Review: The Curse of the High IQ

The Book
Clarey, Aaron. The Curse of the High Iq. , 2016.

This was an interesting book. I read it after a recommendation by Ed Latimore, who said that the author really helped him.

It was good, but I was frustrated by it for two reasons:

  1. It described a lot of my life experiences and so reminded me of them. This frustration was good.
  2. Sometimes it felt too nihilistic.

The Good

Ultimately, this book must be read by parents who suspect they have a gifted child.  All teachers ought to read it. Why? It so effectively describes the struggles had by those who are above average, that it could help mentors avoid wasting the time of their charges.

Gifted youngsters could benefit from the last two chapters on limiting greatness and solutions, they’re quite good.

Throughout the book, the author makes interesting observations about the broader economy (if more people were allowed to do computer jobs from home then the world would be a more efficient place in terms of fossil fuel use, employee happiness, and family stability).

The major negative to the book is the author’s anger at people he perceives to be stupider than himself, but he admits that he’s not religious. So if IQ, personal greatness, or economic impact are your heuristics for judging people, it makes sense to be frustrated at people you feel can’t keep up with you. Incidentally, the Bible teaches that one of the dangers of wisdom is being frustrated (Ecclesiastes 1:18 and Ecclesiastes 7:16)!

The book could encourage some cynicism. But many young people of high intelligence already feel trapped but they don’t think it’s because they’re being held back. They think it’s because they’re stupid or too easily bored or some other nonsense. This book can help them.

The Recommendation

The book does utilize foul language, watch out for that if that sort of thing offends you.

So I recommend it.

Quotables

“The second tragic loss is the fact that school measures CONFORMANCE not INTELLIGENCE.”

“Nihilism is a dark philosophy in that it makes you realize you may not only be mortal, but you won’t be immortal in the afterlife.”

“It doesn’t matter if history remembers you fondly, or remembers you at all. Just as long as you get to exercise your intellect and achieve your own personal standard of greatness.”

“As a parent of a high IQ child you need to convey precisely what being abnormally intelligent means and mentor them so they make the most of it.”

“The biggest waste of time for abnormally intelligent people will be their educations.”

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