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Three in Ten on Mag’s List of World’s Top Intellectuals Are M.O.T.’s

Everybody loves lists. And it’s no secret that Jews love counting Jews — particularly when said Jews are famous and/or accomplished individuals who bring nakhes to our little tribe.

So I hope readers of the Bintel Blog won’t judge me too harshly upon learning that I spent a couple hours Googling the word “Jewish” alongside the names of those on Foreign Policy magazine’s list of the world’s “Top 100 Public Intellectuals.” (I couldn’t help myself!)

So what did I learn from this, slightly ridiculous, effort? Well, it’s hard to say with any precision, but by my (intensively Web-researched) estimate, it seems that more than 30% of those on F.P.’s list are members of the tribe.

What are we to make of this? Is Jewish over-representation on lists like this explained by cultural factors? Socio-economics? Genetics? Beats me. I’m not smart enough to know, and I’m too smart to venture a guess.

Back in 2005, however, Harvard psychology professor Steven Pinker (one of the 100 thinkers on the F.P. list) tackled the topic of Jewish achievement as part of a lecture he gave at New York’s Center for Jewish History on “Jews, Genes, and Intelligence.” You can watch his presentation here.


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