Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Issue of Intelligence

In Outliers Gladwell addresses the question of IQ during the discussion of success and builds a case for it being secondary to other factors such as social skills and “social intelligence.” He gives several examples of people who did not becoming successful in spite of incredible IQ levels because of their socioeconomic class and how that affected the parenting they received. Remember the man who just couldn’t communicate well enough to jump the hurdles of academic rules and now, although he thinks and writes with his amazing level of ability, he is not a college graduate and therefore cannot get published? Juxtaposed to him was Robert Oppenheimer who was given the responsibility for the Manhattan Project even though earlier he committed acts that were illegal and hinted at mental illness. He, however had social intelligence and was able to function and achieve while many highly intelligent people cannot.

IQ has been a controversial subject for many years and is hotly debated; Gladwell seems to make a good case for why it does not guarantee success in life or that the individual will be able to use their ability that was the result of a test they took as a child. Maybe some people just have goals that don’t necessitate using the limits of their ability.

How do you stand on this issue?

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