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Many consider Elon Musk to be the most successful and significant businessman alive. His net worth is enough to prove his prowess as an entrepreneur. But, what about his intelligence? Where do you think he ranks amongst the smartest people on the planet? 

It takes a great mind, like Elon Musk’s, to succeed in business 

Closeup on Elon Musk's face while smearing wearing a black shirt against a blue background.
Elon Musk | Getty Images

When you think about success, one of the people who definitely come to mind is Tesla CEO Elon Musk. He was recently declared to be the world’s richest man, overtaking Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, who had held that title since 2017. BBC reported the news after Tesla’s share price rose in January 2021 and bumped Musk to a new net worth of $185 billion. All this while he is only 48 years old!

This was not the first time that the Tesla leader was on the headlines for hitting the business jackpot. Musk seems to know his way around the entrepreneurial world with Zip2, PayPal, and SpaceX. His smart business decisions can be proved by how he bet his PayPal payout on Tesla and SpaceX. While no one had heard of the two companies when he founded them, they have grown to be leaders in their respective industries in less than 20 years.  

Elon Musk is a genius! 

It takes a knowledgeable person to attain the kind of business success that Musk has. Celeb Answers reports that he started making smart business decisions at a very young age. The publication says that he was selling code while he was still in kindergarten in the early 1980s. This could indicate that his intelligence is more natural than learned. In other words, he could probably have a very high genius-level IQ. 

When he was 17, Musk enrolled in university and graduated with two bachelor’s degrees, one in physics and another in economics. This put him on a path to winning a Stanford scholarship to acquire an Energy Physics Ph.D. Not bad for a man who started four billion-dollar companies: SpaceX, Tesla, Solar City, and PayPal.   

While there are no official sources that have tested Musk, his IQ is generally estimated to be 155. Experts have based this on his potential to comprehend and apply complex technical data, his early aptitude tests, and how he uses his knowledge to drive innovation in complex industries. 

Should the estimated value be true, it would mean Musk is a genius. Celeb Answers reported that while IQ and its averages are not concrete numbers, many people worldwide tend to range between 85 and 115. 2.5% of the world’s population is believed to have the lowest IQ, below 70, while another 2.5% has an IQ above 130. According to Business Insider, IQs starting from 140 and going upwards are generally considered very high. Genius-level IQs normally start at 160: Hawking and Einstein’s IQs ranged around 160. 

What’s Asperger’s got to do with it?

While hosting an episode of Saturday Night Live, Musk disclosed that he has Aspergers, a condition described as a form of autism. Grime’s husband even went on to describe himself as the first person with the condition ever to host the show, “or at least the first to admit it,” as he put it. 

According to Indiana Resource Center for Autism, people on the autism spectrum, especially those with Asperger’s Syndrome, can demonstrate high intelligence. The article posted on Indiana University’s website suggestes that being a genius in any field is an abnormality. It cites numerous examples of children with autism-related conditions entering the technology field and doing well.