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Physicist, Startup Founder, Blogger, Dad

Thursday, November 19, 2009

If you're so smart, why aren't you rich?

Does being smart help you become rich?

Folksy Warren Buffett once said that an investor with IQ of 150 should sell 30 points to someone else, as anything above 120 is unnecessary.

Consider the following simple model (we can call it the "Igon Model" in honor of Malcolm Gladwell):

Igon Model: IQ correlates positively with wealth, but the effect goes away for IQ > 120. IQ above 120 provides no advantage, relative to IQ=120, for acquiring wealth.

Were this model to be true, one would expect with overwhelming probability to find that the vast majority of rich people have IQ around 120, but not much higher. This is because IQ is normally distributed: as you go further out the tail the population decreases exponentially. To be specific, IQ = 120 corresponds to the 90th percentile, whereas IQ = 135 is 99th percentile (i.e., only 1 in 10 people with IQ > 120 have IQ > 135) and IQ = 145 is 99.9th percentile (i.e., only 1 in 100 people with IQ > 120 have IQ > 145).

Now let's look at the 2009 Forbes list of richest people in the world:

1 William Gates III 53 40.0 United States
2 Warren Buffett 78 37.0 United States
3 Carlos Slim Helu 69 35.0 Mexico

If the Igon Model were correct, we would not expect to find this list dominated by people with IQ much higher than 120. But in fact we do. Note these three made their money in different ways: Gates founded a software company, Buffett is primarily an investor, and Carlos Slim is an oligarch ;-)

Bill Gates scored 1580 on the pre-1995 SAT. His IQ is clearly >> 145 and possibly as high as 160 or so.

Warren Buffett graduated high school at 16 ranked in the top 5 percent of his class despite devoting substantial effort to entrepreneurial activities. Most people who know him well refer to him as brilliant, that folksy quote above notwithstanding. I would suggest the evidence is strong that his IQ is above 135, perhaps higher than 145.

Carlos Slim studied engineering and taught linear programming while still an undergraduate at UNAM, the top university in Mexico. He reportedly discovered the use of compound interest at age 10. I would suggest his IQ is also at least 135.

So it would appear that the three richest men in the world all have IQs that are higher than 90 percent or even 99 percent of the > 120 IQ population. (Relative to the general population they are all likely in the 99th or even 99.9th percentile.) The probability of this happening in the Igon Model is less than 1 in 1000.

[Here's a basketball analogy: the analogous Igon Model for basketball would say height over 6ft2 (90th percentile) doesn't increase likelihood of success in basketball. Suppose we find the 3 top players in the world are 7ft (Shaq/Gates), 6ft8 (LeBron/Buffett) and 6ft6 (Kobe/Slim). That strongly disfavors the model, as a random draw of 3 people from the set of people over 6ft2 in height has almost zero probability of producing the 3 heights we found.]

Note to angry Gladwell egalitarians: don't take this analysis too seriously :-) It's really an example of "Igon analysis" in the spirit of MG!

There are many factors aside from intelligence that impact success in business or investing. See here for a discussion by money manager and investment theorist William Bernstein, which is very similar to what Buffett has said on various occasions. If you carefully study biographies of the three men listed above, what really stands out (aside from high mental ability) is their determination, drive and fascination with material success beginning at a young age. See also: success vs ability and creators and rulers.

What about the broader population? It's well established that graduates of elite universities earn more than graduates of less selective schools. But, interestingly, controlling for SAT score (IQ) largely eliminates the differential. I wonder why? (See also here for UT Austin data on earnings variation with SAT and major.)

47 comments:

emustrangler said...

Wow, a sample size of three, and you made up two of the numbers. Even by the standards of half-assed hand waving arguments, that's pretty impressive.

Steve Hsu said...

"Note to angry Gladwell egalitarians: don't take this analysis too seriously :-) "

Cormick Grimshaw said...

This a bit off topic, but Modigliani and Cohn came to the opposite conclusion in their 1979 Financial Analysts Journal article on the impact of "inflation illusion" on stock prices:

…investors who followed the market in pricing securities incorrectly had a chance of coming through this recent period unscathed while holding a well diversified portfolio (a conclusion that, incidentally, may vindicate the advisers' valuation formulas reviewed earlier). On the other hand, those experts of rational valuation who could correctly assess the extent of the undervaluation of equities, had they acted on their assessment in the hope of acquiring riches, would have more than likely ended up with substantial losses. In view of our results, we have a bit of advice to offer to those experts: The next time someone chides you for your poor performance, you should reply: "If you know so much about finance, why aren't you poor?"

stochastix said...

In a 2004 interview, when asked what is IQ was Stephen Hawking replied: "I have no idea. People who boast about their I.Q. are losers."

Prof. Hsu, with all due respect: why do you even bother? Let Gladwell sell books to deluded morons. Let the rest of the world discuss petty things such as IQ scores and other people's wealth. As a physicist, shouldn't you be focused on finding out more about the laws of Nature? As an entrepreneur, shouldn´t you be proactively chasing an exciting business opportunity? This noise only distracts one from what is really important. Your time is finite. Aren't Physics, family and friends infinitely more important?

Last but not least, a sample size that small is hardly conclusive.

AlchemX said...

Thank you stochastix! I've been looking for a very concise way to address these weird blog entries about intelligence.

Steve

I don't think everything about a person's life should be determined by a fucking number!

Just like the size of your dick shouldn't define much about you.

Some us are born with bigger brains, some smaller, let them figure out their course in life. Trying to measure it will just impede the process.

XXXXXXXXXXXXX said...

stochastix said...
In a 2004 interview, when asked what is IQ was Stephen Hawking replied: "I have no idea. People who boast about their I.Q. are losers."

There is a difference between boasting about your IQ and acknowledging that IQ testing has predictive value. Hsu never mentioned his own IQ, so clearly you can't justifiably accuse him of doing the former.

B.B.

LondonYoung said...

Stochastix - is it not a social good worthy of anyone's time to try to correct popular deceptions where one sees them? And since such things are good, can't I employ statistics in some way to claim that anything good merits at least a little of our time? You know, kinda like most solvents being capable of absorbing at least some of everything?

stochastix said...

Remark: please do note that Hawking's quote was meant to suggest that IQ alone is of little value. I never did claim that Prof. Hsu boasted about his IQ. But what I do claim is that I never met a great thinker / achiever who cared about IQ. For starters, I don't think the entire complexity of human intelligence can be compressed in a single number. There are different kinds of intelligence, and oversimplistic analyses are better left to the mainstream media.


@ LondonYoung

One can try to correct popular deceptions where one sees them. That is laudable. However, do note that:

i) the right medium to do so would be on NYTimes or WSJ. Although this blog is popular, its audience is relatively small and self-selected.

ii) one should keep in mind what one wants to achieve when correcting popular deceptions. There are countless deceptions that are extremely popular, and there's a reason why they're popular. If you stand in front of a stampede, you'll get hurt, you know.

Nothing wrong with statistics, just as long as they're done right. Quoting the 1st commenter: "Wow, a sample size of three, and you made up two of the numbers. Even by the standards of half-assed hand waving arguments, that's pretty impressive." Indeed.

Derek said...

Steven,
So you've essentially provided evidence here that Gladwell was wrong to put the threshold where you really see diminishing turns at 120, and instead it's closer, based on your sample size of three, to 135-145.

If there is no threshold and IQ is consistently correlated with success, why in the world do the three richest people ***in the world*** have middling IQs of 135-145 (1 in 100 to 1 in 1000) when there are 300 million+ in the US and 6 billion+ in the world. Are you suggesting the effect goes away above 135? If so, isn't this just a difference of degree compared to Gladwell's claims?

The broader point is that there are diminishing returns to IQ if the goal is success measure by wealth. This is what Gladwell claims and this is what your three person study seems to suggest, albeit the bar seems to be in the 135-145 range, based on your sense of what their IQs might be. Otherwise, why aren't the top 3 175+ individuals?

Derek said...

I'm being less than clear in my comment above, but what you've suggested in your post is that the Igon Model *is* correct, but that the vast majority of rich people have an IQ of 135-145, but not much higher--not 120, as Gladwell suggests.

Paul said...

As a physicist, shouldn't you be focused on finding out more about the laws of Nature? As an entrepreneur, shouldn´t you be proactively chasing an exciting business opportunity? This noise only distracts one from what is really important. Your time is finite. Aren't Physics, family and friends infinitely more important?

That's right, Steve, stop fooling around and get back to work!

People (and, believe it or not, this includes our host Prof. Hsu) should be able to have fun with anything that interests them. Why restrict ourselves to our 'jobs' if we find other things interesting? Why shouldn't he blog about it? We're all obviously enjoy reading about it!

...is it not a social good worthy of anyone's time to try to correct popular deceptions where one sees them?

We shouldn't have to defend pastimes we enjoy with appeals to the social good! If Hsu gets off with this stuff and it turns out to be totally useless, then more power to him! Shit, I know that next time I'm sitting on the beach enjoying the beautiful view, I'm not going to feel guilty because I'm being a useless POS who's not doing anything for society!

All the above being said, I think the 'Igon Value' thing has gone far enough. Gladwell doesn't know squat about a lot of the technical aspects of mathematics. Big deal. To attack him repeatedly because of a typo, even one that reveals it's author's (and editor's by the way) ignorance about these technical aspects does not make his arguments wrong. It's bordering on ad hominem. You're trying to destroy the man and not his ideas.

Paul said...

We're all obviously enjoy reading about it!

in my last post should read:

We all obviously enjoy reading about it!

Freaking editing in these little boxes is a pain in the neck!

Sam said...

Maybe being a genius is just correlated with becoming a self-made multi-billionaire?

I suspect that many geniuses pursue science and more theoretical work. In terms of IQ, Steve is probably one? :) Maybe geniuses tend to me more introverted and lack the extroversion needed to be successful in business?

Perhaps having an IQ of 120-130 is best if one wants to become a millionaire? I don't know.

Maybe I should have become a teacher or something (non-college level), or pursue some other type of governmental work, considering I inherited an IQ that puts me below most lawyers and engineers (but Rod Blago admitted he scored an 18 on the ACT, and was a lawyer?? (I scored a 20, and then 21, but with studying may have been able to get a 23??)

Anyways, the GENETIC EGALITARIANS live in a world of wishful thinking.

Any woman who is my prospective mate will, from a Darwinian perspective, be advantaged by cuckolding me, behind my back. Why carry mediocre genes to term when you can have some high-IQ alpha type?

Steve Hsu said...

stochastix: I average about 30 minutes a day working on the blog. I enjoy it. It's nice to think about problems outside of physics once in a while. My blog has a modest following; that following would be much smaller if I posted only about hard subjects like physics and math.

Intelligence, genius and achievement are legitimate subjects for study. Anyone who hires and fires people, mentors younger people, trains students, has kids, or even just has an interest in how human civilization evolved and will evolve should probably think about these questions -- using statistics, biography, history, psychological studies, really whatever tools are available.

Derek: Re: modified Igon model with IQ = 135 instead of 120, maybe. It's not easy to see the effect of a variable like IQ due the exponentially small tail populations. Because luck plays a role in all human endeavors, luckier but less able people are often found to be more successful than more able people with average luck. (See success vs ability post linked to above.)

People often criticize the Terman study because 2 kids who were rejected from the study, just below the cutoff, won Nobels (Shockley and Alvarez), but none of the 1500 kids in the study won a Nobel. But of course there were exponentially more kids just below the cutoff than who made it into the study, and luck (as well as other factors) plays a big role in success, especially in experimental physics. Based on the Terman data you might have claimed that "IQ above Terman cutoff doesn't matter", but I think that is too simplistic. What you'd really like to do is compare equal size populations with varying IQ, or average performance by IQ. In that case I do think that you might see diminishing wealth returns wrt IQ, but perhaps for the reason below. Actually, thanks to startups and quant finance my sample (people I know) doesn't really show diminishing returns. I know a lot of pretty wealthy super smart people (basically anyone who didn't stay in academia ;-). You might be surprised.

One final comment, it does seem to me that people who are really smart tend to be more interested in solving problems, creating things, understanding deep questions rather than accumulating wealth. (See creators and rulers post linked to above.)

stochastix said...

Prof. Hsu,

It's none of my business how you manage your time, or whether you blog or not. I like reading the occasional article on Dyson or Feynman, or on Jim Simons, or on stuctured finance. What I do not understand is why you're paying so much attention to someone as mediocre as Gladwell. Especially so when the attacks are mostly ad hominem. Let him sell his silly books. There's no correlation between commercial success and quality writing, after all.

Intelligence, genius and achievement are legitimate subjects for study... for sure. But I doubt they can be quantified. I would be more impressed by a kid who has just won a gold medal in the IMO than some other kid who had a 200 IQ score. Achievement is much more than raw intelligence. It's also tenacity, dedication, and a fair amount of luck. What about all the high-IQ kids in 3rd world countries who will never get that far in life because they do not have the opportunities Gates and Buffett had?

On genius, Terry Tao's quoted Ortega y Gasset:

"Better beware of notions like genius and inspiration; they are a sort of magic wand and should be used sparingly by anybody who wants to see things clearly."

One should be careful about playing games with words. The world, in all its complexity, does not lend itself easily to lazy labeling.

Derek said...

"[I]t does seem to me that people who are really smart tend to be more interested in solving problems, creating things, understanding deep questions rather than accumulating wealth."

I think this is true. At HLS the accepted wisdom is that those with A's become professors; B's become judges; and C's become lawyers. Lawyers by far make the most money. Professors and judges arguably do more of what you describe above.

Anyway, nice blog. I hope you continue to post on intelligence related topics--I've added you to my Google Reader.

Martin said...

By current world standards, if you took your last dump on a flush toilet, you're a rich man.

By world historical standards, instant access to clean water makes you Pharaoh.

When I first realized that I was one of the richest people to ever live-say roughly when I entered college- I believe it tempered my desire for excessive material wealth, e.g. the $8,000 shower curtain possessed by some recent financial miscreant.

However, it was my ~140 IQ that made me attain this realization.

Q.E.D. IQ does make you rich.

anon said...

Is Steve aware that there are many IQ tests and that they give different results?

Is he aware that the only thing which makes an IQ test is its correlation with other IQ tests?

Does he know that to speak of the SAT as correlating with IQ is nonsense, that the SAT is an IQ test?

The Gates number sounds like a rumor. What is the source for this?

Steve Sailer said...

I worked for a man who founded the company that revolutionized the marketing research industry in the 1980s. He was widely considered the smartest man in that little industry.

A fellow who worked for me left our firm for Microsoft, where he did very well and spent a lot of time with Bill Gates (e.g., went skydiving with him). He said Bill Gates was much smarter than our old boss.

Sam said...

Steve,

Actually Bill Gates reportedly scored a 1590 on his SAT. (See here: http://books.google.com/books?id=wAKuVIxpMSUC&pg=PA22&dq=paul+allen+SAT+score#v=onepage&q=&f=false )

Gate's dummy friend, Paul Allen, who no one wants to ever talk about, scored a measly 1600 on the old version of the SAT, proving that he is likely smarter than Gates.

Chris Langan, who sports an IQ between 195-210, grew up to be a bartender. Oh, he is also an armchair philosopher.

-Shawn

anon said...

Have you seen Langan interviewed? He's a fraud. An "IQ test" published in OMNI is like one of those I, at least, am constantly asked to take while surfing. It's a joke.

anon said...

Have you seen Langan interviewed? He's a fraud. An "IQ test" published in OMNI is like one of those I, at least, am constantly asked to take while surfing. It's a joke.

STS said...

Steve,

This is exactly the issue:

"...people who are really smart tend to be more interested in solving problems, creating things, understanding deep questions rather than accumulating wealth."

The 'extra' IQ points above 120 (or whatever) show up on the tests because the subject has precociously acquired esoteric knowledge and has a flair for problem solving that doesn't involve interpersonal skills. Those traits bias a person towards work that is 'high risk' where status is concerned. It might pay off big (Bill Gates, maybe) or just lead to a life of quiet contemplation (like Gladwell's example of Chris Langdon).

Igon said...

Steve H,

Igon analysis supports Buffett's theory.

First, a minor statistical point. A normal distribution (mean 100, standard deviation 15) cut off below 120 has a mean of 126 and a standard deviation of 6. If the more realistic cutoff is 125 then the mean becomes 131 and standard deviation 5.5. These are underestimates because the distribution of high IQ's isn't described by a normal distribution, there are many more high scores than expected (fat tail relative to the Gaussian). So these high IQ's aren't all that unlikely if Buffett 's only "error" was to choose 120 rather than 125 for his comment. End of statistics digression; my real point is this:

Finding rather smart people at the upper reaches of the business world , somewhat counterintuitively, counts as evidence *for* Buffett's theory. There is such an extreme range restriction on the non-IQ factors when you look only at CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, self-made billionaires, and the like, that high end IQ variation is one of the few predictors left standing that has a chance to make a difference.

After imposing an extreme selection for drive, competitiveness, working 16-hour days, and other typical attributes of major CEOs, *of course* higher IQ will start to look significant. Other major attributes have been pushed to the limit and the top guns will be sorted, to some degree, by their position on the IQ scale. This is true even if Buffett's is right that IQ itself doesn't matter so much. Not every CEO of a major company has an IQ above 140 but all of them had the willingness to work 100-hour weeks. Within a pool of people like that, a 20-point IQ difference becomes a distinguishing factor, as in Steve Sailer's comment about his boss versus Bill Gates.

Steve Hsu said...

> Igon analysis supports Buffett's theory.

The normal distribution is a good approximation out to +(2-3) SD, so although there may be an excess of smart people (relative to a Gaussian tail) beyond that, it has only a small effect on the total number of IQ>120 people. It is still true that Gates, Buffet and Slim are likely each in the top fraction of the IQ>120 group, i.e., they are at least in the top 10% of that group and Gates perhaps in the top .1%. If you move the "Igon value" up then of course the model is not disfavored, and the sensitivity is exponential.

Re: hard work, as I've mentioned elsewhere, success in business (and everything else) is influenced by multiple factors. It is plausible the drive needed to be a CEO or billionaire is more rare in the population than, say, IQ=135 (i.e., CEOs must have >99th percentile drive and determination). I would suggest that the "luck" required is also at least that rare. Nevertheless, to answer the Gladwellian question: a regression of success on major variables like drive, IQ, interpersonal skills, etc. would probably still find a positive, non-negligible effect from IQ > 120.

Steve Hsu said...

PS Igon, I forgot to mention that your use of means is not the best way to think about the question. Just use the cumulative normal distribution and ask, e.g., what fraction of IQ > 120 people are as smart as Gates/Buffett/Slim. To have obtained 3 like that as the richest in the world is clearly unlikely in the 120 Igon Model (random draws from the IQ > 120 population).

anon said...

In an earlier post Steve said that SAT and IQ are highly correlated. In this post he seems not to know that he can calculate Gates's IQ exactly.

This shows that Steve does not know what an IQ test is or how it is constructed.

The SAT correlates as well with the SB, Ravens, WAIS, Wunderlich, etc. as these correlate with each other. And it is just as reliable.

The SAT is an IQ test. Not sort of, sometimes, maybe. It is an IQ test. And so are the GRE, GMAT, LSAT, etc.

But given that Steve went on about the "improbability" of evolution, unaware that his use of "improbable, "unlikely", etc. was meaningless, this may be a point too subtle for him.

Jeff said...

"The SAT correlates as well with the SB, Ravens, WAIS, Wunderlich, etc. as these correlate with each other. And it is just as reliable.

The SAT is an IQ test. Not sort of, sometimes, maybe. It is an IQ test. And so are the GRE, GMAT, LSAT, etc."


There is a distinction made between tests which correlate highly with g and those whose correlation is less positive with g.

A well-crafted IQ test should have a higher correlation with g than should the SAT or other standardized college exams. The latter are a perfectly-good proxy for IQ, but they are not the gold standard. In the jargon of those who study these issues, IQ test-makers who know their stuff seek to make their exams as g-loaded as possible.

So you are incorrect to suggest that one test is just as good as another. And I assume Steve Hsu knew that, and was using IQ to mean g, as is common in some non-technical discussions on the subject.

anon said...

You don't know what you're talking about.

g is defined by the test. The SAT has a g. The WAIS has a g, etc. There is no one g.

College entrance exam have an advantage over IQ tests in their sample size.

anon said...

I suppose you could have meant that the SAT, etc have a larger residuum once their principle component has been subtracted out than the WAIS, etc. and that Gates's g could only be estimated especially considering he had hit the ceiling.

But this is sophistry.

Jeff said...

g is defined by the test. The SAT has a g. The WAIS has a g, etc. There is no one g.

You need to stop bluffing and read more carefully because you are clearly in over your head on this subject.

g is a commonly-accepted statistical construct in the field of intelligence research. The whole point of g is that it is a useful construct built, through factor analysis, from multiple test measurements into a single factor.

So g is not defined as you put it "by a test" (singular) but by tests (plural). Each individual test, therefore, does not have a g. Rather a test has a g load. Some tests have a higher g load than other tests, and generally speaking the higher the g load in a test, the more reliable that test is considered to be of what we commonly refer to as intelligence.

You said in an earlier post that "The SAT correlates as well with the SB, Ravens, WAIS, Wunderlich, etc. as these correlate with each other", but that misses the point. The primary issue is whether some tests correlate better with g than other tests, and the answer there is clearly yes. The secondary question is whether the SAT is as good as any other IQ test for measuring g, and the answer there is no.

The SAT is a fine proxy for measuring what we refer to as intelligence, but it is not, in the parlance of the psychometricians, the highest g loaded test available. Among the most commonly-known tests, that distinction is usually given to the Raven's Progressive Matrices.

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

As I said you don't know what you're talking about, and it is tiresome. You might pick up a book on IQ testing and factor analysis at your university library.

anon said...

If by g you mean concretely the principal component of a particular battery of batteries, this g will depend on the batteries includes. Another battery of batteries wouldn't give the same g for an individual.

That the SAT, etc. correlate as well with the WAIS, etc. as these correlate with each other (slightly vague) should make them nearly as g loaded.

If g is measured with a battery of batteries some or all of which have been designed to be g loaded this is "trouble". Is it not?

That the Raven's, which is not a battery, should be more g loaded than the SB, WAIS, SAT, which are, suggest there is "something wrong" with g.

Jensen's claim that with enough tests of the reaction time sort he could give the same g as a very large battery is just theory. Jensen is a dullard.

Ben017 said...

***Jensen's claim that with enough tests of the reaction time sort he could give the same g as a very large battery is just theory.***

I thought he found a correlation of about .5 with g & chronometric measures?

anon said...

Right. Last time I checked .5 =! 1.

Jeff said...

If by g you mean concretely the principal component of a particular battery of batteries, this g will depend on the batteries includes. Another battery of batteries wouldn't give the same g for an individual.

You started off this discussion by pretending that an IQ test by any other name (SAT, GRE, etc.) would smell just as sweet.

Now you claim that g is test-dependent, and so one battery of tests reveals a g quite different from another battery of tests.

Why don't you make up your damn mind what you believe about this subject before you start posting.

"That the SAT, etc. correlate as well with the WAIS, etc. as these correlate with each other (slightly vague) should make them nearly as g loaded."

Your parenthetical "slightly vague" doesn't even begin to describe the murky depths to which the meaning in this short sentence has sunk.

Look, you can make shit up, or you can try and understand what people actually think who work in the field you are discussing. But so far nothing you have typed even attempts to match up with what the experts in the field believe.

"If g is measured with a battery of batteries some or all of which have been designed to be g loaded this is "trouble". Is it not?"

No, because as a famous dullard once said, "The general factor, g, can be extracted from a correlation matrix of a battery of mental ability tests by a number of different methods of factor analysis .... The g factor is found to be remarkably invariant across all the various methods of factor analysis except those which mathematically preclude the appearance of a general factor."

Finally, the usefulness of g destroys any claim of circularity in its founding logic. g by itself is not interesting. How g correlates with other biological and social phenomena is interesting. The fact that there are many correlations in nature with g shows that it is more than an intellectual parlor game.

That the Raven's, which is not a battery, should be more g loaded than the SB, WAIS, SAT, which are, suggest there is "something wrong" with g.

You earlier suggested I should go to a university library and pick up a few books on this subject. Well, physician, heal thyself.

Your analogy doesn't work. A battery of tests helps to nail down g, not a battery of questions on a test.

To argue that because the existence of g is ultimately to be found through a battery of tests, we therefore can't determine the g load of an individual test unless it is also a battery, is like arguing that because we generally need several different kinds of food for a nutritious meal that we can't assign a higher nutritional value for any particular monochrome dish in that meal (like carrots) over another more variegated dish (like sloppy joes).

Jensen's claim that with enough tests of the reaction time sort he could give the same g as a very large battery is just theory.

What relevance does this have to our discussion?

Steve Roth said...

Common misconception: Slim, Buffett, and Gates aren't just "investors." They run businesses. That takes smarts.

anon said...

Like I said Jeff, you don't know what you're talking about. Furthermore, you haven't understood my comments.

Jeff said...

Repetitious assertion of your authority is not an argument, anon. You have a very high opinion of your expertise in this field, while at the same time demonstrating a shaky grasp of some basic concepts about IQ, as well as a lackadaisical attitude towards laying out detailed arguments. Calling Arthur Jensen a "dullard" on the subject of IQ may impress your family and friends, but it isn't going to advance your position on a public blog.

anon said...

Oh it'a not just Jensen. All psychologists and psychiatrists whether academics or clinicians are STUPID.

Jeff said...

Anon,

I'm glad you cleared that up.

* All psychiatrists and psychologists are stupid...

* Arthur Jensen is a psychologist...

* Therefore, Arthur Jensen is a dullard.

And you even capitalize "STUPID" to give it that extra bit of oomph.

As you have said in another context, your arguments say more about your own limitations than they do about anyone else's.

anon said...

I do not speak from prejudice.

Social science is pseudosience whenever it goes beyond mere description.

The only reason it goes beyond mere description is that social "scientists" have an inferiority complex.

Jeff said...

Well, I'm glad you cleared that up.

I can now revise the Anon Syllogism; it is no longer based on the foundation that all psychiatrists and psychologists are stupid.

No, we can now comfortably add in all political scientists, sociologists, economists, anthropologists, criminologists, geographers, as well as many sub-fields in history, education, geography, linguistics, and the law.

Apparently, Jensen has excellent company in his imbecility. Thank God we have you around to point out the prejudices of others without the need for proof or arguments.

anon said...

That's right. You got it.

But were you including physical geographers? There's nothing wrong with them.

anon said...

In an ideal world all social science departments would be shut down and their professors forced to get real jobs.

Their economic position is similar to that of pornographers, tobacco execs, fast food execs, entertainers, insurance salesmen, etc.

Andrew said...

Buffet was simply making the claim that only a moderately high IQ was a necessary condition of success, or as his partner Charlie says, "you only have to be a little wiser" (than average. His point was that selling the extra iq points >120 was a better investment so to speak. Not that diminishing returns existed in investment success above that level or that a >=120 IQ was sufficient.

His comment is only relevant to the investor population. If taken literally it could only mean the probability of being a successful investor with an iq below 120 is zero and >120 iq non zero. Because of the complimentary factors the relationship could only be fitted as an association and not shoehorned into a std normal distribution.

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