Oct 1, 2022 • 1HR 54M

What's life like with a 148 IQ? | Helen Dale

Asking Quora's top IQ questions to a well-known novelist

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Today I'm speaking with the Australian writer and retired lawyer, Helen Dale. Helen is best known for writing The Hand that Signed the Paper, a novel about a Ukrainian family who collaborated with the Nazis in The Holocaust. The book was published in in 1994 and won the Miles Franklin Award, Australia's top literary prize. Helen became the award's youngest winner. However, controversy ensued after it became known that Helen had been trolling the diversity obsessed literary establishment by claiming to be Ukrainian and basing the book on interviews with her relatives (she'd published under the pseudonym “Helen Demidenko”).

Today, however, I'm speaking with Helen about something much more personal: growing up gifted. Helen has, in her own words, a “freakishly high” IQ. As someone very interested in giftedness, I thought I could pose some of the most asked questions on Quora to Helen about living life with an IQ at the 99.9th percentile. The conversation is wide-ranging, so you might like to make use of the timestamps in the YouTube video. I’ve also pasted them below.

Links to Helen’s work:

Helen has authored three works of fiction. She writes for Law & Liberty (you can find the full archive of her articles here). And make sure to subscribe to Helen’s Substack below:

The article that brought Helen into my orbit:

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0:00 Intro

4:05 Helen discusses her early infamy

14:30 The right to write & elite overproduction

16:08 How “The System” works & going into law

18:00 How Helen and I met & the big brains of headline writers

19:45 Helen’s “lived experience” with a high IQ

22:35 The intricacies of Latin & Greek

25:10 On being challenged intellectually in law

27:45 Professionals are often smarter than academics

32:58 Helen’s thoughts on education policy and her own schooling

37:15 The value of school discipline & the Michaela School

43:13 What is school for?

53:54 American ignorance & social class

58:48 The duty of the gifted

1:01:05 On Taleb’s critique of IQ

1:07:30 Helen’s obsession with law

1:11:32 Who’s the smartest person Helen has met?

1:13:28 Why piloting is so “g loaded”

1:16:50 How maths students are ranked at Cambridge

1:18:19 Preemies and left-handers

1:19:50 Is it lonely at the right-hand tail?

1:22:20 Annoying the Jewish lobby in Australia & being right-wing

1:26:18 Australia’s gift to the world

1:31:30 The law & embryo selection

1:38:20 Authoritarian states creating super athletes & soldiers

1:39:02 Helen talks about her speculative fiction books

1:41:20 Competing with other countries

1:44:14 The biggest legal challenges for new genetic technology

1:50:42 What does it mean to be truly educated?

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