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114 Maisel Eric: Why Smart People Hurt

“Why Smart People Hurt” explores the challenges faced by intelligent and creative individuals and offers practical advice on how to cope with the struggles and anxieties that come with being “smart.”

Maisel Eric: Why Smart People Hurt


In "Why Smart People Hurt," Eric Maisel argues that being intelligent and creative can be a double-edged sword, as these qualities often come with heightened sensitivity, intense emotions, and a tendency to overthink and overanalyze. The book explores the unique challenges faced by "smart" individuals, such as the pressure to succeed, the fear of failure, and the struggle to find meaning and purpose in life. Maisel offers a range of practical strategies for coping with these challenges, including cognitive-behavioral techniques, mindfulness practices, and creative expression.


Title: Why Smart People Hurt: A Guide for the Bright, the Sensitive, and the Creative

Author: Eric Maisel

Publishing Year: 2020

Publisher: Conari Press

Length in hours: 5 hours and 43 minutes

5 main ideas

  1. Smart people often struggle with anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues due to their heightened sensitivity and intense emotions.
  2. The pressure to succeed and the fear of failure can be particularly challenging for intelligent and creative individuals.
  3. Smart people often struggle to find meaning and purpose in life, which can lead to a sense of ennui and disillusionment.
  4. Cognitive-behavioral techniques, mindfulness practices, and creative expression can be helpful tools for coping with the challenges of being "smart."
  5. Developing self-awareness and a strong sense of personal identity can help smart individuals navigate the ups and downs of life with greater ease and resilience.
Maisel Eric: Why Smart People Hurt

5 funny quotes

  1. "Smart people often have a lot of trouble having fun. They're too busy thinking."
  2. "Smart people tend to be perfectionists, but sometimes good enough really is good enough."
  3. "Smart people don't make small talk - they make big talk."
  4. "Smart people are often accused of overthinking things, but sometimes it's the underthinking that gets us into trouble."
  5. "Smart people know that sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to take a nap."

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "The price that smart people pay for being smart is that they are more sensitive and more vulnerable to life's slings and arrows."
  2. "Smart people can't stop thinking, but they can learn to think better."
  3. "For smart people, the questions are more important than the answers."
  4. "Smart people don't just think outside the box - they question the box itself."
  5. "Smart people often feel like square pegs in round holes, but it's the world that needs to change, not the peg."

5 dilemmas

  1. "A smart person is smart because he or she has been willing to confront his or her own ignorance, limitations, and biases."
  2. "Every unhappy smart person has been educated beyond his or her intelligence."
  3. "Smart people are vulnerable to more suffering than most because of their enhanced capabilities."
  4. "Smart people are more prone to existential depression, meaning that they're more likely to ask the big questions about life and meaning."
  5. "The smarter you are, the more anxiety and neurosis you're likely to experience."

5 examples

  1. Ada Lovelace, the brilliant mathematician and inventor who struggled with mental illness and addiction throughout her life.
  2. Vincent van Gogh, the iconic artist whose intense emotions and struggles with mental health influenced his work.
  3. Sylvia Plath, the renowned poet and writer who battled depression and ultimately took her own life.
  4. Albert Einstein, the famous physicist whose intelligence and creativity were tempered by his struggles with social skills and personal relationships
  5. Ben: The book explores the story of Ben, a highly intelligent and ambitious individual who feels trapped in a career that no longer brings him fulfillment. The author argues that Ben needs to learn how to define success on his own terms and to find a way to align his career with his values and passions.

Referenced books

  1. "Giftedness 101" by Linda Kreger Silverman
  2. "The Highly Sensitive Person" by Elaine N. Aron
  3. "The Out-of-Sync Child" by Carol Stock Kranowitz
  4. "Overcoming Perfectionism: Finding the Key to Balance and Self-Acceptance" by Ann W. Smith
  5. "The Gifted Adult: A Revolutionary Guide for Liberating Everyday Genius" by Mary-Elaine Jacobsen

Share a quote

"Even if smart people can see more than other people can see, they may not always like what they see."

Maisel Eric: Why Smart People Hurt
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