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You Cannot Be a Smart Asshole

There is no such thing as a smart asshole. You can’t be both of those things at the same time; and if you are the latter, then you are not the former.

There are lots of different lines of intelligence. Howard Gardner of Harvard wrote a book making the case that cognitive abilities were only one of about a dozen intelligences, including musical, visual-spatial, verbal-linguistic, kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and existential. Ken Wilber’s research has identified another dozen or so lines of intelligence. There might be 24 or more different, measurable, verifiable lines of intelligence.

But none of these reflect your real intelligence. Let’s call your real intelligence your working intelligence.

Your working intelligence can be measured by whatever line and scale you prefer minus how much of an asshole you are (AHQ). The more of an asshole you are, the less intelligent you are. You see, if you were intelligent you wouldn’t be an asshole. If you were intelligent, you would know how to make your point in a way that didn’t harm other people.

145 on the IQ and 150 on an AHQ gives you a -5.

You’re super-smart when it comes to rational-logical thinking. In fact, people describe you as brilliant as they hurry to get as far away from you as they possibly can. It doesn’t matter what your IQ is if your EQ is so low that no one wants to work with you.

Maybe you are a gifted athlete or musician. If you treat people badly, then you are not intelligent. You are just gifted in one narrow line. That doesn’t make you smart.

I know you have examples. Smart people like Jobs are surrounded by people that act as a buffer to keep them from blowing up everyone around them.

People are going to remember how you made them feel. They are going to be influenced by how much they believe you care about them. No one ever looks back and says, “Man, he treated me like I was dirt, but I loved him because he was so smart.”

115 on the IQ test and 5 on the AHQ gives you a 110. That’s 105 points higher than the example above, and it means you are likely way more effective with people.


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