Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Intelligent but Not Brilliant. Four Statements: I don't know. I was wrong. I'm so sorry. I need help.

In scholarly work, we depend on well-trained reasonably-intelligent people to advance the field and fill in its lacunae. Some people make major advances, sometimes by chance or good fortune, sometimes by their extraordinary imagination and persistence, and sometimes because what would appear to be an interesting but not spectacular piece of work (to all, including the author) turn out to have much wider implications than originally imagined.

In a novel I was reading, someone was described as "a very intelligent man who's not really brilliant." The problem arises only when you think you are brilliant, and "all" you are is very intelligent. "Very intelligent" is all you need, plus good work habits, diligence, and persistence. Don't worry if you are not spectacular--it does not matter.


The Four Statements are taken from Louise Penny's The Long Way Home, taught by the master detective to initiands as ways of approaching the tasks at hand when things might go awry.

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