"What sculptures a smart person?"
"Yes, this is my answer, too."
There are a plenty of knowledge, no anyone can learn all. It's the mission impossible. Thus, what should I learn in order to become a smart person? I have thought of this question for a decade. I've tried hard to learn as much knowledge as I can, but I am still a stupid person. I have barely got a slightly improvement, until I have kept doing these 3 things regularly, I felt I got a significant improvement.
First of all, what does smart mean? I believe different people would give you different answers. For me, Smart means, a person can insight into most of incidents happening around the world, he/she is able to distinguish fallacy and has excellent problem solving skills. Smart is nothing related to Intelligence Quotient in my definition.
What did I do to make myself to get a significant improvement?
These are reading novels, studying historical events and keep doing Mathematics.
How important is reading novels?
I realised a great novel is a great hypothesis model. It leads me to think or feel of a series of circumstances which I generally don't ponder in the reality. The scientific hypothesis is for scientists to consider scientific problems; A great novel is for everyone to consider living problems. Novels always make me think about "what if", "if I were that person" and so on. This is a good way for me to broaden my mind.
If knowledge is food, reading novels is the transformation of food into nutrients that my body needs.
Why study history?
History tells us the past events, help us to understand more about human beings and predict what will likely happen in the future. If we ignore history, we are unable to understand the current world deeply, unable to prevent undesired situations happening again and again. We have a higher chance to make stupid decisions frequently.
Why do I feel doing Mathematics make me smarter?
Mathematics is about solving problems with calculations and logic. This means, doing more Mathematics that would strengthen your problem solving skills logically.
I especially like doing Probability, Bayes Theorem, Statistics and Games Theory. They actually changed my thoughts.
Recently, I have done my revision of Bayes Theorem. I've found Bayes Theorem isn't only good for predicting the probability of an event, it also teaches you how to consider the accuracy of the probability.
Since I started to read novels and study history, as well as doing Mathematics routinely. I've found myself getting closer to my own definition of smart.
The following books make me have a significant improvement:
1984 (printed book)
Animal Farm and 1984
History of Japan: Revised Edition
Presidents of War