While watching the debate the other night, I was reminded of one of my former bosses, one of the most intelligent people I have ever met in real life.
He wasn’t a journalist by training, but he bought a small newspaper and in an era where newspapers were bleeding losses he managed to build it into a multi million dollar endeavor over a 30 year period, sold it, and retired very comfortably.
Although his background was in business, he did make a fine editor in chief and journalist. He had a mind like a steel trap. He knew everyone and could remember everything about them, even things from years back.
Just by watching him, one could see his mind was spinning about 100 times faster than the ordinary. He had little time for the mundane, and if a conversation didn’t interest him he would simply stand up and walk out of the room without a word. Because of this he could be very socially awkward.
I used to feel for those he was interviewing, because he had the most cunning way to guide the conversation right where he wanted it to go, and they often didn’t realize it until they had already said too much.
He was not the most PC guy. But he was a straight shooter. He had incredible integrity. None of the local politicians or business owners could buy him or sway him. He always told it like it was, without fear of repercussions.
I saw many of these same characteristics in Trump the other night. I would be curious to know his IQ, but I would guess like my former boss it’s far above the norm. I can see, like my boss, he’s literally ten steps ahead and has to slow himself down to the pace others are following at. Some of his social awkwardness, impulsive nature, and tendency to blurt things out, etc. may be in part because of this.
The thing about intelligence is there are many types of it. And nobody gets them all. I have found most people at the top of the curve to be lacking socially, in particular. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t deeply caring people.
My former boss didn’t pay a lot, and he ran a very tight ship. But he was loyal to his employees, and put money aside in a profit sharing plan that he managed with amazingly great returns. In three years I walked away $9,000 better off. When he sold the company, he insisted all of the current employees be retained for at least a year as a condition of the sale. He didn’t treat employees like nameless, faceless, easily replaced or eliminated widgets. He looked out for his employees almost like a father.
In short, sometimes the most intelligent people aren’t the most socially apt or the most endearing. But that doesn’t make them bad people. In fact, they can be some of the best people.