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