As a rule, the people who succeed in business, engineering, and industry possess intellegence above the national average. The higher your intelligence, the easier it is to find patterns, consider the long-term ramifications of each course of action, and weigh possibilities. There’s even a positive correlation between intelligence scores and income.
How on earth could an abnormally high IQ possibly be a bad thing?
Aaron Clarey is one of the rare individuals in the United States with an IQ more than two standard deviations above the norm (135). He’s smarter than about 99% of the population, and much smarter than 85% (everyone from 115 down). It turns out, there are both positive and negative consequences for being abnormal.
In just over 200 pages, Aaron lays out a deep and detailed case for how intelligent people suffer, why they suffer, and what can be done.
A Quick Outline
The book consists of 8 chapters:
- The Needs of Many
- Socializing, dating, and marriage
- Limiting Greatness
The first chapter explains that, as abnormal individuals, the world is not built for the High IQ. This is a natural consequence of being deviations from the norm – it’s like saying that the world is not built for the severely mentally handicapped, or the world is not built for the quadriplegic.
The next few chapters cover the aspects of life which the High IQ experience differently from the rest of the population. “Idiocracy” covers the issues experienced while dealing with people whose minds are less agile, and some of the consequences of those issues. “Education” and “Career” describe common problems that intelligent people (mostly men, because the author is a man) experience during school and work life. “Socializing…” and “Psychology” drive home the social and mental-health issues common to the more intelligent and delves into the reasons why (while pointing out that these are, by definition, first-world problems).
Finally, the last two chapters are an exploration of the philosophical and practical techniques which an intelligent individual can adopt in order to achieve maximum happiness in a world which, quite frankly, is going to make them miserable.
It’s a short book, but Aaron does not mince words. Every sentence connects to those around it and gives sufficient reason for being there – a joy to behold in a world of hand-holding fluff. As such, while the book can be easily read in an hour, you walk away still pondering what you’ve read. I read this book on Tuesday, and I’m still turning the content over in my head.
As a disclaimer, this book probably won’t make sense to anyone with an IQ of 115 or lower. These people are either average, which means that these problems just don’t apply to them, or retarded, which means that they won’t be able to follow the basic logic Aaron presents. While I would encourage everyone to read this book, it probably comes across as weird or whiny to those who have never experienced the life of a High IQ individual.
Some Key Quotes
I had to whip out the highlighter for this book, a rarity for me. I don’t want to spoil anything, because I think this is a genuinely worthwhile book, but here are a few passages I loved:
“We have to interact with other people in society merely to get by. Simply because we have no other choice. Ergo, the cumulative intelligence of the population affects everybody in nearly everything.” (Idiocracy)
“[The American Education System] is a system designed to benefit teachers, administrators, unions, parents and (less-so) employers. The children are mearly an afterthought…” (Education)
“Why do we commute anymore?” (Career)
“Many, if not most abnormally intelligent people will reach the point where therea are no problems or very few in their lives…there is no solution [for their mental-health issues] because there is no [solvable] problem.” (Psychology)
If any of this was interesting to you, you should pick up this excellent book. Aaron’s book is available through Amazon, in paperback and (soon) Kindle.
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