Exploring Genius

In-Depth Study of Brilliant Minds

David McRaney

David McRaney

Creator of You Are Not So Smart

Exploring Genius
  • Overview
  • Episodes
  • Recommended for you


Over the course of this audio documentary series, David McRaney explores the history and science of intelligence, IQ, and remarkable talent through interviews with dozens of intelligence experts and actual "geniuses" (a 5-year-old prodigy, the man with the highest IQ ever recorded, etc). McRaney wrestles with the complexity of GENIUS as a cultural construct and considers how we can unlock its positive potential within ourselves.

What You'll Learn

  • The history and concept of genius

  • How genius gets measured and defined

  • What life is like for geniuses, now and in the future


6 Episodes

1. Defining Genius

1h 7min

What it feels like to be in the presence of a five-year-old girl with a 155 IQ, and how we’ve attempted to define that feeling for millenia.

2. The History of Genius

1h 7min

The history of our fascination with the idea of genius all the way back to the Romans, up to the relatively recent era of collecting notable skulls, measuring famous faces, and how it all resulted in a dark eugenics movement before it led to the creation of the modern IQ test.

3. Measuring Genius

1h 7min

The creation and history of the IQ test, and the modern-day intelligence experts who use it to improve education, but definitely not to measure genius.

4. The Science of Genius


In this episode we explore the concept of giftedness and ungiftedness with psychologists who are working to redefine both the idea of intelligence and the tests we use to measure it. Then, a deep dive into G, the mystery of intelligence that modern science has yet to explain.

5. Life as a Genius

1h 16min

Meet the people at MENSA, from a flaming axe juggler to a stand-up comedian, a Shakespearean actor, a linguist, and a famed music producer.

6. The Future of Genius

1h 31min

Sit down with the man who has the highest IQ ever recorded, then meet the researchers who have finally developed what they consider the truth about genius and how we might create a world in which genius can flourish.

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