especially during crucial development windows in childhood, is fatal to development, let alone success in a hypercompetitive world. All too easy in this society for someone with bad social skills just to fall through the cracks and join the casualty statistics of the mentally impaired, people who die in car wrecks that we shrug off without much thought.

      Giovanni Dannato

      November 18, 2016 at 8:32 pm

  15. Wouldn’t a 115 IQ be too low to successfully get through a real engineering program, physics, or medical school?

    Yes, I know medical school rewards grinders more so than brilliance but ,still, the material, while voluminous, is no calk walk.

    My IQ has been scored many points higher than 115 and I’ve earned a reputable MBA and MS degree but due to a couple of layoffs and blown opportunities, my preference for job security and easy work hours, the “Great Recession,” crushing competition, and H-1B immigration, my salary today is exactly what it was in 1998. I’ve never made six figures and won’t before the time I retire.

    Fortunately, due to long-term low cost of living and high rate of savings, long-term low-cost index mutual fund investing, and a couple of lucrative, serendipitous real estate purchases, my net worth cracked $1 million before age 50.

    E. Rekshun

    November 18, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    • “Wouldn’t a 115 IQ be too low to successfully get through a real engineering program, physics, or medical school?”

      Yes to physics.

      People with high math ability but only 115 overall IQ can do engineering. I’ve met plenty an Indian engineer who wasn’t that smart.

      I never said every single career track had a floor of 115, and that number was only an approximation anyway.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      November 18, 2016 at 6:19 pm

      • Academia requires a higher IQ than 115. Researching, writing convincing articles and books takes more than that. 115 is probably the level for any work that is repetitive.


        November 19, 2016 at 10:50 pm

  16. Confirmation bias.

    My Two Cents

    November 18, 2016 at 5:40 pm

  17. I know of zero evidence that that is the case. As far as I understand, all life outcomes improve with increasing IQ with no ceiling.

    High IQ failures stand out in memory because they are so unexpected.


    November 18, 2016 at 5:58 pm

  18. NYT says that Democrats should pretend that they don’t have white people.

    NeoGaf reacts with rage:

    The Democrats will never ever ever scale back on the anti white hate. Not even if it costs them a million elections. They would no more give up the anti white stuff than we would give up anti immigration.

    Otis the Sweaty

    November 18, 2016 at 6:30 pm

  19. I think people just notice the high IQ failures more, since they stand out. Most people with very high IQs are pretty functional.

    The people who talk like this tend to have reasonably high, if not stratospheric, IQs themselves. They don’t understand just how intelligent people they regard as normal are, and they don’t see the reality of a lot of people with lower intelligence.


    November 18, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    • Yes, they don’t realize that if they had to work in a kitchen they might find themselves to be social cripples there until they learned how to adjust.
      Smart people who only interact with smart people routinely make failed policies with the best of intentions. They don’t have an accurate model in their head of the average person, so their reforms lead to disaster every time.

      Giovanni Dannato

      November 18, 2016 at 8:17 pm

      • failed policies? Who has a real accurate model though? No one!
        That’s because you’re talking about the social sciences. Those are not real science. I wouldn’t trust even the smartest guy on those. We are nowhere close to Isaac Asimov’s vision of psychohistory. Without that you can’t accurately predict what your policies will do.


        November 18, 2016 at 8:34 pm

      • There’s a big difference between someone who has no clue what the average person is like and someone who has spent years around them and studied them up close. That may not meet your criteria of science, but maybe we’re talking about alchemy vs. mere superstition. Not infallible but can get some things done. We just saw a whole system of aristocracy crash and burn before our eyes because they were clueless in their gated “communities.”

        Giovanni Dannato

        November 19, 2016 at 1:22 am

      • Trump ascendancy into the American Presidency, will turn the time back to yesteryear. Proles will become more emboldened, more ruthless and more racist towards non-Whites, simply because these primitives have been acting like that for as long as we can think of. Our elites are stupid, and America has just devolved into a backwater, due to their foolish immigration policies.


        November 19, 2016 at 11:56 pm

  20. Hmm, interesting discussion. Here is an insight from some one who has scored a perfect score on an IQ test. I dont give a hoot about what I earn, life is not about money. Interestingly enough every single person i know in my or slight lower bracket of IQ scores, also dont give a dam about high paying careers, they work for enough to be happy, and support there other interests.

    Also, people I know with the highest IQ’s dont get university courses, cause university courses are designed for normal people ( those with Mesna IQ or below).

    So to me the question is mute.


    November 18, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    • You’d think a genius like you would know the difference between moot and mute.


      November 18, 2016 at 10:30 pm

      • Or there and their.

        E. Rekshun

        November 19, 2016 at 4:37 am

      • Or “slight” and “slightly,” not to mention “every single person I know . . . . also don’t give a damn . . .”

        I guess with a genius IQ, there’s more to life than grammar.

        ice hole

        November 19, 2016 at 12:18 pm

      • Someone – some one. Because – cause. Don’t – dont. Whatever.

        E. Rekshun

        November 19, 2016 at 3:10 pm

      • Or damn and dam, come to that.

        prolier than thou

        November 20, 2016 at 4:56 pm

  21. I would also love to see the research on this. Is it possible, assuming it was true, that most careers do not cater to the extreme gifted population? That they lose interest and their mind is left to wander and possibly not allow the focus required? Id love to discuss this topic more!

    Take the Floor

    November 18, 2016 at 8:41 pm

  22. What about quants and AI researchers at big tech companies? These jobs pay pretty well, there have been a lot of startups in the AI space recently, and I think that careers in these areas give an advantage to people with really high IQs. I’m pretty sure that the ceiling is above 115.


    November 19, 2016 at 2:37 am

    • AI is probably a scam. The technology space, combined with cheap money, is allowing a lot of fraud through.


      November 19, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    • There was a stampede into ‘data science’ a while ago, with the usual ‘become a data scientist in six weeks’ garbage. Sounded like it’s on the same level as building web sites in PHP.

      On the other hand, there has obviously been some interesting AI advances in the last decade. The question is whether they can keep going or it settles there. The most impressive stuff, like Alpha Go, seems to rely on brute force with matrix-levels of hardware and big budgets. Not sure how far that can develop or spread. Or perhaps someone figures out how to reduce costs drastically.


      November 20, 2016 at 5:09 am

      • Data Science is legit. Scott Locklin makes a very good point that statistical theory transformed our knowledge more than hard science advances from the late 60s onwards.

        It will in time, transform our social science knowledge.

        The Philosopher

        November 20, 2016 at 11:04 am

    • 320 individuals with IQ 160+, top 1 in 10,000. Summary for the readers here: Only one got tenure at Princeton, none at the rest of SYPH.

      The paper at a quick glance emphasizes accomplishments rather than failures. The authors seem in the conclusion to propose that high IQ is good, something with which I agree, but it’s a bit difficult to see how the black sheep, if any, fared. However, it does indeed seem that most did quite well. (I will leave the reverse data mangling for another day, so someone else can compute the exact details.)

      What might confound things is that these individuals were identified as mathematically precocious etc and followed up, while others (like Langan or the cook woman) were not subject to the same attention. Did that affect their outcomes? The whole country should have say 30,000 such individuals in total (of all ages), disregarding demographics and immigration.

      Looking at Langan’s wikipedia page, he does seem to be in a reasonably comfortable situation now, as compared to what was shown in the previous video. Would he count as having a successful life outcome? Still, it would seem he could have achieved quite a bit more, if his scores are valid. He’s 2-2.5 SD above the cutoff for these guys.


      November 20, 2016 at 1:02 pm

      • If you make up 10 point bins for IQ, how do these 160s compare to the 150s, 140s, 130s, etc.? That’s the real question.


        November 20, 2016 at 1:49 pm

      • I was ruminating on that very topic while writing the above, but it felt like moving the goalposts to bring it up.


        November 20, 2016 at 6:51 pm

  23. These poor outcomes have less to do with them then this dead and about to burn down dystopia based on the insane leading the stupid. If high IQ individuals are “failing” it is 100% the stupid and ridiculous “Affirmative Stupid” laws that reward retards and keep the smart from getting jobs. The suck is noticeable now isn’t it? Reward the stupid and you don’t get Idiocracy, you get dystopian collapse. Call it “Civil Rights”, call it “social justice”, call it the reason you’re gonna die, cause that’s what it comes down to. Suck it up, the big babies are dying out, the Men with Big Boy Pants are coming back and taking over.

    Joshua Sinistar

    November 19, 2016 at 6:20 am

  24. Based on her tweets over the past year, Marilyn vos Savant, the woman with the “highest recorded IQ,” was a Trump supporter, but smart enough not to reveal it outright, not that that took the world’s highest IQ to figure out you needed to keep your candidate preference hidden.

    The fake news site known as The New Yorker is already printing “It Happened Here,” the “It’ being fascism. Note the past tense: they must be referring to the Obama administration, since there are two months yet to go before Trump’s inauguration.

    Mark Caplan

    November 19, 2016 at 10:28 am

  25. Men with high IQs can often have inherently red-pilled social intelligence. Meaning, they see how corrupt, dishonest, and stupid most of humanity really is on all levels and that most are too stupid to understand what to them is obvious common sense. These men do not make good employees because they often prefer their own company and they can’t be fooled into thinking it isn’t slavery and a profound alienation of their will.

    Red-pilled men are acutely aware of and *feel* the inherent evolutionary conflict between people and the unconscious manifestations of this psychological warfare within the artifice of peaceful civilization. It’s generally more beneficial to be unaware as this will lead to better outcomes.

    Because most people are blue-pilled, these men come off as socially stupid and/or aloof; especially when these men are young and can’t fully process their red-pill conclusions and emotions.


    November 19, 2016 at 11:23 am

    • Comment of the week here.

      Most people have no idea of the Struggle of the Will. The way people’s wives and long term gfs look lustily at the Alpha in the Room. The sessions in hotel rooms involving the striver careerist female and the senior manager (s). The hatred of women towards gullible beta autist slaves. The cluelessness of ant person middle management to leverage their skills and seek a way out of servitude. The stupidity of the organisation’s AA policy hires and the dysfunction of it. The ILLUSION created by mass media and academia to enslave people psychologically with fake history and primed buzzwords like ‘rac-ism’, ‘islam-ophoba’, ‘prejudice’. The dirty work of the secret police in foreign nations for plutocracy.

      We all laughed when the para schiz people kept saying the government monitors our thoughts. It does, or tries to via our internet and telecoms activity. We all laughed when the para schiz people said we were as brainwashed as the Chinese or Ruskies and now our media is evidently a poor man’s Pravda, just with journaliers with lower IQs than the Stasi moles.

      Nobody is laughing now.

      Ecology////Stationary v Roving Bandit Game Theory problem in Economics….the people that make it to the top are usually low empathy, high verbal IQ, psychopathic or borderline psychotic paranoid strivers.

      Nietsche is right…the gamma always strives to usurp the Ubermensche, through Illusion.

      The Philosopher

      November 20, 2016 at 6:17 am

  26. Red-pilled men can also be impatient. Which hinders their ability to get on good career tracks. Because getting on those tracks requires endlessly hoop jumping and credentials.

    The red-piller is more direct and his mindset is, “I don’t want to sit in classrooms, just show me how to do it and I’ll do it.”

    Honestly, I’d support for Guaranteed Basis Income for all red pill/introverts and middle class people who have all ready proven they’ve worked long and hard. . .but NOT for the criminals and parasite classes.


    November 19, 2016 at 11:32 am

  27. Maybe high IQ people value and want different things in life than Lion wants?


    November 19, 2016 at 12:30 pm

  28. Most firefighters clock in at 95 – 100 IQ, and they’ll all retire ten to fifteen years earlier (and if they don’t overspend on monster pick-up trucks, boats, girlfriends and failed marriages, wealthier) than 90% of the readers of this blog. But firefighters are prole.

    E. Rekshun

    November 19, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    • So are police officers, construction workers, and any career that is jackov certified like HVAC.


      November 20, 2016 at 10:39 pm

  29. “There is a shortage of career tracks for people with high IQs.”

    This seems to be true not only for people of extremely high IQ, but also for people of moderately high IQ. There are “life tracks” designed, more or less, for people of moderately high IQ, but many (most?) of the people on these tracks don’t really benefit from all the extra time and effort involved.

    Over a lifetime, a professor at the average college or university ends up making less money than a teacher at a public school. The teacher didn’t waste a decade getting a PhD, has paid into a retirement plan since his early twenties, and probably has a higher salary, averaged over a career. Except at elite colleges, you’d be surprised at how low college faculty salaries are compared to teacher salaries in suburban school districts.

    I recently discovered that a 30-something 4th grade teacher in my area was making about 70k. Assistant professors around here have salaries in the 50k range. Incidentally, the (pretty bad) local public university pays better than the (pretty good) local expensive liberal arts colleges. And the competition for college faculty jobs is insane.


    November 19, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    • But as a teacher, you have to deal with stupid co-workers. As a professor, you get to talk to intelligent people everyday.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      November 19, 2016 at 6:04 pm

      • But are you happier talking to smart people who can be extremely disagreeable or are you happier talking to dumb people who always say “ditto” to everything you said?
        Smart people just like to be contrarian to your cherished beliefs just for the sake of it.
        They see so many possibilities that sometimes it looks like they play on both sides of the fence.


        November 19, 2016 at 6:56 pm

      • “But are you happier talking to smart people who can be extremely disagreeable or are you happier talking to dumb people who always say “ditto” to everything you said?”

        I’d rather play computer games.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        November 19, 2016 at 7:07 pm

      • Being a teacher from K-12 is usually of prole status, unless you’re dealing with students from the Upper East/West Side of Manhattan. The same goes for being a professor working in a lower tier institution, although tenured professors at the public colleges/universities have cushy jobs.


        November 19, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    • Yes, but the teacher has to deal with children. And ALL children, not just the pleasant ones.


      November 20, 2016 at 9:53 pm

  30. Are you sure about the “floor”?

    See, I’ll expound it in my 120-IQ-ish way.
    I could learn Java, HTML, even the whole C/C+/C++ language family.
    I could write a smartphone app.

    I could, but it would take me a time so long as to be meaningless in real life.

    You may think 120 is the IQ floor for coding, and technically it is. On the other hand, there will be a selection, and everytime I have tried to mix with these people I have felt overwhelmed by their clearly “on-another-level” brains and speed. My contribution to the team was useless.

    The real floor for computer programming in a real-life scenario is near 140.
    And same is to run a meaningful blog.

    Same about top lawyers (hence the massive Jewish over-representation in the top-lawyer environment).
    And what will a company make of a 120 IQ engineer?
    You won’t, obviously, be a very good journalist with a 120 IQ.

    For many works, the real IQ floor is at least 130.

    A Alv.

    November 19, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    • The IT department was fall of H1B mediocrities with IQs way less than 140 doing programming.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      November 19, 2016 at 7:06 pm

      • Not all programmings are the same. Not even when they’re on the same team.
        You can have 400 or more engineers working on the Windows OS (or Apple or Linux) but the guys working on the low level kernel is clearly much more superior than the guy working on some UI app running on top of it. If the kernel guy screwed up everyone will know about it (blue screen of death). The UI guy, not so much.

        The people who created the tools and API are generally much more superior than the people who use them.

        Anyone could put together a website or create a game. But can it handle millions of concurrent users? Can it handle security and hacking?

        They all could have the same title but wildly different IQ and unless you talk to them, you can’t really tell. So, no, programmers don’t all have the same IQ. Some programming only requires an IQ of 100 and some programming requires an IQ of 130 or more. Some programming requires a lot of math while many others typically don’t. Some programmings are so simple that all you need is a simple copy-and-paste of existing codes that are already out there. Basically, you just glue stuffs together and not really creating anything new. In writing, this is the equivalent of plagiarizing multiple people to create your own book. This kind of programming doesn’t require a high IQ.

        So, all programmers are not the same and all codes are not created equal.


        November 20, 2016 at 12:35 am

      • all programmers are not the same

        50% of my CS undergrad graduating class in the mid ’80s were female. Every graduate of the program was capable of becoming at least a better than competent software engineer. Within five years of graduation every female classmate had given up on software engineering as a career. Many moved on to project management or went to MBA school and left technical work altogether. These woman had IQs just as high as their classmates, but rather hated coding as a career.

        E. Rekshun

        November 20, 2016 at 8:03 pm

      • Women find coding BORING.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        November 20, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    • I program for a living and have a 115 IQ.

      Otis the Sweaty

      November 19, 2016 at 10:13 pm

      • your SB, WISC/WAIS or WJ profile is more important when talking about your job than your full scale IQ, also your IQ can differ by more than 1 SD between different scales (the term IQ test is dumb, because they don’t come in test format), mostly when there’s someting wrong with you (8 year old dyslexics can score 130 on the WISC and 110 on the WJ, for example). Another type can be strong concept grasp but slow processing speed, like with many aspergians…..

        so this talk is meaningless


        November 20, 2016 at 6:13 am

    • Computer programming students have a lower mean IQ than philosophy majors…. Programming is like chess. Both are overrated for their intelligence loading.

      Deal with it!

      November 20, 2016 at 12:33 am

      • Programmers need higher math skill, but math skill is this thing that’s out there that’s sort of separate from IQ. Most programmers have a much higher math IQ than general IQ or verbal IQ.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        November 20, 2016 at 10:02 am

  31. Im relatively low IQ, so I’m not sure what this post is realy trying to say. But speaking for myself, there is no way I would take a billion dollars to have a lower IQ. Just no way! I would give up all the wealth in the world to have an IQ of 150 and higher. Why? Because your mind is the most important thing you have. All the smart people in my family are successful, not billionaire style, but normal people style. And that, mates, is good enough. Would you rather be Paris Hilton or Einstein? Please……


    November 19, 2016 at 8:39 pm

    • Only in America, where people of no talent, many of whom are imbeciles, get to become rich. I’m surprised by your comments, Yakov. America is the land of opportunity for proles with low standards.


      November 19, 2016 at 10:59 pm

      • Then why aren’t you rich?


        November 19, 2016 at 11:28 pm

      • It was a personal choice. Opportunities to become wealthy for the right side of the curve is rigged.


        November 19, 2016 at 11:59 pm

      • Imbeciles get to become rich? Like who?

        In America everyone has great opportunities – from proles to geniuses, when did I ever say otherwise? But to suggest that you are better off by exchanging your brain for a billion dollars, that takes an imbecile!


        November 19, 2016 at 11:46 pm

      • Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus aren’t geniuses and they became rich.

        If money is your sole objective, then it is easy to acquire wealth in America.


        November 20, 2016 at 12:02 am

    • 150 IQ might be maladaptive. The more of an outlier you are, the harder it is to connect… Social interaction requires common experience… When your IQ is 160, you don’t have the same interests/experiences as the average Joe/Jane. And if you are too lazy to make it into academia or some other high IQ field, you will get very lonely… Imagine working retail with a 160 IQ… it would drive one to madness… but I think it might also depend on one’s personality

      Deal with it!

      November 19, 2016 at 11:55 pm

  32. I’ve hesitated to comment on this post, because it hits a little too close to home. I vaguely recall being given an IQ test at some point in elementary school, the result being somewhere in the 130’s. And I got a 40 on the MCAT, which is 99.5-99.7th percentile. But my parents were prole. My father was a small-time home remodeling contractor who was never very good at making money at his endeavors, and my mother didn’t go to college and alternated between staying at home and working menial jobs like retail, and they were just kind of low-energy, lackadaisical people by nature. They bought a huge fixer-upper of a house and were never good at managing money in general. I was thrown in with the other “gifted” kids at school, but all their parents were doctors, lawyers, accountants, engineers, and architects with nicer cars and houses and more comfortable ways of life than we had. I had poor study habits; my parents weren’t on top of making sure I did well in school, I didn’t have any examples of successful, with-it people to follow or look up to, I was a shy nerdy kid, and just kind of retreated into computer and video games. Eventually the nagging refrain from childhood that “you’re such a smart kid, you’d do so well if you’d only apply yourself” got to me, and I forced myself to do something I thought was befitting of one of the gifted kids: become a doctor. But to this day, I don’t feel like I fit in in either camp, proles or professionals. I spend half my time wishing I’d been born to affluent, professional parents and been steeped in that world all along, and the other half wishing I’d been born to more well-adjusted proles and been of more average intelligence so I could have been happy obsessing over sports or whatever.


    November 20, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Hermes. Do you think you made the right choice in becoming a doctor? Would you be happier doing something else?

      For what it’s worth, I bet your patients sense and appreciate your “groundedness.”

      I knew a tenured history professor (a specialist in the history of science at a major university), whose wife was a physician. He did not seem very happy, and he admitted to me that he wished he had become a doctor.


      November 21, 2016 at 1:36 am

  33. Only tangentially on topic, but with regards to IQ and professions:

    I have been exposed to several different professions (through schooling, through jobs, through family relationships, etc), to a pretty deep level (i.e. more than just talking to a lawyer at a picnic). My own opinion of IQ, real intelligence, and profession:

    Top intelligence goes to Physics/math and philosophy. I’d say their average IQ is higher than other professions (engineering, law, medicine in particular). They are very different intelligences, of course. Physics and math are very particular intelligences (extremely math based, of course). Philosophy majors were genuinely intelligent in the way that most of us would think of as intelligence (well read, very good at understanding arguments and weaknesses of arguments, etc). This is reasonable; that is exactly what philosophy is, after all. But while the major shapes the individual, I think the major also attracts individuals that have that skill to begin with.

    Next most intelligent are a certain subset of intelligent engineers. Engineering can be a particular specialized skill like physics and math, and engineers can be and can appear to be effectively nerds, savants, or socially maladroit specialists (and this appearance is often accurate). But there is a subset of intelligent engineers that have the same reading and comprehension skills that philosophers have-with the added benefit of real world knowledge and understanding. The logical view of the world that makes a successful engineer, when wedded to a desire to read and understand the wider world, contributes to real ‘intelligence’ as most of us understand it (see the philosophy section, above-logical understanding of politics, values, history, and so on).

    Thus, I would say that this subset of engineers (say 10%) represents the most ‘intelligent’ of professions, outside of the philosphy/physics/math, above.

    Law and medicine are below these. In fact, someone earlier said that medicine is more about ‘striving’ or hard work than intelligence: I agree with this. In spite of their high salaries, I’d say law and medicine, in terms of intelligence, are no different from many upper middle class professions such as accounting, higher end business majors, most college professors, average engineers. However, doctors are flat out the hardest working and most focused of the professions I have encountered.

    So to sum up: ranking in terms of intelligence:

    1) philosophy, physics/math (though this tends to be ‘nerd intelligence’)
    2) top 10% of engineers (top 10% in intelligence doesn’t mean top 10% in grades or career success)
    3) law, engineering, medicine, accounting, and so on
    4) other majors/professions: business, military officers, mid-level managers etc.

    note that none of these represent the truly genius (160+: the people this post is discussing: that type can probably be found in every profession,but are so rare that they don’t define any profession.
    Also: I know nothing about high end finance or business related specialties (like economics): maybe investment guys that make it on Wall Street are closer to the top of the list than I know of. But again, you’ll find really really smart business guys, military generals, and heart surgeons, and every other profession. I’m just talking about averages that you are liable to bump into in normal life.



    November 21, 2016 at 10:08 am

    • You don’t have to be a genius to be be a run-of-the mill lawyer from a state law school. In order to get admitted to a Top 14 law school, and then get above average grades in such a law school (which is what it takes to get hired by BIGLAW), you do have to be extremely smart.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      November 21, 2016 at 1:14 pm

      • Of course. Top doctors (say neurosurgeons) are also very very smart. I’ve met several generals: again, pretty bright. The top of any profession is going to be top tier. I was talking in terms of averages.



        November 21, 2016 at 3:32 pm

      • So why do you think top 10 % of engineers are smarter than top 10 % lawyers? The data doesn’t support that. More of Terman’s extremely gifted subjects went on to become lawyers than engineers. According to Gottfredson, lawyers have an mean IQ of 125, slightly behind only Mathematicians and Physicians.

        And that’s the AVERAGE lawyer. Someone who’s in top 10 % of his class at Yale Law School is going to be MUCH smarter than that.

        Deal with it!

        November 21, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    • Gottfredson’s table that shows mean IQ by occupation:

      Deal with it!

      November 21, 2016 at 6:09 pm

  34. A high IQ person will have a difficult time getting along with a lot of mid IQ people.

    Though, I think lower IQ people are easier for them provided that the smart individual doesn’t expose himself to much to the low IQ person’s life. Simple minds think and interact simply, and adjusting to this isn’t so much of a challenge.

    In my experience, though the higher IQ person may not be perfect, much of the reasoning for why a higher IQ person may not get along so consistently with mid-level IQ people, which will be most people above labor-tier work, is that these people tend toward insecurity in the face of better people and toward social games that are more complex and exclusionary than those of low IQ people.

    The best strategies for a high IQ male will be:

    1. Avoid women dominant environments (naturally lower IQ, lower logic, higher emotional tone, more social gaming, and more impulsive).

    2. Be careful of who you agree to work under or with.

    3. Strive for work that requires little day-to-day supervision.

    4. Be careful of what you say or who you show your work / intelligence to. Blowback can come unexpectedly. Only socialize as needed, and say what is needed. Don’t correct people or divulge your unique perspective on things without being solicited.

    In short, the nail that sticks up gets the hammer. Most higher IQ people have a tough time not communicating that they are that nail. Repeatedly getting the hammer can lead to higher IQ people becoming depressed and dropping out.


    November 21, 2016 at 5:45 pm

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