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 evolved--solving evolutionarily novel problems that were rarely encountered during life on the savanna--allows 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 pop--but 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.