Street Smarts vs Book Smarts
Street smarts and book smarts are two very different things. And while one is not necessarily better than the other, they each have their own advantages and disadvantages.
We’ll take a look at the difference between street smarts and book smarts, some of the pros and cons of each, and offer up some real-world examples.
Tradecraft is a fusion of both street and book smarts, you can not be an effective operative without this balance, same goes with ordinary everyday life.
Street Smarts vs. Book Smarts: What’s the Difference?
Street smarts are the skills that you acquire through experience and observation. This can include things like common sense, social intelligence, street-level knowledge, and an understanding of human behavior.
[Further Intel: How to be Street Smart Guide]
Book smarts, on the other hand, are the skills that you acquire through formal/informal education and research. This includes things like knowledge of history, literature, science, and mathematics.
Both street smarts and book smarts have their own advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a look at some of them now:
Advantages of Street Smarts:
- You can acquire them without formal education (though formal education can certainly help).
- They can be helpful in emergency or unexpected situations.
- They can come in handy for tasks that require quick thinking or improvisation.
- They can help you better understand people and human behavior.
- You can use them to solve problems efficiently in the real world.
- Many jobs require them (especially jobs in law enforcement or the service industry).
- They can help keep you safe in dangerous situations.
- You can use them to network and build professional relationships.
- They indicate that you are resourceful and know how to get things done.
Advantages of Book Smarts:
- You can use them to think critically about complex issues.
- They help you better understand complex concepts.
- They prepare you for standardized tests.
- Many jobs require them (especially jobs that require higher education or specialized training).
- They can make you more marketable when applying for jobs.
- They give you a deeper understanding of the world around you.
- They equip you with the tools to communicate effectively.
- You can use them to analyze problems and find logical solutions.
- You can use them to persuade others with facts and logic.
Disadvantages of Street Smarts:
- They might not be enough to get you into college.
- You might not be able to find a job if your only qualifications are street smarts.
- Your ability to think abstractly might be limited.
- You might have difficulty understanding complex concepts.
- You might struggle with standardized tests.
- You could have trouble networking or building professional relationships if you’re shy or introverted.
Disadvantages of Book Smarts:
- You might not be able to find a job if your only qualifications are book smarts.
- Your ability to think on your feet might be limited.
- You might have difficulty dealing with unexpected situations.
- You might struggle with common sense tasks.
- You could have trouble understanding people and human behavior.
Examples of Street Smart People:
- A doctor who is able to quickly diagnose a patient’s rare condition because she’s seen something similar before.
- A police officer who is able to talk a jumper down from a ledge because he’s had extensive training in crisis negotiation.
- A customer service representative who is able to diffuse a angry customer’s anger because she’s dealt with similar situations many times before.
Examples of Book Smart People:
- A mathematician who is able to solve a difficult equation because he understands the underlying concepts.
- An economist who is able to predict an economic downturn because he understands complex financial concepts.
- A writer who is able create compelling arguments because she understands logic and rhetoric.
As you can see, street smarts and book smarts each have their own advantages and disadvantages. And while one isn’t necessarily better than the other, they both offer unique benefits that can be helpful in different situations. So which one should you develop? The answer is simple: both.
By developing both street smarts and book smarts, you’ll be an optimal operator. Focusing on just one “smarts” will hinder the scenarios and skills the other “smarts” demand.
In conclusion, it’s important develop both street smarts AND book smarts. By doing so, you’ll be prepared for almost anything life throws your way.