Shrewd vs Smart


Machiavellian the word derived from philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli, shows another side of people that is ‘manipulative’. Machiavelli witnessed by observing society, there are people who are generally shrewd in their actions, like political leaders, and then there are people who refrain from doing such things.

Most education, industry and government institutions have general IQ test, which measures the intelligence, or say smartness of individuals, however there is a flaw in this measurement. IQ tests leave out a very broad spectrum of the human mind’s capacity. There are people who are very ‘shrewd’ who don’t get a good score, however they can outwit, outsmart, manipulate people who have a high IQ. In industry and government it is people who have ‘Machiavellian’ traits that excel over those who are considered very smart.

IQ tests leave out a very broad spectrum of the human mind’s capacity.

As there are now personality tests, that can measure the ‘Machiavellian’ traits it is still not a conclusive way to measure someone, as people can easily lie or be dishonest in their answers. In my previous blog I had mentioned how, groups who are generally ‘shrewd’ in nature can out-compete groups who are considered smart. Even in nature, this can be noticed, take for example the hyena that is very ‘Machiavellian’ in nature, it scavenges the food of other predators by working in close cooperation with it’s group members, the bigger the group the stronger it gets. It saves a lot of energy by not hunting, but by simply ganging up and taking other’s food, it gains more calories than it spends.

The ‘numbers’ game catches on.

Niccolo Machiavelli, an astute observer recognizes the behavior of how power and strength can be gained by being a different kind of player. No surprise the book he wrote was not released because the inconvenience on society and strategy of political leaders will be out on the open. Having no free exchange of ideas has only benefited the deceivers, if this knowledge had been passed down like now, then people could be more prepared to combat others and utilize it in their personal life.

Group Competition


One aspect of people that has surprised me is their ability to cooperate in large scale numbers that enables them to out-compete, out-smart, out-number, other groups. That is what we are witnessing all over the world, whether one looks at europe, north america, middle east, asia it’s the same story.

Looking back at our past, the ‘us vs them’ mentality had been hardwired in us, and is still very strong and present. The level of cooperation, organization, structure varies from each family, neighborhood, country, and race. Groups which can out-smart others doesn’t necessarily mean they are smarter, have high IQ, but they are more shrewd, and most importantly they have numbers on their side.

Having looked at different scenarios, I always wondered why the most smartest, creative, visionary people never make it, but rather people who are of lower caliber get their desired outcome. Families┬áthat are smart, and high in caliber tend to have less cooperation within the family, they value the ‘individual’ rather than group, the more educated they are the less reproduction rate they have. Groups that are not as smart, value their kin and the whole family, they are more shrewd but less educated, they also reproduce far more, and cooperate efficiently.

The ‘numbers game’ will eventually catch on, and it is thus very difficult for an intellectual to compete against so many competitors. A family that has strong cooperation will only benefit the individual, as the individual has many members that can help and support. Whereas, a family that has a weak structure, the individual thus becomes weak, as there are few members that can aid and support.

A family that has strong cooperation will only benefit the individual, as the individual has many members that can help and support.

We are witnessing this in every corner of the globe, whether we agree or disagree with the groups religion, culture, their structure is up for debate, but in the meantime we can definitely learn from others as the group which is the strongest will prevail.