curse of the high IQ

If you read this site, I’m guessing you’re more intelligent than average. Most normies aren’t interested in the kind of geeky science we discuss here.

Assuming you are more intelligent than average, you’ve probably noticed in your life that you don’t fit in with other people all that well. They bore you. Their interests differ sharply from yours.

If you’re unable to correctly diagnose what’s going on, you start to believe that the problem is you, that there’s something wrong with you that makes you unable to fit in or share common interests with most people.

But there isn’t anything wrong with you, and the answer is simple.

Because you’re intelligent, you find yourself at the right side of the normal distribution of intelligence. The more intelligent you are, the rarer the bird you become.

Society, at least in its public aspects, is geared toward the average. If most people are interested in the Kardashians or in whatever team is playing on Sunday, than that’s what society will present to you.

An analogy is that if you stand 6’8″ tall, you’re going to have a hard time finding clothes that fit. Society isn’t geared for the minority.

Aaron Clarey correctly diagnoses the problem in his new book, Curse of the High IQ. The problem isn’t you, it’s just that by definition the world must work that way. But if you don’t understand this, it can lead to unhappiness and worse.

It turns out the those with very high IQ, say over 135, are inappropriately excluded from high IQ professions. This seems to be due to a couple of things: 1) leadership positions are optimally filled by people whose IQs are no more than 20 IQ points higher than those being led; and 2) social isolation, the very phenomenon discussed in Clarey’s book.

The curse of the high IQ seems a bit like psychotherapy, in that bringing this knowledge to consciousness is a big part of the cure.

What can you do about it once you understand it? For one thing, the internet is a godsend. The internet functions as a filter, a much better one than real life.

Ed West ( remarked recently how the advent of the bicycle changed mating patterns in Europe. Suddenly, a girl who lived 10 miles away was withing courting distance. If you take this 10 miles as a radius, and 3 miles as the distance you would have walked before, and population density being uniform, then the bicycle would let you filter about 10 times as many girls as before. (Calculated using differences in the areas of circles with 10 miles and 3 miles radius.)

The internet acts similarly. Instead of your immediate neighbors, you can now filter the whole world.

I really wish that I’d figured out a long time ago how being intelligent makes you something of an outcast. It’s best to know this when young.

The curse of the high IQ manifests itself everywhere: on the job, in public education, in entertainment, shopping, anywhere the tastes and proclivities of the majority are catered to.

Even so, the curse has its bright side, since higher IQ is associated with better health, greater financial success, and lower rates of social pathology like crime or out-of-wedlock births.

But if you’re young and don’t know what the problem is, it can seem like a curse.

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  1. Murray says:

    I’m probably around 135, based on tests done in my youth, so top 1-2%–not brilliant, but pretty high. I was told I’m the smartest in my pretty smart family (probably all 120+), but am also, by some distance, the least successful among my closest blood relatives. I made some huge mistakes in my personal life that my siblings mostly managed to avoid, and while my professional occupation keeps me comfortably in the middle class, they are by most standards wealthier and better established than me. (Also, I have pretty terrible executive function, which I’m usually able to mask successfully with my higher intellectual capacity.) This gives me no cause whatsoever for resentment, but it does prevent me from being too starry-eyed about the benefits of high IQ.

    I wonder what the correlation is between high IQ and sociability? I was a pretty lonely kid but figured out how to play the game in my early teens, and have never had problems getting along with people since then. But I notice that since I basically have low sociability, I have no problem rejecting crowd consensus, which led me into the alt-right/reaction, traditional Catholicism, and wacky health websites like this one.

    (I kid, I followed you here from the old Miscellany blog. Yuge admirer. Yuge.)

    Point is, I only realized late in life the power of the herd for most people: it’s just unthinkable to most people to go against the prevailing mores, no matter how ridiculous, incoherent, or reality-denying. But many of the herd do seem to be very smart people nonetheless–smarter than me, in many cases–so I wonder what the relationship is.

    • P. D. Mangan says:

      Interesting, thanks, Murray. I can play the social game too, but what normal people and their concerns do mainly is bore me. Therefore I find myself avoiding them.

      I agree about the power of the herd; most people seem like they’re incapable of really thinking about an issue.

      PS: Thanks for being a fan, I always appreciate hearing that.

  2. Timo Fischer says:

    Not sure how high my IQ is never checked it, but I can relate to that feeling of being a loner and an outcast. I never enjoyed the trivia and celebrity bullshit that most people consume and I always talked and interacted with people who were years older than me (still do that). Great post and I’ll probably get this book in the future.

    • P. D. Mangan says:

      Thanks, Timo. The fact that you’re writing a website in a foreign language, and doing it well, and at a young age, strikes me as evidence of high intelligence.

  3. I had heard this idea before, that somehow super bright people are excluded from the kinds of professions that you would think they would thrive in. I just don’t buy it. It doesn’t match up with my personal experience, and it doesn’t match up with the IQ research that I am familiar with.

    I am a National Merit Scholar winner, so I should be a member of the cohort in question. When I went to college, my university made a concerted push to recruit a large number of National Merit Scholars at the same time, so I had the benefit of meeting a number of other exceptionally bright people at the time. All of us have exactly the kind of jobs you think we would have.

    The other thing that makes me suspicious is Louis Terman’s longitudinal study. This study, and others like it, find that high IQ is correlated with high everything, height, health, mental stability, you name it. This just doesn’t jibe with the idea there is a significant cohort of excluded high IQ people.

    However, I do know exactly what you mean when you say that society isn’t geared for you. It is nice to be able to interact with people with similar tastes and interests, and the Internet is perfect for that. In some ways, the world on Twitter can be very small. You can interact with people like yourself no matter where they are, and that is a good thing.

    • P. D. Mangan says:

      Benjamin, if you were a National Merit Scholar, then by definition you were included. Society recognized you as very intelligent. As for the very bright people in the Terman study, well, they were included too. Weren’t they family members of Stanford faculty and the like? In any case, their success doesn’t in terms of the factors you named doesn’t mean that they entered the most suitable professions.

      This topic hits home for me because I scored above the 90th percentile on the GRE in verbal, math, and the special biology test. Yet no one – not ever – tried to ensure that I was in the right place for my abilities. Not my parents, not my school teachers, not my college professors. And I didn’t know enough about it to do it myself. I attended a junior college and then the California State University system – you know, the second-tier system that’s for those not smart enough for the University of California – because I thought they were good enough, and no one ever told me otherwise. (In contrast, a bright family member just finished his first quarter at the UC system at the age of 16.)

      I can’t complain about how I’ve done in life because I’ve done alright, but society as a whole failed me miserably, which is one of the reasons I don’t care about it much anymore.

      PS: There was one instance when my junior college physics professor took me aside for a two-minute talk about what my major and my goals were, because he could see I was pretty smart. The rarity of such an event as that prof talking to me is evidenced by the fact that I remember it as if it were yesterday.

      • OFWHAP says:

        Your answer here is a good response against Jayman’s “Parenting Doesn’t Matter” argument, but unfortunately it seems hard to quantify. Although I’m probably not as intelligent as you are, I probably fell into the same trap. I didn’t come from a savvy family with parents who were pushing me to the max during the college applications process, and I figured State U was good enough (and free). On the other hand, some of my classmates were aggressively test prepping, tutoring, resumeʼ padding, and credential hoarding before going to college. Some kids these days are even test prepping for the PSAT. This is where Tiger Moms can be quite effective.

        • Undercover Slob says:

          Maybe…but isn’t there a happy medium to be attained? I mean, speaking of Tiger, btw, look at what the spectacle that his life became as a result of what I believe was a “Tiger Dad” (literally). It’s one thing to raise an ambitious, problem solving yet well adjusted young adult but it’s another to raise a socially disaffected robot. Guess which one Tiger Woods is closer to….

      • Elam Bend says:

        This is partially a function of your age. Around the nineties there was a push to test and recognize gifted students and try to push them further. Your social-economic-status also plays a major part. If you’re parents didn’t go to college, maybe they didn’t expect as much for you. Nowadays, bright kids are recognized and college is pushed on them. The problem is that many bright kids don’t function well in typical schools that maybe don’t have the resources to keep them interested. I went to a rural school that didn’t have the right resources, but I had a mother in education and parents wealthy enough to send me to ‘smart camps’ growing up. I’ve seen other, obviously smart, rural kids drift sideways due to feckless, through loving, parents. Or, by getting into a good school and then getting shocked to find out that a school that never challenged them made them ill-prepared for a more rigorous setting. There was definitely the isolation, though, compounded by personality (alternating isolationist and gregarious). Out of my high school class of 34 (public), myself and another went to Ivies [very rare, in fact, the only ones from our part of the state, essentially]. Out my old high school class 35 ten miles away, two others could have, but didn’t for various reasons. One of them knocked up a girl in high school (maybe the first he slept with) went to a local commuter school, joined the military, but is now a doctor with said branch. It wasn’t an easy route, but he had the chops. That’s a high populations of smarties, but none of us were that close. You definitely learn to have an inward life in that situation. BUT, we all got a lot of encouragement and support (as much as could be offered) from our schools. [I admit, at slightly larger school districts it may have been less, but with highschools of 120 people, it was more like family all around].

      • I went to an otherwise unremarkable state university myself, because it was a better deal than a more famous school. At least in my case, people *did* try to help me find a place in the world, but I think since I grew up in a small town, most of that well-intentioned help didn’t amount to much because nobody really knew anything about the kinds of things I am good at, and how you go about getting there.

        I am sorry to hear you got a raw deal.

    • Gerald says:

      What state did you live in when you took the PSAT? Being a National Merit Scholar suggests that you were in the 99th percentile for your state, but that doesn’t mean you were in the 99th percentile overall. Qualifying scores for some states (West Virginia, Arkansas) can be as low as 201 for West Virginia and as high as 224 for New Jersey or D.C. The article linked above on The Inappropriately Excluded suggests that real problems occur for those with an IQ over 140, which would be around the 99.5th percentile for IQ. Lots of National Merit scholars are probably in the 130-140 range.

      • The cutoff *is* roughly 99.5% for the National Merit Scholarship program. Based on the numbers, how many high school students there are in a given year, and the numbers of Finalists, you get a cutoff of about 2.6 standard deviations.

    • bongstar420 says:

      Let me guess..IQ around 130. Not dark skinned. Not a poor family. Not an atheist. Not countercultural

      How far off is that?

      You see, that group is actually the self selecting, “winning” group, so your odds are significantly above average if you are close to that.

      The excluded group is +140 who don’t take to established social constructs well.

      I find it odd you think you are a super high IQ and didn’t realize that the people at the top were rather dim for the stations they occupied.

  4. Philomathean says:

    I feel this way all the time, even with family and women, but I’m conscious of the fact that in most cases the people around me are less intelligent. I also find myself consciously tailoring my vocabulary when speaking to most people.

    The downside is real for me because in meat world it’s hard to meet an intellectual peer or intellectual better from whom I can learn.

  5. Laguna Beach Fogey says:

    Combine a high IQ with good looks, charm, an impressive physique, and Neo-Nazi views, and life can becomes even more of a challenge. Personally, I cope in large part by drinking a lot.

  6. Shaq says:

    OT: PDM, if you’re not following Malcolm Kendrick, he’s doing a series on “what causes heart disease.” In the latest installment, there are a couple of comments about iron – his responses indicate he’s not overly familiar with iron as a catalyst. You might hop over there to share some of your findings.

  7. I score in the 135 – 145 in range (multiple administered tests) and for the most part I had mediocre grades growing up, the comment I got from teachers a lot was “He’s really bright, but he doesn’t put in any effort”. This was the story of my life until I started post-graduate education when I was motivated and interested in achieved an A average while finishing in half the normal time.

    After the fact, I recognize that it was a combination of not being supported and not having the self-discipline to force me to study uninteresting things. I’m an autodidact across a range of subjects, but I still haven’t found the button to make me focus if I’m not motivated and interested.

    • Murray says:


      It sounds like you have a similar executive-function issue to mine. My problem is that I’m interested in too many things to maintain the proper level of focus on the things I should be doing. At work, I’m surrounded by highly competent high-IQ professionals, but it’s amazing to me how incurious they are and how narrow their range of interests. It’s incomprehensible to me that smart people wouldn’t be interested in … everything.

      • P. D. Mangan says:

        I second that, but I do question whether those seemingly high IQ people are really that bright. I associate intelligence with curiosity, and if someone doesn’t have much of the latter, then I question the former.

        • OFWHAP says:

          While I disagree with the reasoning that most people use for saying, “IQ isn’t everything,” I actually agree that it isn’t everything. You can look at guys such as Christopher Langan or Rick Rossner, who both intellectually underachieved tremendously, to see that.
          Regarding having a narrow or broad range of curiosities, there are actually terms for those aptitudes. Idea fluency represents narrow, in that you are good at taking a single idea and expanding upon it. Ideaphoria represents broad, which means that you’re very good at generating new ideas but are limited at expanding upon any single idea.

          • @All 3 of you:

            Curiosity is always an element, like Mangan said, I always question someone’s intelligence if there is no curiosity there. I don’t care if you’re idea fluent, or ideaphoric but you need to be curious about something.

            It’s not really a case of executive function, so much as it is me thinking pragmatically about the time I have on this earth and reasoning: Why spend time doing things that do not interest me at all?

          • Murray says:


            I’ve been told (by my thesis supervisor, among others) that I have an unusual talent for synthesizing ideas from seemingly completely unrelated fields by perceiving connections that are not apparent to most people. But I don’t seem to myself to be much of an original thinker, in the sense that I come up with anything new; I read *this*, and understand its relationship to *that*, and that helps deepen my own understanding, but I’m always working with someone else’s material. That would seem to be an example of Ideaphoria, no?

    • Timo Fischer says:

      As if we lived the same life haha. My teachers used to say that a lot as well and as you, I didn’t have super good grades either. Instead of paying attention I often brought my own books to school and read them instead. I am also an autodidact seems like “intelligent” people have a lot of things in common.

      I have issues staying motivated as well, but I developed my self-discipline in the last couple of years so this isn’t really a problem for me anymore and when I am interested in a subject (quantum physics or Neuroscience for example) then I’ll read about it and study it with a passion.

  8. David says:

    What score you got on some test doesn’t mean anything. Show me something you’ve accomplished with your intelligence – a book you’ve published, a math conjecture you proved, a song or piece of art you’ve written, a business you started or something similar. Show me something you’ve done.

    The world is full of people bragging about how high their IQ is when really they haven’t accomplished shit with their lives. If they really did achieve something that indicates intelligence or creativity, then they wouldn’t have to brag about their IQ. It would be totally irrelevant.

    “Society as a whole failed me miserably” someone wrote above. Good Lord, society doesn’t owe you anything. Nobody owes you anything just because you scored high on some test. Get off your rear end, get to work and go do something with your above-average mind and don’t expect anything from anyone. Nobody is going to hand you anything.

    • P. D. Mangan says:

      That someone was me.

      Bright 14-year old kid: “Should I try to get into a top-notch university, or go to State U.?”
      Counselor: “It doesn’t matter, kid! Society doesn’t owe you anything! Get off your ass and don’t act like anyone owes you anything!”

    • While not every >130 IQ person will become the next Einstein, his odds are much higher than someone with an IQ <100. IQ measures the potential to succeed and or be creative, not actual creativity or success itself.

    • OFWHAP says:

      You do realize you’re bitching at the author of this website, right?

    • Murray says:

      “What score you got on some test doesn’t mean anything.”

      Sure, in a sense. I pointed out above that my lower-IQ siblings and my (probably mostly lower-IQ) coworkers are actually more effective in real-world terms than me (even though I’m decently successful by most measurements). But that doesn’t mean that the *internal* experience of having higher cognitive abilities is null and void, and the thrust of Mangan’s post related to the way those experiences work themselves out in the world.

  9. Simon says:

    I believe we’ve had a brief conversation with regard to this on Twitter in the past. Needless to say, I can relate to this topic, and it’s a good post on the subject.

    As a society, we ought to be nurturing our best and brightest – from the most gifted individuals comes a disproportionately large number of innovations which benefit the rest of society as a whole.

    A forward-looking civilisation would encourage its most intelligent members to marry off, and attempt to eugenically increase the percentage of geniuses (genii?) further.

    Instead, we force everyone through the same banal indoctrination camp known as mainstream schooling, where gifted individuals are usually extremely bored and disengaged, and get ridiculed by normies or branded trouble makers – or worse still, diagnosed with ADD and dosed with sedatives.

    Really, children with high IQ should be identified at a very early age, and fast tracked through a much more advanced education system, to prepare them for a life on a different intellectual plane than the majority of people are capable of where they can make the most of their gift.

    But of course, “The Establishment” won’t do this. Highly intelligent people have a nasty habit of thinking for themselves, and seeing through the paper thin narrative that’s woven around us to keep us pacified.

    For the longest time, I thought I was an introvert. I became extremely tired at parties unless I was blind drunk, only being able to keep up witty parlance for short bursts before needing to go somewhere and recuperate quietly for half an hour. It was only when I got older and much more self-assured that I realised I wasn’t an introvert – I was just bored shitless by most people.

    There are some interesting discussions on Quora about this, here’s a randomly selected one I recall reading in the past.

  10. Tuba says:

    I flunked out of high school then the draft grabbed me. While in the Army I decided I was either insane or very smart. Being both did not cross my mind until later. As a vet I got into college, finished in three years Suma Cum Laude. I joined Mensa and have been a member for decades… if I get Alzheimer’s will they demand a retest? Not to pick on Mensa specifically but as it is one of two high IQ groups I know well Mensa is well-stocked with unaccomplished geniuses, lots of high-powered motors not in gear and going no where. And… there are a lot of social misfits. Mensans are as skewed from the norm as idiots. We recognize the idiot has social issues but not the genius. Is it better to have been smart than dumb? Yes, but for every attribute there is some price to pay. Even smarts come at a price.

  11. Padre55 says:

    There is also a large danger of having an IQ outside of the avg range becoming a shield. Protecting social and emotional autism, to the point of not even bothering to attempt interaction with..people.

    Goodness a simple cure would be to read a Dale Carnegie book..of course that would be plebian, to which will point out a single pushup is worth a thousand words, a touch of empathy a dozen handshakes.

  12. Paloma says:

    Good post,
    I can tell you that it is a double course when you are intelligent and also a good looking woman. I must be doomed because I have to dig into clever men’s blogs to satisfy my curiosiy! 😛
    But being intelligent is not as bad. Once you know how to hide it and regain some social habilities (this took me 38 years to master), you can use it on your benefit 🙂

  13. Jim J says:

    great comments and ideas. I’ve done some work in my career (as a psychologist) on testing (for employment mainly) and follow the “IQ” topic from a distance. It is the subject of much vitriol from the egalitarians who want the world to be without distinctions between individuals.
    they piss me off.
    but…more to the point…there is a reasonable amount of literature on the relationships of intelligence and personality features. Steven Pinker e.g. seems to believe sociality and intelligence co-evolved–smarter protohumans who could cooperate had more success in the big kills.
    Once key dimension of the so-called Big 5 personality model (very well researched) features a dimension call Openness to Experience (sometimes call Intellectance). These people tend to be interested in many things, curious, multi-skilled (if they choose to be) etc.
    I work for many years in a company with hundred of very smart, PhD chemists and engineers. They seemed to vary as much as less intellectually gifted people in their ability/interest/motivation to interact with, enjoy others (even tho I know they found them sometimes less smart)..that to me says the affliction that started this thread is not about IQ only–but about the miriad complexity of human features. A really smart, socially bored or inept individual will find other normals boring. They also often it seems are caught up in their own abilities and like to discount others.

  14. Undercover Slob says:

    Most excellent. I’ve long suspected that the ever widening rift between myself and a large part of society was something a little bit more than just “normal aging” nor simply a product of working around folks in an occupation where formal education and appreciation for academics isn’t a necessity. Of course, it’s always nice (and sometimes mandatory) that we are at least justified in such a notion by an outside source. Enter your post. Thanks again.

    P.S. Could you take a look at my question from your blog post: “Targeted Lean Mass Gains?”

  15. Tuba says:

    There are many different kinds of intelligence. Even within the niche of IQ tests they can vary greatly, such as the Cattell which was verbally intense whereas the California Test of Mental Maturity was language light but required cultural knowledge and was for many years horribly out-of-date. There are some IQ tests which require higher university math which one will fail no matter how brilliant you are if math is not your area of study. Doctors are famous for knowing their specialty but idiots when it comes to listening intelligence. There is also the issue of “to what end?” Is the point of school to make competent workers or people who can think? That said the American school system, in my opinion, has become an expensive waste of time. It is a prison sentence every child is forced to go through. Indeed, schools have given up on education and spend much time on punishment. I bombed out of high school badly because it was set up to handle only a certain kind of intelligence and in limited ways. And most of that brainpower is geared towards employment rather than being educated (note in how much disdain a liberal arts major is held because they dare to be educated instead of employable.) Thus I found my own way. I am an expert and at what I do the most watched in the world. And the only damned thing I learned in 15 years of education of any value in life was typing. The rest was a pointless waste of life.

  16. Shaq says:

    Convert your SAT (and/or GRE) score into IQ!

  17. Adam says:

    Good post. My IQ was last measured at 136 and I’ve frequently encountered the problems you mention here.

  18. Neil M White says:

    I really enjoyed reading this and found your blog after Timo Fischer ( wrote about this book review. I’ve added the book to my Amazon wishlist (I’ve got plenty to read just now) but I identify a lot with your summary and it makes me want to read the book.

    It can be intensely frustrating when there are people less intelligent than you in positions of power, particularly in work, school etc. If you let your intelligence show, people can feel threatened and treat you with caution like some kind of psychopath. Part of my coping strategy has been to dumb down my contact with ‘normies’ as you put it. That way they don’t feel threatened and that aspect of my life becomes easier.

  19. EH says:

    “It turns out the those with very high IQ, say over 135, are inappropriately excluded from high IQ professions. ”

    In the comments to the article you linked in that quote, a commenter, Gwern, showed with some clear and concise R (statistical programming language) code that the data cited by the author of the article to show that the high IQ are being discriminated against in fact shows the reverse, that after accounting for truncation selection (the left tail of the distribution is excluded from elite professions), increasing IQ increases the chance of success in elite professions. Though I’d like to believe that the high IQ aren’t getting their just deserts, certainly they’d generally make better decisions than our elected leaders, we aren’t being grossly discriminated against as a group in entering and remaining in elite professions.

  20. bongstar420 says:

    Why should I need to fit in? I can accept their differences, and the fact that I am a minority. All I want is to not be expected to be like them to progress in life. I can fit in and be Mr Popular…but that is straight retarded. They should spend their lifetimes surrounded by chimpanzees battering them to fit in with the troop. Then we can talk about “feelz”

  21. bongstar420 says:

    Me and my partner are both egalitarians. We are also elitist. Elitism is the best way to provide for the whole. It’s just how you view what the hierarchy’s job is and equality. This translates to equal opportunity for proportional returns to the best of the whole. This means no winner takes all, no consolidated positions, no extractive enterprises.

    • bigmyc says:

      I might have an incorrect impression of what “elitist” refers to, but as it stands, I don’t see someone as willingly assuming such a distinction as someone who might most effectively benefit society. The reason is straight forward; an elitist will tend to dismiss most or all other ideas as they assume theirs are the most effective. Well, this is fine practice for the individual, but where the rest of a community is concerned, not so much. One can indeed be deemed elite without carrying the distinction of “elitist.” A lot of what you purport sounds a lot like how the Chinese autocracy is run..yet, they aren’t too keen on liberal ideas such as “human rights'” and activism. You tread a slippery slope when A and B get together to decide how C will govern D. D should have a large say in that.

  22. Chad says:

    The “Polymath” link is interesting….. I realize that you didn’t write that, so I’m not critiquing you, but it sounds like they’re complaining that they’re so smart that they can’t figure out how to communicate effectively to people who are less intelligent than them. I’m not sure that’s actually a sign of high IQ. The inability to communicate seems like something that would not be indicative of a high IQ.

    • P. D. Mangan says:

      Chad, that’s a good point. (LOL, I’m tempted to add.) A concept that’s helped me is the idea if the writer’s curse: the writer (or teacher) assumes that everyone has the basic background that he does; the teacher is unable to figuratively put himself in the position of someone who doesn’t already know the material to be taught.

      • Chad says:

        Yeah, the writer’s curse is a very good way of thinking about it. Mark Rippetoe once commented, “The majority of the math professors were simply not capable of explaining differential calculus to freshmen and sophomores because they had no idea why you didn’t already understand it.”

        I can definitely see that and understand it. I sometimes forget that civilians don’t understand acronyms, so I will accidentally use them in conversation, and then I have to go back and explain them.

        But with the polymath and high IQ thing, I found that odd that it was like saying, “I’m so smart I can’t figure out how to communicate to people who are less intelligent than me.” I feel like once you’re aware of the fact that you’re talking over people’s heads, you should be able to find a way to communicate more effectively. Some of my Marines barely passed the ASVAB, and I still manage to communicate with them. Yes, I can’t speak to them the way I might to an Annapolis grad, but I can still find a way to change my message so that they understand what I am trying to convey to them.

        • P. D. Mangan says:

          Chad, I completely agree. I suppose the main problem is merely that most smart (or smarter) people don’t understand this. As you say, they should be made aware of it and they can hopefully correct it.

  23. J says:

    I think his approach in the book is annoying and whiny. I do see his point but it’s just him that comes off that he tried way too hard.

  24. Dixie Karabin says:

    I just found this site and I haven’t read the book. I completely agree that society does not support the highly intelligent. I was raised in a disfunctional family (aren’t we all), a child of divorce, living in poverty. I could tell that even my parents were threatened by my intelligence. They did not know how to handle it. I believe that my teachers did not support me because I came from the wrong side of the tracks. They didn’t care about my IQ. I wasn’t a friend of their children, they were not friends of my parents, etc. So I feel that I was, in a way, kicked to the side and they invested their efforts in their own children and those of their friends and relatives. In grade school, my class was occasionally assigned to do creative projects. I was criticized by the other children for “making them look bad” by doing an outstanding project. Then, in high school, my literature teacher accused me stealing poetry from a published author, but it really was my own creative work. As a teenager, I was told that I couldn’t get good dates because I was too smart and the boys didn’t feel comfortable being with such a smart girl. I was very pretty in those days, so it wasn’t my looks. So, I dumbed myself down in order to fit in. It worked. I didn’t go to college because I decided to stay at home and help raise my younger siblings due to my father’s irresponsibility. In my career, I did well as long as I was still learning. But once I reached management level, I had to fight off undermining by colleagues who felt threatened by my presence. Most recently, I was severely bullied by a superior who actually told me that she felt intimidated by me. Believe me, I had never done anything to intentionally intimidate anyone. I was polite, competent, helpful, and all of the things that I looked for in an employee. Maybe I was a little too matter of fact, a little too confident (but never arrogant), and a little too able to see things that others could not see. The bullying was having an emotional impact on me, so I went to counseling. When I mentioned to the counselor that I am a member of MENSA, she made a snide remark that if that’s true, then I should be able to solve my own problems. In school, my IQ was tested above 135. I was a National Merit Scholar. As a young adult, my IQ was tested again by my employer (they did that in those days) and it went off the scale. I tested very high on the ACT and the ITBS.
    I relate to the first part of the movie, “The Man with the X-Ray Eyes” starring Ray Miland back in the 1060’s. Miland played a doctor who took a potion that gave him x-ray vision. He could see things others could not see, including the inside of a human body. He was therefor able to diagnose, and cure, illnesses. Others could not accept it, and he got in a lot of trouble. The story goes far beyond that, but for me, the relatable part stops there. I have no such power, but I have felt the pain of being unacceptable for being different, and being unacceptable for making others “look bad” in their own opinions.
    Maybe this sounds like whining. I’m just telling it like it is, hoping others will see that, for some of us, there is a price to pay for a high IQ.
    For those who think that if we’re so smart, we should be in top positions, don’t believe it. There have been studies about the types of people who make it into top management positions. They are often narcissists, psychopaths, bullies, or have other problems. It is interesting that those people are often valued more than the high IQ population.
    I am thankful for a husband who appreciates the way I am, and for friends who don’t know my IQ. I am thankful for a reasonably successful middle class career from which I am now retired. I am thankful for my level of intelligence, no matter the price.

  25. pat says:

    the problem is mainly in the corporate world which is geared towards normies
    I have an IQ of 145 and considered genius at work, but they dont want high iq in the corporate world, even in mathematical finance, computing and such where i worked. technically I was the best employee but they dont care. The coporate world is bureaucratic and prefers normies
    If you work in academia or for yourself, an high iq is less an issue, i worked a little bit in academia

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