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Anime and Manga
- Haruhi Suzumiya gives us Haruhi, Yuki and Koizumi, all of whom are highly intelligent individuals with highly noticeable eccentricities. The trope is averted, however, with Kyon, who despite peppering his narrative with obscure references to literature, mythology and history, is a generally well-adjusted individual with somewhat poor grades.
- Koizumi and Yuki are more aversions than straight examples. Yuki's behavior is due to her status as a Starfish Alien; and Koizumi is the Mask playing up his role in accordance with how Haruhi wants him to act. A straight example is Sasaki. Her Spock Speak, tendency to deconstruct the crap out of everything the sees, and her inability to understand people who believe in the supernatural are in line with this trope.
- Kotomi Ichinose from CLANNAD lacks all but the most basic of social skills while being a Teen Genius. Of course, she has a Freudian Excuse because the last thing she told her parents before they died in a plane crash was that she hated them and Tomoya didn't show up for her birthday party. As a result, she shunned society and studied, and studied, and studied, and studied, and, well, you get the idea.
- Code Geass: Nina Einstein. Oh God, Nina Einstein. Genius-level intellect and machine building skills, crippling insecurity, ginormous fear of Japanese and so on. And after her crush Euphemia died...
- There's also Lloyd, who isn't nicknamed "Lloyd Aspie" for nothing.
- Death Note: Light Yagami, who's so genius that he balances killing criminals in scores, and achieving good grades (He was the first in rank in the national university), that he was able to throw off suspicion for a bit, and play 2 Batman Gambits.He even continued this track when he became the second L. Too bad his overconfidence got him.
- Pani Poni Dash!'s Rebecca Miyamoto, a 11-year-old teacher who just graduated from MIT with a triple major!
- Ox Ford from Soul Eater, complete with Opaque Nerd Glasses, skill in chess, and being top of his class in studies until he's eventually edged out by Maka. Maka herself is a subversion, being studious and liking to read while being bad at sports, but is also more emotional and prone to violence, while being easier to socialize with.
- Hiruma, Clifford, and other tacticians somewhat painted as this in Eyeshield 21 as they can predict and make effective strategies. May cross Mary Tzu.
- Hakase (aka. literally professor) from Manga/Nichijou is this as she can make Ridiculously Human Robot with minimal funding at young age.
- Kaolla Suu from Love Hina. She Makes many cool gadgets in her free time. Same can be said for her siblings. Keita and Keitaro are also portrayed to be able to find artifacts so quickly and easily, in ways which somewhat make Real Life archeologists green with envy and shocked as they treated the artifacts reckless in their (arrcheologists'} standards.
- Kisaragi Ninomai and her friend, Kanna Togakushi, from Happy Lesson as they can make a miniature nuclear reactor when they are in kindergarten.
- Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four sometimes is portrayed this way.
- Played true at first by Grunge of the Genął reboot, then subverted.
- Caitlin Fairchild sometimes acts like this.
- Henry McCoy, a.k.a. The Beast of the X-Men. He's actually one of the better socialized members of the team, but constantly spouts volumes of jargon and technobabble and frequently expresses amazement at others' lack of intellectual curiosity.
- Dilton Doyley from Archie Comics is the smartest member of the group of friends, but he's very socially awkward, and studying seem to be all that he can seem to think about. His reading materials consists solely of scientific journals, and he spends his beach vacations trying to research on wave motions, sand, etc.
- Sherman from Calvin and Hobbes: The Series.
- Subverted in Beerfest, where Fink, who definitely looks like a nerd, ends up being the movie's biggest drinker.
- Terrence from Sydney White, who is seen doing strange and seemingly pointless experiments throughout the movie. Partially a parody.
- Lampshaded and parodied in There's Nothing Out There.
- Meg Ryan's character in the movie IQ.
- In The Wizard of Oz, after the wizard "makes" the Scarecrow a genius by giving him a diploma, the Scarecrow is suddenly able to rattle off very complex-sounding mathematical formulas. Justified in that the Scarecrow was already shown to be plenty clever. The diploma was a Magic Feather, and he was acting how he thought a genius should act. Unfortunately, he rattles off the Pythagorean Theorem, but says "isosceles" instead of "right," meaning his math was actually incorrect. If only he'd said the entire law of cosines, instead...
- The Grand: This is the hat of Harold Melvin, "The Lonely Genius," in the cast of poker players. He's an obviously autistic savant who lives with his mother, has no social skills, speaks in a monotone, and is constantly spitting out math figures. Ironically, his ability to calculate the odds of victory is presented as if he's a human calculator, but it's actually a common skill among serious poker players.
- One of Magnus's powers includes "supernatural cunning", which he never demonstrates. In fact he walks into an ambush obliviously.
- Ian Irvine's Well of Echoes books have Gilhaelith, the world's most powerful Geomancer and the inventor of Mathemancy, around whom some whapping great hints are dropped that he actually has Aspergers' Syndrome.
- In the Red Dwarf novel Last Human, Lister has a conversation with an imaginary Kryten (sort of, it's complicated) who is "smarter" than Lister because he's able to flawlessly remember every fact that Lister has ever been exposed to, however fleetingly.
- Happens in Flowers for Algernon; interesting essay about that here.
- The Geographer in The Little Prince, who gets all his very circumscribed knowledge from books and never leaves his desk.
- Doctor Enrique Borgos in A Civil Campaign is a brilliant biochemist who created a microbial suite that, when encased inside genetically engineered hive minded insects, could turn any cheap biomass into an almost perfect food source (and he's already planning strains of bugs that will churn out plastics and such in the future). He also had to be sprung from debtor's prison after financing his projects by selling shares in the original enterprise to about, oh... 800%, his original Butter Bug models were so hideous that a professional designer had to create something truly glorious to offset the prejudiced revulsion people had to eating ANYTHING that came out of the hybrid cockroach/pimple things, and he thinks that the way to appeal to a woman is to write her poetry... i.e. to rewrite his doctoral thesis in sonnet form. (And he STILL gets the girl in the end. Just not that particular one...)
- One Goosebumps Series 2000 book subverts this, when a kid of average intelligence manages to get into an advanced school thanks to his father pulling strings. At first he's surprised how all the other students seem to look and act normal, then sarcastically asks himself what he was expecting them to be like—they're just other kids, after all.
- The Laputan intellectuals in Gulliver's Travels, depicted as so wrapped up in their thoughts that they had servants to alert them when someone was talking to them, when someone was expecting a reply from them, when they were in danger of bumping into something, etc. Arguably rises to the level of The Rain Man, except for being cultural trait rather than an individual disability.
- In the Xanth novel "Ogre, Ogre", the protagonist Smash Ogre gets tangled with an "Eye Queue Vine", which raises his extremely low intellect into above-average for a human; he stops talking in rhyme, and finds that he can analyse and think rationally and inquisitively about things. (Which upsets him, as it is inappropriate for ogres, who pride themselves on their strength and stupidity.) However, near the end it is revealed that the vine is actually only capable of making people think they are smart, causing them to adopt TV Genius mannerisms and deluding themselves; however, thanks to Smash's half-human heritage, he was smart all along and deluded himself into downplaying it all his life.
- The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo so much. Word of God said she had Asperger's. Social dysfunction? Oh yes. But don't cross her, or those esoteric items she's memorized will be used to kill you, and erase your identity from the net completely.
- Sherlock Holmes has elements of this, detachedly viewing the entire world through his own intellectual methods of logical deduction, to the occasional bafflement of Dr. Watson. He's so single-mindedly dedicated to his work that he intentionally declines to memorize such irrelevant facts as that the earth orbits the sun— why would a genius detective ever need to know that, after all?
- A Wrinkle in Time and sequels features the superintelligent five-year-old Charles Wallace Murry. His intelligence is mainly demonstrated by formal speech and large vocabulary. But at one point he says "I wish Mother would teach me to read". The book explains that this was a conscious decision on the mother's part. But it does not explain how his family prevented him from learning to read: did everyone simply stop reading to him as soon as they realized his intelligence was something extraordinary? Apparently it never occurred to the author that many children— including quite a few of average intelligence— learn to read without formally being "taught".
- Subverted by Seamus Zelazny Harper in Andromeda. He is always hyping his own status as a genius and it is borne out by his ability to keep the eponymous ship running with barely a skeleton crew; however, otherwise he is likely to be surfing, drinking rotgut, or planning horrific vengeance upon his enemies.
- He even points this out in the series, at one point calling himself (paraphasing) "the rarest of breeds; a nerd with social skills."
- This is apparently the entire premise of CBS's sitcom The Big Bang Theory. Sheldon, who exhibits symptoms from a wide range of personality disorders and is the most intelligent member of a cast mostly composed of highly educated doctors and academics.
- The main protagonist of the Fox TV series Bones started as a textbook example of this trope, but in later scenes showed a more realistic backstory, a love of Foreigner and Cindy Lauper, and slowly growing appreciation for her Book Dumb partner Booth's intuitive people skills. Her status is mostly justified by her childhood trauma, reliance on anthropological explanations over psychology and normal social skills, and aversion to any kind of imprecision.
- Her primary assistant for the first 3 season, Zack Addy, is an even better example, to the point where Word of God is that he does have Asperger's, but is undiagnosed.
- The show downplays with the other Smart Guy of the show, Jack Hodgins. He's likable enough to hang out and have a beer with ex-military guys, and dates a number of women, including co-worker and The Chick Angela.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Willow is something of a subversion. Despite having a formidable IQ and computer hacking skills, her vocabulary never seemed to go above that of a twelve year old. Her boyfriend Oz was just as brilliant but deliberately flunked a year and was in all other things a typical indie guitarist. "Well, I sorta test well. Y'know, which is cool. Except that it leads to jobs."
- Almost everyone on Frasier. As Frasier had to move closer to normality when he became the lead in his own series, Frasier himself is only intermittently this when his social aspirations get the better of him - as he himself says, "I'm a teamster compared to [Niles]" and, in a direct reference to Cheers, "I used to have a regular bar and a regular bar stool, I even had a tab". He does seem to be largely aware of his social shortcomings compared to "normal" people like his father and Roz, while at the same time occasionally happily going to barbecues with his work colleagues or joining his father down at his local bar for a beer. Even Niles's self-awareness increases throughout the series.
- Subverted in Malcolm in the Middle. The title character has a genius IQ, but deliberately the only way the writers ever actually showed this was in spending days coming up with complex solutions to the problems of an episode, then portraying Malcolm as coming up with the same ideas in seconds. Also, Malcolm is really irritated by his classmates who exhibit stereotypical nerdish behaviour.
- Billy of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. He is very upset from getting a "B", yet he received the grade because he didn't have even an elementary school level knowledge of insects. There's also Dr. K of Power Rangers RPM, but she's justified as essentially being Raised For Science! and being very screwed up as a result.
- In the 4th-season episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation called "The Nth Degree", Lieutenant Barclay is struck by a Cytherian probe and becomes a TV Genius. He also gained social skills, whereas he had none before, and became much more confident. He successfully hit on Troi.
- Subverted in The West Wing, particularly with the character of President Jed Bartlet; a Nobel Prize-winning economist, veritable mental warehouse of obscure trivia and unashamed intellectual, Bartlet was also a genuinely caring, personable and likable man with a great deal of charm. He was, after all, able to get himself elected twice to the office of President of the United States, which requires some people skills.
- Largely deconstructed and averted in Fringe with the Bishops. Walter Bishop can come off this way, but he's actually a severely damaged man from being wrongly committed to a mental institution for 17 years, not (entirely) from his genius. Peter Bishop, Walter's son (sort of), is about as intelligent and inventive as his father, but is much more socially-adept. Showcased by Walternate, Walter's alternate-universe counterpart, never committed to a mental institution and instead becoming Secretary of Defense. He is a stern, ruthless, pragmatic man who commands respect. Similarly, William Bell, Walter's old partner, is charismatic and charming, funnily enough, being played by Leonard Nimoy.
- The Red Dwarf episode Holoship involves a whole shipload of these, plus Rimmer becoming the most alarmingly extreme example.
- The Mad Scientist, electronics designing genius who escaped from the CIA in the first season of Chuck. We don't get to see him when he's on his meds, but when he's off them, he's quite dangerous. Also, kinda twitchy. Good at manipulating people. Or at least Chuck.
- An episode of Burn Notice gives us a delusional genius. He's really good at seeing patterns, deduces that the hero is a spy, has discovered that a traitor is selling secrets (and getting American soldiers/spies killed). Also, he warns the good guys to be careful, because "That bitch is an alien". (She's probably not an alien.)
- Criminal Minds:
- Reid takes this to a whole new level, being a culmination of literally everything, without exception, in the description for this trope - right down to the vague Star Trek reference. It's even implied in the show that he might have a form of high-functioning autism. He once showed up at a convention dressed as The 4th Doctor, and is seen trying to talk to Morgan about the logistics of the Death Star, both shows being examples of "nerdy" interests.
- To a large degree, Reid's former father figure Jason Gideon counts, since he's incredibly gifted (and not just in profiling techniques) but he's also very quirky, neurotic and antisocial.
- Charlie began exhibiting traits of one on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia after taking pills that supposedly increase his intelligence. It turns out the pills were actually just Placebos and his "heightened intelligence" was just an extreme level of misplaced arrogance.
- The most of main characters in Scorpion qualify. They have a team member who is specifically brought along to help them interact with people.
- Walter uses Spock Speak, and is the most stereotypical "intellectual" nerd. He even claims to not feel emotion, which later turns into "I have trouble expressing emotion".
- Sylvester probably has the highest "Emotional Quotient" on the team, which would make him more personable if it weren't for his crippling fears and tendency to fanboy over games, tabletop, or (most prominently( his favorite comic-book character Super Fun Guy.
- Toby constantly mocks others and has a narcissism problem.
- Happy is constantly ill-tempered (as a defense mechanism) but she's a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
- Doctor Who
- Deconstructed a little bit with companion Zoe. She at first appears to be one of these in "The Wheel in Space", but we learn that she's actually had some sort of brainwashing in order to turn her into a 'librarian' with perfect recall for facts and computer-like logic. Her coworkers treat her with anything from suspicion to mockery, with some regarding her as more like an object than a person because of this. Zoe's reason for joining the Doctor is because she wants to reconnect with her own emotions.
- In the Second Doctor serial "Tomb of the Cybermen", Klieg and Kaftan are high-ups in the Brotherhood of Logicians, a group that boasts of its 'mass intelligence'. Sadly, it seems it doesn't instruct its members in such concepts as Evil Is Not a Toy or Know When to Fold 'Em.
- Jason from FoxTrot. He's extremely skilled when it comes to mathematics, science, and computers, but utterly lacking in common sense and scruples. Hence, we see him building inadvisable Bamboo Technology (such as a catapult to launch himself to frighten his sister), using his Playful Hacker talents to spread devastating computer viruses (at least one of which seemed to have no purpose other than to protest that he didn't have a crush on a girl in his class), and doing his Book Dumb siblings' homework in exchange for money (but often giving them the wrong answers).
- His lack of common sense makes some sense as he is only 10 years old and raised in a house with a father and brother who also lack common sense. Also, it is notable that the author probably had far more experience with book-smart science nerds than your average (non-scifi) writer, as he did complete his bachelors degree in physics at Amherst College.
- Most if not all of the Nerds clique in Bully.
- In The Dig, Brink becomes something of a TV Genius after his resurrection. You can blame the Green Rocks for that, though.
- Aversion by Professor Solus in Mass Effect 2, as his high level of intelligence instead makes him an incredibly practical man in terms of doing what has to be done. Yet, his speech is a bit unusual, leaving out most filler words for expediency. Example: "Lots of ways to help people. Sometimes heal patients; sometimes execute dangerous people. Either way helps."
- Many of his odd behaviours may have more to do with his culture and species. (All of his species think, speak, and act exhaustingly quickly; he just expediates his actions even moreso.)
- Mordin is also old by Salarian standards (their lifespan is about 40).
- In StarCraft II's cinematics, the scientists seem incapable of using normal-sized words, jump to conclusions in a very unscientific way, and wear lab coats and nerd glasses or goggles all the time.
- Almost every Mad Scientist character in the Crash Bandicoot series represents this, most especially Dr Neo Cortex, due to having fantastical scientific achievements in spite of being a Cloud Cuckoo Lander and a egomaniacal Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain. Surprisingly, Crash's sister, Coco, averts this. While she is a technical genius, and mildly bratty and eccentric, she tends to keep her ego and social skills checked, otherwise acting like a standard happy-go-lucky little girl with a bit of Big Brother Worship towards ditzy Crash.
- Jasper Zinc fits the trope, although it's not that he is a TV Genius so much as he's obsessed with making sure everyone around him knows he's a genius, period. So he deliberately avoids using contractions and adopts a high-falutin', faux-educated manner of speech so that it's absolutely clear even to the lowest common denominator that this is an intellect you don't mess with. He doesn't appear to have thought it through, though, as people too far above said lowest common denominator tend not to be impressed.
- Largely averted in the Whateley Universe, where the teen inventors tend to come across as realistic teenaged nerds. The trope best fits rich kid Ayla Goodkind (Phase) who has spent his whole life (up to his current age of fifteen) preparing to be a tycoon in the fmaily business. He knows tons of useless facts, and knows more about finance than any adult ought to. He speaks in a pompous manner with lots of long words. He took a special literature course on epics just for fun even though the class had to read about fifteen or twenty epics in a single term... and he did so well that he ended up writing several journal articles with the class lecturer.
- Daniel O'Brien of Cracked.com is this in After Hours, able to fill in blanks and cite statistics, due in part to being compulsive and socially inept.
- In an episode of Aladdin: The Series, Aladdin's head was separated from his body. The head, containing the brain, suddenly became a TV Genius and was able to spout scientific knowledge that no one in this period (barring perhaps genies) should have access to, such as how nerves work. Aladdin's headless body, containing his good heart, became an embodiment of Dumb Is Good, whereas the head turned into an Anvilicious Straw Vulcan.
- Ben 10:
- Ben 10 has a morph, Grey Matter, that greatly increases his intelligence. As Grey Matter, Ben knows a lot of information that he couldn't possibly know, speaks in unnecessarily long words (unlike his usual, typical ten-year-old method of speech), and appears to lose common sense and the ability to talk to normal people (when asked "where are you?" he begins to give information that could find his geographical position, such where he is in reference to a mountain, until prompted for the name of a street).
- Ben 10: Alien Force has an arguably more straight example in Brainstorm. While Grey Matter knows more and speaks longer, the Ben personality doesn't change, as shown when Ben says "How do I know that?/I have no idea what I'm talking about". Brainstorm adapts a British accent, uses words simply because they are longer and not because they have any scientific value at hand, and becomes much more arrogant in how smart he is.
- In Ben 10: Omniverse, it's discovered that the two species, the Galvans (Grey Matter) and the Cerebrocrustacians (Brainstorm) are in a bit of a galactic contest to see which species is smarter. Well, the Cerebrocrustations are, at least. The Galvans tend to just ignore the boasting and bragging the Cerebrocristations do, so it would appear that how Ben acts as each alien matches how the aliens themselves act. Galvans are down-to-business, Cerebrocrustations are vain and boastful.
- The eponymous character of Dexter's Laboratory: he's a world renowned genius capable of building time machines, giant robots and create all sort of genetically modified creatures, yet thinks "girl" is some kind of tribe, doesn't know what dirt is, and one time thought he was going to die due to having gas.
- Averted in an episode of Doug. Skeeter, who'd always been the goofy sidekick type, takes an IQ test and scores incredibly high. Over the course of the episode, he is studied by scientists and gets into college (from the elementary-school setting of the series). This revelation goes largely ignored in most later Nickelodeon episodes, the Disney series has Skeeter's genius IQ play a role in a few other plots. However, at no point in either series does his personality change from The Ditz.
- Family Guy does this with Lauren Conrad.
- The 1960-era Felix the Cat show often paired him with the Professor's nephew Poindexter (hey, the name alone), who speaks in a stiff, formal cadence, and wears a lab coat, big glasses (no eyes visible), even a mortarboard hat.
- The title character of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius is an elementary school student who is not only excessively prone to Techno Babble and Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness, but has invented time travel, faster-than-light warp engines, and the best candy in the history of all existence and everything. Also, he has a giant head.
- An episode of Kim Possible featured a beam capable of drastically increasing one's intelligence, which in this case was used on Rufus, a naked mole rat, propelling his intelligence to superhuman levels. Rufus suddenly gained enormous amounts of incredibly complicated knowledge and inventing skills, even putting the show's resident Teen Genius Wade to shame. There was something about copying the brainwaves of the world's most brilliant minds as well, which just further confuses the matter.
- The concept was that a scientist had decided one night when all his other scientist friends were over to make copies of their minds which could be imprinted on someone by a machine. It wasn't that his intelligence was augmented, but that he had the combined knowledge of all those scientists. It was more that Wade was competing against several people in one body, rather than one supersmart individual.
- Brainiac 5 from the canceled Legion of Super-Heroes animated series seems to use this persona to hide his true emotions. Which seem to involve a lot of Superman and wanting To Become Human.
- The Simpsons:
- Martin Prince.
- Another episode had Homer gaining a genius-level IQ eventually revealed to be 105 (which is completely average in reality but apparently very smart for a character in The Simpsons, an increase of 50 points after the removal of a crayon lodged in his brain. It also affected his already poor social skills, at least the ones that were actually endearing.
- Mostly averted with Lisa — while she sometimes has problems with Intelligence Equals Isolation, she's actually one of the most well-adjusted characters on the show. Her level of knowledge is totally implausible for an eight-year-old, but it depends entirely on Rule of Funny.
- Lisa does at very least have Insufferable Genius qualities and on occasion is rather blindly obnoxious and self serving in her ethics, to the point of being a Soapbox Sadie. She also has some obvious childlike follies on occasion. These flaws obviously became less significant as the rest of the cast was Flanderized excessively but her shortcomings still show on occasion.
- Brainy Smurf from The Smurfs, with his Nerd Glasses and library full of self-written books, is arrogant and condescending, always ready to boast about his vast intellect while being a top-notch Know-Nothing Know-It-All and generally useless.
- Though it may be important to note that in the original belgium comics, Brainy Smurf was called "Schtroumpf à lunette" (Smurf with glasses), and he wasn't especially smart, just extremely pedant.
- Patrick of SpongeBob SquarePants was once made smart for an episode, but he voluntarily returned to stupidity after he realized he was turning into an Insufferable Genius and growing apart from SpongeBob.
- Similarly subverted with Richie of Static Shock. After he gains Super Intelligence, he doesn't really act any differently from how he did before. He becomes much more invested in building various gadgets, but even that behavior was present since the beginning of the series.
- The Superhero Squad Show episode "Hulk Talk Smack" featured the Hulk being smartinized by the show's MacGuffin. In addition to his skin turning grey (a Continuity Nod to the comics) he starts dressing well and speaking eloquently. He also becomes an insufferable jerk and can't seem to hold his own in a fight anymore.
- Rebecca Cunningham of TaleSpin has an MBA and is refined in terms of social inequity, however, her temperament and stubbornness often lead to unpleasant situations, and she often shows an extreme naivete in terms of the outside world (providing good contrast to the extremely Book Dumb but streetwise Baloo). While she managed to bring Baloo's cargo service back from death's door in terms of business arrangements, her attempts to actually fly a plane were somewhat disastrous, to say the least.
- In Transformers: Generation 1, Grimlock gets an IQ boost after chewing into a supercomputer. Not only does it boost his intellect, it makes his speech far more intelligible to the point of snooty. He becomes the go-to guy for the Autobots' problems, but the rest of the Dinobots don't think he's fun anymore.
- This leads to Grimlock creating the Technobots. Individually, only Nosecone (and Lightspeed to a lesser extent) fits this trope, but Computron, their combined form (who absorbs Grimlock's advanced intelligence), definitely does.
- One episode of CatDog has Dog becoming a genius while Cat grows exponentially stupid.
- Gretchen on Recess fits this trope to a T: ten years old, yet an improbably brilliant polymath with extraordinary science and engineering skills, knowledge of history, literature and mathematics. And yes, susceptible to overwrought verbiage. Surprisingly though, she's not that socially awkward though her friends express wariness at her nerdier activities.
- Defied with Dipper Pines from Gravity Falls. This reddit post by Alex Hirsch states that while Dipper is better academically than his sister Mabel, he's still pretty sociable.
- Edd ("Double D") from Ed, Edd n Eddy is highly intelligent, loves to use "big words", and the other characters will often see him as an Insufferable Genius. But he also shows a lot of common sense, even if he can't understand that other people maybe aren't as interested in reading books and getting knowledge as he is.