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  • Writer's pictureOn the Edge With Andrew Gold

Ep. 44: David Robson and the Intelligence Test

Science writer David Robson talks about his book, The Intelligence Trap. It’s a brilliantly written and researched book about how the cleverest people in the world…are often the ones who make the biggest mistakes. Which is why I never make any errors!

Andrew Gold Links: I really learned a lot from the book. It seems that the more intelligent among us – if we define intelligence by IQ and proficiency in certain subjects – are so smart that they’re able to create convincing arguments as to why their beliefs must be correct. It's why some clever people are proponents of flat earth theory, astrology or just basic religious beliefs. David tells some fascinating stories about Einstein and Sherlock writer Arthur Conan Doyle, and talks about how we can focus more on things like wisdom and curiosity to prevent the intelligence trap.

We speak about how to argue with someone who has opposing views to us without getting heated or emotional. We look at examining our own cognitive biases, chat about the grisly end to the life of Socrates and think about the pictures of fairies with drawing pins in their navels that Arthur Conan Doyle mistook – using his famed powers of deduction – for belly buttons – showing fairies are born and give birth.

David studied maths at Cambridge University, and has written for the BBC, New Scientist, The Atlantic and many other top publications. His book has been acclaimed, and when I mentioned it on Twitter the other day, one of my favourite writers, Will Storr, tweeted his own admiration for it.

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