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Always On: How the iPhone Unlocked the Anything-Anytime-Anywhere Future--and Locked Us In by Brian X. Chen

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Chapter 6
smarter or dumber?
When he turned nineteen, Norwegian Magnus Carlsen became the youngest chess player in history to be ranked number one in the world. By age thirteen he had already become a grandmaster.1 Despite these accomplishments, he doesn’t consider himself to be a genius in the traditional sense; in fact, in press interviews Carlsen says he is afraid that knowing too much could be a curse. To illustrate his point, Carlsen cites John Nunn, one of England’s strongest chess players who never became number one. “I am convinced that the reason the Englishman John Nunn never became world champion is that he was too clever for that,” Carlsen explained. “At the age of 15, Nunn started studying mathematics in Oxford; he was the youngest ...

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