Leadership

As leaders in DC squabble over who's smarter, here's the IQ score Warren Buffett says is all you need to succeed

Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.
Lacy O'Toole | CNBC
Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.

While Washington, D.C. leaders fight over who's more intelligent, billionaire businessman Warren Buffett says there's a specific IQ score you need to succeed: 130.

A week after NBC reported that Secretary Rex Tillerson called President Donald Trump a "moron," Trump proposed the two compare IQ tests in an interview published on Tuesday by Forbes.

"And I can tell you who is going to win," Trump adds. This wouldn't be the first time Trump has bragged about his IQ.

Mensa, an exclusive organization for those who score in the top two percent, has offered to conduct Trump and Tillerson's IQ test.

But Buffett has long said that IQ isn't the single defining factor to being successful. More important than IQ, he says, is rationality and emotional stability.

"You don't need to be a rocket scientist. Investing is not a game where the guy with the 160 IQ beats the guy with a 130 IQ. Rationality is essential," Buffett is quoted saying in the book, "Warren Buffett Speaks."

Notably, the average IQ score falls between 85 and 115. A score above 140, meanwhile, is considered to be genius level.

Even if you do have an IQ of 160, Buffett says you should just "give away 30 points to somebody else" because "you don't need a lot of brains to be in this business."

"What you do need is emotional stability," he adds."You have to be able to think independently."

Buffett, one of the world's most influential and successful investors, admits that his IQ was not what helped him achieve success.

Unlike some people who base their actions and reactions on emotions, Buffett has a way of keeping himself grounded.

He stays in what he calls his "circle of competence," a few key facts he can refer to and really own, and keeps away from the things he doesn't know as much about.

"It never bothered me if people disagreed with what I thought," Buffett says in a 2010 interview with Forbes.

"I can go back and look at the facts and I think that's much more important, frankly than having a few points of IQ or having an extra course or two in school or anything of the sort."

While Buffett says IQ and talent are valuable, why doesn't having only these two qualities allow smart people to be successful?

His answer: Your habits, character, temperament and ability to think independently together allow you to behave rationally.

"To invest successfully does not require a stratospheric IQ, unusual business insights, or inside information," Buffett says in a foreword to Benjamin Graham's "The Intelligent Investor." "What's needed is a sound intellectual framework for making decisions and the ability to keep emotions from corroding the framework."

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