criminals and geniuses

Bill Gates, Paul McCartney

and Criminals



curve tendency recognize
rare profile adolescence
risk virtually thereafter
vast majority characterize
peak achieve extraordinary
shatter diminish earth-shattering
recluse founded  competitive
attract discover breakthrough
mate (3) compose pronounced (2)
resort warfare phenomenon
rival impress endeavor
 desire show off accomplish
resource redirect settle down
reject choice go through all this trouble


The Age-Crime Curve

Criminologists have long recognized an “age-crime curve.”

In every society, throughout human existence, the vast majority of violent crimes are committed by — young males.

This tendency increases from early adolescence and peaks in late adolescence and early adulthood. It thereafter declines, becoming rare in middle and old age.

But this curve is not limited to crime.

Geniuses and Super Achievers

The same age profile characterizes virtually every human behavior that is public, risky and extraordinary.

In other words, like crime, greatness in classical music, painting, Olympics, novels, science, technology and entrepreneurship is achieved mainly by young people.

Bill Gates and Paul McCartney

Anthropologist Satoshi Kanazawa provides some classical examples.

Bill Gates founded Microsoft when he was young. In later years, he hasn’t created anything earth-shattering.

Former Beatles member Paul McCartney wrote most of his hit songs in his early twenties. Though he still composes music, none have been as successful as the ones from his youth.

Einstein and Newton

The once bestselling author, J.D. Salinger, now lives as a total recluse. He has not published anything in more than three decades.

And Einstein and Newton made their greatest scientific discoveries in their 20s.

The age-genius curve among females is much less pronounced; it does not peak or vary as much according to age.

Attracting Mates

A single theory can explain this phenomenon: Both crime and genius are expressions of men’s desires — to attract mates.

In this competitive environment, some males resort to violence and warfare against their rivals. Men who are less physically aggressive may try to impress women through creative endeavors.

Peak and Decline

Then, having accomplished his goal of winning a mate and having children, a man has no further need to continue showing off. Most of his time, energies and resources must be redirected to supporting them.

At this point, men simply no longer feel like fighting, stealing, or making scientific breakthroughs . . . they just want to settle down with their families.

But why do males go through all this trouble in the first place?


The answer according to evolutionary biology is female choice.

Women often reject men.

And so men have had to fight and win battles and wars … occupy foreign lands … build empires … compose symphonies … author best-selling books … write sonnets … paint cathedral ceilings … make scientific discoveries … play in rock bands … and write new computer software … create (and destroy) civilizations . . .

All just to wow and woo women — and make them say “YES”!


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1. What is the “age-crime curve”? Describe the “age-crime curve”.

2. Crime, sports, art, science, music, war, and computers are all completely unrelated. Is this correct or wrong, according to anthropologists?

3. Examples of youth, genius and creativity are a modern phenomenon. Is this true or false.

4. Do women exhibit the same pattern as men?

5. Men’s creativity and geniuses peak and decline. What is the explanation for this?

6. What is the theory or main idea of this article?
A. Do you agree with the anthropologists? Can you see examples from school?

B. Do you see examples of this in your company or work?

C. Knowing this theory, what should parents and schools do?

D. What should universities and businesses do?

E. What should the police, social workers and governments do?

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