How to Be More Clever - Image 1

There are several good ways one can become more clever. For example, one could read books. Reading the complete works of say, Heidegger, is almost guaranteed to raise one's intelligence quotient, at least by a smidge. One might also dedicate one's life to the study of something like linear metathesis in, say, Fijian. Or, one might study something like aerospace engineering, or biochemistry, or inferential statistics, or cryptography.
That is not your case. You are putzing around the Internet trying to read something that'll teach you how to be smarter. You need a shortcut.
The shortcut is, obviously, to appear more clever without actually improving the frequency of your synapses. Here are six tested ways to make yourself appear smarter to other people:

1. Make no sense.

This may not be difficult to achieve, but it is difficult to sustain. Inevitably, you will find yourself in a situation when you'll have to identify the sense and avoid making it. That requires some level of a priori cleverness. In this case, you may be able to fake cleverness by responding to everything others say with sarcastic sneers. Sarcastic sneering is not clever, but it's close enough.

2. Short Sentences

It's likely that you already make no sense. In that case, do it in shorter sentences. The shorter, the better. Perhaps in time and with practice, you may be able to restrict your participation in any conversation to the same seven or eight words, and pull it off with a straight face. Furthermore, if you could reduce that to grunting and never making eye contact, you will appear very intimidating and people will assume that you are absorbed in your clever thoughts.

3. Be short.

Short people always seem smart. This well-known fact has been proven time and time again by numerous scientific studies around the world, so I won't elaborate.
How to Be More Clever - Image 1

4. Make Riemann your friend.

It doesn't really have to be Riemann; anyone who went to Gottingen is fine, however it should be somebody that no one's actually heard of, but who is famous enough in esoteric circles that their name will bring up thousands of Google search results. In fact, you could pick a name randomly, precisely by Googling any of the following disciplines: formal logic, mathematical analysis (but not calculus — that's not sexy), ontology, or petrology.

Note: Existentialism has been overdone; stay away from it. And from abstract art. Abstract art is so ridiculous, that the premise of any opinion about it is nonsensical. You might spit out a short sentence that makes no sense and accidentally say something appropriate. Don't fall for that: you don't want to be right; you want to be more clever.

Once you picked your clever reference, use it often and, if possible, in casual situations. That's when your friends will have their proverbial pants down and you can stick it to them good with your cleverness. I'll illustrate this with a real-life example: I used to have an e-mail username called fregeforbeginners. This handle cleverly implied that not only did I know who Frege was, but that I knew enough about him to teach his work to beginners. Basically, people saw my handle pop-up and immediately assumed I was at least an intermediate Frege scholar.

5. Avoid speaking with people face to face.

You will most certainly say something stupid. (Making no sense is not the same as saying stupid things.) If you must communicate with another human being, do it over e-mail or handwritten notes. Notes are better, because they take a long time to be delivered, thus increasing your chances to be even less relevant. They also present you with the opportunity to be undisputed, which is rare and should not be wasted.

For example, you might write in a note to your boss, "Ask yourself: are your shoelaces tied?" and doodle a stick figure with horns next to it. This is an excellent example of being clever in writing. For one, you would never get away with asking this in person, people would just think you're demented; and, two, you couldn't draw a stick figure. But, if you sent someone a note, the following would happen:

a) People will actually ask themselves if their shoelaces are tied, simply because people love being told to ask themselves stuff.b) They will assume you're not talking about actual shoelaces (why would anyone spend 42 cents on a note about that?) and will rack their brains trying to figure out what you cleverly meant.c) The stick figure with horns is your real pot of gold. If you can – and I'm sure you can – make it look really dumb. People will be moved by your child-like genius. Additionally, horns are very scary and people always think scary stuff is clever. They just do.

6. Always end things abruptly.

It's a little bit rude and so it gives you the upper hand.


Stock photo from Shutterstock