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It is good to see this discussed, but the principle is not news. In http://www.amazon.com/First-Break-All-Rules-Differently/dp/0... the point is made that average managers try to bring up their bottom performers, while the best managers long ago concluded that you get more mileage out of investing energy in the top ones.

Of course the world is full of average people. They have to wind up somewhere. And organizations full of average people are never going to be able to take the advice to work the superstars.

I'll believe that the slogan invest in your best has been internalized by our society when we devote serious resources to making sure that people with IQs in the top 1% stop dropping out of school faster than people with median IQs do. Anyone care to give me odds on this happening in the next 20 years? I'll take the "No" side.




Do you really think people with higher IQ dropping out of school is an issue? Firstly, there are some many other factors at play making a person a "supertstar" (emotional stability, finding out what they love, creativity) but let's agree IQ is one of them and an important one. I'd argue that people on the top 1% are statistically people more interested in learning varied subjects. So unless the person had serious family issues, which is something hard to devote serious resources to pinpointedly correct, whether they drop out of school is not as relevant as them finding what they love and having the tools to learn it, on their own if they're so inclined.


I agree with you that IQ is far from a complete measure of what matters, but I do think that it is an issue.

The reason why is because jobs that are likely to use the abilities of a high IQ person generally require a high school diploma, and frequently require a college degree. Therefore denying these people an equal opportunity to get those credentials limits how effectively society benefits from their abilities.

Also I should note that the matter is personal. I have a good IQ and yet I came within an inch of failing to complete high school. Were it not for a teacher named Bernie Bowker, I would not have graduated, gone to college, or had any prospects of getting jobs where my abilities would be useful. I think that that would have been a tragedy, particularly for me.


This is already happening, in a sense. Elite colleges face extreme pressure to keep their 4 and 6y graduation rate up, in part because successful parents are turned off by sending their kids to schools for outrageous tuition only for them to leave without a degree.

Caltech is perhaps most known for this problem, with graduation rates that were <85%, but changes were made to stop people from "flaming out". Harvard has a 98% 6y rate -- University of Oklahoma is 64%




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