January 24, 2017

I thought I knew what #1 would be, but the actual #1 made me laugh.

So I was a sucker for a Forbes click-through list of "Ten Guaranteed Ways To Appear Smarter Than You Are" because I felt sure one of them would be: Listen to what other people say.

I think people are vain, and if you look like you understand and value what they are saying, they'll judge you to be smart.

I hate the multi-page format, but my desire — my vain desire — to see my answer in the set caused me to click all the way through to the end.

The advice includes stuff like wearing glasses and using a middle initial, but #1 is "Skip that drink." That surprised me. I had to laugh. Not drinking isn't a way to appear smarter than you are. It's a way to avoid actually becoming dumber.

You know, sometimes you might actually want to become dumber. But that's material for a different list: 10 Situations in Which You Would Be Better Off If You Weren't So Smart, 10 Reasons Why You Might Want to Take the Edge Off Your Intelligence, etc.

To be fair to Forbes, reading the fine print, I see that "Skip that drink" goes beyond advising you not to drink. It says that even holding a drink causes other people to lower their assessment of your intelligence.

45 comments:

traditionalguy said...

The Trump Effect again.

David said...

I can hold my liquor with the best of them. It's when I drink it that the trouble starts.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Donald J Trump skips that drink.

MadisonMan said...

I will not read click-through articles.

I even resisted clicking your click-baity title. Resistance in that case was futile.

gilbar said...

"10 Situations in Which You Would Be Better Off If You Weren't So Smart,"

Can we PLEASE get Lazlo to write this list?
{I'm waiting}

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Can confirm. We don't drink and people act like we're oracles or something.

rehajm said...

So, next time you create a document, stick in a graph. It doesn’t have to be complex; it just has to be accurate

My go to...

Rumpletweezer said...

I frequently wish to be dumber. Most of my education has resulted in making me sad.

rehajm said...

Use a Middle Initial

Elmer J. Fudd

Wile E. Coyote

Alfred E. Neuman


Works!

Virgil Hilts said...

11. Unless you work in a field where it is completely irrelevant, don't tell people you're bad at math. Amazed that young people will say this as though its somehow cute/endearing. You need to be quite good at math to work on complex deals and projects and being good at math is also a decent proxy for IQ. As someone (Neal Stephenson?) said, the future belongs to those who are good at math.

Sebastian said...

"It's a way to avoid actually becoming dumber." OK, but depends on task and BAC.

O was smart enough to drop the H.

Ann Althouse said...

"I even resisted clicking your click-baity title."

The title in that form was an ironic comment on click bait.

Ann Althouse said...

John Q. Public is smarter than Joe Blow.

That's Joe E. Blow to you, sir.

Bob Ellison said...

"Skip that drink" is good advice on trying to appear clever. You might be a drunkard in real life, but when someone offers you a drink at a party and you turn it down, you do tend to get that "ooh, look at that; he's careful and therefore smart" effect.

Mike said...

I'm with Althouse. "Active listening" is a technique that does a two-fer. You not only appear smart but you are really engaged in the moment and are more intelligent* for it. Kinda surprised they whiffed that one.

"Wearing glasses"? Yeah and this is a clever disguise too if you rely on Hollywood for your learning.

*Perceptive, discerning etc.

rhhardin said...

Skip the false nose and mustache.

rhhardin said...

A gorilla suit is a bad idea too.

rhhardin said...

Avoid wearing a pussy hat.

rhhardin said...

"My tits are up here."

Eye control is important.

rhhardin said...

You'd think a pussy hat would be a birth control device.

AllenS said...

"Ten Guaranteed Ways To Appear Smarter Than You Are"

Easy. Here's one of them. Never say "hold my beer and watch this"

The Cracker Emcee said...

Screw half measures. Use your first and middle initials. H G Wells, T S Eliot, D H Lawrence, C P Snow, P G Wodehouse, C S Lewis, A E Coppard, H L Mencken, and a raft of others that my early morning brain can't pull up at the moment. If you really want to be a pretentious ass throw in the initial of your confirmation name, mother's maiden name, or some secondary middle names your indecisive parents jammed in there. I'm looking at you, hobbit-boy.

Coconuss Network said...

People who drink might in fact have a high IQ, but they may also get dementia and parkinsons. No thx.

traditionalguy said...

Alcoholics are usually the best friends to have, but they do go missing often.

The Evangelicals are between a rock and a hard place. Jesus miraculously made 60 gallons of wine when the Party was already drunk because his mother told him they were sobering up , but then Moses' Torah and Proverbs tell them to never be a "drunkard, " which our Scots Irish ancestors in the mountains really needed to hear often. Remember DJT's brother was destroyed by drink.

The position the Baptists take today is to never drink in public "because it hurts your witness." So they drink in private which is a sure fire alcoholic creating plan. Or they secretly drink quickly to get drunk faster while out of the house for a few hours...like driving around.

Moderation in all things works. .

Coconuss Network said...

Initials are old fashioned, but in some cases, are interesting author names, anonymity, gender neutral for some. How cool are two first names. Seems kinda creative.

Fernandinande said...

Listen to what other people say.

Democrats must provide “training” that focuses in part on teaching Americans “how to be sensitive and how to shut their mouths if they are white,” urged the executive director of Idaho’s Democratic Party, Sally Boynton Brown, who is white.
...
"My job is to listen and be a voice and shut other white people down when they want to interrupt.”

Mike said...

I add an extra initial just to look smarter: MJB Wolf

tcrosse said...

11. Lose the unfashionable regional accent.

Meade said...

I gave up drinking. You won't believe what MadisonMan said next...

William said...

Smart people overrate being smart. Luck, health, good looks, character provide a quicker or more elegant solution to most of life's problems.......,I suppose it takes a certain amount of smarts to successfully feign being smart. I've never really tried. Too busy faking the other stuff.

Meade said...

"Moderation in all things works"

In ALL things is extreme.

William said...

I always thought an English accent, the Oxbridge kind, gave a girl a few extra IQ points, but then Madonna started affecting one. That ruined English accents for me.

Meade said...

#11 — pronounce compost ˈkämˌpahst/

Ann Althouse said...

"#11 — pronounce compost ˈkämˌpahst/"

That's an in joke at Meadhouse.

One time, sitting in a cafe, we overheard a famous intellectual pronouncing the word "compost" that way. We've been laughing about it for years.

Jersey Fled said...

"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."

Abraham Lincoln

JPS said...

Hmm. Some of those are fine pieces of advice even if you're not trying to appear smarter than you are. I would also recommend "don't ever try to appear smarter than you are."

I've been a professor and a soldier, and I've said only semi-facetiously that academia has lots of people trying to seem smarter than they are, and the Army has lots of people claiming to be dumber.

Fernandinande said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fernandinande said...

Jersey Fled said...
"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."
Abraham Lincoln


"Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding."

Bad Lieutenant said...

Listening IS more intelligent combined with talking less. How do people not listen? Some soi-disant intelligentsia among them.

That's real. If you want a gimmick: talk low.

Bruce Hayden said...

Sent this article off to my kid who is hoping for their STEM PhD in another year. We (actually I) gave them four family surnames as a name, and they have been skipping the middle two, or at least the third (mother's maiden name). Good reason to use both middle initials.

I found the not going too fast, or too slow, interesting. Not always easy to do. One day I would be with a group who are scary bright. In one group, we have a low sleep triple doc (MD, JD, PHD), several other PhDs whose patents made them rich (as they keep switching fields), a guy with Aspberger's, and me, trying unsuccessfully to keep up. In another, I am the only one with even one college degree. (Not that college degrees are a true indication of IQ, but there is some correlation). I actually prefer being one of the dumb ones in the group, because I have to work hard to keep up, and it makes me learn. But, of course, if you really are that much dumber than the rest, you risk being pushed to the side. I remember seeing that with other patent attorneys on a patent committee for a major semiconductor company. Most of the members were the top engineers (most with PhDs) in the organization. Two of us patent attys were regulars, but others would try to break in. After being talked over and ignored for a couple hours, they inevitably folded their tents and didn't return. Funny thing was, that they were probably smart enough, but didn't know how to prep for the meetings, so always appeared to not be able to keep up. Most of us cheated a bit, reading and researching the patent disclosures before the meetings - the trick was to appear like we hadn't. Because, of course, there were members who didn't need to. We think.

The problem with going too fast, in my experience, is that you often look sloppy to those who are plodding along at a slower pace. Seen this on occasion too. Guys who make giant intuitive leaps, great enough that they look like guesswork to the rest of the group. More than once, I found myself intermediating between one of these intuitive jumpers and the rest of the group, not able to keep up. One guy I am thinking of in particular really was a bit sloppy at lower levels, but was brilliant theoretically. And, I think that this may be part of what is going on with Trump - moving much faster than the rest of D.C., appearing much more scatter brained than he really is. We shall see.

tcrosse said...

The corollary to looking smarter than you are is being smarter than you appear. Savvy people know how to use this to their advantage.

Christy said...

What tcrosse said.

Unknown said...

True story: In high school I worked in a factory setting (not assembly line). At lunch all the guys would sit around eating and talk baseball. I had no interest and no knowledge. One day one of the guys expressed to me his concern that if I wasn't bright enough to understand baseball then he was worried how I would carry on in life. All guys with high school diploma or less. I went on to get a Ph.D. and make more than any of them.
One way to appear smarter is to not be a jerk. Assess your audience. If they like to talk hunting or baseball pull up the few stories you know and tell those. Don't go off about Roman architecture or ball lightning. Being a jerk discounts all the points you get for being smart.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Unk, do you think the guy meant well, it was dogging you?

Cacimbo Cacimbo said...

When someone opts not to partake of a cocktail at a party my first thought is that they are a recovering alcoholic - not that they are super smart. Trump's non-drinking is based on the alcoholism of his brother.