What does it really mean to be “street smart” or “book smart”? You always hear idiots boasting about being either one or the other. What do you consider yourself? My mother always told me I was street smart. It might have been a little mental gymnastics on her part to make herself feel better about her son failing in school, but I’ll never know. It felt good to have the label “smart”. As I got older, I began to smell the bullshi’t…….
- Being smart is relative unfortunately. There is no such thing as a “universally” smart person
- Street smart usually refers to someone who learns outside of school
- Book smart usually refers to someone who is very scholastic
- Book smarts is easily interpreted as someone who does most of their learning from books
- Street smarts can be categorized as knowledge from experience rather than academic information
Book Smart or Street Smart
“Some of the world’s greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible” –Doug Larson
Book worms who study under academic guidelines and can tell you many facts are categorized as book smart individuals. You know the type. They can name the capital of any country, do long division in their head and even memorize the table of elements. I don’t hold high value to random information.
Today’s languages are subject to interpretation, so it’s hard for me to accept the word “smart” so easily. I believe the word “smart” has to be used very specifically in the right context. I don’t believe knowing random information means someone has knowledge. Information relevant to solving a common problem in one’s life is the only information I can really respect. Knowing why a tiger has stripes doesn’t help my life. If I were a biologist studying tigers, it may be of great value. Remembering random dates and recalls random facts is bullshi’t. If being book smart means remembering useless shi’t, then I don’t hold any great value to it. Being book smart has it’s place, but I don’t think it should be one’s strong point.
Those who know their way around are usually considered street smart. Knowing where to go to find a good deal on products, how to find jobs, where all the best spots in town are, etc. Being fluent and having suave in the physical world is considered street smart. Street smarts are downplayed by the academic type because the stereotype is that street smart people can’t comprehend learning through literature. That’s partially true however. Some people learn through hands on experience much better than reading off a page. Others can pick up a book and visualize really well.
Being street smart is more practical for everyday life. Knowing how to find good deals on food and how to job hunt in a big city is more relevant than memorizing random capitals of nations in my opinion. The most important thing here is to understand that everything is situational. Those who neglect information gathering may find themselves making unnecessary mistakes. The other extreme is reading books in a sheltered environment. Going out and making mistakes is more effective for learning in the long run. What do you consider yourself? Book smart or street smart? Or are you a little of both?