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Seventeenth-century political philosopher Thomas Hobbes once observed that intelligence must be equally distributed among humans, because no one ever complained that they didn't get as much as everyone else. Of course, that was before the invention of the IQ test prompted a series of objections that the tests were biased and/or inaccurate, that intelligence can't really be measured, and that there are multiple types of intelligence. For well over a century, intelligence and what it means have been the source of endless controversy. Here comes more.
In The Intelligence Paradox, the coauthor of Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters, Satoshi Kanazawa challenges the common misconceptions about what intelligence is and what it is not, how it is measured, what it's good for, and what it's bad at. He also makes many controversial statements: liberals are, on average, more intelligent than conservatives; atheists are more intelligent than believers; and homosexuals are more intelligent than heterosexuals. And using the latest research, he shows each one to be true.
At its core, Kanazawa's message is that intelligence, while certainly an asset, is one human trait among many, and it is in no way a measure of human worth. He reveals how the purposefor which general intelligence evolvedsolving evolutionarily novel problems that were rarely encountered during life on the savannaallows us to understand why the most intelligent people have the particular values and preferences they have. He also explains why, despite their huge brains, the most intelligent people are often less successful than their less intelligent relatives at solving life's most important problems.
Kanazawa uses the findings of several large long-term studies to examine the relationship between intelligence and numerous preferences and values. What he discovers is often surprising and sometimes, indeed, paradoxical. Intelligent men, for example, are more likely than less intelligent men to value sexual exclusivity for themselves, yet also more likely to cheat on wives or girlfriends despite what they really want. Why are intelligent people more likely than less intelligent people to be night owls and late sleepers? Precisely because it is unnatural. It may not surprise you to learn that intelligent people are more likely to prefer classical music to popbut why on earth would they also like elevator music?
Intersecting the fields of evolutionary psychology and intelligence research, The Intelligence Paradox is guaranteed to change the way you think about all that thinking you do.
Advance praise for The Intelligence Paradox
"The Intelligence Paradox is a chocolate sundae for the brain, filled with insights about intelligence and everyday behavior that have changed my thinking about intelligence. A brilliant achievement and a joy to read."Charles Murray, author of the New York Times bestseller Coming Apart
"This is a splendidly written book about a fascinating new theory of intelligence. By carefully anchoring his approach in evidence, Kanazawa integrates information about the evolution of intelligence in intriguing and tantalizing ways. He also generates some startling and provocative predictions. Be forewarned, this book will change the way you think about intelligence." Gordon Gallup, evolutionary psychologist, University at Albany, SUNY
"This is a beautifully written book that will sell to laymen as well as to academics. Kanazawa's thesis is that intelligence, what IQ tests measure, is a specific ability to cope with general problems for which our evolution has not prepared us. Intelligence then leads to great benefit when tethered to the real world, such as quantum theory and computers. Untethered, it can lead to convoluted nonsense such as fads in literary criticism. And while intelligence may often be considered an unalloyed good, Kanazawa shows it has costs to biological fitness. For example, intelligent people have fewer offspring, although successful reproduction is the definition of evolutionary success. Intelligent people are more prone to indulge in (evolutionary) novelties such as drugs. Viewed from the perspective of evolution, intelligent people are 'the ultimate losers in life.'"Henry Harpending, coauthor of The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution
"General intelligence is both a grand achievement of psychology research and a crucial human dimension. That people differ so markedly from each other on such an important trait has seemed something of an evolutionary paradox. Wouldn't evolution make us all smart? Satoshi Kanazawa proposes an intriguing explanation about how human intelligence evolved and why differences remain among us. It is a creative but data-driven argument that I found surprising but sensible. I think he may be right. And it's delivered in a breezily elegant style that is a joy to read."J. Michael Bailey, author of The Man Who Would Be Queen
The data and ideas of intelligence were not of my liking or interest. This is a book with poor scientific background and is not creative at all.Published 1 month ago by Alfredo Ulloa-Aguirre
A clear-eyed exploration on IQ, intelligent people and implications for society. Must-read for liberals and conservatives alike!Published 4 months ago by W. Liew
This is a purely informational book. If you are looking for a book that talks specifically in terms of statistics and not in interesting anecdotes, then this is the book for you. Read morePublished 20 months ago by j. petersen
Interesting work. Much more controversial than his first. I like how he suggest we rethink what intelligence is and how the concept is used colloquially versus what it actually... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Danielle Perszyk
Overall, I found the book to be an enjoyable read.
Author Satoshi Kanazawa begins by positing that a sort of inflationary trend has taken hold among academic... Read more
The author's theory is straightforward:- the more evolutionary novel our acts and deeds (do what our ancestors +10k years before us didnt), the more intelligent we are. Read morePublished on October 6, 2013 by ServantofGod
There are some parts in this book that are so outrageous that you will feel like laughing, until you realize the author is serious. Read morePublished on September 29, 2013 by Book-Movie-Music Lover
To understand this book, we need to understand the terms that are being put out by it's author.
General Intelligence is the term that defines those that have a High... Read more