Innate Smarts Have Never Mattered Less and "Smart" is a Meaningless Word

Earlier I posted that curiosity quotient matters more than IQ. Recently I traded emails with Chris Yeh and Dave Jilk on this.

Raw intelligence has never mattered less. All the knowledge anyone needs to have is available at your fingertips. Students in India can take MIT classes, for example. Books are scanned and online. Moreover, with billions of capitalists being churned out in the east, hard and smart work will count for far more than raw intelligence. There’s a whole other group of reasons that Daniel Goleman outlines when he succinctly proves that Emotional Intelligence is more important to life success than IQ.

Moreover, I think the word "smart" is the most overused person-description in the entrepreneurial lexicon. It conveys absolutely nothing to me. If you look at LinkedIn profiles, resumes, or blog posts about other people, you will always see "John Doe is super smart" or perhaps even the rarefied word "brilliant," which I thought was reserved for the truly extraordinary but is used so often that it again has lost its meaning.

Most everyone is "smart" in some sense. There are far more precise words that can better convey someone’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses. Articulate? Organized? Empathetic? Thoughtful? Dynamic? Tireless worker?

I think we can assume that any knowledge worker who’s competing has a baseline of general competence, which is what the "smart" catch-all refers to.

Let’s get more precise.

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