Unrelated facts don’t equal knowledge, or intelligence, or wisdom

January 1, 2011 at 1:03 pm Leave a comment

This we know.

But it’s rarely been said better than by Joe Queenan, in his awe-inspiring (no, really) take-down of AJ Jacobs.

”The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World” is mesmerizingly uninformative. But this is hardly surprising, because the premise of the book is completely wrong. The animating idea of this misguided endeavor is that corralling a vast array of unrelated facts will, in and of itself, make a person more interesting. This is idiotic. Facts absorbed without context merely magnify the intellectual deficiencies of the autodidact, because a poorly educated person does not know which facts are important.

Though to be fair to Jacobs, I think the title of his book kind of points to the ludicrous nature of what he’s trying to do and that he KNOWS that loads of facts don’t equal “smart.” Queenan suffering from a bit of green-eye, much?


Entry filed under: intelligence. Tags: .

The rationality project Donald Horne on getting old

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