The Mismeasure of Man

Stephen Jay Gould

Why I looked at this book

There are lots of questions about intelligence. Does IQ measure anything meaningful? If there is such a thing as intelligence how much does it depend on heredity? Do high scores in intelligence tests correlate with economic success, and if so is it that higher intelligence leads to success or should we be suspicious that those in power skew the tests in their favour? I'm hoping that this book will answer some of these questions.

First impressions

I actually read this book some time ago, and I was intending the review to be based on quickly readreading it. I noticed though that the principal target of the book is the idea that intelligence can be measured by a single unalterable number. Not that those in power define intelligence to suit themselves. Not that your intelligence sets in stone what you will be able to do, and if you haven't got it then there's nothing you can't get round it. These are the ideas that I was expecting it to tackle. So I plan to read the book in more detail, to see whether it really does make the case that it claims it will.