How to Increase your IQ

Whether you think of IQ as a generalized intelligence or g-factor, or just view IQ as representing a numerical measurement of smart or brilliant, we all want more IQ.

There’s two ways to increase your IQ. There’s the young man’s way and the old man’s way.

If you’re under 27, the single best way to boost your IQ is to read great books until it hurts. As a young man, I would drop books out of my hands and begin shaking while struggling through material. I meditated until feeling the sensation of levitation. I exercised my brain until it hurts.

Young men should also read boring books for at least 2 hours a day. Sit still. You are not 5 years old and getting your first haircut. The Internet porn or whatever you want to look at is going to be there after you finish reading. (Here are some tips on how to improve your reading comprehension.)

Once the window shuts on your youth, it is closed forever.

A young man’s brainpower is called fluid intelligence. Wiki offers a good explanation:

Fluid intelligence or fluid reasoning is the capacity to think logically and solve problems in novel situations, independent of acquired knowledge. It is the ability to analyze novel problems, identify patterns and relationships that underpin these problems and the extrapolation of these using logic. It is necessary for all logical problem solving, e.g., in scientific, mathematical and technical problem solving. Fluid reasoning includes inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning.

That’s why I keep telling young guys, “Don’t waste your twenties.” There is a very limited window of superior intellectual capacity. You need to fill every wrinkle in your brain up with as much challenging material as possible.

I’m too old for that shit now. Which brings me to old guy intelligence:

Crystallized intelligence is the ability to use skills, knowledge, and experience. It does not equate to memory or knowledge, but it does rely on accessing information from long-term memory.

Crystallized intelligence is about integrating everything you learned as a young man. It’s very easy for me to guess the age of an anonymous blog writer. Young guy’s posts lack any integration of knowledge. Everything is random.

Once you get older, you begin seeing the relationships between unrelated bodies of knowledge. Everything becomes connected.

You no longer think in dichotomies like, “Money or game?” You realize that money is game. All is one.

The best example of old guy knowledge is Sherlock Holmes. Holmes is able to solve mysteries only because of his advanced background knowledge of the world.

For an old man to become smarter, he must increase his knowledge of the world. He must also spend more time reflecting upon his knowledge of the world.

If you wasted your youth, you’ll never be wise as an older man. You won’t have enough facts about the world to integrate and connect. If people over 40 seem so stupid, it’s because their youths were spent drinking beer, watching television, and getting. They never learned anything and have nothing to offer.

There is a way that young men and older men can increase their IQs. There’s a simple 3-to-5 minute brain warm-up one can perform each day.

  • Countdown from 100, as quickly as you can. Don’t worry about wrong answers. Speed is what you’re going for.
  • Create a list of 20 types of foods. E.g., 1-apple, 2-carrots, 3-spinach, 4-celery…
  • Now do 20 verbs. 1-run, 2-skip, 3-jump, 4-fornicate …
  • Attach a noun to each letter of the alphabet. E.g., a-ape, b-baboon, c-cat … z-Zionist.
  • Pick a letter in the alphabet. Choose a new letter each day. Now do 10 words. f-frankly, f-fudge, f-frack, f-fuzzy …
  • Then slowly countdown from ten. Take deep breaths.

That’s it. You’re done.

I’d link to the book that was taken from, but can’t remember the title. It was written by John McEnroe’s performance psychologist.


Follow me on Twitter for more ways to increase your IQ – @playdangerously.

  • rivsdiary

    thanks, good stuff

  • Rob

    True story: if you get high a lot, you definitely need to read for hours every day. My habit of using was only counter balanced by my habit of compulsive reading. This was during the first half of my 20’s. Of course, from 8-20 I read more than anyway I knew, so that didn’t hurt.

    One element of fluid intelligence that definition doesn’t explicitly mention (but can be inferred from it), is the ability to ask intelligent questions. Reading will enable you to ask the right questions, questions that are specific when necessary, but also general (yet probing) when necessary.

    I’ve heard some people say reading fiction is a waste of time. Absolutely false if you are in your 20’s or younger. Reading great fiction expands the mind and forces you to grapple with intelligence. Nothing is more valuable than grappling with intelligence. Most people are dumb and small-minded. Great fiction is exactly the opposite.

  • Alpha Traits

    Another cracker, you’re on a roll this week D&P.

    Cannot emphasise enough how important reading is. People literally spends years writing books and emptying all their knowledge onto the pages. Then allow you to absorb all that knowledge by just spending a few hours reading.

    You know who else read a lot? Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison and Alexander the Great.

  • Chrysalis

    Edison was a douche. A smart one, though.

    Learn a language or a field of math. Can be done at any age, and language is actually better since it forces you to leverage one type of ability into another: passive vocabulary into active, listening into talking, reading into writing.

  • Faust

    That exercise you gave is very interesting.
    I tried it and I could feel my brain jumping around as it looked for ideas. “Read” was immediately followed by “Write”, which was followed by “Calculate” (Closest I could think of for ‘rithmatic) From there to “Compute.” I would imagine you’re right, if you kept doing it you really would get smarter, as you strengthened your ability to make those connections.

  • YouSoWould

    Another provenly effective (published in scientific journals) method of permanently increasing IQ in adults is to play the puzzle game “Dual N-back” daily. It involves keeping track of a constantly moving sequence of squares that appear on the screen, and letters of the alphabet that are spoken simultaneously.

    On the first level (1-back), you need only to remember the previous 1 combination of position and letter. Once you have achieved 80% or more, you proceed to 2-back, where you need to keep track of the previous 2 positions and letters in your head. The game then advances as long as you are able to keep up with it.

    Players tend to plateua around level 3 for weeks, and then suddenly break through as new pathways are formed in the brain. IQ is permanently raised 10-15 points.

    Check it out –

  • K

    I noticed a huge increase in intelligence when I started taking high dose zinc. It’s like I’m 19 again. I’m only 29 now but I’ve noticed a huge decline in raw brainpower since my early 20s. Zn seems to have fixed that. I’m in business now where even stunted intelligence is sufficient but I’m a theoretical physicist by training and need to challenge my mind to stay sane. Zn has made me incredibly happy.

    • Nick

      How high a dose are we talking? I’ve been taking 100 mg when I wake up (666% DV) and 100 mg before bed, and I haven’t noticed any such gains (but I’m also only 22).

  • Jihad Joe

    Well fellas, you hit the jackpot bringing me here. Aspiring neurobiologist right here.

    Let’s get cracking.

    Consume the following foods: Fatty-fed fish, pistachios, walnuts, kale, spinach, broccoli coffee, grass-fed butter, coconut oil, blueberries. Basically paleo but a bigger emphasis on fats and vegetables (meat makes you a tad bit sluggish). Intermittent fasting and reduced caloric intake over a long period of time is linked to better brainpower.

    To increase your verbal intelligence, why not read some poetry, read literature, or listen to some hip-hop music. Even sh!tty artists like Lil Wayne hav clever tricks, alliterations, similies, analogies, metaphors and in conjunction with the classi cShakespeare and Russell Brand you can clearly d. Or just have a dictionary near by with a word. Of course Big L and Nas are preferrable.

    As previously stated above, LEARNING A LANGUAGE and doing Sudoku/Scrabble WILL POSTPONE/ameliorate most brain degeneration you get in your mid-20’s. . I do believe 23 is the peak, and as a child your synapses and inner grammar lexicon are at their best, but the act of actively pushing yourself up an uphill battle and seeing interactions between agglutinative, isolationist languages and attaching them to new images is enormously beneficial.

    Celibacy is linked to genius as well.. (but this is iffy lol)

    To increase your visual/spatial perception, I highly recommend the Flow app on Planarity game. Try visualizing things in detail as well in your head.

    To increase your mathematical ability. KhanAcademy is the way to go..or any old textbooks.

    To create a framework of the world check out KrauserPua’s sit eon Intellectual Mastery.

    Now really rack into your brain and remember everything you know about the world.. all about school subjects, street smarts, and combine them into a quick outline for a dissertation. Now make an -ism out of it.

    Creativity Boosters: Consider the SCAMPER method. Pick up a book and go through this process to come up with bullshit.
    Use deductive logic to free-associate and brainstorm, and then use inductive to condense and find solutions.

    Singing in the shower and listening to music is fantastic. Playing an instrument exercises both parts of the brain.

    You can also develop intuition/curb irrationality. Look it up.

    Change Your Brain, CHange Your Life by Dan Amen is a very resourcefool tool to spot your flaws and fix ’em.

    Anki supports a nice flashcard system

    There are dozens of ways to improve your memory. Consider the ioci TedTalk lecture and the mnemonic peg system. F.e. if i had to memorize a list
    medulla oblongata, amygdala, reticular formation, temporal lobe, parietal love, prefrontal cortex, occipital lobe, hippocampus, pineal gland

    id take the #s 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10
    attribute rhyming words: gun, shoe, tree, whore, beehive, dicks, heaven, gate, Calvin Klein, Ben

    Id form image of a Fight Club holding up a gun to his mouth saying “I am Jacks Medulla Oblongata”
    Then I would picture the shoe from Wh oframed roger rabbit squealing in fear and stepping on an almond (amygdala deals with emotion)
    Then I would imagine a hamster running on a wheel next to a tree, since hamster deals with the hindbrain/reticular formation
    Then I’d imagine lil john screaming “WHAY!?” to one of the whores in their vid (temp lobe is hearing)
    and os on.

    Good luck guys.

    • anon1


  • Pingback: Game theory has it’s own life cycle | Krauser's PUA Adventure()

  • Pingback: Stares at the World » Sunday Funday: Demonology Edition()

  • YingTongTiddleIPo

    What is the name of John McEnroe’s performance psychologist, or what is the title of his book? I haven’t been able to find either piece of information.

    • Danger & Play Blog

      I don’t know. I spent a while on Google before writing this post trying to track it down and couldn’t.

  • Adam C.

    Funny you chose Sherlock Holmes, as he was notorious for learning certain things but dispensing with any knowledge that cluttered his mind. the quote about that was, ‘I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it.’

  • anon1

    hey mike, besides the tips that both you and the featured commenter gave is ther any other way to increase and keep up fluid intelligence for as long as possible?

    • Danger & Play Blog

      Anything (generally speaking) that increases blood flow improves brain health.

  • anon1

    oh and when will you be including your personal brain exercises on the podcast?

    • Danger & Play Blog


  • anon1

    one last thing, was this the book?

    or this one?

    had a look around and there were other potential candidates but did not mention performance psychologists specifically

    • Danger & Play Blog

      No. It was one of those “Build Your Brain” type books that would appear in the $1 section at Barnes & Noble.