We all have read stories about people with astounding IQ levels and an impressive list of renowned achievements. You must have heard about Einstein (who had an IQ of 160), Newton (with an IQ of 190) and Zuckerburg (with an IQ of 152).
Have you ever wondered why you know them all so well? Perhaps, because they have been well known as undisputed geniuses of their time.
But have you ever heard someone as famous as these, named as, William James Sidis? Well, here’s a guess…you may not have heard about him or his story, up until now. So let’s unravel all the secrets that William James Sidis’ story holds.
One of the first things that you must know about William James Sidis is the unbelievable IQ he had, that ranged from 250 to 300!
After reading this, you can’t deny that he has to be the most brilliant person on this planet. He went on to become a child prodigy and a remarkable mathematician of his time.
However, the wonders of his intellect didn’t stop just there, as he mastered various dialects in little time and came to be recognized as a prolific writer.
By now, you must be full of curiosity as to why then, he has not been as famous as Einstein (or even more!) and why you never heard of him before.
Well, it is indeed a sad fact that one of the most brilliant minds of all time passed away in much secrecy without acquiring the fame he very much deserved. In this post we are going to share about William James Sidis’ life and unravel the reasons that didn’t let him acclaim the well-deserved recognition.
He was well-versed in about 8 languages at the age of 8 years old.
In 1898, New York City, William James was born to Boris (who was a successful and ambitious psychologist of his time and had about four degrees from Harvard). James’ mother was an MD, as well; so he grew up in a competitive environment with high expectations.
Being a child of highly intelligent and accomplished parents, there were countless expectations associated with William James Sidis as well and there was this unspoken pressure at him to be highly intellectual and intelligent.
Source: Harvard Library
Boris Sidis, William James Sidis’ Father
When William was just 18 months, he could easily read The New York Times! As you may anticipate, by the young age of 8 years, he was able to speak Greek, Latin, Russian, French, Hebrew, German, Armenian and Turkish.
He didn’t stop there…William came up with his own language and labeled it as “Vendergood”.
He has been the youngest individuals who were enrolled in Harvard.
Boris, William’s father, tried his best to enroll his son in Harvard when William was merely 9 years old. However, the admission request was refused because of such a young age and was eventually accepted, in 1909, at the age of 11 years.
He was not only the youngest person to be enrolled in Harvard but he came to be recognized as an outstanding mathematician and was able to lecture his professors!
He was only 16 when he completed the degree in bachelor of arts and was recognized as a child prodigy.
He always wished for a life of seclusion.
Although, his family was well-acclaimed, and he was attracting fame himself at quite a young age; it was as if William James was not at all fascinated with fame.
After graduation, he would often express that he longed for a perfect life of seclusion that did not include any marital relationship either.
During the time of William, American culture was saturated with an over-emphasis on creating child prodigies and Boris always demonstrated a keen interest in having William shine as bright as possible.
William’s disapproval of such cultural pressure and overwhelming parental practices reflected in his estranged relationship with his father. In 1923, when Boris passed away, William simply declined to attend the funeral.
Since William was not very fond of fame and recognition, he has been doing clerical odd jobs and whenever he attracted attention, it would be a signal for William to switch that job to another one.
There was this one time in 1924 when he was mocked by the press for working at a meager rate of $23/week and was criticized for having lost his genius.
Although, throughout his life, William produced outstanding books under pseudonyms. Being a socialist, he opposed World-War-I strongly and was arrested in a Boston protest, in 1919 and ended up in prison for about 18 months.
William James Sidis remains an enigmatic personality of history and even though he had the makings of a remarkable genius, his life was spent in estrangement from family and various other challenges.
Instead of leaving a long-lasting mark of his genius, Williams silently passed away, in 1944, at a young age of 46 due to cerebral hemorrhage. However, his touching story would stay in everyone’s hearts forever.