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What Makes a Genius?

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the one-percent-inspiration-and-ninety-nine-percent-radiation dept.

Education 190

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Eric Barker writes at TheWeek that while high intelligence has its place, a large-scale study of more than three hundred creative high achievers including Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, Beethoven, and Rembrandt has found that curiosity, passion, hard work, and persistence bordering on obsession are the hallmarks of genius. 'Successful creative people tend to have two things in abundance, curiosity and drive. They are absolutely fascinated by their subject, and while others may be more brilliant, their sheer desire for accomplishment is the decisive factor,' writes Tom Butler-Bowdon. It's not about formal education. 'The most eminent creators were those who had received a moderate amount of education, equal to about the middle of college. Less education than that — or more — corresponded to reduced eminence for creativity,' says Geoffrey Colvin. Those interested in the 10,000-hour theory of deliberate practice won't be surprised that the vast majority of them are workaholics. 'Sooner or later,' writes V. S. Pritchett, 'the great men turn out to be all alike. They never stop working. They never lose a minute. It is very depressing.' Howard Gardner, who studied geniuses like Picasso, Freud, and Stravinsky, found a similar pattern of analyzing, testing, and feedback used by all of them: 'Creative individuals spend a considerable amount of time reflecting on what they are trying to accomplish, whether or not they are achieving success (and, if not, what they might do differently).' Finally, genius means sacrifice. 'My study reveals that, in one way or another, each of the creators became embedded in some kind of a bargain, deal, or Faustian arrangement, executed as a means of ensuring the preservation of his or her unusual gifts. In general, the creators were so caught up in the pursuit of their work mission that they sacrificed all, especially the possibility of a rounded personal existence,' says Gardner."

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So.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45999707)

Thats why im so crappy in school huh, Im not allowed to be creative

Re:So.... (5, Funny)

russotto (537200) | about 6 months ago | (#45999795)

No, some people are just dumb.

NFL coaches work obsessively, too but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45999739)

"There are no geniuses in the National Football League. A genius is someone like Norman Einstein."

- ESPN studio analyst Joe Thiesmann

Re:NFL coaches work obsessively, too but... (1)

istartedi (132515) | about 6 months ago | (#45999957)

That must be Albert's younger brother who never bothered with physics. He just said, "Yes, that Einstein" in bars to get women. Who's the genius now, eh?

Who are the real producers? (4, Insightful)

Rinikusu (28164) | about 6 months ago | (#45999749)

Invariably, we also see throughout history that these laser focused artists and creators are preyed upon by the vultures. The swarming businessmen, promotors, managers, who give their charges "the best they can" (i.e. a fraction of their actual value) whilst proclaiming to the world that they themselves are the true producers and behind closed doors they opine how if only they could get that last fraction of a few pennies from "those leeches, those damned artists."

Re:Who are the real producers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45999809)

So this blanket statement w/ no examples justifies ignoring copyright while file sharing, right.

Re:Who are the real producers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45999919)

George Westinghouse and Tesla is one of the most egregious examples.

Or look at what happened to the music group Stray Cats.

The business people justify it with they signed on the dotted line - which is legally correct - but is it ethical?

And as far as music is concerned, it's all cookie cutter shit now.

Indy bands? I haven' heard a decent indy band in decades. Most of the good I,IV,V/A,B,A,B,C,A,B music has been written, already. Yep, I REALLY hope I have to eat my words but for the most part, the art is gone from rock/blues/pop music.

Re:Who are the real producers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45999965)

The Stray Cats? The IMMORTAL Stray Cats? I actually remember them, they were a gimmicky retro band that put together a few hits but then the audience moved on, because if they want to hear '50s music they can go back to the real thing.

What about the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Springsteen, etc etc (that people actually pirate, not Stray Cats) and how they were raped and pillaged by their producers? Oh, I guess they managed to make out all right.

"Insightful" my butt. The mods on this site are beyond incompetent.

Re:Who are the real producers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45999841)

Invariably, we also see throughout history that these laser focused artists and creators are preyed upon by the vultures. The swarming businessmen, promotors, managers, who give their charges "the best they can" (i.e. a fraction of their actual value) whilst proclaiming to the world that they themselves are the true producers and behind closed doors they opine how if only they could get that last fraction of a few pennies from "those leeches, those damned artists."

Then Atlas Shrugged.

Re:Who are the real producers? (3, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about 6 months ago | (#46000369)

Atlas Shrugged is interesting because it imagines the opposite scenario: all the businessmen, vice presidents, shareholders, owners of capital, management, etc., decide to check out and head off to form their own town, without bringing any workers with them. The town nonetheless prospers, despite a lack of even basic staff like garbage pickup, because a bunch of great technology that does all the work was invented at just the right moment. So in Galt's Gulch, wondrous machines do everything and the management class lives prosperously and happily ever after, since they no longer are stuck paying workers (the wondrous inventions don't demand a paycheck).

Re:Who are the real producers? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46000731)

It also relies on a machine that breaks entropy, so you can see how realistic that scenario is.

You didn't build that (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46000011)

Video [youtube.com] showing what this looks like when it happens.

I know you were going for something like record labels ripping off musicians, but I think the video of Obama saying "You didn't build that" hits the point better for everyone.

Re:Who are the real producers? (1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | about 6 months ago | (#46000193)

Take a human brain. Clog it up with boogers. See how the neural impulses get blocked, like in vivo bio-resistors? Notice how you kick out boogers, and sometimes they're dark little strands, and you think "the worms ate into his brain"? But you make the excuse: you smoked too much last night, you had that cigar, you spent the day working in the garden or hauling dirt and using the leaf blower, and the dust collected there, and that's what makes it dark. Maybe you see the little strings in it, but you press it on the kleenex and it smears, so obviously it wasn't ever any cohesive structure.

Nawww, that's a sea-p-honie (seahorse). The neural impulses help it electrify and loosen up.

More info on seaponies and other such neural retardations:

http://mapfortu.wikidot.com/ [wikidot.com]

What makes a genius? Clear the boogers out. Until you drop your voice you do nothing but make up crazy excuses.

Re:Who are the real producers? (1)

m00sh (2538182) | about 6 months ago | (#46000615)

Invariably, we also see throughout history that these laser focused artists and creators are preyed upon by the vultures. The swarming businessmen, promotors, managers, who give their charges "the best they can" (i.e. a fraction of their actual value) whilst proclaiming to the world that they themselves are the true producers and behind closed doors they opine how if only they could get that last fraction of a few pennies from "those leeches, those damned artists."

Those "vultures" are as important to success as anything. Have you ever tried promoting something? It is a very complicated system and very hard to do. I know many good bands have shriveled and died because they couldn't find the right manager or promoter. Many good writers give up because they never get a chance to write the things they want.

Geniuses are not a product of solitary endeavors. They require support from hundreds of people.

Actually reminds of the old TV series called "The Fall Guy" about a stuntman. Had some funny quotes:

"'Cause I'm the unknown stuntman that made Redford such a star."

"But the hardest thing I ever do
Is watch my leadin' ladies
Kiss some other guy while I'm bandagin' my knee.

While we call actors geniuses, we completely forget the thousands of support staff that allows him or her to get such attention for such a skill.

You can also argue that all those geniuses in the time of Newton etc had to be aristocrats otherwise it was a lifetime of manual labor in the fields. But, the manual laborers were part of a society that enabled him to spend all his time on physics and become a genius.

Total letdown (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45999751)

"The great men turn out to be all alike." Did you forget that not only men are reading your site? - A great woman

Re:Total letdown (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45999821)

"The great men turn out to be all alike." Did you forget that not only men are reading your site? - A great woman

There are no great women. Study history objectively and you will come to the same conclusion. There are no female eqivalents to Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, Beethoven, and Rembrandt because women are not capable of production, creativity or intelect of that level. This is reflected not only in our history, but in IQ scores... there simply arent many women on the far right of the bell curve.

Re:Total letdown (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46000059)

"There are no great women" because women were not allowed to be great.

Re:Total letdown (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46000395)

"There are no great women" because women were not allowed to be great.

Keep telling yourself that honey. We have had the total cuntification of western civilization and all it has done is put us in debt and flood our countries with foreigners

Re:Total letdown (5, Insightful)

TomGreenhaw (929233) | about 6 months ago | (#46000109)

Marie Curie not a great? Two Nobel prizes in different fields - even Einstein cannot claim that. Only one other has achieved that (Linus Pauling).

Re:Total letdown (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46000337)

Marie Curie not a great? Two Nobel prizes in different fields - even Einstein cannot claim that. Only one other has achieved that (Linus Pauling).

And she was killed by her own x ray machines that leaked Radiation. Not too bright.

Re:Total letdown (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46001371)

Her husband was the brains, she was just a glowing face.

Re:Total letdown (3, Informative)

russotto (537200) | about 6 months ago | (#45999851)

Did you forget that not only men are reading your site? - A great woman

Perhaps Pritchett's generalization was intended to apply specifically to men, and this was a trap women were less likely to fall into. I don't know, I haven't read the essay. You also might also be interested in some work by two men working out of Cornell, Mr. Dunning and Mr. Kruger.

Re:Total letdown (2)

RobertLTux (260313) | about 6 months ago | (#45999875)

and don't forget the legion of "minions" and ladies that made life bearable for said genius.

You may be doing G$ work in chemistry but if you don't have somebody making sure your test tubes are clean and such

YOU ARE FRACKED.

Also don't forget that GRACE HOPPER was the one that decided to show the world how long a Nanosecond was (and could strangle a suck up man with her Microsecond).

Re:Total letdown (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 6 months ago | (#46000305)

Also don't forget that GRACE HOPPER was the one that decided to show the world how long a Nanosecond was

But she did invent that programming language (I will not utter it here) that wears your fingers out.

Probably, you know, hormones.

Re:Total letdown (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45999877)

Most of the people annointed as geniuses in Western culture have been men, perhaps because of opportunity and social expectations, but Gardner's thesis seems to apply to at least one woman too. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Total letdown (4, Informative)

cold fjord (826450) | about 6 months ago | (#46000207)

There is no doubt that women have made many important contributions to science. One may argue this one or that is or isn't a genius, but there is little doubt that science would be poorer without their contribution.

Madame Wu and the backward universe [doublexscience.org]
Marie Curie - Biographical [nobelprize.org]

Ten Historic Female Scientists You Should Know [smithsonianmag.com]
Pioneering Women in Computing Technology [cmu.edu]
The 50 Most Important Women in Science [discovermagazine.com]

Re:Total letdown (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46000455)

As the study said, what makes the genius is the mount of effort spent in the endeavor. Women in general have other things they value more, like having a family so in my experience they burn out quickly and leave the field before becoming true geniuses. And this in an environment where they are in equal footing with men, historically their role in society range from portable entertainment/procreation devices to indentured servants.

So, your little lists are mostly names from the 20 century and they have some obscure contributions to science, certainly not comparable with the male contributions in the same fields.

If you ask about historical women contribution in science, there are only three names that will pop up consistently: Hypatia of Alexandria, Ada Lovelace and Marie Curie. And thats not only one factor considered in the article, if you take in account other fields, their presence becomes even more scarce. Where are the female equivalence to Socrates? Beethoven? Michelangelo? Gaudi?

Re:Total letdown (1)

Alomex (148003) | about 6 months ago | (#46001121)

Before birth control they couldn't easily dedicate themselves to art or science. Today we have Annie Lebovitz, Carling O'Keefe, Nina Simone, Lisa Randall, Shaffi Goldwasser, Nancy Lynch, Maryam Mirzakhani, Athene Donald, Nina Simone, Madona, and on and on. The list keeps growing by the minute in all fields of art and science, popular culture and high-brow.

Re:Total letdown (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46001421)

There is no doubt that women have made many important contributions to science.

Yes there is doubt, just read the comments. Such doubt can not be stated in public due to the groupthink of current mainstream popular opinion which has been fueled by endless propaganda. That is the state of freedom in a civilization that allows women to vote.

Re:Total letdown (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46000201)

Did you forget that not only men are reading your site? - A great woman

Oh please. The ratio is north of 2,000,000 to 1 in favor of men. Go back to your stove, Betty Boop.

All it takes to be a genius ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45999753)

Is a bar to stand behind.

Magnus Carlsen: follows his own path (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45999777)

Hear one genius's recipe for success - doing (only) he wants. Very interesting and enjoyable interview with World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBnSU-LX1ss

It seemSlashdot == Hugh Pickens DOT Com These Days (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45999779)

That is all.

Re:It seemSlashdot == Hugh Pickens DOT Com These D (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45999939)

He's really talented, though. Hugh's summaries are never just a single link wrapped in a quick copy-paste summary, but a quite broad picture of a topic. On the other hand, I'm a curious why he puts so much effort to Slashdot submissions. Dice should be paying him already.

Here is an excellent example... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45999799)

*I* am a Genius... [slashdot.org]

According to Richard Fenyman (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45999815)

Stephen Hawking is a genius.
His thinking outside the box caused a lot of others in the field to feel inadequate.
Why he hasn't got a Nobel Prize is beyond me. He is up there alongside people like Rutherford, Faraday and Newton.

Re:According to Richard Fenyman (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45999893)

You don't get a Nobel Prize for being smart. You get it for a very specific experiment or discovery.

Re:According to Richard Fenyman (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46000095)

Are you trying to say that Hawking hasn't discovered anything? He has and not just one thing.
May I suggest you read 'Surely You're Joking Mr Fenyman' and then make your own mind up.

Re: According to Richard Fenyman (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46000683)

When did Feynman even mention Hawking in Surely You're Joking? I don't remember that part at all, and it's my favorite book.

Re: According to Richard Fenyman (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46000151)

Like Obama

Re:According to Richard Fenyman (5, Interesting)

mrbester (200927) | about 6 months ago | (#46000217)

Professor Hawking has better than a Nobel prize (given out all the time). He holds the Lucasian chair of mathematics, as Newton did. *That's* the real prize.

fiction (1)

TempleOS (3394245) | about 6 months ago | (#45999835)

My shrink just makes-up stories. I get nauseated by insanely obvious stories. This is like Chinese philosophy vs Bible. "Goliath beats David unless David is clever." You did research to see the Goliath always wins except when David is clever?

Re:fiction (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 6 months ago | (#46000329)

I always thought it was allegorical: never underestimate light infantry with a ranged attack capability.

Don't forget privilege, even if not financial... (5, Interesting)

RandomUsername99 (574692) | about 6 months ago | (#45999867)

Things are changing, but from a historical perspective, this cannot be ignored.

"The fact of the matter is that there have been no supremely great women artists, as far as we know, although there have been many interesting and very good ones who remain insufficiently investigated or appreciated; nor have there been any great Lithuanian jazz pianists, nor Eskimo tennis players, no matter how much we might wish there had been. That this should be the case is regrettable, but no amount of manipulating the historical or critical evidence will alter the situation; nor will accusations of male-chauvinist distortion of history. There are no women equivalents for Michelangelo or Rembrandt, Delacroix or Cezanne, Picasso or Matisse, or even, in very recent times, for de Kooning or Warhol, any more than there are black American equivalents for the same. "

From a brilliant essay on the matter:
http://www.miracosta.edu/home/gfloren/nochlin.htm [miracosta.edu]

Re:Don't forget privilege, even if not financial.. (1)

laejoh (648921) | about 6 months ago | (#45999937)

I resent the comment above...

Re:Don't forget privilege, even if not financial.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46000073)

I resent your comment about resenting the comment above...

Re:Don't forget privilege, even if not financial.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46000117)

How many times did you re-send it?

Re:Don't forget privilege, even if not financial.. (1)

RandomUsername99 (574692) | about 6 months ago | (#46000133)

Maybe you should read the essay.

Re:Don't forget privilege, even if not financial.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46000251)

Maybe you should read the essay.

Maybe you should go fuck yourself.

Re:Don't forget privilege, even if not financial.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46000023)

Total babble and talking about great people you need to take amount of residents in the equation. In your sense comparing 3 million people with lets say billions chinese you cannot ignore the facts otherwise your very judgement is very impaired.

Re:Don't forget privilege, even if not financial.. (1)

tri44id (576891) | about 6 months ago | (#46000235)

Many people, including me, would argue that Carla Bley & Paul Haines' Escalator Over the Hill [amazon.com] is a work of genius.

My definition of genius in a work is that it must contain aspects that can't be learned or explained. You're listening, watching, or reading along and thinking "yes, I understand how that follows now that it's been shown to me" -- this is merely brilliant levels of skill -- and then there comes a passage that sets you back thinking "woah, what just happened there?"

Claude Debussy's music is full of these moments, even when you understand its predecessors and influences like Chausson. Most of Hector Berlioz's compositions are tedious at best, but the 2/4 bars in his Roman Carnival Overture take a logical sequence of developing intensity beyond what can be sensibly explained by any textbook in a way that astonishes me every time I hear it.

Pablo Picasso is reported to have said "I never know when the spark of genius will strike me, but I make sure that I'm in front of an easel with a brush in my hand when it does."

All the practice in the world can't buy these kinds of moments, but it can give you the confidence to take them when they appear, and the skill to execute them with precision. You don't have to be a genius to produce genius works, but it helps.

Re:Don't forget privilege, even if not financial.. (0)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 6 months ago | (#46000343)

Ah USians... ignorant of the rest of the world and apparently ignorant of the rest of western culture as well.

Re:Don't forget privilege, even if not financial.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46000459)

Ah USians... ignorant of the rest of the world and apparently ignorant of the rest of western culture as well.

As arrogant as you think Americans are. Business as usual.

Re:Don't forget privilege, even if not financial.. (2)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about 6 months ago | (#46001013)

You might want to change your statement to "no women equivalents to Michelangelo or Rembrandt, Delacroix or Cezanne, Picasso or Matisse..." have been recognized, due to the societal taboos of growing up in those times. They were there, but were sidelined or worse when their talents started showing. A sad statement on western civilization at the time, but others were/are no better.

Re:Don't forget privilege, even if not financial.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46001175)

"...in very recent times, for de Kooning or Warhol, any more than there are black American equivalents for the same. "

umm...Jean-Michel Basquiat?

Working hard (1, Interesting)

jones_supa (887896) | about 6 months ago | (#45999897)

What drives the smart guys to keep focused and interested working for a long time on hard problems? After a hour of intensive STEM stuff I already feel quite exhausted and need a good break.

Re:Working hard (3, Interesting)

Z00L00K (682162) | about 6 months ago | (#45999947)

The difference between a genius and a mad man is thin, but obsession with a problem is what both "suffers" from.

Another thing that's different is to work hard on a problem, then sleep on it and then approach the problem again from a new angle. The brain will sort out a lot of stuff while you are sleeping.

Trying too hard on a problem is often ineffective. Sometimes it helps to take a walk.

All this is what also makes many geniuses seem eccentric - they do stuff the way that suits them best, not by following the beaten path.

Re:Working hard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46000229)

Amen brother.....

You nailed it.

Re:Working hard (5, Interesting)

doctor woot (2779597) | about 6 months ago | (#46000061)

I'm not claiming to be a genius, but one thing I noticed early on when deciding to take on STEM is that unlike art (which I had pursued previously), where an understanding of the history, techniques that were developed, and cultural perception of art were very helpful in developing a more acute understanding of the art in question, studying these things wasn't necessary, whereas in science and math the rigor is (usually) completely necessary.

When you talk to aspiring young scientists, generally you hear a fondness for lasers, space travel, disease research, etc, but almost none for finding the derivative of a function or the like. Because people see the space lasers as the carrot and the intense math as the stick, they tend to get pretty exhausted after a fair amount of work. But in my experience, developing an appreciation for the math itself led me to view science as more of an art form than merely labor. I suspect fostering a greater appreciation of math and logic in children, as well as diminishing the cultural perception of math as a difficult and troubling affair would lead to an easier time for students who can both accept and appreciate the level of math they commit to.

Re:Working hard (1)

nayrbn (2704751) | about 6 months ago | (#46000549)

Mod mistake, commenting to fix.

Re:Working hard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46000247)

Speaking as a "smart guy"(feel free to disagree) that's like asking "What drives race horses to run so quickly?".

"Smart guys" aren't united by some uniform motivation. They are each uniquely motivated as individuals. So much so and to such an extreme in their specialties that they have been elected as pretty smart dudes in the court of public opinion.

In my case, I don't have any Freudian obsessions lurking beneath my motivations. Just narcissistic rage. ;)

Selection bias? (4, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 6 months ago | (#45999933)

I can't help but wonder how many people with plenty of "curiosity, passion, hard work, and persistence bordering on obsession" we've never heard of. In other words, we don't actually know--and likely can't know--how likely people with these traits are to be remembered by the world as geniuses, and how many will be regarded by their families and friends as obsessive workaholics with lousy personal lives and utterly forgotten outside those circles.

Re:Selection bias? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45999995)

Could be worse. I sometimes wonder about the contemporaries of Copernicus and Galileo who didn't escape the Inquisition and were executed and lost to history for their revolutionary ideas.

Re:Selection bias? (1)

mrbester (200927) | about 6 months ago | (#46000307)

That's the thing. "Genius" in this context is taken to be based on output known to the greatest number of people. Which is a bullshit metric and denigrates those who aren't fortunate enough to get individually famous. Take Teflon for instance. "Invented" by DuPont and world famous. Not "discovered by a research chemist" whose name (Roy Plunkett) is only known by those who take the trouble to look at the Wikipedia entry and / or take part in pub quizzes. And at least he got famous in his field with awards.

Re:Selection bias? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46000771)

Or Douglas Engelbart, who outside of computer science circles, is an unknown name.

Re:Selection bias? (1)

m00sh (2538182) | about 6 months ago | (#46000651)

I can't help but wonder how many people with plenty of "curiosity, passion, hard work, and persistence bordering on obsession" we've never heard of. In other words, we don't actually know--and likely can't know--how likely people with these traits are to be remembered by the world as geniuses, and how many will be regarded by their families and friends as obsessive workaholics with lousy personal lives and utterly forgotten outside those circles.

Reminds me of the string theory physicists that I read in some book.

Before string theory was established, there were two thoughts in physics, both equally challenging and one was string theory and the other quite similar. Both scientists worked in the two thoughts, had offices next to each other and created a lot of ideas and work from that.

However, string theory took off the guy who created it got lots of attention. His colleague who worked equally hard failed because he was unlucky to have the opposing theory.

We define genius by their impact on society and not by their inherent capability.

However, all geniuses are obsessively hard workers are a little vague. I remember Nash (game theory) only worked like that for a short period of time. By luck his work became very successful but he didn't have a lifetime of drive and passion because he was battling psychological illness.

Even the great genius Einstein had great four years and nothing else. Before those four years, he was a failure. After the four years, he never created anything and couldn't appreciate the modern advances in the field that he had created (god does not play dice).

Re:Selection bias? (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 6 months ago | (#46000913)

how likely people with these traits are to be remembered by the world as geniuses

Yeah, the summary at least is throwing around all sorts of words - genius, successful, eminent, accomplished - these all mean different things.

I think what they're trying to say is "famous smart people who created notable things". Which isn't the same thing as 'genius' at all, though a genius could be among them.

Other geniuses may choose completely different paths, which may or may not be borne of wise decisions.

Genius Is Subjective (3, Insightful)

jhd (7165) | about 6 months ago | (#45999987)

Whom is to determine the genius status of any particular individual. Genius is based on a system of values as perceived by ones peers. If i were to believe math or rocket science were an important trait, I would judge someone with impeccable skills in this area as genius. But someone that would value the arts or athletic skills at a greater lever may not see this person in the same light. Many times there has been someone given the genius label and I find it difficult to see the noted person in this classification because of my value system. so it goes that I cannot believe there is one common scale that genius can be measured.

-- john

Re:Genius Is Subjective (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46000149)

But someone that would value the arts or athletic skills at a greater lever may not see this person in the same light.

Of course not. These things do not further our understanding of the world and universe around us, and as such, I do not see such people as geniuses in the least.

Re:Genius Is Subjective (2)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 6 months ago | (#46000351)

Whom is to determine the genius status of any particular individual.

I can safely say that your English teacher isn't one.

Nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46000005)

Nothing. Nothing makes a genius; it's a word with no objective definition that's been diluted over the years to the point of worthlessness. Leave it behind.

true (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46000035)

true and it does largely apply to me as well, but genius also has exceptional abilities which is still the main and driving factor and therefore your excerpt has no meaning and contains no useful information in it. Hardly a surprise.

Freedom of thought (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about 6 months ago | (#46000041)

Freedom of thought, freedom from societal standards and expectations. If only the society did not attempt to steal from the truly engaged with its ideas of morality or justice they may even be able to monetise their own inventions and creations and not be beholden to existing structures most often protected by gov't meddling in the market. Also gov't enforced patents and copyrights are tools of destruction in such systems, not the tools of creation.

Only one real answer (2)

Dachannien (617929) | about 6 months ago | (#46000051)

I have it on good authority [youtu.be] that Kanye West is a genius.

Abnormal (0)

SuperCharlie (1068072) | about 6 months ago | (#46000157)

It takes abnormal to be different. It takes different to make changes. From DNA that didnt quite come out right to someone who has an unstoppable obsession, these are the type things that open new doors. Genius is not a normal person working hard, genius is something different. Of course these people are social misfits, and easily abused, they are not on the same plane, they are by nature, different. And most likely for every person we hear about as genius there are multitudes who are idiots as well as many many who are squashed by the machine. A normal person sees a box and puts things in it, a genius sees a box and fills it with their obsession.

Output of things that get notoriety, awards etc. (5, Insightful)

acscott (1885598) | about 6 months ago | (#46000175)

"When Terman first used the IQ test to select a sample of child geniuses, he unknowingly excluded a special child whose IQ did not make the grade. Yet a few decades later that talent received the Nobel Prize in physics: William Shockley, the cocreator of the transistor. Ironically, not one of the more than 1,500 children who qualified according to his IQ criterion received so high an honor as adults." Simonton, Dean Keith (1999). Origins of genius: Darwinian perspectives on creativity. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-512879-6. Lay summary (14 August 2010).

Exceptional output requires access to tools, training, and environment (food, health, relationships) that enable the person to devote (obssess?) over solving the problems or creating something. And, the person's exceptional output must be recognized as such. So being highly intelligent won't make it. It may even be a hindrance. For instance, it would be easy to imagine the first ever person to be able to repeatedly create fire would not score well on any measure of intelligence today, but to the tribe, that person may not only be considered a genius but a god.

Now explain this to those on the pokies machines (1)

evanh (627108) | about 6 months ago | (#46000189)

They might get a better understanding of themselves instead of thinking they're total scum.

I have a lot of trouble pointing out that obsessiveness is often mistaken for addiction these days. I think it's due to an attempt to assign a medical condition to those being irresponsible with their families and thereby able to bring the law to bare.

Aside from the fact that one can't be addicted to an activity it also is disrespectful to those that do suffer under addiction and, of course, misleading to the rest of us.

like Einstein said... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46000225)

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.

We used to always judge humans based on who their parents were - now we only mostly do that, and for the rest of the prejudice we turn to IQ tests, aptitude tests, &c. Anything and everything is employed to stop people from flourishing unless the insecurely powerful can measure them as sufficiently similar.

(And, FWIW, IQ 146 and millionaire family. I know how fucking lucky I am, and yet I know I'm worth nothing unless I work my butt off to contribute something to the world.)

Re:like Einstein said... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46000503)

I'm beginning to think IQ is probably all a crock. It changes all the time. Too much coffee? Feeling depressed? --> lower IQ today! In terms of career, having a very high IQ is not at all associated with success. Really. I have to laugh when I see people claiming IQs above 180 for famous philosophers, much more than the great physicists like Einstein or Dirac - totally unbelievable - and even saying JS Bach was only 142. It's crud from cows.

Re:like Einstein said... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46000595)

IQ correlates with success in the same way that race correlates with success: if you value white people more then whitey's gonna do a lot better. It's not even as simple as IQ being totally meaningless - it's that it's a measure of abilities which are nurtured by a particular culture.

In Viking culture, "IQ" might be replaced with fighting quotient - let's call it FQ - and mysteriously everyone with FQ seems to be successful, and everyone is taught to fight, then somehow FQ grows steadily higher over time in that particular culture... until everyone has a wonderful FQ. Then suddenly civilisation collapses because everyone's got better at one particular kind of activity but become hopeless at everything else.

(It's different this time, of course. Unlike every other culture which became increasingly single-minded and quasi-religious in its adherence to some dogma, this one totally won't fail.)

Genius (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 6 months ago | (#46000243)

Does any researcher really think their generalizations capture that which they cannot imagine?

If a dog researcher analyzed humans, he'd be like, "and we see the human goes over here and waves his hands and light suddenly appears in the night. That's all there is to it, I've watched him do it a hundred times."

Ob (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 6 months ago | (#46000279)

How is gennus formed?

Re:Ob (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46000387)

How is gennus formed?

As .PDF?

Re:Ob (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 6 months ago | (#46000715)

Fucking geniuses, how do they work?

Oh oh I know! (3, Funny)

zifn4b (1040588) | about 6 months ago | (#46000295)

A maniacal cackle, an evil grin and an uncanny ability to great doomsday devices?

Re:Oh oh I know! (0)

zifn4b (1040588) | about 6 months ago | (#46000315)

And apparently the lack of ability to correctly use the preview option :( insert("create", "to", "great");

Re:Oh oh I know! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46000607)

That would be Archimedes, of course

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzzaSWyIhHM

Re:Oh oh I know! (1)

gawdonblue (996454) | about 6 months ago | (#46000699)

And frickin' lasers

high intelligence (0)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about 6 months ago | (#46000403)

high intelligence

Why do we humans define intelligence such that humans are the most intelligent creatures on this planet?

.
Is that really a valid definition of intelligence, or just human self-importance and vanity?

Re:high intelligence (2)

evanh (627108) | about 6 months ago | (#46000439)

While intelligence is a vague term in itself there is something to be said for the written word, collaboration, education, proofs, and the extrapolated reasoning that comes from combining them all.

Re:high intelligence (5, Insightful)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 6 months ago | (#46000705)

Man has always assumed that he is more intelligent than, for example, dolphins because he has achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins have ever done is muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins have always believed that they are far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons.

-Douglas Adams (slightly paraphrased)

"geniuses like Picasso, Freud"... LOL (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46000465)

So, two TALENTLESS Jews, being hyped up by JEWS, no doubt, yet again. Picasso couldn't paint to save his life, and his works are monstrosities - a five year old can see that. Freud was a screwed up, neurotic failure, his own 'theories' couldn't even make HIM happy, what hope was there for his 'patients'?

Re:"geniuses like Picasso, Freud"... LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46000677)

It must make you bitter to realize that their work and fame will endure for centuries to come whereas your hateful bile will be buried with you.

Re: "geniuses like Picasso, Freud"... LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46001365)

Humm... You know Picasso was not at all jew, do you?

And he also was already a master of the standard way by his early teens.

The role of luck and society (3, Interesting)

m00sh (2538182) | about 6 months ago | (#46000523)

Wasn't it someone's theory (or experiments) that luck was the largest factor in a genius?

I remember Gladwell's book starts off with the Canadian hockey team and the birthday paradox. The birthdays of the players in the Canadian hockey team fall primarily on the beginning of the year, primarily the first few months of the year. There wasn't anyone born on the second half of the year.

The theory was that this is because of the age cutoff of Jan 1st. When they select the junior teams, the age cutoff is Jan 1st. So, someone born on January has almost a year head start over the person born on December. That little difference between individuals turns into who gets coaching or not, who gets selected for teams and ultimately who makes the national sides.

Yes, some people are geniuses because they have drive and passion and are workaholics but not because they are born that way but because each little bit of effort they put in gets rewarded very heavily (and that situation comes by from luck).

Why do geniuses come in clusters? Why were there so many Greek geniuses? Why hasn't Greece produced another set of geniuses like them after that?

The other argument was that geniuses were able to feed off the society. If we as a society value something very highly, then we reward the person good in it with money and admiration. That again creates a lot of drive and passion for the work they do and they strive to obsessively improve on it.

It has been disproved that geniuses have high IQ. There are a lot of geniuses with normal IQ.

So, technically, anyone with at least normal IQ can be a genius. You have to be born in the right society and pursue something that the society deems very valuable. Then, you have to have luck that will get you funding, audience etc for you work that will fuel your passion and drive.

Recognition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46000559)

The other hallmark is the recognition of it in myself.

Sounds like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46000587)

... the definition of most post-docs.

When a mommy and daddy love each other very much (2)

Culture20 (968837) | about 6 months ago | (#46000671)

Really, wasn't this covered in school?

e.g. Autism (1)

vortex2.71 (802986) | about 6 months ago | (#46000827)

This sounds like a trait list for having Autism Spectrum Disorder. No seriously

Output (3, Insightful)

multimediavt (965608) | about 6 months ago | (#46001241)

What makes a genius?

Output.

You can be the smartest person, ever. If you don't do anything with it you will never know genius. Genius is just a recognized smart person, that is a person recognized for being really smart.

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