Pseudo-Intellectuals

How do you spot them?  Easy.

They focus on unimportant minutiae and miss the point entirely.

I remember my high school English teacher calling J.K. Rowling a bad writer because her sentence structure wasn’t sophisticated enough for his taste.  He missed the point.

I remember listening to an inexperienced player criticize the lead guitarist in a Led Zeppelin cover band because of how he held the fretboard.  He missed the point.

I hear companies talk about how they need social networks and iPhone applications because Obama was able to leverage them during his campaign.  They’re missing the point.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in your beliefs and only see what fits.  Stepping back to see the big picture is hard because it makes your opinions vulnerable.  The facts might shatter your worldview.

Rowling is a phenomenal storyteller; any flaws in her writing are greatly compensated for.  That guitarist delighted everyone in the venue; his form is irrelevant.  And Obama gave a large group of people hope; the tools were potent because of his following’s belief in him.

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Charlie Hoehn is the founder of The Recess Project, an entrepreneur, and author of Play It Away (“The cure to your stress!” -Tony Robbins) and Recession Proof Graduate ("Just epic for younger people" -Noah Kagan). He's a TEDx speaker who has presented at the Pentagon, U.S. Military bases, and universities. His article about the importance of play is the #1 worldwide result on Google for the search “cure anxiety” (above Oprah.com), and has been read by over one million people. Charlie was the Director of Special Projects for Tim Ferriss, and helped launch The 4-Hour Body (#1 New York Times bestseller, million copies sold). He also directed the launch of App Empire ($2.6 million in revenue in 10 days). Charlie's work has been featured on NPR TED Radio Hour, Forbes, Fast Company, Harvard Business Review, and many others. He's 29 and lives in Austin.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Aidan Nulman

    “Easy” is not a sentence.

    You are using far too many contractions for my liking.

    Your title unnecessarily capitalizes the word “intellectuals.”

    That said, you make an excellent point! One addition to consider, though, is the addition of a third class:

    A “pseudo-intellectual” is the type of person you describe above. An “intellectual” is the type of person who regularly steps back and sees the whole picture, disregarding the unimportant minutiae…

    … And a “motivated intellectual” regularly steps back and sees the whole picture while also recognizing flaws, big and small, in a search to better themselves, particularly in their chosen craft.

  2. Aidan Nulman

    “Easy” is not a sentence.

    You are using far too many contractions for my liking.

    Your title unnecessarily capitalizes the word “intellectuals.”

    That said, you make an excellent point! One addition to consider, though, is the addition of a third class:

    A “pseudo-intellectual” is the type of person you describe above. An “intellectual” is the type of person who regularly steps back and sees the whole picture, disregarding the unimportant minutiae…

    … And a “motivated intellectual” regularly steps back and sees the whole picture while also recognizing flaws, big and small, in a search to better themselves, particularly in their chosen craft.

  3. charhoehn@gmail.com

    HA! Thank you, Aidan, for providing me with my favorite comment on this site to date. Well done.

    Not to take anything away from the rest of you : )

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