Can hard work beat intelligence? Does it depend on the field? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Richard Muller, Professor of Physics at UC Berkeley, author of Now, The Physics of Time, on Quora:

"Intelligence" measured by IQ is a ridiculously over-rated parameter. I'm constantly meeting people who are clearly more intelligent than I am (in the IQ sense) who have had frustrating and non-productive lives.

Off the top of my memory, I can't think of a single highly-intelligent individual who was successful without very hard work. And I can think of many who would score low on a standard IQ test who have been very successful.

IQ measures a very narrow form of ability, typically the ability to think abstractly and solve abstract problems. Of course, there are many other forms of intelligence too: intelligence in evaluating people; intelligence in music; intelligence in understanding complexity; real-time intelligence (used in video games and fast-action sports). Most of these are ignored by the usual IQ test.

But few people have multi-dimensional intelligence, and they must make up for that by hard work. By hard work I don't mean putting in lots of hours. I mean using your intelligence (yet another kind!) to organize and run your life.

The most productive people in the world combine multi-dimensional intelligence (abstract, people, complex data, real-time) with very hard work.

This question originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More questions: