Street Smart / Book Smart

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Ego
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Street Smart / Book Smart

Post by Ego »

What is the relationship between the two?
To what degree are they innate vs learned/experienced?
How would one cultivate street smarts?

white belt
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Re: Street Smart / Book Smart

Post by white belt »

To me, street smarts typically comes down to making real-time prudent decisions with incomplete information. The only way I know of to cultivate this is with experience. Over time you can start to recognize patterns and make predictions on how people may react or things may unfold even in unfamiliar situations.

Street smarts are probably closely correlated with social skills, so I suspect they are innate in terms of personality type and also can be learned to an extent. Another solution is to recognize when one doesn't have "street smarts" in a particular domain and bring on a guide (local/fixer/expert) to mitigate this for a particular situation.

daylen
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Re: Street Smart / Book Smart

Post by daylen »

I would like to think about this question a bit more before I give a more comprehensive answer, but I'll go ahead and take a quick crack at it.

First off, I think both book and street smarts lean heavily towards nurture. Nature may have a few cut-offs, like book smarts requires around 80+ IQ and the likelihood of a person being interested in books is highly correlated with an increase in IQ. I do not think nature has much to do with street smarts but rather this type of intelligence depends significantly on what neighborhood you grew up in or who you hung out with in your childhood and early adult life.

There is also probably a negative correlation between the two having to do with privilege. Typically, people with access to books are not pressured as much to develop street smarts. The inverse also appears to be true.

Cultivation of street smarts would likely require immersion in cultures/neighborhoods/communities with a high blue/white collar ratio. I suppose some books might improve your street smarts. On the other hand, street smarts could increase skepticism towards bad books or information in general. If anything, street smarts decrease gullibility.

Qazwer
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Re: Street Smart / Book Smart

Post by Qazwer »

Book smarts is the ability to handle abstracted models and the methods they are displayed in school. Street smarts is the ability to interact in the world. Book smarts can inform street smarts, but some people cannot make that jump where there are not definite rules to be followed.
You can also jump directly to street smarts without explicit models (internal ones only). Neither skill set is innate but there are traits that make people better at them. Finding good mentors and people to model good ways to deal with other can be helpful. Whether that is a buddy/mentor or formal teacher varies in the form. Both are learned though. Both can sometimes be applied in other settings sometimes not - see moving Trading Places and Eddie Murphy analyzing pork bellies.
It sounds like there is a question behind the question though.
Last edited by Qazwer on Thu Feb 25, 2021 2:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Dream of Freedom
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Re: Street Smart / Book Smart

Post by Dream of Freedom »

Any type of smarts needs smarts. Some people who aren't book smart like to believe that they are street smart. It's usually just a fantasy.

Street smart people are aware of how others act and react. They have reasoning skills but apply them to everyday life. They see little value in information that they can't use in a practical way. They have knowledge of common tricks and traps they might encounter or even employ.

So they both need bright people but need different focuses.

Quadalupe
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Re: Street Smart / Book Smart

Post by Quadalupe »

Wisdom vs Intelligence in DND terms. Both can be cultivated to some extent, by reading Dale Carnegie or taking a course on abstract thinking, but there are (genetic) limits. Then again, doing a lot of deliberate practice might help you reach higher levels than expected.

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Alphaville
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Re: Street Smart / Book Smart

Post by Alphaville »

Ego wrote:
Thu Feb 25, 2021 1:34 pm
How would one cultivate street smarts?
stop platonizing and acquire empirical knowledge via social means.

e.g. your weekly practice of commerce at the swap meet is an exercise in street smarts.

also, the street part doesn't need to be in "blue collar" environs. i've known many "society" people who are extremely street smart--it's just that their streets have nicer pavement.

those people would be what we call "political animals" or "socialites" instead of "street" anything, purely due to social class, but they know how to navigate their... boulevards.

white belt
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Re: Street Smart / Book Smart

Post by white belt »

I agree with Alphaville that I don't think street smarts is exclusive to blue collar or lower socioeconomic classes. Like the use of social capital, it may be most common in lower and upper classes but less common in middle classes.

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Ego
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Re: Street Smart / Book Smart

Post by Ego »

Qazwer wrote:
Thu Feb 25, 2021 2:03 pm
It sounds like there is a question behind the question though.
Not so much as question as a mental itch. I was thinking about this quote:

Hard times create strong men,
strong men create good times,
good times create weak men,
and weak men create hard times.


Is it true that acquiring book smarts is something of a luxury and requires good times? Conversely is acquiring street smarts something that happens through experiences that might have been avoided in better times?

Also Heinlein's competent man:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyse a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

How many of these are learned from experience? How many from books? Of course, the quote itself comes from a book.

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Alphaville
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Re: Street Smart / Book Smart

Post by Alphaville »

Ego wrote:
Thu Feb 25, 2021 2:51 pm
Also Heinlein's competent man:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyse a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

How many of these are learned from experience?
that unfortunately is too frequently misquoted by removing the context. if i recall correctly he was talking about creating interesting characters for fiction, not actual flesh and bones people.

for a useful manual on how to survive turbulent times at the highest levels maybe look at baltasar gracián who was a very clever jesuit of the baroque era. i think some of his books might have been abridged as self-help manuals for business executives in recent times.

Qazwer
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Re: Street Smart / Book Smart

Post by Qazwer »

I was viewing street smarts as the ability to excel in any street, from the corner, the Main Street or Wall Street.

So let me change my answer. Street smarts is learned by doing - helped with mentors — book smarts are a luxury but they are a positive luxury that can improve street smarts if you can afford them - but only if you can. Book smarts can give you some hints if you are already street smart but are worthless otherwise.

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Ego
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Re: Street Smart / Book Smart

Post by Ego »

Alphaville wrote:
Thu Feb 25, 2021 2:57 pm
that unfortunately is too frequently misquoted by removing the context. if i recall correctly he was talking about creating interesting characters for fiction, not actual flesh and bones people.
Understood. The thing is, if it is true that we become the story we tell ourselves about ourselves then we are constantly creating an interesting character.

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Alphaville
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Re: Street Smart / Book Smart

Post by Alphaville »

Ego wrote:
Thu Feb 25, 2021 3:09 pm
Understood. The thing is, if it is true that we become the story we tell ourselves then we are constantly creating an interesting character.
is it true?

1. when i was in kindergarten one of my classmates tried to be a superhero that could fly and jumped off some furniture 🤕

:lol:

2. at a more literary level, don quijote went mad from reading too many chivalry novels. he was himself, of course, a fiction, as he found out.

3. i was once in group therapy with a lunatic stalker who thought that the people who issued him a restraining order did not understand the meaning of "true love."

i like stories a lot... but in the end they're just stories :)

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Dream of Freedom
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Re: Street Smart / Book Smart

Post by Dream of Freedom »

Ego wrote:
Thu Feb 25, 2021 2:51 pm

Is it true that acquiring book smarts is something of a luxury and requires good times?
This is the information age. Becoming book smart requires time but almost no money. You only have to look at third-world countries to see poor people can be book smart. True college is expensive but not the only way to do it.

Qazwer
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Re: Street Smart / Book Smart

Post by Qazwer »

@Dream the cost of access to information has plummeted - but the cost in time has not - if you are working to eat then you have to do that first - rich and poor in this world are relative things
The other cost in book smarts that have increased is learning to fly a star ship takes time. When all you could do was butcher a hog, you had less things required to be considered street smart. Now you have to know all that stuff from before plus file taxes - figure out your phone settings etc etc The hard man of today is he hard man of yesterday and a bunch of other practical demands that never existed in the past - so costs in time to learn - so time not reading or watching Coursera
Last edited by Qazwer on Thu Feb 25, 2021 5:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Dream of Freedom
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Re: Street Smart / Book Smart

Post by Dream of Freedom »

@Qazwer

That's fair if you spend all of your time working you can't do much else, but access to books historically has been difficult without money. That's not really the case now.

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Alphaville
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Re: Street Smart / Book Smart

Post by Alphaville »

yes to the money issue.

i've seen in person some or those illuminated manuscripts from the middle ages that would take a whole army of monks to make for years and years, and could only be offered as gifts for kings... which is why i love my plebeian $300 ipad so much :lol:

and seriously, wikipedia! for all its flaws...a much greater marvel of the world than the library of alexandria (sorry alexandria).

daylen
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Re: Street Smart / Book Smart

Post by daylen »

"street smarts" is a phrase that is probably used quite differently from street to street, but I always thought of it as the ability to succeed at dealing drugs, at scaling-up illicit businesses, or at avoiding such activity in dangerous neighborhoods. Dealing drugs successfully on a particular corner depends on having lots of information that cannot be learned in any book. Like knowing who the local thieves are, the patrol patterns of law enforcement, who runs the underground clubs/parties, who the suppliers in the region are or how to use the darknet to order drugs in bulk, how to manage a team of muscle... how not to get caught/robbed/shot/manipulated, basically.

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Ego
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Re: Street Smart / Book Smart

Post by Ego »

Dream of Freedom wrote:
Thu Feb 25, 2021 2:27 pm
Some people who aren't book smart like to believe that they are street smart. It's usually just a fantasy.
Yes. This post was prompted by a serendipitous meeting I had yesterday with a guy who grew up in Tijuana. Unlike Mrs. Ego, he grew up in the really tough part of town. One of the neighborhoods with buried tires holding the hillside from collapsing beneath the homes. I have no idea how he got across the border but he now owns a very successful plumbing business in the US. He has a really infectious passion for living and such a deep appreciation for everything we have in SoCal. He had a lot to say on how we Gringos are using our smarts to sabotage ourselves and he worried about his kids growing up here.

People like him expand my idea of the breadth and depth of street smarts.

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Alphaville
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Re: Street Smart / Book Smart

Post by Alphaville »

Ego wrote:
Thu Feb 25, 2021 6:20 pm
he worried about his kids growing up here.
"from shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations" :lol:

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