Lion of the Blogosphere

If super-high-IQ people are so smart, why can’t they … ?

This question has come up repeatedly, and it’s based on a misunderstanding of what high IQ means. It’s the ability to reason. High IQ people also tend to know more stuff, because learning by reasoning things out is one of the main ways of learning.

As I’ve previously written, there are three main ways of learning: by reasoning things out, by rote, and by mimicking. High IQ people don’t have that much of an advantage in learning things by rote, and have no advantage in learning by mimicking. For this reason, having a high IQ doesn’t mean you can learn a foreign language easily, if at all. There are many dumb people who speak multiple languages, and smart people who speak only one. Henry Kissinger was very smart, yet he could never learn to speak English without a thick accent.

Social skills, which are related to having what they call “common sense,” are learned by mimicking. When you have a conversation with people, it comes spontaneously, it’s not like solving a math problem. When high IQ kids are rejected by the peers because they are too different, they lose out on the opportunity to develop the social skill that other kids develop. It’s kind of like learning to speak a foreign language without an accent: if you miss out on exposure to the language at a young age, for most people, even very smart people like Henry Kissinger, it’s impossible to catch up.

Rick Rosner, who has a very high IQ, nevertheless was an outcast in high school, and he infamously forged papers so he could attend high school over and over again until he could finally get it right. But getting high school right never helped him stop being what I consider somewhat of a weirdo. (Not that there’s anything wrong with being a weirdo.)

The other question which comes up is, why can’t super-high-IQ people automatically become wealthy? This is something I’ve pondered for a quite a bit. The answer is that value creation rarely happens at the individual level, but rather at the business entity level. And having a high IQ doesn’t help you get hired into working for a business entity. An article at Quartz magazine explains how 500 hiring professionals were asked to rank six applicant traits in how highly they were valued, and intelligence came in dead last. All of the other more valued traits are the types of skills learned by mimicking rather than by reasoning things out.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 27, 2019 at 9:32 AM

Posted in Biology

84 Responses

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  1. Well, disagree about Kissinger. The important thing is speaking the language idiomatically, not sans accent. Besides, no smart person had any problem understanding him. Incidentally, Lion, my property professor had a thick German accent. He used to say, “And you will not learn that in Gilbert’s!”


    August 27, 2019 at 10:51 AM

    • Take it from me, this is dead on. A high IQ does NOT automatically mean a person can do anything.
      I have an IQ of about 180 – 185. When it comes to math, I can just look at a problem and automatically know the correct answer. Dont know how I do it, I just do. Even if it is a kind of math that I have never studied before and know nothing about.
      BUT, when it comes to spelling, that’s where I have trouble. My spelling is atrocious. I’m in my mid to late 30’s and I have a 4th to 5th grade level of spelling. I can read long or complex words and understand them no problem. I actually read my first full length novel just before my 4th birthday. I can read the words, but mimicking, as stated above, or repeating the way they are spelled is where I just flat out suck. And if I’m being 100% honest with full disclosure, my grammar needs a bit of work too.
      The funny part is, that with my inability to spell or even speak properly, I am still a successfully published author with over one dozen short stories, over half a dozen poems, 4 magazine articles and 1 joke in Readers Digest published and in print.
      Thank the GODs above for spell check, right.
      And it’s not just English. I’m fluent in French as long as I only need to speak or read it. If I had to write something in French I’d need more than a little help.
      And oddly enough, it’s not so much a problem with memory as some people have suggested to me in the past. I can recite all 50 states and capitals AND all the countries of the world with their capitals. Just don’t ask me to spell them. As well as reciting tons of Historic facts and Scientific formulas, weights, temps, properties, values, etc… I kill at trivia night 😉

      And about geniuses getting rich, well, it might not always be in the cards. Like me. I have had Cancer since I was a little kid. With having to spend $3k to $5k every Month After insurance
      OUT of POCKET pretty much means I will never be rich. Just goes to show, no matter how smart you are, sometimes the Universe has a plan of her own.

      James Thompson

      August 28, 2019 at 10:34 AM

  2. Unrelated: rip on this bad advice –


    August 27, 2019 at 11:39 AM

  3. ” It’s the ability to reason.”

    This is what I have always thought. So it seems to me that a person’s ability in higher math, doing proofs and such, or, even more so, their ability in pure logic, must correspond with their IQ. So if someone is bad at math and logic, I find it hard to believe that they are intelligent.

    However, what about people who can write very well–famous authors and poets? They might not necessarily be good at logic. And what about musical ability? Were Shakespeare or Mozart good at logic? Certainly not everyone who is a math genius can write beautiful symphonies.


    August 27, 2019 at 11:46 AM

    • I’m on the low end of the post-140 cut off (tested in middle school) and I’m hopeless at math. What I do have, though, is excellent memory and pattern recognition which apparently is a boon for any kind of standardized test. But ask me to do anything beyond memorization or pattern recognition and I’m useless. I’ve been told by more than one person they never met such a stupid smart person.

      I will say, though, that I was regarded as a social pariah through every level of school. It was rough. I can definitely see how people at this level who actually are actively smart suffer socially at so many turns that it impedes what should have been a prosperous life. The social maladjustment mentioned in the article lion linked to could even be considered a form of ptsd, IMO.


      August 27, 2019 at 3:06 PM

      • Toomnymice:
        Pattern recognition is often useful in math. I suppose a good memory and pattern recognition are useful in many areas of study. I’m sure you aren’t stupid if you did so well on an IQ test!

        I had trouble socially in high school too. I was a loner. But there didn’t seem to be any bullying going on. I didn’t run into that until many years later , in a work situation.


        August 28, 2019 at 1:31 PM

    • I keep reading that there is only one intelligence. Since you’re my sister, I can say we don’t know what our IQs are but we are both good at Math (majored in it, both of us),

      But I like languages too, was even thinking of majoring in linguistics. But you actively dislike languages.

      Add that to your observations about Shakespeare and Mozart and it seems there are sub types of intelligence.

      Frau Katze

      August 28, 2019 at 12:10 AM

      • I agree Frau. Even if you took a group of people with the same IQ, they would have different strengths and weaknesses. But IQ certainly means something. And it seems to be heritable. Our dad must have been fairly smart (to teach himself high school math and do well enough to become a WW2 pilot) But he hated music, declaring he was tone deaf.

        I suppose in Canada (and probably in the Anglosphere generally) WW2 gave opportunities to poor, uneducated people. They must have given aptitude test, and that is how our dad was able to become a pilot and an officer. In earlier wars I think it was mainly well-to-do or upper class men were made officers.

        While doing genealogy, I came across an obituary of our father’s great uncle (who was a blacksmith, and apparently wrote poetry) saying the family was noted for “plain living and high thinking”. We have a low-class, prole background–but fairly smart proles!


        August 28, 2019 at 1:20 PM

      • IQ theoretically is a numerical estimate of the general factor of intelligence (g), but there are many other abilities that are independent of g. There would be math, verbal, music, etc. abilities that are all independent of “g.” And one’s total aptitude in any field would be a formula of x*g + y*ability1 +z*ability2. Etc.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 28, 2019 at 3:04 PM

    • This is annoying. The bastard website made me sign and now I have to write all of this again…🤬

      Anyway, I believe IQ is determined through societies view of what subjects within academia are important. In this case, as of now, Math and Science are the top contenders for what people feel constitutes true intelligence.

      In the past this wasn’t always the case. The Arts were more respected in the past and due to this, there are particular people that still are remembered today for their works as they were thought of as geniuses in their time.


      August 29, 2019 at 8:08 AM

      • “as of now, Math and Science are the top contenders for what people feel constitutes true intelligence.”

        Only on right-wing blogs, I don’t see this attitude out in the real world, where STEM workers are looked down upon.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 29, 2019 at 9:14 AM

  4. I would infer from the existence of the academic profession alone that many highly intelligent people are relatively indifferent to making money.

    Mister Triple 800

    August 27, 2019 at 11:47 AM

    • I know I guy who tested at 168 in school who lives hand to mouth as a guitar player at 70. Granted he’s had a hundred girlfriends and someone’s always looking out for him.

      Mrs Stitch

      August 27, 2019 at 11:53 AM

      • Musical ability is definitely something that correlates with high intelligence, what the Lion says notwithstanding. It also correlates strongly with the ability to mimic. I had a friend who claimed an IQ of 152 and was talented at music, art and (especially) chess, not to mention the fact that he was a suave and intense (and very successful) Lothario. He reminded me of the Maximilian Schell character in “Return from the Ashes”, even resembled him somewhat. He was a terrible student though, with fairly mediocre SAT’s. Smart people can apply their brains to all sorts of things – not just software start-ups, corporate law and hedge fund management.

        Mister Triple 800

        August 27, 2019 at 1:39 PM

      • “Granted he’s had a hundred girlfriends and someone’s always looking out for him.”

        Many people would say that’s true 168 (I assume that was Catell) genius right there.

        Most of likely 1-per-million IQ’s in my experience are self-made billionaires or have amazing personal networks. They certainly top out the measurable 160 Wechsler according to an internal study by the Libertarian International I was told about.

        They’re also very good at switching to 6th grade level talk for the average person and wisely say they’re just aw-shucks lucky or in hiding their wealth.


        August 27, 2019 at 9:23 PM

    • They want to make money, but they don’t want to do what they consider drudge work. A bunch of academics are super bitter that academia doesn’t pay better.


      August 27, 2019 at 12:10 PM

      • I think some academic people actually look down on people who make a lot of money.


        August 27, 2019 at 1:21 PM

      • These days almost everybody is super bitter that they aren’t getting paid more. Besides, I can’t blame adjunct instructors with PhD’s for lamenting the fact that they can’t earn a living wage, but I suppose they knew what they were getting into.

        Mister Triple 800

        August 27, 2019 at 1:31 PM

      • “A bunch of academics are super bitter that academia doesn’t pay better.”

        As well they should be. Tuition has gone through the roof the past few decades but professor’s salaries haven’t kept pace. So where does the money go? Administration. Moreover, universities are hiring foreign professors to suppress wages the same as they do with programmers and lots of other jobs. It started with screwing over the working class and has evolved into screwing over everyone.


        August 27, 2019 at 1:36 PM

      • Rosenmops: “I think some academic people actually look down on people who make a lot of money.”

        True, but people who make a lot of money look down on everyone else.

        Mister Triple 800

        August 27, 2019 at 1:41 PM

      • Academics relish in a certain status, because they know an esoteric field that the average person does not.

        It’s not money or external markers that define them, but their field of knowledge.

        Ok, what, who's this again?

        August 27, 2019 at 2:17 PM

      • Given that most people who make a lot of money aren’t in it for the passion, their work isn’t also exciting, their goal is usually material-oriented or low brow and not metaphysical, academics look down on people who make a lot money, because money is the end goal.

        Ok, what, who's this again?

        August 27, 2019 at 3:13 PM

      • People who are secure about money because they have rich parents are free to pursue their passions (or at least stuff that isn’t boring gruntwork if they don’t have any passions).

        People with prole parents are too insecure about money to do that.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 27, 2019 at 3:45 PM

      • “Moreover, universities are hiring foreign professors to suppress wages”

        You bet. It is almost all foreign grad students and foreign faculty in math now, in Canada.
        And the universities waste so much on bullsh!t administrators. For example “Equity and Inclusion” offices.


        August 27, 2019 at 3:47 PM

      • I think a lot of proles lack critical thinking or outside of the box skills, which is why they are stuck in proledom.

        It also requires a lot of self-initiative and discipline to pursue one’s passions outside of a boring routine job. Ironically, most people do not have what it takes. They just want a 3rd party to tell them what to do.

        Ok, what, who's this again?

        August 27, 2019 at 3:54 PM

      • This month’s Texas Monthly has an article about criminal lawyers who defend the indigent. It’s all about how incredibly overworked these people are. Texas pays a flat $600 to handle a felony. Many of these lawyers handle 100-200 felony cases a year, plus less serious cases, to make $150k year. Not saying these are especially intelligent people, but that’s insane.


        August 27, 2019 at 7:02 PM

      • I got prole parents, and boy, I wouldn’t make that mistake again.


        August 27, 2019 at 8:34 PM

  5. Most super high IQ people aren’t manipulative. Charlie Manson was a master manipulator. He was reasonably bright but no genius. He had people smarts.

    I became very interested in the Manson gang after OUAT. Never cared before.


    August 27, 2019 at 12:07 PM

  6. “Social skill, which are related to having what they call “common sense,” are learned by mimicking.”

    Umm not quite. Some mimicry is involved in acquiring social skills, but a lot of it is about being plugged into emotion. Any good pickup coach will tell you that the social skill of pickup is all about giving off the right emotional queues while not giving off the wrong ones. In a sense, if someone is not already operating ‘correctly’ on a social/emotional level, pickup teaches them to mimick what comes naturally to others.

    As for common sense, that has very little to do with mimicking, and a great deal to do with executive function. In some ways, Rick Rosner reminds me of my mother. My mother had verbal and mathematical abilities above the triple nine level, but her spatial abilities were off the scale high. She scored a 200 on a Hans Eysenck test, and when I gave her Ron Hoeflin’s Titan Test, not only did she solve all the spatial items, but she also solved the marble probability problem using a spatial method instead of the mathematical formula you’re expected to use.

    I’m kind of bitter about my childhood, and I’ll try not to overshare too much.

    If you gave my mother a standardized test, and she knew exactly what she was supposed to do, she could outperform almost anyone. If you dropped her off in the middle of real life and let her set her own priorities, she would put a great deal of thought and effort into things that should have been ignored, while sacrificing things that should have been top priorities.

    I’m not going to list examples, because I don’t want to hit the benevolent censorship filter.

    Rick clearly has obsessive/compulsive disorder, and the same problems with priorities, executive function, anxiety and emotion. Years ago I sent him a private message saying as much, and he said that he basically agrees with me.


    August 27, 2019 at 12:08 PM

  7. I wonder if the ability to reason actually hurts the ability to learn by rote? If you can figure things out logically super fast, it becomes even more boring to grind through a bunch of rote memorization. But there are a lot of useful skills that require rote memorization, and I think high-IQ nerds sometimes sabotage themselves by trying to deduce everything logically instead of just memorizing.


    August 27, 2019 at 12:51 PM

    • Absolutely, rote memorization has a real place in learning. It has to be done and high IQers who don’t do it are shooting themselves in the foot.


      August 27, 2019 at 1:22 PM

    • I think there is something to this. During one grade in elementary school I had a teacher who used to give arithmetic quizzes when we were learning the multiplication tables and such, and they were timed, and the kid who finished first got a voucher for a free ice cream in the school cafeteria. Despite generally being one of the smartest kids in the class, I never won: though I always got the right answers, I was slow. The reason is that I had not learned the multiplication tables by rote, because I didn’t need to: I could always figure out the answer. I couldn’t just see “6×4” and immediately write down 24. That’s what they tried to teach us to do because that’s what worked for most kids, but I would figure out the answer in my head every time.


      August 27, 2019 at 1:55 PM

      • Yes, I hated multiplication tables.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 27, 2019 at 2:37 PM

      • But surely you learned the times tables eventually, just by doing lots of multiplication. It would be hard to factor trinomials, which you do at some point in school, if you didn’t know the time tables.
        For example x^2 – 2x – 63 = (x + 7)(x – 9)

        If you didn’t know 63 = 7 times 9 you might have trouble with factoring.

        I recall when I was a kid learning times tables, my dad told me to do 9 times 7 by first recognizing that 10 times 7 is 70, and 9 times 7 is just one 7 less, so 9 times 7 = 70 – 7 = 63. I used this for years.


        August 27, 2019 at 4:14 PM

      • Playing baseball and other sports as a kid, I learned the “division tables”, something that (for some reason) kids aren’t taught in school at all for some reason, but which you will acquire sort of by osmosis when dealing with sports statistics. Get one hit in seven at-bats, and your average is .143; make seven of eight free throws in basketball, and you are shooting 87.5%.

        Knowing these things makes it really easy to approximate percentages in real life; if a stock whose price hovers around $70 pays a dollar a year in dividends, then the dividend is 1.43%, as the division above showed us.

        Schools obsess over rote learning for the other three operations, but not division. Wouldn’t hurt to learn division too.


        August 27, 2019 at 10:33 PM

      • @Rosenmops: yes, through sheer repetition, I eventually couldn’t help committing the fact that 6×4=24 to memory. But I think the point, beyond that, is that as some other people are saying, high-IQ kids often over-analyze things. Long after I really should have just been able to regurgitate that 6×4=24 and move on, I was still reasoning through it every time, because that felt more satisfying. It was an almost OCD-like tendency to feel that if I simply regurgitated a memorized answer, something was missing; I hadn’t really completed the task, and might feel less than certain that I had the right answer if I didn’t figure it out on my own each time.


        August 28, 2019 at 12:12 AM

      • @Rossenmops. Your terrible language skills! You’ve accidentally got two WordPress accounts, one “Rosenmops” and one “Rossenmops”.

        The first is correct one, meaning “pink pug” in German. I believe I came up with the name.

        Frau Katze

        August 28, 2019 at 12:28 AM

      • Hermes wrote:
        “Long after I really should have just been able to regurgitate that 6×4=24 and move on, I was still reasoning through it every time, because that felt more satisfying. It was an almost OCD-like tendency to feel that if I simply regurgitated a memorized answer, something was missing; I hadn’t really completed the task, and might feel less than certain that I had the right answer if I didn’t figure it out on my own each time.”

        I can relate to this and often feel the same way. Just memorizing something seems risky.


        August 28, 2019 at 1:53 PM

      • Frau: I am typing “Rosenmops” in by hand. I changed the name on my gmail account to my real name (now that I am retired and don’t have to worry about the thought-police). So the computer tries to put my real name in. Also, for over a week I was using my phone since my new laptop broke and I had to send it in for repairs. When I got it back ALL my files were gone. I had to reinstall a bunch of software.

        Yes, I’m terrible at languages and bad at spelling. Maybe you have always been smarter than me. I think our parents thought I was stupid until I hit geometry proofs in grade 10, and I had an amazing teacher who told me I was smart! That teacher really changed my life.


        August 28, 2019 at 2:01 PM

  8. Also, social skills can be inhibited by overthinking which is what more intelligent people often do


    August 27, 2019 at 12:59 PM

  9. Hey Lion, I have a feeling you’re talking about yourself here. Let’s unpack a little:

    “As I’ve previously written, there are three main ways of learning: by reasoning things out, by rote, and by mimicking.”

    As you said high IQ/sensitive people can only truly understand things through their own internal logic and feeling. It’s really a harder way to learn and more apt to quitting before it’s done. It’s the difference between a mimic who can play the piano flawlessly and a high IQ who truly FEELS the piano and plays beautifully. Former is more common and latter is rare.

    “When high IQ kids are rejected by the peers because they are too different, they lose out on the opportunity to develop the social skill that other kids develop.”

    Yes, it’s a damn shame Strauss’ “The Game” didn’t come out in time earlier to to catch us in our teens. Dealing with girls is not hard: 1) relax/zfg, 2) smile and joke around, 3) make your interest known/bust a move. THAT’S IT! But brainy guys get hung up overthinking it and pedastalizing.

    Social skills are a form of intelligence and CAN be learned. The sooner a young guy reads “The Game” and gets dates, the happier and more successful he will be. All that matters for a man is good workouts, decent job, and good woman. PERIOD.

    Look to good ole coach Bobby Finstock:

    ” It doesn’t matter how you play the game, it’s whether you win or lose. And even that doesn’t make all that much difference.”

    “There are three rules that I live by: never get less than twelve hours sleep; never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city; and never get involved with a woman with a tattoo of a dagger on her body. Now you stick to that, and everything else is cream cheese. “


    August 27, 2019 at 1:14 PM

  10. Most people in Luxembourg speak four languages. French and German are both official languages and both are in everyday use. For informal household purposes people use Luxembourgish, which is based on German but classified as a separate language. Finally, everyone knows English.



    August 27, 2019 at 2:14 PM

  11. I thought of another trap that high-IQ people fall into. It’s easy to become a dabbler. You pick up a new subject or hobby, learn the basic principles, and get pretty good at it, all faster than a medium-iq person would. Then you realize getting *really* good is going to be just endlessly practicing the stuff you already learned, for marginal improvements, and that’s pretty boring compared to learning a whole new thing. So you stop at the level of “pretty good” and move on. Medium IQ people don’t move on as much because they’ll get stuck on something that they’re “pretty good” at and make it a core part of their identity, practicing it forever and never getting bored of it.


    August 27, 2019 at 2:29 PM

  12. “High IQ people don’t have that much of an advantage in learning things by rote, and have no advantage in learning by mimicking. For this reason, having a high IQ doesn’t mean you can learn a foreign language easily, if at all.”

    Respectfully disagree, Lion. A person who has the ability to parse Java or Python (or even legalese, in your case) also has the ability to parse Spanish or even Japanese. A good memory helps with memorizing the vocabulary (you’ll need to memorize roughly 5000 different words in a language in order to communicate your thoughts; that’s about 100 times more than there are keywords in Java or C++), but getting the basic grammar figured out is most definitely a task where IQ helps.

    (Full disclosure: I am learning a bunch of languages on Duolingo and have a very long streak. Without bragging too much, I think my IQ is above average)


    August 27, 2019 at 2:29 PM

    • “A person who has the ability to parse Java or Python (or even legalese, in your case) also has the ability to parse Spanish or even Japanese.”

      As someone who learned to code, but not to speak a foreign language, I say it’s totally different.

      Computer “languages” have a very small number of words (statements), arranged in a logical manner.

      Foreign languages have thousands of words, arranged in a very convoluted and illogical manner. Google Translate is still unable to make 100% correct translations between languages, but the problem of parsing computer languages like Fortran into machine code was solved in 1957.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      August 27, 2019 at 2:39 PM

      • I agree. I have done a lot of coding, and I enjoyed it and I was pretty good at it. But I am hopeless at foreign languages. For one thing you have to figure out the speaking part.


        August 27, 2019 at 4:21 PM

      • Agreed. I was the top graduate in my undergraduate Comp Sci major. A few years later, I spent two years taking private Spanish lessons, night classes, private study, immersed in Miami Cuban culture, a Cuban girlfriend with non-English speaking parents, and a rigorous 8-week live-in total immersion Spanish language course but could only advance to barely a 1st grade level. And quickly lost most of it shortly thereafter when I ceased practicing and studying.

        E. Rekshun

        August 27, 2019 at 6:36 PM

      • People always forget that Vocabulary is one of the best tests of IQ (or at least used to be). I’m sure learning vocabulary in another language requires a good deal of IQ. And probably learning grammar too, since a lot of grammar is based in logic.


        August 28, 2019 at 5:01 PM

      • There’s a strong rote memorization element to doing well on the SAT vocabulary questions (which have been removed), but if you aren’t sure of the answer then you can use your high-IQ reasoning ability to make a much better educated guess.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 28, 2019 at 5:06 PM

      • Now that I think about it, you’re probably right. I improved my SAT score 100 points just by spending a week memorizing some vocabulary words. vocabulary is probably not that g-loaded at the high-end of things


        August 28, 2019 at 5:11 PM

    • How many languages are you learning, and do you get them mixed up when speaking?

      Mike Street Station

      August 27, 2019 at 7:59 PM

    • Speaking as someone who has learned multiple foreign languages, I’d say coding is *much* harder than learning to speak any human language, even ones that are typologically totally different from your own (a speaker of an Indo-European language learning Navaho, for example).

      With human languages, you can make all kinds of little mistakes, ignore subtle grammar points, and basically brute-force your way through most conversations with the confidence that the listener will meet you halfway and figure out the point you want to get across.

      Can’t do that with computer languages, which will simply not compile if you have so much as a semi-colon out of place. Imagine how frustrating it would be for learners of English if “Excuse me, where is bathroom?” were to be met with a blank stare, because natives couldn’t process that tiny grammatical error of not having an article before “bathroom”. They’d give up in total despair!

      I like the concepts of coding and can often conceptually see what the solution is to even a medium-level problem, but the nuts and bolts are just too much for me, so I’ve never gotten serious about it. This is a little surprising as I’ve always thought of myself as a left-brained math geek. But — give me human languages any old time.


      August 27, 2019 at 10:38 PM

      • There is close to zero in common with computer and human languages.

        Anyone good at math will be good as computer programming.

        A computer “language” has a tiny number of “words”. (Like “if” and “write”).

        If you look at a typical program most of the text are variable names that the programmer came up with.

        Frau Katze

        August 28, 2019 at 1:05 AM

    • “Full disclosure: I am learning a bunch of languages on Duolingo and have a very long streak”

      Can you understand a TV show in these languages or talk to a native speaker? I finished Duolingo for Chinese and have since moved to other methods, as I think Duolingo is not very good for Chinese for a number of reasons:

      1. Teaches unnatural sentences that don’t make sense to native speakers.

      2. Way too easy, so even if you’re perfect at duolingo you won’t be able to understand a TV show.

      3. Uses translation as a teaching method, whereas I think that “situation -> response” is generally better because languages will handle situations with different sentences. Translation is a necessary evil, not a natural way to learn. I think theory is also useful when combined with other methods, and Duolingo has none of that.

      4. Duolingo often lets you “cheat” by using knowledge about the language you already know to infer the answer, which is a waste of time.

      In my opinion, talking to native speakers is probably the best. Beelinguoapp also seems good so far.


      August 28, 2019 at 9:42 AM

  13. Or maybe you’re not as smart as you think you are? A lot of people here seem convinced that IQ and related HBD stuff is gospel when it comes to the people lower down the feeding chain. They get remarkably defensive when it comes to the idea that maybe people higher up than them are simply smarter. There’s nowt so bitter in this world than people who are bright but not brilliant.

    No, society is not organized well. Yes, there are still diamonds in the rough. But, on average, the smarter do better. The question is how do we get everyone operating to the best of their abilities (and reproducing) while the less intelligent still get to have decent lives.


    August 27, 2019 at 4:08 PM

    • I’m as smart as I think I am, which is less smart than I used to be, but quite a bit more smart than the CEO of my company.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      August 27, 2019 at 5:09 PM

      • But if you were CEO, would you be more successful than he is?


        August 27, 2019 at 5:22 PM

      • Me too. I just have less career ambition than the CEO of my company.

        E. Rekshun

        August 27, 2019 at 6:39 PM

      • I’ve been here a long time, and I don’t remember that you ever told us why you didn’t end up practicing law. Granted, the easy money was mostly gone by the time you graduated in the late ‘90’s.

        You know me

        August 27, 2019 at 7:35 PM

  14. Interesting that intelligence was ranked dead last in the hiring process. At my large corporate employer (where no one is getting rich ) the trait that is highly valued is agreeablenes. You can have a low IQ, you can be a pretty weak worker but if you have an agreeable, go with the flow personality type you can work there forever.I have seen many smart people with more combative personalities and they always end up getting fired or quitting in anger.

    Jay Fink

    August 27, 2019 at 4:33 PM

    • Maybe they are combative and angry because they have to do most of the work for the dumb agreeable people.


      August 27, 2019 at 6:15 PM

    • Exact same at my employer. I’m somewhat agreeable and can fake it as necessary. With my employer’s misplaced priorities and low performance standards, I can be fully successful in my position with merely 5 to 10 hours of real work per week.

      Certainly not how I envisioned my career 30 years ago.

      E. Rekshun

      August 27, 2019 at 6:47 PM

  15. Maybe there are much more mechanisms. How do the children learn how to see ? It’s an almost automatic process. Nobody know the roles. And the results vary enormously. It is said that people recognized around 1 million colours (100 to the cube) but it goes from 10k to 100M ….

    Language seems to be similar. Nobody knows the full grammar of any language. But when you speak it well, you know if a sentence belong to the la gauge or not even if you have never learned this sentence. Your brain has formalized the rules in an unconscious manner.

    And when you reason, about a new problem, the solution just pops up in your mind . Then you can formalize it in a deductive or inductive way, but it’s not how it works. So probably reasoning is also automated like seeing or speaking a language ….


    August 27, 2019 at 4:39 PM

  16. Super-high-IQ people are aware of diminishing marginal utility of income and wealth. They also know that adjusted for risks and other externalities, this marginal utility maximizes at a quite modest level.

    My 2c

    August 27, 2019 at 5:24 PM

    • ‘Super-high-IQ people are aware of diminishing marginal utility of income and wealth.’

      I think you have a point. I remember reading about a study a few years ago where people agreed making more than 50k didn’t contribute to general happiness and was more than sufficient for a good life.

      Many millionaires say the thrill of money is as a game, or were just annoyed at something stupid and were soon making money with a better way, they have a charitable project in mind no one else could do (though socialists want to ban NPO’s so all charity is centralized assuming they know everything ‘democratically’–egad…


      August 27, 2019 at 9:33 PM

    • The argument that income diminishes in utility past a certain level is excuse-making for those unwilling or unable to attain a high income. If you think making $70k feels the same as making $140k, you are deluded. Same with $140k vs $280k.

      The real point at which diminishing utility comes into play is very high, much higher than most people can dream of making. Like a million dollars a year.


      August 28, 2019 at 10:30 PM

      • My understanding and experience (and academics mostly agree) is that beyond a subsistence level of a few dollars per day, 100 times higher income results in about 2 times better quality of life. In other words, no matter what your income is, you can structure your good life with all key components around it. But obviously, ten million dollar car is less useful than one thousand dollar car for what cars are normally used for.

        My 2¢

        August 29, 2019 at 6:25 PM

      • @ 2c

        That is total nonsense, and if it is what your experience indicates, you must not have much experience.


        August 30, 2019 at 9:04 PM

  17. I can agree with this. I have met very smart, intelligent people. Yet they seem to lack a basic ability for emotional connection and empathy. It’s a mask easily seen through.

    Karin Johnson

    August 27, 2019 at 9:46 PM

    • WRONG, a mask would imply a false persona hiding their true persona. A basic lack of an ability would be something more akin to an aspect of their core (albeit conditioned) self. You literally sound like you don’t even know what you’re trying to say.

      Fact Checker

      August 28, 2019 at 4:26 AM

    • Rational and emotional are two completely different types of thinking. So maybe some of those wired for rational thought just aren’t wired for emotional connection and empathy. Regardless, people can be mean to those who don’t act (warm, friendly, etc) the way others think they should. So it’s hardly a surprise that some people would fake it.


      August 28, 2019 at 5:10 AM

  18. My two MENSA friends ( who are not related) both refuse to begin conversations at any time. They only want to be responders. How cowardly. They fear rejection.

    Lei Herr-IQ

    August 27, 2019 at 10:38 PM

    • Maybe they are socially awkward and joined MENSA hoping to make friends.

      I doubt that many high IQ types would even want to join. They’ve got plenty of other things to do and study.

      Frau Katze

      August 28, 2019 at 1:09 AM

  19. Well…

    Steven Beard

    August 27, 2019 at 10:39 PM

  20. Bosses are intimidated by high IQ employees.
    Just as a normal person (100) has difficulty communicating with a moron (70), so a genius has difficulty communicating with a normal person (100).

    “Haters don’t really hate you,
    they hate themselves, because
    you are a reflection of What they want to be”

    Bob Blank

    August 28, 2019 at 2:57 AM

    • I had a boss who destroyed my career with a certain company. I never did anything to this guy and couldn’t figure out why he hated me. I found out later on that it was guidos (or in this case guidettes) that he hated. I didn’t fit his image of Italian-Americans and he couldn’t stand to be near me. Fool. I’m only one person so he was always free to think anything he wanted of guidos and simply view me as an exception to the rule. And since I’m half Irish he could have attributed anything good about me to my Irish side. Management eventually forced him into an early retirement He got another job and his new boss was………. a guidette! Karma…

      Maryk (the g-loaded guidette)

      August 28, 2019 at 9:10 PM

  21. High I’m mat damon Keith Flanagan Donald Trump Corey Feldman…somewhat like sibil the brilliant lunatic ….I have personalities and I might even be John wise cursing skitzo frenia.with a singularity of thoughts transfers apropretly sameold sameold batman drugs are fun and I fear being killed


    August 28, 2019 at 8:17 AM

  22. Another insecure person sharing unsubstantiated subjective article about why they feel better about having an IQ under 110.


    August 28, 2019 at 3:47 PM

  23. Roaming around with a high iq is like living in the twilight zone…so much is wrong and for obvious reasons with easy solutions. When people say a problem is complicated what they really mean is there are entrenched interests impeding change (see most governing bodies). Recognizing the infinite prospects for failure can also hinder one’s motivation. Also, failing of one’s own mistake is fine and welcome. Failing due to others and nefarious machinations is especially irritating because it is plainly obvious when it happens (no hiding the truth). The crux is that its just so damned annoying navigating through the people and counter forces set against you that often its just more satisfying to live a simple life of obscurity. It is also vastly more enjoyable living and working among “average iq” people than those with 10 or 20 more points (just enough to be dangerous) and some joke of a degree. Those people are often insufferable and responsible for most of what is wrong in society. Drive will almost always take you further than ability. Most will have never noticed the smartest people they ever met. Most have no idea how the world runs; but lucky you to be alive at this time! You will know soon if you have eyes to see.


    August 28, 2019 at 6:52 PM

  24. After reading all the commentary on this thread, I must support SCUM (Society for Cutting Up Mensas). I could have excerpted the SCUM material from the following link, but I was too stupid to figure out how to do it. Your loss, smarty. You got to read to the end.

    Boycott Violence

    August 28, 2019 at 10:04 PM

  25. The basic gist of this post is wrong. High IQ people are better, collectively, at all of those things, and this goes all the way up the scale. The fundamental issue is that the correlation with IQ and those things isn’t perfect.


    August 29, 2019 at 8:46 AM

  26. There is one good thing about high IQ and aging. IQ drops with age, so people around do not annoy you that much anymore.

    My 2¢

    August 29, 2019 at 6:28 PM

  27. The reason high IQ people aren’t all wealthy is simply because of where they are born and the values of society. Where you are born determines whether you have access to financial and other resources. Would bill gates have been successful without his rich parents? Doubtful. He was born at the right place at the right time in history. History and luck have a lot do with success, your location on earth matters. Being born a woman in say saudi arabia with a high IQ you’ll have lots of barriers to overcome compared to Bill gates.

    Just because you have a high IQ doesn’t mean the world is culturally advanced, in fact societies are dragged down to the lowest common denominator.


    August 31, 2019 at 9:59 AM

  28. > But getting high school right never helped [Rosner] stop being what I consider somewhat of a weirdo.

    Au contraire, willingly repeating HS was evidence that he was a weirdo.

    As for the general thrust of your post, most jobs have a minimum IQ requirement. Anything beyond that isn’t as important as the other 5 traits.


    September 3, 2019 at 5:29 AM

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