Traditionally we would recognize those in society with high levels of education as being some of the most intelligent people in the world, but things are changing an awful lot. Now in some regards having a high level of qualifictaion in a certain field does most definitely indicate high intelligence, and my good friend Mark Swaim MD PHD is a perfect example of that. Indeed when it comes to medicine it is very difficult to argue with the fact that one must be very bright and academically gifted to achieve a position within that field. In the main however, the correlation of qualifications and intelligence has changed greatly, and here is why.

Money, Money, Money

Traditionally we’d have looked at successful business figures and assumed them t be smart, yet in recent years we have seen people make huge successes of themselves and make insane volumes of money, without necessarily being what we would class as traditionally intelligent. Take many of the YouTube stars for example, who can make millions playing on their games consoles, the same can be said for a huge number of online businesses which have been set up by people who didn’t get a degree and who wouldn’t fall into the category of being academically intelligent.


There is a very strong movement which suggests that the education which is taught in colleges is outdated and that it doesn’t provide students with the chance to learn skills and knowledge which they can use practically. This does therefore beg the question as to what is more intelligent between someone who has studied the classics and hundreds of years of American history, versus someone who has taken specific courses which are aimed at giving them a vocational skill which they can use in the career. Surely in this example the smartest person in the room is the one who can actually putter learning into practice.


It is often dangerous to refer to someone as highly intelligent without adding a caveat of ‘academically’ or some such phrase. The reason for this is that emotional intelligence is not included in the thought process when people refer to someone as being intelligent. In fact you often find that many who are book-smart are usually unable to tap into the emotions which they need to function as a human and they often make poor spouses and parents because of this emotional disconnect which they have. This is yet another realization that people are making about those who consider themselves to be intelligent.

More and more we are learning that having the ability to quote Plato on demand or having a deep understanding of the 100 years war is certainly impressive, but to refer to someone who can do this things as intelligent may not actually be an accurate statement without the relevant prefix. Intelligence and knowledge is very much changing and as a result we are going to be able to prepare people better for their working lives than we ever have.