Mark Lamendola, author
of over 4000 articles in print or online.
me, this book started off on dangerous ground but handled it well. You
see, I'm in Mensa (the High IQ Society) and there are some problems
with how we are often portrayed in movies or written about in books
And so I'm a little edgy when someone starts talking
about intelligence. When Chapter One started talking about Mensa and
I saw the subhead, "Are Mensa Members Narcissistic?," I thought,
"Here we go again. More negative stereotyping." But, it wasn't
that at all. It was actually <gasp> a solid piece of writing that
left the reader accurately informed. This whole book is like that. Williams
is a researcher, and everything in the book is backed by something other
than the opinionated blather that seems to dominate publications today.
And that something consists of--well, you can read the book to see what
Not to dwell on Chapter One, but I have quite a
bit of interest in this subject and if I tell you about how well Williams
handled Chapter One you will get a feel for the overall quality of the
book. Inside Mensa, we geniuses debate all the time about what intelligence
is and what genius is. The standard intelligence tests basically address
only 7 areas of intelligence--primarily those involve in information
processing and reasoning ability. This is a bit myopic.
Why is this myopic? For example, consider an elite
- I'm very much into climbing. After you reach
a certain level of conditioning (the hardware), everything else is
mental (the software). So, as you climb you become more "intelligent"
- Michael Jordan was perhaps the greatest basketball
player of all time. This was not due to his physique, good as it was.
Ditto for Muhammad Ali, Dan Gable, Bruce Lee, and many other stars
of the athletic world.
If this example of the athlete is not enough for
you, consider people who amaze us with their creativity or other talents
despite not being known for their math or reading skills:
- Painters: Rembrandt, for example.
- Actors and actresses: Meryll Streep and Cher
have given riveting performances that few others could ever achieve.
- Race car drivers: Try one of those race care simulators, and you'll see this job requires some elite brainpower
rather than ordinary intelligence.
- Salespeople: Why are some so successful and others
not? It's literally all in their heads!
- Craftspeople: Journeyman electricians, stone
masons, sheet metal fabricators, tool and die makers, and machinists
are geniuses in their trades. It takes years to become proficient--that
is, to develop the intelligence to do these jobs correctly.
The list goes on and on. The point is there are
many areas of intelligence our standard tests don't even look at. Just
because you don't get a score of X on some standard test doesn't mean
you aren't very, very smart. Williams brings this point out and helps
readers to really see where they are smart and perhaps why.
Williams takes this same approach in subsequent
chapters, addressing such things as how creative you are, how healthy
your relationships are, how good a lover you are, and how happy you
are. He even has a section that helps you discover where your locus
of control is and what that means.
The book contains 12 simple tests. After each test
is an explanation that helps you interpret your score. Williams also
provides very useful information on how you might address some needed
areas of improvement.
How Do You Compare is a good tool for personal
assessment. It can help anyone to squelch the negative messages of insufficiency
we constantly are bombarded with. And, it can help other people to overcome
overestimates of their abilities. But, I think it will primarily help
people to take stock of themselves and feel pretty darn good.
You can use this book to keep yourself mentally
and emotionally on track. Perhaps if enough people did, we'd all live
in a much brighter world.