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The Intelligence Paradox: Why the Intelligent Choice Isn't Always the Smart One

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  384 ratings  ·  43 reviews
A book that challenges common misconceptions about the nature of intelligenceSatoshi Kanazawa's "Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters" (written with Alan S. Miller) was hailed by the "Los Angeles Times" as "a rollicking bit of pop science that turns the lens of evolutionary psychology on issues of the day." That book answered such burning questions as why women tend to ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published April 1st 2012 by Wiley (first published March 22nd 2012)
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Carrie Poppy
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
Ya ever meet someone who’s smart enough to sound like they know what they’re talking about, but then ten minutes into the conversation they’re like, “and that’s why I KNOW we didn’t land on the moon”?

That experience became a book.
Oct 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
Hokay done with this thing. I can't recommend it. There are better books on evolutionary psychology out there. Here's a good list:

Evolutionary psychology is a relatively young discipline, and Kanazawa spends an awful lot of time selling his discipline with some obvious rhetoric and more than a few shady analogies. IQ tests, for instance, are not as unbiased and irrefutable as your bathroom scale. And Raven's Progressive Matrices test is not the absolute go
Hákon Gunnarsson
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
This book doesn’t begin badly. The author claims he is only interested in the most scientific of truths, and he will be able to back everything up with science. Good, right? Well, it sounds quite interesting in the beginning.

Then slowly, but surely the whole thing seems to spin out of control, and ends up in a lot of circular logic, and sometimes just odd conclusions. So, I have to admit that this book left me quite unconvinced of what the author is trying to prove with it.

There is the occasiona
Alex MacMillan
Jun 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
“Yet, whatever else, to be a clever silly is a somewhat tragic state; because it entails being cognitively-trapped by compulsive abstraction; unable to engage directly and spontaneously with what most humans have traditionally regarded as psycho-social reality; disbarred from the common experience of humankind and instead cut-adrift on the surface of a glittering but shallow ocean of novelties: none of which can ever truly convince or satisfy. It is to be alienated from the world; and to find no ...more
Jul 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
I love stumbling upon a book that turns out to be a real gem. The Intelligence Paradox introduced me to the science of evolutionary psychology.

Of course I knew that our ancestors spent a million years as hunter-gathers in Africa. I remember learning about the advent of cultivation of crops; how agriculture changed human society a short 10,000 years ago, when we transitioned from nomads to settlers. Of course I knew about evolution, and that evolution does not anticipate the future. I just hadn'
Oli Sant
Jul 09, 2016 rated it did not like it
The introduction is interesting, however it is barely worth reading past it. Fraught with circular reasoning and far fetched conclusions, it seems the intent of the book was to bring those who think of themselves superior due to their intelligence down from their intellectual high horse. Alas, it fails to do so. I think the contents of this book would have better suited a magazine article.
Michael Mangold
Apr 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An evolutionary psychologist's theory attempting to explain why intelligent people are so stupid. The absent-minded professor is the obvious stereotype here, and, like any attempt to explain a stereotype, this theory is fraught with danger, especially the danger of offending those caught up in the generalization. The Moralistic Fallacy is the presumption that the way things ought to be dictates the way things are, a fallacy that Kanazawa does a good job of both explaining and avoiding.

His theory
Yvonne Ang
Jun 01, 2014 rated it liked it
This is an enjoyable read. Understanding intelligence from an evolutionary perspective do question the common mindset. Apart from all the statistics supporting the Intelligent Paradox and citing various phenomenon, I particularly agree what the author suggests at the beginning chapters; science is about finding the truth and does not itself make any value or moral judgments on what is right/wrong about the findings. I guess this is the fundamental principle of science, which the society today ki ...more
Ryan Morton
May 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: psychology
Interesting view of intelligence; in a nutshell: intelligence is really just evolutionary novelty. The difference between smart and intelligent is broken down in a very easy to understand fashion. In the end the author just wants to diminish the value that we as society place on intelligence, where common sense, or smarts, may be a much better aspiration. Specifically, those who reproduce fruitfully are the real beneficiaries of society's intelligence (even when whey themselves are not).

The ide
Matt Gosney
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
In his first chapter he takes a swipe at the left and complains that the majority of the academic community are left. He also says he doesn't care that people die, he just wants to know why, then grandiosely talks about how science offends people etc etc... It appears to be a bit chest thumping I guess like the apes we all have evolved from, he just wants to make enemies that is not our innate human nature. Ultimately, if there is something that we don't do the promotes the continuation of the s ...more
Mike Manella
May 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
So are intelligent people sociopaths and do things contrary to their best interests? Whether it's true or not this is a fascinating and thought provoking book. Are more intelligent women less likely to be good mothers and wives? Are liberals, who generally want to help strangers and society as a whole, actually hurting their own chances of survival? It's not as clear cut as that but the author uses some pretty convincing data and analysis to show that IQ, an inherited trait, just like height or ...more
Aug 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
An excellent discussion of intelligence in the context of evolutionary psychology - which explains human behaviour in the context of evolution (and that evolution has equipped us to cope with hunter gatherer living of 10 000 years age).
Almantė (Ravenclaw_of_Shire)
As you can see from this graph here, intellectual people will start reading this book and come to conclusion of burning it, or throwing it away, at the very least, because there's so much bullshit I got tired of snorting and rolling my eyes.
Nur A.A Baig
Feb 20, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a book about Intelligence in human beings, and how the choices it begets are either evolutionary novel or evolutionary familiar, in accordance with the Savana Principle. Whoosh-long sentence!

Everyone is equally intelligent might be politically correct but logically bonkers. A range of intelligence should be accepted in a pluralistic spirit, and maybe digested with a Descartian spirit of generational development.

According to the book, intelligent people lack common sense and make stupid
Kathleen Garber
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I listed to this on audiobook which I usually can’t get through but it was so interesting and the audiobook voice was great, I couldn’t stop listening to it. I found this book absolutely fascinating.
I must be honest and say that the book isn’t for the light reader or someone who can’t handle heavy explanations of mathematical and science concepts. Some of it was above my head but most of the time I was able to follow along. It was a little back and forth with some of the book seemingly written t
Roz Camplin
Mar 10, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: audiobooks
Am I the only person who found this book offensive?
He did make some interesting points here and there but I felt it was 20% evidence based and 80% personal opinion.

...."That's why liberals are stupider then conservatives"
Not just once but he mentions this mabey half a dozen times using the word stupid and stupider. Even if it's a proven fact (which I dont believe it is) the terminology is offensive to me.

He then goes on to tell us that homosexuals are more intelligent than straight people and
Mick Pletcher
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
The book was very interesting from an evolutionary psychologist's perspective on intelligence. I like how he goes into the different issues associated with high intelligence. The book also covers the validity of IQ tests and how genetics and environment effect IQ. He also delves into the different areas of beliefs, whether it be social or religious, and the typical effect the different levels of intelligence will have on those.
Jun 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A very good and controversial read. Have read it many years ago and will read it again. It is true that not everybody can have a high IQ and there are IQ thresholds. Just as not everyone can become a pilot or a pro basketball player. Some races have it more genetically, that makes them talented in certain fields and sometimes the truth is not politically correct. Not recommended for snow flakes that can’t handle the truth.
Gustavo Borges
Apr 11, 2018 rated it did not like it
Not very bright book. Point is made in chatper one and then author keeps going on and on about same stuff in different but similar concepts. Could be a good magazine 5 pages article and more than is a waste of time.
Feb 05, 2020 rated it it was ok
This book gives some good information at the beginning. Soon though, it degenerates in an endless list of study results, which could demonstrate literally anything.
The conclusions are disappointing. Thinking that intelligence is just another trait like height or weight is a non-sense.
Jose Sanchez
Good book but repetitive at times

I liked the general ideas presented on the book but after half of the chapters the structure get repeated and it was a little bit boring.
Gusanita Diminuta
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Disappointing. The writer himself is not as clever as he thinks. A lot of common places and simpleton conclusions.
May 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Not necessarily well-written, and I don't really agree with most of the extremely bold statement, but DEFINITELY thought provoking and has created interesting party conversation.
E. Ritt
Sep 05, 2020 rated it liked it
It is ok but most part of the content I had from other sources. Read if you know less about the subject.
Feb 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Controversial, thought-provoking but (sadly) potentially flawed, Kanazawa's central premise is that we have old-school software in a new-world environment. His Savanna principle states that our brains have difficulty dealing with entities and situations non-existent from our evolutionary, ancestral environment on the African savanna.

It's not to say that novel, non-recurrent problems didn't exist for our hunter-gather forefathers on the african plain, they were plenty. So intelligence evolved as
Yasser Mohammad
Nov 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
The book is interesting in general. It is written by a evolutionary psychologist but it is not just-so stories as sometimes happen. The main premise of evolutionary psychology is very reasonable. Humans lived most of their evolutionary history in a specific environment (african savanna as hunters-gatherers) and not enough time have passed since that time to cause enough evolutionary change. This means that our psychological faculties should be optimized to life in this enviornment. It is common ...more
Nov 28, 2014 rated it liked it
An interesting, and revealing idea; "The Intelligence Paradox" should be a required read for anyone with an "major ego" regarding their intelligence. In many ways it knocks the notion of intellectual/intelligence off it's pedestal with wit and reason. The only negative I give the book is that eventually you can predict the arguments of each chapter and the whole book tends to become a little boring and redundant. Never-the-less, the arguments are worth being made. I'd recommend it.
Dec 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is a great read if you are interested in learning more about intelligence. The book does a great job defining intelligence, comparing the difference between intelligence, and most importantly the difference between intelligent people versus those who are not so intelligent.

This book lost a star only because it became a little repetitive in its arguments. Overall a great read and would recommend to readers looking to learn more about intelligence in general.
Burky Ford
Apr 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Basically, what the writer says rings true. My main question is about the inheritance of intelligence. Popular belief -- and this author -- holds that intelligence is mostly a genetic trait -- like height, hair and eye color, etc. I personally find that environment is just as important as genetics and random chance plays a huge role in intelligence.
Why someone becomes outcast?

Either they are too dumb and depressed or they are really intelligent. The book has explained how intelligent people do most things that tend towards ending the EVOLUTION. It is explained with satistical proof that how the results of survey from multiple leading government organisation are matching the explanation.
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Satoshi Kanazawa is a Reader in Management at the London School of Economics. His work uses evolutionary psychology to analyse social sciences such as sociology, economics, and anthropology.

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