book smarts or street smarts

Are you Book Smart or Street Smart ?

Book smarts or street smarts — What is more important in determining life success? Well few people believe Book Smarts are more successful in life. On the other hand, many believe that street smarts achieve more success in life. Which one are you? In the article I will be sharing with you the characteristics of both, you can self evaluate you resemble which one.

Basically this categorization – Book smarts vs street smarts – attempts to shed light at the theoretical distinction of the academically smart people (book smart) and the real life smart people (street smart). Both categories are seen in everyday life.

What is book smart?

Book Smarts relate to what you learn in the classrooms in school, colleges and universities or . The term Book Smart itself express it’s meaning, book + smart i.e. smartness acquired through knowledge gained from books. Book Smart largely means somebody who has acquired a good formal education. Such persons learn self-sufficiently through educational activities such as reading, documentaries, digital content, educational programs and courses. The other synonyms sometimes used for such people are “book worm” or “exam smart”.

Generally, someone who is known as book smart is sensibly intelligent also. The reason behind it is, a certain amount of intelligence is required to learn and understand things on its own just through reading books. However, if someone is not book smart, it does not mean that they are of lower intelligence.

What is street smart?

Street Smarts relate to what you learn on the streets rather than in the classrooms in school, colleges and universities. A “street smart” has “world experience”, as he or she has gone through the University of “Hard Knocks”. A number of people don’t get the enough opportunities to get formal education; or even if they get, due to certain reasons they do not perform well in academics. Out of these few persons learn or acquire knowledge through experiences, observations, situational or behavioral analysis.  The other synonym used for such people is “streetwise”.

book smarts or street smarts

Book smarts vs street smarts

Well, now once you have gone through the definitions of book smarts and street smarts; you have basic understanding of both types of smartness. Now, let us try to understand difference between Book smarts and Street smarts.

Traits/Characteristics Book Smarts Street Smarts
Knowledge Source Acquire through books Acquire through experiences, observations, situational and behavioral analysis.
Focuses on Focuses on the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ – process oriented They know the ‘how’ – result oriented.
Knowledge type Theoretical and fundamental. They know facts and information. Experiential or practical
Decision making Delayed decisions. Such people take decision based on facts, knowledge, tried and tested strategies Quick decisions. Such people make decisions based on instincts
Creativity Creative and use their intelligence to innovate new things Equally creative and look for new ways of doing things rather than relying on formulas or methods
Social Skills Generally, such people are introverts Does well socially. Possess good life skills and people skills
Intelligence High IQ (cognitive intelligence) High EQ (emotional intelligence)
Academics Well educated and do well academically Academically does not perform well
Type of working Hard worker Smart Worker
Mindfulness They live in the future. They learn for the future and to make the best of the future Street smarts live in the moment. They exhibit situational awareness
Change management Don’t change according to demanding situations More adaptive and resilient
Risk appetite Take less risk compared to street smarts Have more courage and open to take risks in life
Crisis Management Always have back up plans in case something goes wrong Are able to solve the problems on the spot in the situation of a crisis

“It is from experiences such as mine that we get our education of life.” ~ Mark Twain

book smarts vs street smarts

Book smarts or street smarts – Success connection

So, having understood the difference between book smarts and street smarts; which ones do you feel achieve more success in life? Unfortunately, most of the people tend to perceive of book smarts and street smarts as two opposite phases of coin or two opposite extreme ends of the spectrum. That means if you are the one (say book smart), then you cannot be the other (street smart). But that’s not true. Anyone can have a mix of characteristics of book and street smarts. The key is to use mindfulness and emotional intelligence to pull these two opposites (book smarts and street smarts) together and harness them for achieving success in life. To be a fully rounded and powerful individual one must be well-versed in both forms of intellect.

When mindfulness is backed with emotional intelligence, you are using your bookish knowledge but that is non-judgmental. Further, your enhanced situational awareness helps you to utilize the real-life experiences in a better way. The probability of success increases manifolds when you act as a mix of book smarts and street smarts; as your intelligence is backed with self awareness, situational awareness, experiences and social skills. To conclude, a balance of both i.e. book smartness (textbook knowledge) and street smartness are required to live a successful life in today’s world.

Final Words

This is all from my side, over to you now. I hope you enjoyed this post on Book Smarts and Street Smarts and their importance for success in life. I am confident that this article has helped you understand the importance of possessing balance of the skills of both street smartness and books smartness. Please share your experiences and views on the same in the comment section below. I and the other readers will love to learn from your experiences.

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