How To Know Who The Smart People Are

— A Lifetime Resource to Solve Problems and Avoid New Ones


“Unleash your potential by understanding the true nature of intelligence: how it’s shaped, how it can be harnessed, and how you can use it to build a fulfilling life. Dive into this thought-provoking discussion on IQ, genetics, social conditioning, and personal development. Learn how to surround yourself with the right people – those who challenge you, inspire you, and help you grow. Get ready to take full control of your destiny.”


Some housekeeping. Regarding the 114-lesson, No-Pill course. To streamline your access, I’ve created an index page that’s open to everyone and gives the title, subtitle, and brief summary to each one, in a nicely viewable and accessible format. You can find it anytime from the !Members! menu.

Today, I’m going to delve into a topic often considered taboo—the concept of IQ, or intelligence quotient. The subject arose in our members’ forum, and if you’re a member who’s not yet explored this feature, I’d recommend it. Under the !Members! menu item, you’ll find a wealth of conversations waiting for your input. Not that you can subscribe to the forum as a whole, or topic-by-topic. That way, even if you’re not one to start something, you’ll get email alerts from other posts and then see if you’d like to weigh in.

Some time ago, I penned a post that incidentally mentioned IQ. This wasn’t its primary focus, but it sparked an intriguing discussion nonetheless. The post referred to a specific test designed to measure IQ independently of cultural influences. Many took this test after reading the post, revealing some interesting results.

Of course, we must consider selection bias, as those with higher scores were more likely to share their results. Nonetheless, among those who did share, the average was notably high. In my opinion, within Western civilization at least, the sweet spot for IQ is between 110 and 150.

Below that range? You find non-player characters (NPCs) and live-action-role-players (LARPers)—people who follow others without question and regurgitate what they’ve been told without independent thought. They’re like trained dogs or domesticated animals, merely going through life’s motions without ever reaching their full potential as human beings.

Above that range? That’s where social misfits and those incapable of functioning in society without assistance reside – ironic indeed.

My aim with these posts is to provide some introductory insight into what the topic is about and how it could potentially benefit you. So today we discuss intelligence: What does it mean? Is it innate or learned? Does it even matter?

We’ll address all these questions and more, including whether discussing IQ is taboo or even racist; whether race plays a part; whether genetics influence intelligence; how social conditioning and culture shape us; how environment impacts brain development – say for instance if genetically identical twins were born in wildly different environments like an icy cave in Norway versus a tropical beach on the equator.

The benefit for you lies in understanding these nuances of intelligence. It helps differentiate between genuinely intelligent individuals and those simply appearing so. It guides your associations–you should surround yourself with people from whom you can learn, but also those receptive to the wisdom you can impart.

This resource provides valuable guidance on identifying genuine intelligence versus pretentious behavior, saving you from wasting excessive time. It helps you easily recognize intelligent individuals and differentiate them from those you consider less intelligent. This knowledge benefits you by enabling you to choose the right people to associate with.

As a general rule, you should surround yourself with receptive individuals whom you can teach, as well as those who are more skilled, knowledgeable, and experienced than you. These individuals serve as valuable sources of learning. Determining the authenticity of someone’s intellect before investing significant time can be done through simple methods outlined in this resource.

Here’s Daniel’s Question:

Richard, what’s your take on the touchy subject of IQ distributions across racial and ethnic groups. The research is robust and consistent over time, but most people, even when they can attest to its validity, keep those opinions private to avoid career suicide and general social condemnation as “racist,” “eugenicist,” “Nazi,” etc.

But ignoring reality, even when it’s uncomfortable, never makes things better — and generally makes things worse. Ignoring the genetic outperformance of Asians and Ashkenazi Jews and the underperformance of sub-Saharan blacks encourages all sorts of lies that eat away at social cohesion. (None of this is about the moral value of the highly intelligent compared with the less so; they all have equal value. And the *range* of IQs in every group is similar.)

It’s like saying that disproportionate black outperformance in sports is evidence of discrimination against whites (or due towhites’ non-athletic early environment) and must be corrected with quotas. Is intelligence any different? Why do we treat this as a “third rail”?

Another example that’s analogous: Some years ago, the top-tier orchestras put auditions behind a screen because judges were too influenced by looks rather than pure musical ability. Now they are reverting to visible auditions because not enough “under-represented” individuals (black, trans, whatever) were selected (plus too many Asians…).

Since you’ve lived in various cultures around the world, I wonder how you view this. Do you see any daily evidence of average higher intelligence in Asia? Europeans have pretty average intelligence overall, but they’ve led the industrial age. Should we be talking about this more openly?

What follows is my treatment of it. Then a redirect from him, my response to that, and finally, a sum-it-all-up with meaningful ideas and techniques to benefit your social life, grease the skids, and not waste time slipping and sliding all the way down.

As another part of the intro, here’s a video of a talk I gave on “Paleo Epistemology and Sociology,” way back about 10 years ago at the Ancestral Health Symposium on the campus at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, MA.


Your question is a valid one, and I apologize for the delayed response.

Your perspective aligns closely with mine.

The concept of “IQ” is multi-faceted, with genetic predisposition being just one facet. Society and culture also play significant roles. This is due to the fact that an infant’s brain development relies heavily on neural connections formed early in life, which are influenced by environment and experience.

Let’s consider the effects of starkly different environments. Suppose we have two genetically identical twins: one raised in a northern ice cave where shelter and fire are survival essentials, while the other grows up in a tropical setting near oceans, rivers, and lakes where survival necessities are abundant. How would their IQs compare?

Consider IQ tests, designed by people from civilizations that have endured hardships to ensure survival. How would individuals from societies where such hardships were never experienced perform on these tests?

Imagine if a tribe of tropical-jungle hunter-gatherers could design an IQ test without our input…how would we fare compared to them?

It’s not surprising that they might struggle with a test designed by people living in glass skyscrapers and commuting via cars, trains, buses, and planes.

Hunter-Gatherer tribes present an interesting case, as they are homogeneous societies; not because they lack individualism, but because opportunities for deviation are limited. In contrast, Western civilization offers countless options—it’s unpredictable which path a child might take.

With the advent of women’s suffrage undermining traditional societal structure and the subsequent introduction of social services and welfare—effectively replacing men’s traditional roles of providing security and support—we now see sub-cultures that could not otherwise exist.

Take for example redneck trailer parks or black ghettos. The existence of these cultures can be attributed to women voters and government social services; without these supports they wouldn’t survive due to harsh survival pressures.

This has now become self-perpetuating; decades of myopic voting behavior aimed at expanding societal safety nets have resulted in what you see around you today.

The evolution of Western society, such as women’s suffrage and the introduction of social services and welfare, has had profound effects on our cultural landscape. These changes have led to the emergence of sub-cultures that could not have otherwise existed.

The effects of different environments on individuals and their intelligence cannot be overlooked. The challenges and hardships faced in one’s upbringing shape their cognitive abilities and problem-solving skills. When comparing individuals from vastly different backgrounds, it is crucial to consider the context in which their intelligence has been developed.

His redirect:

Thanks, Richard. I thought you weren’t going to touch this, which surprised me.

Don’t you think there’s some sort of raw general intelligence at birth that manifests itself, regardless of cultural and environmental factors, something that’s measurable? It might not be useful, recognized, or rewarded in a particular time and place, but it’s present nonetheless. This might be seen in learning speed, verbal fluency, curiosity, imagination, puzzle-solving, pattern recognition, and so on.

There are obviously bright and less-than-bright people everywhere, and within every ethnic and racial group. I just wonder if your experience living around the world leads you to any generalizations at a population level.

Certainly, I believe there are inherent genetic differences, but in my opinion, these are less significant than we presume them to be. This misconception probably arises due to our focus on extreme outliers that lie several standard deviations away from the norm. On one end of the spectrum, you have those who lack more than just raw material; they exhibit dysfunction analogous to someone born with a physical disability, such as missing limbs. On the other end, you have individuals blessed with extraordinary cognitive abilities for inexplicable reasons.

In between these extremes, variations undoubtedly exist—comparable to having black, brown, red or blonde hair. There’s a range of attractiveness and while not everyone is destined for professional basketball or a successful music career due to their physical or talent limitations respectively, it doesn’t mean they can’t excel within their own scope. They could outperform 95% or even 99% of other non-professionals in their field.

Consider intelligence—it’s akin to any physical ability or talent; it can always be improved upon. If left unattended, there’s an element of entropy and over time you might decline in intellectual capacity just as your body weakens with age.

Let’s say we have two individuals who test differently on an IQ test by 10–20 points: one doesn’t really do much with his superior score and leads an unremarkable life doing what he is told and never challenging himself mentally, while the other person recognizes his lower score as motivation to develop his skills and talents fully.

The latter individual eventually surpasses the “smarter” person who never utilized his potential simply because he took initiative. Hence, while IQ can serve as a rough guide indicating raw capability, environmental factors play a crucial role in how these abilities manifest themselves. Optimal upbringing combined with good genetics often yield exceptional results, while subpar genetic material coupled with similar nurturing produces average but good-average outcomes.

Conversely, having great genetic material but growing up in an impoverished environment—be it a rural trailer park or an urban ghetto—can lead to wasted potential unless one becomes one of those rare outliers who rise above their circumstances. In other instances, these people become skilled predatory criminals and because of where they come from, many who lack that raw gray-matter talent follow in footsteps thinking it must be easy—and that’s why prisons are filled with mostly a bunch of dumb fucks. And ironically still, when the smart one do get caught up, it’s often because they were taken down by the ineptitude and incompetence of one or more of their partners in crime.

While inheriting certain traits does matter to some extent, what truly matters is how we nurture and develop those traits within our given environments.

… What, you may ask, does this knowledge do for you? How can you capitalize on it? First and foremost, set your goals. One crucial objective should be to surround yourself with intelligent, experienced, and capable individuals aligned toward those goals or harmonious with them.

Why should you do so?

It’s simple; these people will invariably make you better. Their wisdom will rub off on you; they’ll lift you up. In return, uplift those who have demonstrated intelligence but haven’t yet fully realized their potential—the diamonds in the rough—because they may one day surpass even your achievements and benefit you in ways unimaginable right now, as you look down upon them.

Avoid playing the white knight—particularly in dude-chick relationships—a character commonly associated with a chivalrous man who helps a woman resolve her issues. Experience tells us that nine times out of ten—or perhaps 99 times out of 100—the woman is troubled because she chooses [or just defaults] to be that way. As men, we are naturally wired to invest more than we should in dysfunctional chicks.

Take Note of the Redundancy.

Avoid this trap by setting boundaries.

Family dynamics can be trickier to navigate since there isn’t typically a clear-cut solution. The best course of action here is managing relationships—know which family members to maintain cordial ties with, but otherwise avoid engaging too deeply with them. If you don’t, you’ll get hit up for money or “this great opportunity” soon enough, and that almost never turns out well.

Business matters further complicate things due to the presence of associates, colleagues, and competitors—some who could potentially drain your resources without giving anything back in return. Be wary of such partnerships while also recognizing the potential learning opportunities from competitors.

There’s a surface-level understanding, and then there’s the deeper insight that often lies beneath it all. There are many instances where maintaining a friendly relationship with rivals benefits everyone involved—it lifts all boats, so to speak. Don’t just focus on bringing others down for your gain; consider lifting them up as well because their success might inadvertently propel your own upward trajectory.

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