The Trait Steve Jobs Believed Indicated High Intelligence

Steve Jobs with Steepled Fingers

Steve Jobs provided all sorts of insights into people and leadership during his lifetime. Inc shared the trait he believed revealed high intelligence.

“A lot of [what it means to be smart] is the ability to zoom out, like you’re in a city and you could look at the whole thing from the 80th floor down at the city. And while other people are trying to figure out how to get from point A to point B reading these stupid little maps, you could just see it in front of you. You can see the whole thing,” Jobs says in the talk.  That’s a fascinating conception of smarts, but it raises an inevitable question: How do you develop the ability to get a bird’s eye view of a situation in this way? The answer, Jobs goes on to say, is to be an intellectual omnivore, exploring the world in unique and unexpected ways.  “You have to not have the same bag of experiences as everyone else does, or else you’re gonna make the same connections and you won’t be innovative. […] You might want to think about going to Paris and being a poet for a few years. Or you might want to go to a third-world country–I’d highly advise that. Falling in love with two people at once. Walt Disney took LSD,” he says.

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3 thoughts on “The Trait Steve Jobs Believed Indicated High Intelligence

  • Steve was awesome, but he was wrong and thus not intelligent when chose vegan lifestyle and not following scientific and medical prescription when diagnosed pancreatic cancer.

  • I’ve read enough books and articles to notice that every expert (and non-expert) has his or her own definition of ‘intelligence’. There is really no consensus on what ‘intelligence’ means and what are its key components. Jobs’ definition of intelligence is the one that in his experience leads to success in his own field of endeavor. (It is also the definition that best describes his own intellectual talents.)

    Einstein is a very smart person and there is no questioning his authority when it comes to physics, especially relativity. But that doesn’t mean his definition of insanity is anything we should give any weight to, despite the seemingly infinite times it has been regurgitated by pundits, writers, speechmakers, and poster sellers.

    Same goes for Jobs’ definition of intelligence. It’s interesting to know his take on intelligence, but it doesn’t really add much to the serious scientific inquiry about intelligence, especially the human version thereof. No, I’m not criticizing Steve Jobs, he was just airing his personal opinion. What irks me about this article is that it will feed into the mentally lazy habit most people have of giving much credence to what a famous person says simply because he or she is famous. i.e. regardless of the fact that said person has no expertise at all on the topic being covered.

    Yes I’m feeling grumpy; RBG just passed away.

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