Seven Ways to Be More Curious

Curiosity, according to Ian Leslie, is a combination of intelligence, persistence, and hunger for novelty, all wrapped up in one. Leslie, in his book Curious, explores the power of curiosity through a combination of entertaining anecdotes and summaries of pertinent research across many fields. From his work, I have distilled seven ways we might all become more curious.

Shakespeare, Vermeer, and the "Secrets" of Genius

Could just anyone produce a masterpiece like Shakespeare? What are the secrets of genius?

Do Standardized Tests Matter?

We face standardized tests throughout much of our lives from K-12, college admissions, graduate admissions, and employment settings. But why are they used so extensively? Do they really matter?

Sorry Jay Mathews, Gifted Education Matters

Washington Post columnist Jay Mathews recently argued in “Four gifted writers share doubts about gifted education” that gifted education programs don’t matter. Is this really true?

Reinventing The Boundaries of Science Journalism

I talk with Thomas Lin, editor of Quanta Magazine, about his goals in illuminating underdog areas of science through innovative storytelling.

Are You an Invisible in a World of Visibles?

You know the name Barack Obama. You likely do not know the name David Plouffe. That’s because Plouffe was the invisible supporting the visible: he was Obama’s campaign manager. In his latest book "Invisibles" author David Zweig tells the stories of many people who have found great satisfaction and power in behind-the-scenes work, including his own.

The Right Way to Treat Child Geniuses

Jordan Ellenberg recently wrote an essay arguing that we pay too much attention to our child geniuses. Is this really true?

7 Time-Tested Steps to Achieving Excellence

Jiro Dreams of Sushi is a documentary on the life and craft of the great 85 year old sushi master Jiro Ono who owns a tiny 10 seat shop in Tokyo that has the highest Michelin Guide rating of 3 stars. Here is the wisdom distilled from the great sushi chef on how to master your craft.

When Can You Trust The Experts?

“If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science. It doesn’t make a difference how beautiful your guess is, it doesn’t make a difference how smart you are, who made the guess, or what his name is. If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong.” – Richard Feynman

More Gifted Students: Harder To Get Into The Ivies?

Over at The Upshot, David Leonhardt provides data showing that it is harder than ever to get into one of the Ivies. Could a Flynn effect for geniuses, or more gifted students today than ever before, be part of the explanation?

Do We Have Trouble Taking Objective Feedback?

This cartoon has been shared well over 300,000 times. It is from Quick Meme and is titled “Our Education System In A Nutshell.” It apparently resonates widely with people. It initially resonated with me. Until I actually stopped to think.

We Need To Value Spatial Creativity

We need to do more to help spatially creative students.

Even Nerds Need To Be Appropriately Challenged

What happens when there is a large gap between research understanding and public understanding? I discuss this in the context of educational acceleration for gifted kids.

Train Your Brain With a Simple New Game: "Three Words"

If you enjoy playing Scrabble, you might like a new game I recently discovered called three words created by software engineer Jason Tan. It takes basic elements of Scrabble and turns them into a puzzle. You have to use the letters given to create three words that fill the blank squares to maximize your score.

How Much Do Parents Determine Their Children’s Success?

Should you have a kid? More than one kid? How much can you influence them? “Parents picture kids as clay they mold for life, when they’re actually more like flexible plastic that responds to pressure, but pops back into its original shape when the pressure is released.” - Bryan Caplan

Why the SAT Needs to Be Harder

Everyone is now discussing the new SAT overhaul. Much focus seems to be on specific test content changes. However, at least in selective college admissions, one aspect of the test remains ignored: the SAT is still too easy for the most academically talented students.

8 Simple Strategies to Improve Your Innovation

Here are eight simple strategies to improve your innovation.

The Olympics: 5 Things You Can Learn About Talent & Practice

Elite sports competition generates a lot of discussion and debate. Much is bar stool yapping about who was the best ever but some is more serious about topics that include the role of talent and practice in elite performance. So, here are a few thoughts about talent and practice that you might ponder during the Olympics.

Where Can Smart People Have The Greatest Impact?

Are smart people being channeled down certain pathways to their and our detriment? Instead, should they be building ventures that help build local communities? Where can they have the greatest impact? I talk with Andrew Yang, founder of Venture For America and author of Smart People Should Build Things, to explore these important questions.

Are Wealthier Congress Members Also Smarter?

Recently the Center For Responsive Politics reported the majority of U.S. Congress members are millionaires. But are more educated (and perhaps brainier) Congress members more likely to have a higher net worth?

Want to Get Smarter? Read Something on This List

There’s a lot of hope today that playing mindless brain training games will make you smarter. But instead of trying a quick fix, why not read something that will really work out your brain? It may not be easy, but perhaps you’ll actually learn something by wrestling with difficult material.

We Are Not As Smart As We Think

A conversation with Tyler Cowen, author of Average Is Over, on the skills that will be needed to survive in the next century.

Collective Intelligence: Help The World Create An IQ Test

You’ve seen those IQ tests online and you probably wonder who makes them. Well now you can actually become the test inventor rather than test taker in a new project from the M.I.T. Center For Collective Intelligence.

What's the Smartest Country In the World?

It's not the country you would think.

Nine Ways To Become Smarter Than You Think

Some lessons from tech journalist Clive Thompson on how to get smarter, with and without technology.

Does Technology Make You Smarter Than You Think?

Bill Keller of The New York Times has said Twitter is “the enemy of contemplation.” Yet tech journalist Clive Thompson thinks ever new technologies, although sometimes distracting, on net have made us much smarter because we are social beings and a great deal of our thinking occurs outside our minds.

We Have Entered The Golden Age of Visual Storytelling

They say a picture is worth a thousand words—maybe even more. And this is not only because visuals can speak to us emotionally in ways words cannot, but also because if done correctly, they can cut through the verbal noise to communicate a complicated idea very clearly and concisely.

Who’s Smarter? Republicans and Democrats In Congress

“Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.” - Mark Twain "Congress's Average I.Q. Expected to Rise in 2015" - The Borowitz Report

Attractiveness and the IQ Levels of College Disciplines

Does the relationship between attractiveness and IQ depend on gender?

Why Life Is Really The Ultimate IQ Test

Scott Barry Kaufman is one of those rare people who is truly passionate about what he does. I’ve met a lot of people who are engaged by their work and enjoy it, but not many people who take their work and craft so seriously, and with so much energy and enthusiasm, and in such an unconventional way.