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Edward de Bono - The intelligence trap

Unfortunately, many people with a high intelligence actually turn out to be poor thinkers. They get caught in the ‘intelligence trap’, of which there are many aspects. For example, a highly intelligent person may take up a view on a subject and then defend that view (through choice of premises and perception) very ably. The better someone is able to defend a view, the less inclined is that person actually to explore the subject. So the highly intelligent person can get trapped by intelligence, together with our usual sense of logic that you cannot be more right than right, into one point of view. The less intelligent person is less sure of his or her rightness and therefore more free to explore the subject and other points of view.

A highly intelligent person usually grows up with a sense of that intellectual superiority and needs to be seen to be ‘right’ and ‘clever’. Such a person is less willing to risk creative and constructive ideas, because such ideas may take a time to show their worth or to get accepted. Highly intelligent people are often attracted to the quick pay-off of negativity. If you attack someone else’s ideas or thinking, there can be an immediate achievement together with a useful sense of superiority. In intellectual terms attack is also cheap and easy because the attacker can always choose the frame of reference.

From Edward de Bono’s I Am Right, You Are Wrong

A thought-provoking topic


It is nice to come across this well written article.
The term "Intelligence Trap" is a great phrase to describe this phenomenon.
Of course, there will always going to be 2 sides to the argument for this "IT" phenomenon.

For me, think the following might holds some truth:
Successful people are usually intelligent.
But intelligent people may not be always successful.


I doubt whether a truly

I doubt whether a truly intelligent person would be the one who merely defends the views they so "logically" arrived at. Obviously the criteria for intelligence must be rather questionable if for instance the ability to hold the possibility of other views being right is not one of them. People who question and ask more questions based on what they have found appear more intelligent to me than those who are so agressively clever with arguments that they always consider they have won the argument. Such people are definitely not intelligent. They should try wearing some other types of hats for more rounded ways of thinking than by what they consider to be "intelligent".

Max said it right...our

Max said it right...our belief with the word intelligence is the root of the problem...intelligence possibly means the speed of transmissions of neurons in the brain...

Google your noodle

After my last blog entry, I had Googled down the title of deBonos book this entry refers to and landed on this page.

I think what we have arrived at here is the difference between 'intelligence' and 'awareness of intelligence'.

Please visit my blog for a case point and example of how all of these points are rounded out by a story currently being broadcast by mainstream media.

I like and enjoy Debonos work and wish more people have read his works.

Find Max's blog...

... here.


A distinction needs to be made between high intelligence and arrogance. Or an intelligent person who is incredibly arrogant.

Arrogance: An attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions.

I doubt whether truly

I agree with your views 100%.


It looks you are telling about awareness about ones one self. all arguments takes place from different directions and so fast we wont be knowing real and facual side clearly. not knowing conotations of what we are arguing is obveously not intelligance. intelligence is linkid to our awareness missing awareness is missing inteligance !!!


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