Title: IQ matters. A lot. Both to you and your nation.
Let's just say it up front and get it out of the way: IQ matters. A lot. Both to you and your nation.
There's much to like about this book. Jones does a great job of stating the case for the validity and importance of measuring IQ (the intelligence quotient) and making correlations with a wide range of educational, occupational, economic, and behavioral variables. He does this in a clinical and dispassionate way, which is very helpful and refreshing, merely presenting findings from numerous studies over decades of time (from recent to 50 to nearly 100 years ago) from a range of sources (private and public military/government). The text is very plain and understandable, almost like an article in Scientific American or The Economist. He does address how to possibly increase IQ of nations over time (the Flynn effect) and why that's important. In other words, what state-level policies might be considered to improve quality of life for a country's citizens It's a great question but he leaves others to answer because, as the book title says, he's merely making the claim that your nation's IQ matters more than your own IQ. In other words: Better to be a below-average IQ individual in a high-IQ nation than a high-IQ individual in a low-IQ nation.
This is a short book, at 168 pages, and Jones does a very nice job of going through the scientific literature to show how IQ correlates (predicts) a range of things, including brain size, education, job performance, memory, patience, creativity, cooperation, political attitudes, pro-market attitudes, handling complexity, and on and on.
For example, research shows that higher IQ people tend to be more:
o center or center-right in their political attitudes
Just from these five factors alone you can see a pattern forming already about a society built on mutual cooperation for everyone's benefit. All in all, because of these traits (and many more), higher IQ nations tend to be richer nations. The reverse obviously holds true.
The Notes, Bibliography (ten pages!), and Index are all thorough and helpful, especially if you, like me, enjoy doing your own sleuthing research online. Really helpful are the detailed indexing for entries like "IQ tests" and "IQ test scores." Here you can quickly find text for cross-country comparisons and IQ and its relationship to the wide variety of topics he covers. (To find these for yourself online, just search "IQ of nations".)
The book did have its shortcomings, though. As I was reading I thought what Jones *didn't* include or talk about much or at all *just* as important and interesting. I found it odd that he would write a book about "IQ by countries" but not include much on very related (really, "intertwined") topics. Do your own sleuthing on such search terms like "IQ and race" (yes, there are differences; if race were merely a social construct, then why would race matter for stem cell or bone marrow transplants) and "IQ and gender" (male geniuses outnumber female geniuses 7 to 1) and "IQ and genetics" (yes, IQ is very heritable) and "IQ and crime" and "IQ and inbreeding," for example, and you'll be surprised by what you learn. (If you use Google Chrome, the peer-reviewed research articles appear atop your search results under Scholarly Articles.) Jones ignores or barely touches on these topics, perhaps because of where the data leads. If you want a real eye opener, cross check UN estimates for Africa's population growth to 2100 with African nation's average IQs and the world Fragile State and Corruption Indices. An unsettling picture quickly begins to form. Jones likely left all of this information out of his book for how some people would think of these topics. It's a real shame that we can't discuss scientific data in public, which would inform our public policy, but I'll leave it at that.
Like other reviewers, I find it very odd that Jones closes this book with a call for more immigration of low-skilled people into rich (high IQ) countries. I find his argument here to be the same "cheap, immigrant/migrant labor" argument that got us to this point in the U.S. (Maybe it's not so odd, though. Jones is a signatory to the 2005 Open Letter on Immigration.) During his research for this book Jones must have come across studies showing that a host of social pathologies (crime, drug abuse, illegitimacy, permanent welfare dependency) occur around/below the 75 IQ mark. He must know that. Anyone can find this information on the Internet from legitimate news and peer-reviewed scientific studies in less than 1 minute of searching. And, like most people, I define "public policy" as "policy" designed to help the "public"; specifically, the public of a community, state, nation. So why would a high-IQ country want to *import* low-IQ people when there are *plenty* of native low-IQ people to go around And why focus on low-skilled workers, anyway Why not try to bring in "the best and brightest" Jones tries to explain it with his own theory that shows low-skilled immigration actually *helps* the rich (high IQ) nation. It's a little convoluted, he hems and haws a bit, and in the end it doesn't work for me. And I don't think it does for Jones, either. He's doing a delicate dance here, you can tell. Some reviewers have called Jones' concluding recommendation "counter-intuitive." I'll go ahead and just call it "dangerous" and "deceptive." I'm on board with rich (high-IQ) nations helping poor (low-IQ) nations, for moral and ethical reasons, but there are limited resources to go around; and, in the end, one of a nation's top priorities are to the safety and security of its own people. Just ask Israel, Japan, Saudi Arabia, or China.
Still, all in all, this is an excellent book to get you started on the topic of IQ and why it matters so much in your own life, and in the lives of nations.
May 30, 2017 update: Researchers find a 4 point drop in IQ in France over 10-yr period. A negative Flynn Effect in France, 1999 to 2008-9. Dutton and Lynn. Intelligence, Volume 51, July-August 2015, Pages 67-70. Review of findings at "The puzzle of falling French intelligence," James Thompson, December 5, 2015, The Unz Review.
April 16, 2018 update: Sweden is learning a hard lesson about opening their borders to low-IQ legal immigrants (and illegal migrants), facing a rising number of Islamic state attacks, bombings, and grenade attacks. See Sweden's violent reality is undoing a peaceful self-image, Politico, April 16, 2018.