It’s easy to dismiss these reminiscences as exceptions to the rule — the rule that anyone can make it big without being a genius at age 20.
But a growing body of research suggests that intelligence is a remarkably good predictor of wealth and success later in life.
Bill Gates himself has acknowledged the potential link between intelligence and professional success. In 2005, he told Forbes:
“Microsoft must win the IQ war, or we won’t have a future.”
That intelligence might play more than a minimal role in individual success is an uncomfortable idea to consider. But the takeaway from these studies and anecdotes isn’t that, if you aren’t off-the-charts intelligent (at least by standard measures of intelligence), you can’t or won’t get anywhere. It just seems to be statistically less likely you’ll become the next Bill Gates.
From an article at Business Insider, November 2015.