Michael Eriksson
A Swede in Germany
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Explanations for the low correlation between intelligence and success


The below is a collection of ideas on why the highly intelligent tend to be less successful career-wise than one would expect—and why so many comparatively unintelligent people do succeed. It similarly deals with issues like introversion vs. extroversion and maturity vs. immaturity. (For natural reasons, cf. below, the contents are a bit haphazard in this regard.) Many of the entries should be viewed in light of the tall dancer phenomenon.

Beware that the below is not in anyway a finished product. Before I started my work on this website, I began to write down possible explanations, in a single text file, as they popped into my head—knowing that this will be an important aspect of the overall site later on. The below is basically the resulting text. In particular, note:

  1. The contents will over time be moved to other pages, expanded upon, revised, or otherwise modified. Possibly, however, a page similar to this one (but of higher quality) will still exist in the long term.

  2. Some of the contents may later be rejected.

  3. There will likely be numerous language errors; in particular where “there”/“their”, “to”/too”, and similar are concerned. (Obviously, I pay little attention to proof-reading when writing for myself.) Further, there will obviously be little structure, a lack of coherence between ideas, many inconsistencies in terminology, etc.

  4. The contents have not yet been adapted to the mark-up language I use for other pages. (However, because that language is close to plain-text and is based on conventions I have developed over the years, the resulting problems will largely be of cosmetic nature.)

  5. The below is unlikely to be an exhaustive listing of the ideas on the subject that are distributed (in paper writing) over my many notebooks.

  6. I may or may not add new ideas to the end of this document in the future.


A partial clean-up has taken place since the above was written. Even the cleaned-up parts, however, are likely still sub-average.

List of ideas

Analogy with men and women

An interesting observation is that the highly intelligent tend to view other men in roughly the same way that other men look upon women: Irrational, immature, having odd interests, being inconsistent, etc. Presumably the reverse holds—the less intelligent tend to view the intelligent much as women view men.


A few notable quotes:

The time-traveling is just too dangerous. Better that I devote myself to study the other great mystery of the universe: women!

(Doc Brown, http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Back_to_the_Future_Part_IIe)

The great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is "What does a woman want?"

(Sigmund Freud, http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/s/sigmundfre151796.htmle)

A good analogy to explain why the highly intelligent often run into problems career-wise, would be to consider an average man stuck in a company where the majority of all superiors and colleagues are women: The problems he encounters, the frustration he feels, and so on, will be roughly the same. (This assuming that the man is not sufficiently skilled in manipulating women.)

Notably, it is equally hard for the highly intelligent to get into the mind of the average man, as it is for the average man to get into the mind of a woman. By sufficient analysis, study, and training these problems can be overcome, but the process is long, and many of the intelligent underestimate the scope of the problem—or feel that they have better things to do.


Great men are usually humble. Humbleness is a hindrance in building a career; overconfidence and bragging (within limits) an asset. Notably, most people who are highly confident are, in fact, over-confident, having an estimate of themselves that is not warranted by reality.


Politeness is often misinterpreted as weakness or submission, and consideration as cowardice or deference.

Consider a hypothetical scenario: Two co-workers, one well-mannered, another too full of himself, arrive at the coffe-machine with one cup remaining in the can. The well-mannered one steps back out of politeness, and the other sees this as an acknowledgement of his superiority. (An ironic twist is that many, if not most, people tend to be more polite and considerate towards people they consider inferior, in need of protection, or in a worse situation—with the implication that the politeness may not only have been misinterpreted, but indeed interpreted into the opposite of what it was.)


A related, real-life, anecdote: Not once, but twice, have I been in the position that I was about to enter a tram, saw an old lady struggle down the entrance, and stood back so that she could exit—just to have someone, coming from behind me, push himself ahead of me and into the tram, thereby forcing the lady to wait until he had passed before she could exit. (Which was exactly what I tried to prevent by halting...)

Intelligence and loquaciousness

There is a negative correlation between intelligence and loquaciousness, but a positive between the latter and likability and, in turn, career success.

In particular, the one single greatest bane of thinking is inner monologue—and it seems highly likely both that people who talk a lot have greater problems releasing themselves from inner monologue and that people who have little inner monologue (and instead think without words) can have a disadvantage in verbal skills.

Introverts tend to develop their mind, relevant knowledge, etc. more than extroverts; however, the latter have an advantage with regard to careers.

Similarly, the higher the intelligence, the higher the likelihood that an individual will have a number of interest that entertain him more than mere conversation with others. I would even go as far as to say that (casual) conversation between average humans is such a primitive form of entertainment that it should be put on a level with e.g. reality TV. (The situation can be very different when intelligent people, in particular experts in the same or similar areas, meet.) The same reasoning applies to some degree to many other activities that are based on interaction with others. To expand on the principle with my own particular situation: I do not sit home alone on Friday night because I lack friends—I have few friends, because I tend to become too absorbed in my spare time activities and never get around to going out on Friday night. Double the hours of the day, and I would still not have time to do all that I want to do.

Ability to see through manipulation

Highly intelligent and rational people tend to easily see through attempts at manipulation (thus making them unpopular with the manipulators), and refrain from manipulation (thus losing the advantages that manipulators have) because they incorrectly believe that everyone else also sees through the attempts and because they have ethical concerns. Notably, many manipulators will actually consider the people who do not fall for their manipulations defect in some manner. A case in point are the overly and artificially friendly and enthusiastic women, who treat meetings with adults as if they were trying to entertain a child: People who react negatively (or not sufficiently positively ...) are unfairly considered spoilsports, lacking in humor, or grumpy.

Moral standards

There is a strong correlation between high intelligence and high moral and ethical standards and understanding. These, in turn, can be highly detrimental to careers. Cf. e.g. Positive Disintegrationw and Kohlberg’s stages of moral developmentw.

Being different

Highly intelligent people tend to stand apart from the norm in interests, how they view the world, etc., and how they react to behaviour in others. This is detrimental for career chances, because humans have a strong tendency to like people who are similar in various regards, whilst disliking people who are dissimilar. A notable case is humor, joking, etc. where the more intelligent will often find the humor of the less intelligent silly, rather than funny, and themselves make jokes that are not understood by the less intelligent. Similarly, the writing style of the less intelligent often comes across as immature, illogical, to unfocused, lacking in style and grammar, whatnot; where the less intelligent, in turn, consider the writing style of more intelligent boring, overly complicated, hard to understand, or similar.

Incompatible transactional preferences

Intelligent people prefer adult–adult discussion (cf. Transactional Analysisw); whereas most managers prefer parent–child or parent–adult discussion with their subordinates. The result is a crossing of lines and a mutual dislike. In contrast, less intelligent people are more likely to conform to the managers’ communication style.

Literal interpretation/assumptions of low subtext

Rational and intelligent people are likely to interpret situations and statements in a more literal way than intended by the less intelligent, often leading to misunderstanding or the goals of the less intelligent not being met (with a resultant dislike for the more rational). This is particularly common with women: I was in my twenties before I understood that many of the odd behaviours, silly questions, obviously phony complements, and similar, I had seen in women were indications of romantic and/or sexual interest. Typical misunderstandings include the less rational seeking to share emotions, give himself an emotional high, trying to initiate a conversation, or similar. This problem can be increased for say a math major coming straight from college where a large part of his social circle consisted of other students of the hard sciences (with an assumed greater similarity in intelligence, interests, and so on), or for people used to dealing with engineers or software developers who land among business graduates.

Communications styles differ between the rational and the irrational, with the rational prefer clear communication with little subtext; and the irrational not saying what they mean, trying to send hints (instead of speaking out), etc. The irrational majority tend to view their (logically inferior) way of communication as superior or more sophisticated, and unfairly consider the rational minority as lacking in communication skills.

High self-awareness

The intelligent tend to be more self-conscious, analyse their own behaviour to a higher degree, think about what they say and do, etc. This can have negative effects in behaviour becoming unnatural, stilted, or otherwise poor. Compare this with walking naturally and walking while thinking of how one walks. Notes: 1. This is one of the few points where the more intelligent actually can have an objective disadvantages compared to the less intelligent—in almost all other cases an objective advantage is turned into a disadvantage by the irrationality or lacking comprehension of others. 2. Likely there is a point when this kind of self-consciousness can lead to an objective advantage through steady improvements based on analysis; however that point would usually be sufficiently far into the future that the net-effect on e.g. careers is negative.

Incidence of psychological problems

Psychological problems are more common among the highly intelligent. (For a variety of reasons, including Dabrowski’s theories below, difficulties to fit in as youths, and being constantly misunderstood.) In many cases this is a long-term benefit (!) according to the works of Dabrowski, because it allows an eventual ripening into a more mature and complete person than is the case for most others; however, in the short- and mid-term it can have negative effects on career development through various roads, e.g. reduced stress resistance, depressions, or problems in building a private life corresponding to the norm.

Long-term partnerships

Depending on circumstances, long-term partnerships and marriages can have a positive effect on career chances, e.g. by means of “ground support”; a greater dependency on the employer/greater problems from unemployment/greater risks from changes of employer (which makes the employer willing to invest more in the employee); a greater social circle; etc. OTOH, the highly intelligent are statistically likely to enter such long-term relationships at a noticeably later point of time than average—or to not do so at all.


Networking is usually considered a very strong factor in building careers; however, for the highly intelligent, networking is non-sensical, possibly even immoral. (The latter would be the case e.g. when a manager hires a less suited person who happens to be a personal friend. Effectively, the decision on whom to hire is not made with the company’s best interest in mind, but with the manager’s.) A highly intelligent person would strive for a system where decisions on whom to hire, what contractor to use, whom to contact for information, etc. was based on rationally criteria.

Focus on long-term effects

One point where I, myself, have been in almost constant conflict with others is the long-term vs. the short-term: Most managers, PMs, and a great many colleagues have had a very strong emphasis on the short-term, either through naivete or a need to fulfill (equally short-term) goals imposed from above. I, in contrast, am keenly aware of the negative long-term effects that can occur due to short-term decisions. Unfortunately, I have almost never been able to change anything; however, very often been considered as “rocking the boat”, “not being a team player”, or similar. Typical examples would be the need to think things through before starting the actual work (leading to a higher quality solution, finished at an earlier date); avoiding “quick and dirty” solutions except where they can be rationally justified; not neglecting quality to keep a deadline (to avoid spending several weeks cleaning up bugs found post-release and not to make the next deadline harder to keep);

(Notably, if deadlines have to be kept no matter what, which is often the case, then better solutions should be found. Feature reductions would be the typical way.)

Emotional control

Speculation: I usually show a high degree of emotional control. In retrospect, I suspect that this has often been misinterpreted as a lack of emotion/interest/investment/whatnot (depending on the exact circumstances), instead of maturity. This may have had a negative effect in several regards, e.g. in that a major compromise on my behalf has been interpreted as if it meant nothing to me, or that superiors incorrectly have thought that I had lacked the dedication they look for. Obviously, the fact that I have a high degree of control and maturity is also lost, and does not bring me the positive perception it ideally should. In a second step of speculation, based on observation of others, it may pay to clearly signal irritation (or whatever feeling is relevant) whilst in words keeping a more neutral position. This would have several benefits (in addition to avoiding the above problems): 1. While the self-control is objectively smaller, what there is, is actually noticeable by others. 2. This gives others the opportunity to adjust their actions and statements based on my inner state.

A good example could be to respond to an aggravating statement/action by making a semi-angry face, quickly pull it back to normal, and make a calm and factual statement, possibly with a very slight strain in the voice or a small, but visible, tensing of the jaw muscles.

Flow/intellectual stimulation

The higher the intelligence, the higher the amount of thinking involved in task before “flow” is reached and/or the task is experienced as motivating. As a consequence, less intelligent people may give a more motivated and conscientious impression when doing tasks that are comparatively easy—and, as consequence, stand a better chance of being given the more challenging task later. The result is that many of the people who do challenging task do not have the needed intelligence and that many of those who have that intelligence are stuck at lower levels doing tasks that do not motivate them (and rarely being given the chance with tasks that would motivate them).

Analogy with the military

Looking at the military, we can see three kinds of roles:

1. Low-level soldiers (privates and to a lesser degree corporals and sergeants) who are there to do the leg-work, execute commands from above, need little own ability to think and take initiative, etc. Their most important ability is to obey orders with little or no questioning.

2. Group leaders (lower level officers and to some degree corporals and sergeants) who lead 1’s (and lower ranking 2’s), keep them in line, apply fear/motivation/whatnot, make implementation decisions, etc. While these need better heads than 1’s, should show more initiative, and so on, their most important ability is to make sure that their orders are obeyed.

3. High ranking officers (possibly restricted to generals) who make overall decisions, are in charge of strategy, pass on orders to 2’s, etc. Their most important ability is to think.

To a large degree the same model can be applied to most companies (and organisations in general). However, consider what happens in the average IT company (or other organisation where 1’s and 2’s need to be highly intelligent and educated): Employees typically start as 1’s. Based on some degree on their actual competence, but more on their compliance and conformity and their prospective leadership ability, they are either kept as 1’s indefinitely or promoted to 2’s. Because the best and brightest tend to think for themselves, criticize faults in the organisation, etc., they will not be promoted to the degree that they would in an entirely rational system. In a next step, 2’s are either kept as 2’s or promoted to 3’s, depending on their leadership ability and how well they handle representative tasks (instead of the ability to think, which should be the criteria for 3-hood). The end result is that many people who could make good 2’s and excellent 3’s are kept as 1’s, while inferior people are promoted all the way to the top.


1. The situation is worsened by the fact that there are alternative ways to the top, including founding an own company or taking a quick protegee route.

2. The situation in the military will suffer from similar problems. The use of this example serves to illustrate the ranking I refer to, while also illustrating what traits are perceived as appropriate (with some rationality) in the military and (usually highly irrationally) in other organisations.

3. While the move from 2’s to 3’s is likely to suffer from a similar problem in the military as in the civilian world, the differentiation between 1’s and 2’s is better made, because there is a very clear career-cut between sergeants and lieutenants. A corresponding cut can to some degree be present in civilian unqualified work, e.g. construction; however, not in the IT industry. On the contrary, because positions as 2’s tend to go the people with a business degree over people from the hard sciences (who on average are more intelligent and better educated), there exists an almost-cut that actually aggravates the problem.

To expand on education: There are at least two factors involved: First, a university education in the hard sciences puts greater emphasis on actual understanding of the matter and on critical thinking. Second, by their nature, the average (former) student of hard sciences tends to have a greater interest in continual studies of various kinds post-graduation, which over the years can accumulate to amounts of knowledge vastly greater than any single degree.

There is room for speculation that the way business studies are handled (more leg-work than brain-work, focus on appearances rather than actuality, arbitrariness in exam questions, etc.) may give business students an indirect advantage over e.g. math students (more brain-work than leg-work, focus on actuality, exam questions with an, often, unique, unambiguous, and indisputable answer/solution) when it comes to company life: The successful business students have been indirectly taught to convince professors and correctors of their worthiness (irrespective of whether they actually are worthy), have learnt some amount of sucking-up and blind agreement, etc. The successful math student is used to excel by going for the truth, has learned not to trust (ostensibly or not) others opinions blindly, has often found that a controversial or non-compliant claim gains respect when backed by good arguments, etc.—all things that can lead to massive (undeserved) unpopularity with later colleagues and superiors.

Similarly, poorer students in high school (and lower) will have gained more experience in manipulating teachers to give them higher grades and revise test results; whereas the better will have good grades/results anyway. Note that the manipulation attempts need not even be successful for them to gain better skills—learning what not works, what responses come to what attempts, etc. can be a major asset for future manipulations.

Consideration of side-effects and alternate outcomes

Intelligent people tend be very good at seeing various outcomes of an event or action. As a result, they are occasionally held back where “just do it” is the appropriate philosophy. An easily understood example: Someone with low intelligence sees a karate expert chop through a plank with his hand, thinks it cool, and tries it at home. Depending on strength, natural technique level, the plank, etc., he either succeeds or hurts his hand. The more intelligent imagines the possible outcomes, see the possibility of hurt, realizes that he is likely to be less adept than the karate expert, and does not try it. Which behaviour is the better will depend on the circumstances; however, people of lesser intelligence will tend to be too incautious, and people of higher intelligence err in the other direction. The side-effect is that intelligent people are, at least until they catch on, at a disadvantage where e.g. approaching women, talking directly to “the boss’s boss”, and founding companies are concerned. (Referring to the initial risk taking: Once they have started an attempt at something, they often have advantages through their intelligence.)

Lower selfishness

The high correlation between, on the one hand, maturity and a highly developed sense of morality and, on the other, intelligence makes intelligent people less likely to do certain things that can benefit their own career and/or hinder that of others. Examples include talking behind the back of colleagues, misrepresenting situations towards superiors (and other cases of intellectual dishonesty), and giving unwarranted praise. Reversely, things that they actually do can (unfairly) hamper their careers, e.g. being forgiving of misbehaviours in others, openly admitting to own errors and faults, giving feedback to others concerning their work, etc.

A very interesting example can be made by comparing two polar opposites in the following situation: Assume that X has written a report that abounds in grammatical errors. Colleague Y reads it through and either:

1. Gives X direct feedback, giving him the opportunity to clean up his work and improve for the future. Result (for a typical employee): X sees Y as an asshole and an enemy, and may even complain to superiors or other colleagues. Y has a diminished standing.

2. Points out the situation to X’s boss in a derogatory manner, whereupon X is has a diminished standing.

In effect Y1, who is helpful and constructive is punished; whereas Y2, who is unhelpful and destructive sees X punished. (Note that there is a continuum of outcomes, depending e.g. on Y’s skill at feedback the maturity/immaturity of X and the boss, and similar.)

Threat to higher-ups

Highly intelligent people can be seen as threats by some higher-ups. (Notable examples can be found in many historical dictatorships, although the situation is likely to be less severe in business life.) Such higher-ups will naturally tend to not promote the most intelligent, limit their ability to put their intellect to use in the company, or, in extreme cases, try to force them out altogether.

The perceived threat can vary, but typically includes competition for higher positions, lack of conformity, the possibility that the reality is revealed to third parties as something different from what the higher-up tries to project, and similar. Notably, a sub-conscious component may be present, where e.g. disagreement with the higher-up’s lies to himself are put in question, causing a severe "fight" reaction, and similar. Notably, a sub-conscious component may be present, when e.g. the higher-up’s lies to himself are put in question, causing a "fight" reaction.

Various unsorted

I have, myself, on several occasions been explicitly told by higher-ups and colleagues that I am "too intellectual" (or similar)—despite working among well-paid university graduates, many of which have degrees in e.g. math, some of which have had PhD’s.

Interestingly, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kohlberg’sstagesofmoraldevelopment shows a hierarchy where the behaviour of many superiors (in my experience) indicate that they move in the the lowest levels (1.1, 1.2, to a lesser degree the mid-levels 2.1 and 2.2), whereas they prefer employees on the mid-levels (2.1 and 2.2) or the very lowest, obedience/punishment oriented 1.1. In contrast, the highly morally developed (on the level 3.2), are absolutely not wanted by most superiors.

A good analogy is that organisations prefer a boat which is not rocking—even if this means that boat is not moving towards its destination. If someone grabs the oars in order to move the boat, he had better make sure not too cause any rocking...

People who are focused on doing a good job, being conscientious, etc. often (at least in the years after graduation) have a mentality that makes them take short coffee-breaks, and similarly stay focused on doing what they are payed for. Ironically, whilst this is good for the company, it is bad for their careers, because the colleagues who (within limits) take longer coffee-breaks to socialize are more likely to be promoted.


The beneficial effects of e.g. higher maturity and rationality can be neutralized by immaturity or irrationality in others; in particular, when higher-ups are affected. Notably, it is very dangerous to assume that higher-ups will be up to the task of judging employees, conflicts, quality of work, and similar in a way that is objectively good. Example: If mature employee A and immature employee B are in conflict, A will likely try to keep the issue between the two of them, try to find a peaceful long-term resolution, etc. B, OTOH, may well go a superior and complain. A competent superior would evaluate the situation carefully, consult A for his POV, and consider A’s behaviour (not necessarily his position in the conflict) superior to B’s; an incompetent will likely at least build a negative mental image of A, positively even criticize him directly without fact finding, and consider the fact that A kept silent an admission of guilt. (The latter is unfortunately a common phenomenon.)

The main role of a leader (TODO: find word without the implication lead) is to make decisions. This is the very core; everything else can be delegated, including representation, motivation, enforcing, and administration. Unfortunately, at the moment, promotions are based almost exclusively on (often mis-)perceived social skill, image projected, and similar superficial characteristics that may be good in a figure-head or an intermediary like a sergeant. The result is that most people in leadership positions lack the intelligence, maturity, wisdom, and knowledge to make good decisions. The world speaks for it self in this regard. Worse yet, since the decisions involved include promotions, a vicious circle is in place. –

Developing emotional and intellectual maturity (and e.g. technical knowledge) to an unusually high level takes time and effort. People who are career focused seldom have the time, energy, and will to do this. With an overlong working week, socializing/networking outside of work, and the building of less relevant skills (e.g. how to use more special effects in slide-shows, or studying of too superficial literature on leadership) there will seldom be room for development that truly makes a difference. Correspondingly, people who have successful careers will not reach the maturity level they potential could have at a given time. (Depending on the area of business and other factors, it is still possible that they exceed the average of the organisation; however, in my experience, this is not the case in the IT industry, after factoring in the greater average age of managers vis-a-vis ordinary employees.) ==

People who are managers and/or consider themselves people experts have usually developed a set of rules (by experience, from theoretical knowledge, or, common to most others, inborn) that they use to judge the actions and reactions of others. Typical examples include “lack of eye contact implies lying/dishonesty” and “hesitancy to speak out implies lack of knowledge”. With people who are distant from the average, these rules often break down, but since the “experts” do not take this into consideration, the non-average suffer the negative effects of not being average. Revisiting the above examples, we must consider that e.g. an aspie is unlikely to establish eye contact irrespective of his truthfulness; and that highly intelligent people tend to be more cautious in making definite statements, and are also more likely to see special cases, want to investigate further, etc—whilst actually having a larger probability of being right, even when they are hesitant, compared to an utterly convinced person of average intelligence.

Introverted people are on average shyer than extroverted (and much more likely to suffer from approach anxiety). A contributing cause could be that people (naturally) expect others to react in similar ways as they themselves do: An extroverted person is fairly likely to react positively to approaches (even by strangers); an introverted will typically have a neutral reaction—or even a negative, e.g. if interrupted by miss Motormouth when trying to read on a train. This results in a difference in assumed outcome for own approaches.

An interesting observation is that the behaviour of many managers, etc. is more or less the opposite of what some schools of philosophy recommend, with regard to focus on appearances, others opinions, and similar. It can well be argued that true maturity implies being sufficiently uninfluenced by the impression made on others that practical concerns are more important than appearances, e.g. where clothing is concerned. Conversely, anyone who judges (in a shallow way, not a psychologically insightful one) people by their appearances is obviously not mature. (However, obviously, a lack of interest in appearances is not necessarily a sign of maturity.)


The general problems of different communication styles, and the problems they cause the rational, are particularly great in the area of attracting women. Simply looking through the most basic articles on pick-ups, one sees that the type of statements recommended are extremely contrary to those that a rational person would use. (Cf. “cocky/funny” or a “Hawkeye” Pierce behaviour.) In fact, if I could not verify the effectiveness of this approach based on own experiments, I would rule it out as ridiculous—never would it have occurred to me to try it, had I not read about it first. The reason: This approach is something that I would find down-right silly and off-putting. (And, in contrast, something that an immature, low-on-intelligence, lacking-in-sophistication man might very well try and, counter-intuitively, be successful with...)

— The book “Flatland” (e.g. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/201/201-h/201-h.htm) in its discussion of how entities of different dimensionality understand the universe gives an excellent illustration of many of the struggles I have had with less intelligent and knowledgeable colleagues. Not only do the entities bound in a lower number of dimension fail to in anyway understand, or even contemplate the possibility of, another dimension, but they actually ridicule the entity who can see and understand the further dimension(s). If they were merely to consider that which they cannot be convinced of as unproven, I would be accepting: This could be considered healthy scepticism, and there is bound to be things I fail to comprehend in a similar manner (by analogy, a fourth spatial dimension I am not aware of); however, already the categorical denial of the possibility is hard to excuse, and to consider me the one lacking in intelligence because I have managed to see and understand what they have not...

My advice to anyone, in particular business graduates, is to very carefully consider the possibility that they are, in fact, seeing fewer dimensions than the person they are arguing with—not more. They should in particular beware that the average engineer is more intelligent and better trained in logic and critical thinking than they themselves are. (They should also consider that a large number of engineers have at least some studies of business, economy, or similar topics, behind them; whereas the reverse is seldom true.)

— People of high intelligence tend to be less impressed with others than people of less intelligence, in particular with those who impress by non-intellectual accomplishments/merits (e.g. having a superior position in an organisation). In fact, the highly intelligent will often actually look down upon, e.g., higher-ups who are unable to back-up their position by being in a similar intelligence bracket...