16 Of The Smartest Children In History

We are fascinated with child prodigies, yet we still don't know what causes one talented youngster to go on to a happy, productive life and what causes others to burn out, like William James Sidis.
Sidis is considered to be the smartest man who ever lived, by some, with an estimated IQ of 250-300.

Before his own experience with the terrible twos, Sidis had taught himself to read and shortly thereafter, became fluent in eight different languages and wrote four original works of his own by the age of seven.

After an incredible childhood – or lack of it – adulthood was a struggle for Sidis and newspapers at the time reported that his “genius had burned out” due to the numerous obscure blue collared jobs he obtained throughout his life.

Read about 16 famous prodigies, some from history, some who are adults now, and some who are just starting out. Link -via the Presurfer

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It's hard to say for sure what happened in William James Sidis' case or whether he actually "burned out" as such. His arrest over a largely trumped-up charge in 1919 and his parents' attempt at "correcting" his behaviour by placing him in their private sanatorium seemed to leave him with a lifelong paranoia. He also had an animosity towards towards the press which continued to represent him as a burnt-out genius although Sidis continued publishing a series of eclectic works under pseudonyms that still attracts a cult following.

http://drvitelli.typepad.com/providentia/2007/09/reining-in-the-.html
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There is a theory that people have a maximum development they can achieve. Whether they reach it in six years or sixty, they cannot easily progress much farther. What looks like burn-out could just be full actualization at an early age.
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