Source: The Hitavada      Date: 13 Nov 2018 12:30:35


By dr archana dadhe,

It’s t`he question we’ve all had in our minds as soon as our brains were capable of thought. Which type of intelligence do we prefer, book smart or street smart? Learning through traditional, organised education or learning important life lessons through trial and error.

Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard to start their respective companies, relying on their enormous intellect and technology experience to change the world. But Sergey Brin and Jerry Yang both received advanced degrees at Stanford, and things turned out pretty well for them.

Growing up in an Indian family the importance of performing well in academics is drilled into our brain right from the childhood. Being good at academics is a must have quality for every college student. For as it happens, it's not just your parents but also the members of your extended family and even society in general who are interested in your performance in exams. As long as you score good marks you are the apple of everyone's eye.
While having a degree from a prestigious Business school is a great accomplishment, it doesn’t guarantee business success. That’s because “book smarts” can only take you so far. In reality, the most successful business leaders are those who have a mix of book smarts and street smarts when becoming visionary executives.

But true book learning is both information, understanding and synthesis. Synthesis is the capacity to see the relationships between different information from different sources, to compare it, and to build new knowledge from it. It is the foundation of all the advancement in knowledge and culture, and the real reason why education is important. Book smarts is excellent at finding solutions to complex problems.

Taking the right step at the right time is smartness. Being aware of the situations and giving it the right turn is smartness. Whatever life offers you, being able to take that bravely and make it turn in your favour is what makes people stand out of the crowd. It could come to you if you are too wise and leaned or you have experienced enough to be able to differentiate.

Most important perhaps, being street smart comes from experience. It means you’ve learned how to take what has happened to you, good or bad, think about it, and learn to improve from it. The prime distinction between street smarts and book smarts is who is at the center of the knowledge. On the street, it’s you. In a book it’s you trying to absorb someone else’s take on the world, and however amazing the writer is, you are at best one degree removed from the actual experience. Street smarts mean you’ve put yourself at risk and survived or thrived or have scars. You’ve been tested and have a bank of courage to depend on when you are tested again. Being street smart can lead to book smarts as the street smart sense what works and what doesn’t, and adapt accordingly. Book smart is simply describing that the person as generally intelligent, well educated and do well academically. However, the underlying idea is that the person deals with situations (especially bad or difficult situations) from an intellectual direction, using or basing decisions on facts, knowledge or insights gained chiefly from books or structured experiences (e.g. studying).

Book smart person is someone who knows his facts well. Facts are important for decision making – only after you understand the facts and theories can you apply them to real-life situations. However, being book smart alone is not sufficient for success.

An individual should have common sense and understand what is happening in the world - he should not apply the facts and theories to real-life situations blindly –he should use the knowledge in textbooks selectively to make sense of the world. A winner is someone who has the ability to put the knowledge that he has gained through reading books into practice and enhance the lives of people around him.

A street smart person is a great leader, a great leader is a great boss, and a great boss is a good CEO. If you know how to interact in function in a pretty big and cut-throat world, there is nothing that isn’t an option.
Constantly reminded that if I don’t work harder and get the grades associated with an “intelligent” person, I may limit my ability to reach my full potential. But what those people are overlooking are the skills that are actually going to help me in my future career path.

The goal of education is to teach both skills simultaneously, therefore well preparing a student upon their graduation. And I believe school does exactly that; a student becomes more intelligent in class while learning character through interaction with peers and participation in extracurricular activities.

I have always believed that street smarts were more valuable and would get you further in life than a reliance on book smarts alone. I have always seen book smarts as theoretical and street smarts as actual and practical. You can have ample book knowledge, but if you’ve never been able to use or practice the knowledge then it is not solidified. When learning by experience and gaining street smarts you learn by experience, risk taking, taking what has happened to you and learning from it .

A street smart person is someone who uses its life experiences, and common knowledge to make decisions. A book smart person as being able to succeed scholastically and not necessarily in the real world. I think what is basically comes down to is what is taught through academics, and what is taught through experience. I feel like a mix of both would be the best combination for a student.

A college degree may help to open the door to a better job, but street smarts are what allow you to succeed once you walk through that door. In order to recognise opportunities or deception, it is important to have both types of smarts at your disposal.

It's important to understand that the success of an entrepreneur is not measured by how much education he or she has or by how many years of experience are under his or her belt. An entrepreneur's success is measured by achievements, not words on a resume. An entrepreneur is a risk-taking businessperson; someone who sets up and finances new commercial enterprises to make a profit. Entrepreneurs start businesses. The smart ones then hire MBAs to run them.

Learning and doing (theory and practice) should work together to achieve complementary consequences. Both of them have specialty and morality in meeting the betterment of future life. Like the two sides of a coin, one completes and supports another on the firm ground of value-creating coordination and cooperation.

Street smarts do win the race against book smarts but it is the combination of two that does the wonder. If you are a street smart with knowledge, it works best. Book smarts and street smarts, both have their advantages in the corporate world and it depends upon what the employer is looking for to determine who gets the upper hand.

Job seekers are now looking beyond salary as the culture of job-hopping is now slowly in decline. People are looking to increase their value by working at a company for a longer term, and to achieve this they tend to choose the company that offers them the best work culture and environment in accordance to their roles.

(The author is from MBA Department, G S College of Commerce & Economics, Nagpur and can be reached at [email protected])