How can someone become "intelligent"/ have good general knowledge? Watch

Ferris Bueller
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I was just thinking- there's a big difference between simply being academic and being genuinely smart.

I'd say everybody knows at least one person who is a "know-it-all" or a "genius"- these people tend to be perfectionists, excelling in everything they do, and having a high level of knowledge on pretty much anything.

I know two people who are incredibly intelligent- they both got 5A*s at A-Level (both got into Cambridge) and partake and excel in many extra-curriculars, and if you spoke to them about anything (and I mean ANYTHING) they will know more about the subject than if you were talking to anyone else.

They're generally well informed on literature, politics, news, finance etc even though both of their subjects they're studying has nothing to do with any of that. They just know a lot about everything, and are able to form many mature ideas/opinions, and can engage in interesting discussions and debates that other people might not be able to or have any interest in.

Now I wouldn't call myself dumb-but I wouldn't call myself "intelligent", especially not on the level of those two people I know. I would say I'm a fairly average person- my general knowledge isn't great but it's okay, I get good grades if I work hard, and I can form opinions about things if I go away and read about it for a while first.

But what I want to know is how people become like the two I pointed out at the start of this post. Is it merely genetic? Are these people putting it on, or do they genuinely just remember everything that they've heard or seen about anything?
Do they make an effort to know so much about everything?
Is it possible for someone to become as "smart" as this?

What do you guys think?? Discuss!

(Apologies if this is in the wrong forum)
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MathsAddict
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I knew a guy like that *******..... I think its because they bother to know these things trust me. Lots of reading is needed and good memory.
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Georgie_M
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A bit of both I think true geniuses will overcome their upbringing but most people are on a similar level and their future success is largely determined by the social class that you are born in to.

Also having a good memory has a strong correlation with high IQ, which is possibly why your friends have good general knowledge and high IQs.
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SirDigbyChicken
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You won't become intelligent by stealing your best friend's dad's car, driving to Chicago and partaking in numerous escapades that's for sure
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maskofsanity
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Read widely.
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shahbaz
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Study Physcis.
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jennywasteslives
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Their general knowledge probably has a lot to do with the family they grew up in: if they're discussing politics, news etc with their parents it's probably easier to develop sophisticated opinions on issues
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Pete_91
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Intelligence =/= knowledge

Anyone can acquire knowledge with memory training and just reading/experiencing the world. I'm of the opinion that intelligence is subject to some genetic influence as well as societal conditions so that's harder to gain.
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RayApparently
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(Original post by maskofsanity)
Read widely.
I concur.
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Катя
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(Original post by MathsAddict)
I knew a guy like that *******..... I think its because they bother to know these things trust me. Lots of reading is needed and good memory.
Agree with this. The two people I know who are exactly like you described (5A* at A-level and 45 points at IB, respectively, plus Oxbridge/Yale offers and very knowledgeable about everything) both have very intellectual parents - the type that will randomly bring up dialectical materialism over dinner or something (I've been at their houses, I've seen it hehe) - and A LOT of "natural curiosity" (that translates into reading very, very widely).

Mixture of nature and nurture tbh.
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ryan9900
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I'm not exactly academically intelligent, but I could talk in depth about anything going on in the world right now because it interests me. I like to know information on a wide variety of subjects, so I'm always able to hold a conversation with someone, no matter what their interests are. I've been called a know-it-all, but I'm just worldly wise and have good common sense and general knowledge.
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alow
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I'm a bit like that. Honestly I just find a lot of topics interesting and read lots of different things.

Also the majority of my friends are studying far different things than me, which helps as I like to read up on stuff so I can talk to them about it.
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physicsbook
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Reading a lot (e.g newspaper, books) and listening to the news helps with general knowledge. Intelligence isn't a very easy thing to pin point though as there are many different forms and having good general knowledge and knowing about things doesn't necessarily mean you'er going to be able to effectively use that knowledge in new situations to solve problems and make a difference.

I think that general knowledge can be acquired with a bit of effort and so can problem solving skills but I don't think that a person can be classed as 'intelligent' because they have a head full of general knowledge. I think if you take that general knowledge and use it to back up an argument, make an argument or use it to see something else from a different angle then that's where intelligence comes in.
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lucas13
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they generally pick it up as they go along and do it subconsciously, reading newspapers helps build up a knowledge pretty well especially if you read it for a few years.
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Misovlogos
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(Original post by Ferris Bueller)
I know two people who are incredibly intelligent- they both got 5A*s at A-Level (both got into Cambridge) and partake and excel in many extra-curriculars, and if you spoke to them about anything (and I mean ANYTHING) they will know more about the subject than if you were talking to anyone else.

They're generally well informed on literature, politics, news, finance etc even though both of their subjects they're studying has nothing to do with any of that. They just know a lot about everything, and are able to form many mature ideas/opinions, and can engage in interesting discussions and debates that other people might not be able to or have any interest in.
In my experience, with very few exceptions, a notional breadth of knowledge nearly always belies lacking depth. The world is irreducibly complex, such that to have an appreciable handle on just about anything - say, to the point of being taken seriously by experts - necessitates enormous and prolonged engagement. There's a real trade-off between the scope and substance of one's knowledge; hence why, by virtue of selection pressures, professionals in any given subject area typically possess a relatively narrow field of knowledge. The exceptions I mention, of which there are perhaps one or two, are world-leading academics who have shaped their fields.
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sunnydespair
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I think that the most successful people in life are the ones that make the most effort, nothing to do with natural ability
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Dilzo999
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Read books and study for around 16 hours a day and you should be on their level in about a couple of years.
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