Malcolm Gladwell does well with his explanation of how the popular belief regarding a genius is. He starts by explaining Christopher Langan’s incredibly high IQ and his other intellectual achievements regarding his gifted talent of remembering things that he either had not been exposed to before, or had learned in such a short amount of time, in which no other person could remember afterwards, that he had aced various exams and IQ tests that were placed in front of him. Langan spoke when he was six months old, learned to read along with the radio over comic book stories at age three, had questioned his grandfather about the existence of God at age five, and read theoretical physics at age sixteen as well as Bertrand Russell and Alfred North Whitehead’s academic masterpiece Principia Mathematica. His brother Mark said his summer session was reading and studying French, Russian, and world philosophy. Everybody I know almost hates math, so no-one would be interested to read an entire textbook at age sixteen. Everyone will fail school, as well as college if one shows up half the time, only to take the tests during the other half of the time. Nobody, when cramming all the information of all the tests during the entire academic year in their head, will be expected to pass any of these tests with flying colors. What is more incredible, is that when he contested on the show One vs. One Hundred, Mr. Langan answered the various questions delivered to him with a crisp, precise, and uninterrupted manner, that is, he did not pause, or use uhms, mms, uhhs, hmms, and other conversational transition words, which is amazing, given that he must already have the answer in his head, ready to deliver it. Mr. Langan must be both extremely smart and excellent at remembering things, or must be extremely fast at learning things and remembering them afterwards. Either way, he can easily become a doctor, which is what the human race needs more of. By the way, why isn’t he a doctor if he is so gifted?
Malcolm Gladwell goes on to say that after the bloodshed and horror of the First World War, Lewis Terman, a professor of pschycology at Stanford University, knew of a remarkable young lad named Henry Cowell, who was raised in poverty and chaos, and was out of school since age seven, due to social issues. Cowell worked as a janitor at a school room house not far from the campus, where every day, he skeaked away from his job, and played perfectly on the piano, as if he were a professional pianist. Terman, curious of his brilliance, then tested Cowell’s IQ for himself, and found out it was over 140. Terman then embarked on a scientific journey to find more gifted people like Cowell, among whom he found a girl who knew the alphabet at nine months, another girl who read William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens at age four (when I knew neither of them), and a young man who was stupidly kicked out of law school for being able to remember long passages of legal opinions by heart, which his professors did not believe. In 1921, Dr. Terman sent out a team of fieldworkers to carry out the study, searching for gifted children in California’s elementary and high schools (there probably was no middle school at that time). The students were given an intelligence test, which, if they passed in the top 10%, were given a second test, and if they scored above 130 on the second test, were given a third and so on. From this, Dr. Terman determined his best and brightest students from the total number he incorporated into his study. From 250,000 students total, only 1,470 had an average IQ of 140, some as high as 200.
For the rest of his life (which means that Dr. Terman had to really be dedicated to the study, and quite obsessed over it), Dr. Terman followed updates on almost every aspect about his “Termites”, including educational attainments, marriages, illnesses, physiological health status, and every promotion and job change (as it