Swimmer’s Body Illusion – Rolf Dobelli

IllusionToday is kinda special, because I am reading a book called ‘The Art of Thinking Clearly’, written by Rolf Dobelli. the book contains the 99 delusions and psychological errors that we always face. Starting from today, I have decided to write a personal experience corresponding to each error it is written in the book. I would like to thank Mr. Dobelli personally for he taught me how to be a rational and reasonable person, without subjectivity clouding my fair judgment.

Chapter: Does Harvard make you smarter? – Swimmer’s body illusion.

The title says it all, does Harvard actually make you smarter? Mr Dobelli used the example of his friend, who is deciding which sport activity to choose from. His friend chose swimming at last, because of the attractive and muscle-building physique of the swimmers. Well, the illusion is that the attractive physique is what gets you selected to join the swimming team. It’s the other way around.

I study at a famous local secondary school, and it ranks top three in my hometown. There are often commentaries about how my school is the best, and it trains smart and intelligent graduates, preparing them for their future professional career (by professional I mean the jobs with high social status and hierarchy, like lawyers and doctors). Am I a smart kid? I think I am, but does the school actually make me smarter overall? Probably. But after graduating from my school, I realise what Mr Dobelli said was very true and authentic indeed. My school is famous because it possibly breeds smart kids, but it might also because of the children themselves, whom are smart and intelligent since the day they were born. They are already geniuses the day they submitted their application for my school. So does IVY leagues and Harvard matter? Yes to the extent that they give you a big step towards your profession, especially with the career opportunities and internship, but intellectually? I doubt it. With all those other factors kicked out of the equation, no, popularity of the school does not matter as long as you are a smart kid yourself.

“Before you decide to take the plunge, look in the mirror – and be honest with what you see. ”

Rolf Dobelli



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