More Reading Material

Maintained by Darryl Miyaguchi
Last updated: June 26, 1999


11/15/99 Added link to Esquire magazine Nov. 1999 "Genius" issue.
6/26/99 Added an article about Chris Hirata from
6/26/99 Added a summary of Republic's article, "Beyond Mensa," which includes Ron Hoeflin's "Brain Breaker" test with answers.
1/17/99 Added article in which Marilyn vos Savant expresses her opinion of online IQ tests.
12/04/98 Added article about the ambivalence over how the SAT should be interpreted (i.e., is it an IQ test?)
12/03/98 Added Mega Test review from Test Critiques, Volume VIII.
7/11/98 Added an article about Ted Kaczynski's (the Unabomber) relationship with his family.
7/2/98 Added an article about Marilyn vos Savant's column concerning poll sampling error.
1/8/98 Added link to article about Keith Raniere.
1/7/98 Added an article about Marilyn vos Savant from the Chicago Tribune.
10/21/97 Added a quote from the Playboy article.


Esquire Magazine (U.S. edition), Nov 1999, "Genius Issue"

Summary: Interviews of four people associated with the higher IQ societies: Chris Langan (billed as the "Smartest man in America"), Steve Schuessler, Gina LoSasso, and Ron Hoeflin. Also features a Genius Test (Part 1) (Part 2) (Part 3) (Part 4) (Answers) created by a team of people who collaborated via the Internet. It's obvious, though, that Esquire believes that true American genius is to be found elsewhere, as in the person of Alan Guth, proponent of the inflationary theory of the universe.

New Times Los Angeles June 17, 1999, "The Wizard of Pasadena," by Susan Goldsmith

Summary: Article about Chris Hirata, CalTech student, whose estimate IQ is 225.

Parade, Jan 17, 1999, "Ask Marilyn" column

Summary: Marilyn vos Savant replies to a question about the worth of online IQ tests. She says: "There are no reliable IQ tests online." and "Unsupervised 'take-at-home' tests are the least worthwhile of all. Take them only for fun and for exercise in thinking."

The Washington Post June 13, 1998, "The World's Smartest Person Slips Up," by Richard Morin:

Summary: America's pollsters are aghast at Marilyn vos Savant's reply to a reader who asked her to explain how pollsters "arrive at the so-called 'margin of error' in public opinion polls." She apparently goofed badly when she said that sampling error "is based on experience or past polls rather a rather simple calculation found in almost any statistics book." The article also mentions that Herb Weiner's "Marilyn is Wrong!" website had been identified by Parade's lawyers as incorporating too much copyrighted material -- he shut it down briefly to remove the offending material.

Note: The Washington Post charges a fee to view articles. You can search and view brief article summaries for free.

The Wall Street Journal Wednesday, May 14, 1997, "Let's See Now, Complain Is to Club As Order Takeout Is to Restaurant," by Joshua Harris Prager:

Summary: Prager writes that a person named Paul Maxim, unhappy with the Mega Society admissions criteria, contacted the Medical Board of California. They, in turn, forced California resident Kevin Langdon, an author of at least one of the high-ceiling IQ tests used for Mega Society admissions, to stop administering his unsanctioned tests in California. The Mega Society currently has 16 members world-wide.

Nando Times July 7, 1996 "Mensa, turning 50, faces mid-life crisis"

Summary: Mensa celebrates its 50th birthday. Co-founder Dr. Lance Ware reflects on what he sees as the societies shortcomings.

The Washington Post June 16, 1996 "A Stranger in the Family Picture", by Serge F. Kovaleski and Lorraine Adams:

Summary: A profile of Theodore Kaczynski's (Unabomber) life and relationship with his family. Mother (Wanda), Father (Ted Sr.) and Theodore were all exceptionally bright and talented (at 10, Kaczynski scored 170 on a Stanford-Binet IQ test). Article recounts deterioration of Kaczynski's personality and increasing isolation from his family and society. Article was written before he pleaded guilty to the Unabomb attacks.

Note: The Washington Post charges a fee to view articles. You can search and view brief article summaries for free.

Atlantic Monthly September, 1995 (Volume 276, No. 3; pp. 84-100) "The Great Sorting", by Nicholas Lemann

Summary: Very long recounting of the history of the SAT and its relationship with IQ. From the article: "ETS therefore wound up in an odd position with respect to intelligence testing. Within the organization and its ambit there have always been pockets of belief in g as an inherited trait. Chauncey's extremely conscientious No. 2 man, William Turnbull, though not a g man, confessed in a 1963 memo to Chauncey that he harbored a "long-held conviction that 'native intelligence' has some point to it." But officially ETS has always been opposed to IQ testing and to the concept of general intelligence."

The New York Times Sunday, April 2, 1995, "The S.A.T. Decoder"

Summary: This conversion chart shows what old scores would be under the new recentering. The conversions are applicable for those who have taken the test in the last four or five years.

The New York Times Saturday, January 14, 1995, "I.Q. Group Ousts Editor Over Euthanasia Articles," (AP)

Summary: The local chapter of Mensa (Los Angeles) forced Lament editor Nikki Frey to resign over her decision to publish articles that provoked angry responses. One of the articles proposed that people "who are so mentally defective that they cannot live in society should, as soon as they are identified as defective, be humanely dispatched." Another called for similar treatment of the homeless and elderly infirm.

The Wall Street Journal Thursday, April 9, 1992, "For Minds of Mega, The Mensa Test Is a Real No-Brainer -- Rival IQ Societies Bicker Over Scores and Styles; Cindy Brady's Velocity," by Ellen Graham

Summary: The article devotes a couple of paragraphs to describing Rick Rosner, who "has made a science of ferreting out underage drinkers in his work as a bouncer at two Los Angeles bars." The desire to form societies with ever-more-exclusive standards drove Hoeflin and others to design tests like the Mega, since standardized tests like the Stanford-Binet don't discriminate accurately above 150 or so. Mensa's supervisory psychologist, Dr. Abbie F. Salny says that because those tests are unsupervised, "they would not be considered valid by most psychologists." In Mega's journal, Rosner likes to throw out "Brady (the Brady Bunch) Physics" problems.

Test Critiques, Volume VIII, Daniel J. Keyser, Ph.D., Richard C. Sweetland, Ph.D. General Editors; 1991, PRO-ED (ISBN 0-89079-254-2); Test Critique: The Mega Test; reviewed by Roger D. Carlson, Ph.D. (pp. 431-435).

Dr. Carlson recognizes the pioneering effort of Ron Hoeflin at measuring the very highest levels of intelligence, while criticizing its faults: among them, lack of test control, small sample size, a reliance on self-reported scores, self-selected test participants, and surprisingly [to me], its lack of multiple-choice format. A statement near the end: "Although the approach that Hoeflin takes is interesting [referring in part to the non-linear technique used by Hoeflin to extrapolate scores in his sixth norming], inventive, intellectually stimulating, and internally consistent, it violates many good psychometric principles by overinterpreting the weak data of a self-selected sample."

U.S. News & World Report, March 13, 1989 (p. 51), "What Sununu Knows and You Probably Don't," by Donald Baer.

New York(magazine), February 6, 1989, "In the Kingdom of the Brain -- How love changed the smartest couple in New York," by Julie Baumgold

Summary: Longish article describing Dr. Robert Jarvik, the biomedical engineer who invented the first permanent total artificial heart, and Marilyn vos Savant. The article includes the story of her phenomenal Stanford-Binet score: she scored 167+ (the ceiling) on the S-B when she was ten, but answered some additional questions in the adult portion of the test to bring her score to 228 [Ron Hoeflin, who originally calculated her IQ at 228, now calculates 218].

Washington Post, November 28, 1988, "Is 176 I.Q. Enough for White House?" by Jack Anderson and Dale Van Atta

Summary: Describes Sununu's 1985 summer vacation as spending time taking the Mega Test.

Note: The Washington Post charges a fee to view articles. You can search and view brief article summaries for free.

Times Union (Albany, N.Y., newspaper), June 26, 1988, "Troy Man Has a Lot on His Mind: IQ Test Proves What Many Suspected, He's One in 10 Million," by Irene Gardner Keeney

The link provided is an electronic version of Times Union, and costs $1 for each article viewed. To get a free summary of the article, search for "Keith Raniere" (all years). Raniere could spell the word "homogenized" by age 2 from seeing it on milk cartons, and says he had an understanding of subjects such as quantum physics by age 4.

There are other articles you will find with the search that describe Raniere's involvement in multilevel marketing (a well-known example of a company that uses multilevel marketing to sell products is Amway).

Los Angeles (magazine), November 1987, "Brains -- They're the smartest people in L.A., the top 1 percent [sic], with IQs of at least 164 -- so why aren't they rich and glamorous?" by Catherine Seipp

Summary: Descriptions and pictures of four people who have scored at least I.Q. 164 on the Mega Test: Solomon W. Golomb [yes, that's the Golomb whose name has graced many of Martin Gardner's Scientific American columns], Chris Cole, Sandra Bruesch, and H. Herbert Taylor

Ozark: The Magazine of the Midwest, May 1986, "Stargazing: The Genius Convention," by Gerald Howard

If someone has a copy of this article, please contact me. DTM

Guinness Book of World Records, 1986, "Highest I.Q." States the Mega Test score of Jeff Ward: 43. Three Mega Society Members with I.Q. scores of 197 (on tests other than the Mega) are: Christopher Phillip Harding, Dr. Ferris Eugene Alger, and Dr. Johannes Dougles Veldhuis.

Westword: Denver's News & Arts Weekly, November 20-26, 1985, "Is This the Smartest Man in America? Meet Rick Rosner: Genius," by Robin Chotzinoff.

If someone has a copy of this article, please contact me. DTM

Playboy Magazine, November 1985, "Women of Mensa"

Favorite quote: Valerie Coel (163 IQ) says, "In high school, I went to my prom with the number-one academic achiever in the school. He was a real nerd. He had picked me for my brains, and I was insulted. I thought there should be more to me than just my intelligence."

Republic Magazine (airline magazine), November 1985, "Beyond Mensa," by Catherine Seipp

Thanks to John D. Martínez for sending me a copy of this article.

Summary: Meet some of the people who have joined some of the high-IQ societies which are more selective than Mensa, including Ronald Hoeflin, Marilyn vos Savant, Barry Kington, and Romero Anton XIV Montalban-Anderssen. The article ncludes Ron Hoeflin's "Brain Breaker" Test, the orphaned other half of the Mega Test, with answers and IQ table.

Chicago Tribune, September 29, 1985, "Meet the world's smartest person," by Mary T. Schmich

Interesting insights into the mind of Marilyn. For example, "While working in the principal's office she sneaked into the files and memorized the IQ's of all her classmates, then studied how behaviors correlated with scores."

Note: The Chicago Tribune now charges a fee to view articles ($1.95). You can view the first few lines of this article for free by all years for "world's smartest person." For some reason, "Marilyn vos Savant" doesn't find this article, although it does find others articles about her.


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