Although William James Sidis was 100 IQ points smarter than Albert Einstein and mastered 25 languages, his life wasn’t the type that you would imagine for such a smart man. His life was full of sadness and he died as a low-level office clerk.
Even though the intelligence quotient (IQ) is a controversial method of measuring a person’s mental prowess, it is still popular and considered an evaluation number by many people. It is considered a sign of a successful life. For instance, some people think that the tech prodigy Elon Musk has an IQ of approximately 150, which is similar to the estimated IQ of famous scientists like Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking, who both have an IQ of around 160.
But this was not the case with William James Sidis. Although he was a successful smart student in his early life, things changed dramatically after that. What happened with William James Sidis? And how he ended as a low-level office clerk with an IQ of 260? Let’s begin the story.
William James Sidis Life
William James Sidis was a late-nineteenth-century child prodigy with an estimated IQ of 250 to 300. His brilliance, however, was unable to save him from his troubles. The smartest guy who ever lived was born in America in 1898. William James Sidis was his name, and his IQ was finally determined to be between 250 and 300 (with 100 being the norm).
Boris and Sarah, his parents, were both quite clever. Boris was a well-known psychotherapist, and Sarah was a doctor. According to some reports, the Ukrainian immigrants settled in New York City, while others said they settled in Boston.
In any case, the parents were overjoyed with their talented kid, spending a fortune on books and maps to promote his early study. But they had no clue how quickly their darling youngster would pick up on it.
William James Sidis was able to read The New York Times when he was just 18 months old. By the age of six, he could communicate in various languages, including English, French, German, Russian, Hebrew, Turkish, and Armenian.
As if that weren’t enough, Sidis developed his own language as a youngster (though it’s unknown if he ever used it as an adult). The eager kid also composed poetry, a novel, and even a constitution for a possible paradise.
Sidis got accepted to Harvard University when he was just nine years old. However, the school would not let him attend courses until he was 11 years old. In 1910, he lectured to the Harvard Mathematical Club while still a student on the very hard topic of four-dimensional objects. The talk was almost meaningless for most individuals, but for those who did get it, the lesson was a shock.
Sidis graduated from the famous institution in 1914 when he was just 16 years old. Following his graduation, Sidis briefly taught mathematics before he went into hiding, bouncing around from city to city and job to job while often going by a different name.
Throughout this time, he authored several books, including a 1,200-page history of the United States and a book on streetcar transfer tickets, an item he found fascinating and began to collect. Though he wrote under at least eight aliases, his writings were never widely distributed.
We may never know how many books he published under aliases. A signed edition of his 1925 book The Animate and the Inanimate sold for £5,000 ($8,000) to a collector in London not long ago.
William James Sidis IQ
William Sidis’ IQ has been the subject of much debate throughout the years. Because any records of his IQ tests have been lost to time, historians must make educated guesses. For perspective, an IQ test of 100 is regarded as normal, while a score of less than 70 is frequently deemed poor. Anything over 130 is considered to be gifted or extremely advanced.
Albert Einstein had a reverse-analyzed IQ of 160, Leonardo da Vinci had an IQ of 180, and Isaac Newton had an IQ of 190. William James Sidis was believed to have an IQ of 250 to 300. Anyone with a high IQ will gladly tell you it’s meaningless (though they’ll probably feel a touch smug about it). But Sidis was so intelligent that his IQ was equal to that of three average humans combined.
Despite his brilliance, he found it difficult to blend in with a world full of people who didn’t understand him. He told reporters after graduating from Harvard at the age of 16, “I want to live the perfect life.” The only way to live the perfect life is to live it alone. I’ve always hated crowds.”
The boy wonder’s strategy worked about as well as you’d expect for someone who had previously been famous for a long time. He taught mathematics at Rice Institute in Houston, Texas, for a brief time. But he was almost forced out, in part because he was younger than many of his students.
William James Sidis Sad End
William Sidis caught the attention when he was arrested during a Boston May Day Socialist March in 1919. He received an 18-month prison term for shouting and assaulting a police officer, yet he had done neither.
Having said that, Sidis was resolved to live in peace and quiet after his run-in with the authorities. He took on plenty of basic jobs, including low-level accounting. But as soon as he was identified or his coworkers discovered who he was, he left.
He subsequently complained, “The mere sight of a mathematical formula makes me physically uncomfortable.” “All I want to do is operate an adding machine, but they won’t allow me.” Sidis had a final appearance in the spotlight in 1937 when The New Yorker published a dismissive article about him. He decided to file a lawsuit for invasion of privacy and malicious damage, but the judge dismissed the case.
The judge’s decision, which is now considered a classic in privacy law, established that once a person becomes a public figure, they remain a public figure indefinitely. Sidis, who was previously admired, died not long after he lost his appeal. At the age of 46, he died of a brain bleed in 1944.
The most intellectual guy in human history was discovered by his landlady and left Earth as a poor, lonely office clerk.