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An Interview with Deb Stone (Part Three)


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2016/09/22


An interview with Deb Stone. She discusses: self-expression; Mensa previous high male-to-female issue; anything being done about it; instantaneous access to information and the need to single out geniuses; Mensa raising American political discourse; Mensa Match; its success; Mensa marriages; becoming geniuses through engineered circuitry in brains; first engineered brain member of Mensa; famous Mensa members; reasons for joining Mensa; most popular Mensa activities; stereotypes of about smart people that are inaccurate or annoying; accurate stereotypes; annoying things about non-smart people; upcoming collaborative projects; upcoming solo projects; and recommended authors.

Keywords: American Mensa, Deb Stone, Mensa.

An Interview with Deb Stone: Chair, AMC (National Boad of Directors), American Mensa (Part Three)[1],[2],[3],[4]

*Footnotes in and after the interview, & bibliography & citation style listing after the interview.*

25. What forms of self-expression provide meaning in life for you?

I love most kinds of music and play the piano. I attend concert, classical music, opera and theatre events. I love representational art (painting, sculpture, etc) but tend to shy away from some of the more modern and more abstract art. I read voraciously, and I write – but mostly for myself. I do needlework, I love to color and I love thunderstorms. I love to cook and I don’t really use recipes. I try to live my life doing the right things in the right way for the right reasons. My hope, manifested in the way I live my life (my own form of self-expression) is that when I’m gone I will have left a positive impact on those around me.

26. In the past, Mensa had a high male-to-female ratio. Does this remain the case?

Yes, the ratio is still skewed to a much larger proportion of males to females.

27. Is there anything being done about it?

I think the simple answer is no. We encourage people from many different groups that may be underrepresented in our current membership to join, not just women. Mensa, like any organization, doesn’t appeal to everyone equally. We have a single criterion for entry, and we welcome anyone who meets that criterion. Interestingly, at the current time a majority of the AMC is female so the general membership ratio is not reflected on the national board.

28. In a world where everyone has instantaneous access to information and expertise via cellphones, why do we still need to single out geniuses?

Genius is not the same thing as information or expertise. I do believe we need genius, because genius can help move things forward. Information and expertise is based on what we already know and the way we interpret or use what we already know. Sometimes genius is the spark for finding out something new, or interpreting something in a new way. Sometimes it’s an ability to do something better than it’s been done before – there are many ways genius can manifest (some positive and some negative). But ultimately, it’s part of what makes us human.

And I would add, we don’t need only genius – we need wisdom as well. Wisdom is not just being smart or having a high IQ. It’s much more than that, and I think it’s in relatively short supply in our world right now.

29. American politics certainly doesn’t seem to be getting smarter. Could Mensa help raise the discourse?

Perhaps we could. But while some of our individual members may try to do so, Mensa as an organization holds no opinions. That has been part of our guiding principles for much longer than I have been a member. And, as I have already said in this interview, smart varies depending on circumstance. What’s smart in terms of American politics? I have my opinion, but other Mensans have theirs as well. Within Mensa, we sometime say “Leading Mensans is like herding cats!”. You will also hear people make statements like “If you put 100 Mensans in a room you have at least 125 opinions.”

30. In 2014, you introduced Mensa Match, for Mensa members interested in dating.

Yes, that’s correct.

31. Has that been successful?

I haven’t taken part in it myself so have no direct knowledge, but I believe most people would answer that it has been successful.

32. Have you had any Mensa marriages?

There have been many Mensa marriages over many years, going back decades.

33. Do you think that during your lifetime, people will be able to become geniuses by adding engineered circuitry to their brains?

In my opinion, no, this will not happen in my lifetime. But I’ve been wrong before!

34. In what year do you think Mensa will admit its first member with an engineered brain – a synthetic brain with artificial intelligence?

Honestly, I have no idea. But it will be interesting to see how an artificial intelligence rates on an IQ scale as opposed to an achievement or knowledge-based test.

35. What famous members do you have?

There have been many famous Mensans over the years, and they have been famous for many different reasons. Just a few of them include Geena Davis & Alan Rachins (actors), Marilyn Vos Savant, Dr. Lance L Ware & Roland Berrill (co-founders of Mensa), Terance Black (screenwriter), Deborah Yates (Radio City Rockette), Andrain Cronauer, Bobby Czyz (WBA Cruiserweight Champion), Jean Auel (author) Patricia P Jennings (pianist), Richard Lederer (writer/speaker), Isaac Asimov (author), Dr. Abbie F Salny (former Mensa supervisory psychologist and author of the Mensa ‘Quiz-a-Day’ books.

36. Why would someone join Mensa?

There are lots and lots of reasons people join. Some join to see if they can. Some join so that they can show membership on a resume. Some join for access to people with like interests or backgrounds or perspectives. Some join for some of our special events or activities. Some join for access to our special interest groups. Some join for fun. Some join for fellowship. Some join for intellectual stimulation. Some join for family and relationships (I ended up with an entire second ‘family’ once I became active in Mensa).

37. What are your most popular activities?

There are a few national activities/events, including our national convention (called the Annual Gathering or AG), MindGames and Culture Quest (which is a national trivia contest.) There are also many SIGs (Special Interest Groups) which can be national or local. AML is made up of over 120 different local groups in 10 regions. The majority of face-to-face activities happen at the local group level. Among the most popular of these are activities like visits by a group of Mensans to museums or other non-M-specific venues or activities, dinner or lunch get-togethers, games get-togethers and what we call Regional Gathering or RGs. Depending on where (what part of the country) these things happen, they may draw anywhere from a just a few to several hundred members and guests. Like many membership organizations, the number of members who engage by attending events is a minority of the overall membership. In these days, there are may more members who are involved in activities that don’t include regular face-to face interactions, but are instead primarily online, use communication like email or are social media based. One of the things that consistently ranks as one of the most popular benefits of membership is our national publication (Mensa Bulletin), so that’s probably the most popular activity in terms of pure numbers.

38. What stereotypes about smart people do you find most inaccurate and annoying?

I most dislike stereotypes that focus on externals. For example, that ‘all smart people’ are nerdy, wear glasses, aren’t athletic, are unattractive, aren’t socially adept, are shy or are just ‘weird’.  On the other hand, we have the stereotypes that all smart people know about computers, are like absent-minded professors, are obsessive, only want to do nerdy things (like science, math computers, etc), all play weird role-playing games and don’t have to work hard to know or learn things.

39. What stereotypes are most accurate?

In my experience, the one thing that almost all Mensans have in common (because there are lots and lots and lots of differences) is books. Almost every Mensa home I have entered has books. We like to learn things, we like to know things, and so most of us read. A lot!

40. What do you find most annoying about not-smart people?

I challenge the premise of this question; what makes a person “not-smart”? People have different expertise, certainly. I scored in the top 2% on an IQ test. Does that make me smart? In some ways, I guess so. However, I don’t know practically anything about plumbing, so does that make a plumber smarter than I am?

In any case, I don’t find groups of people annoying. I do find some individual people annoying and it’s generally when they are being intentionally or purposefully obtuse or disagreeable or negative.

41. Any upcoming collaborative projects?

As I mentioned a little earlier, my business partner and I are just opening a new real estate business. The business will offer not only standard brokerage services, but will also provide additional ancillary services on a fee-for-service basis to a particular niche market.

42. Any upcoming solo projects?

I’m working on a couple of articles related to workers’ compensation, focused on the concept of integrated disability management. I’m currently planning a home improvement project to add a shower to an existing powder room, and am in the design phase.

43. Any recommended authors?

I read non-fiction on occasion, but I am primarily a fiction reader for fun and enjoyment. Having said that, my tastes are pretty eclectic. At any moment in time I probably have 5 or 6 books going. One might be classic science fiction (Asimov or Heinlein before he got too self-indulgent or John Brunner or even Burroughs or EE Smith). Another is probably a mystery of some kind; I love Sayers and Rex Stout, some of Robert B Parker’s books, Martha Grimes and some of the cozy series that are so ubiquitous right now. Another will definitely be a PG Wodehouse or Wizard of Oz book. I’m always re-reading Austen and Fielding, or I might be in the middle of Boccaccio or reading part of the Bible or the Koran or maybe some Kai Lung (Ernest Bramah). Oh, and the poetry and essays of John Donne.

You will see that there are a lot of books written anywhere from 20 to 200 or more years ago. One problem with being a reader, and being a reader who reads very quickly is that there are seldom books around the house that I haven’t already read. As a result, when I’m looking for a new book at 2:00am or some equally ridiculous time, I find myself pulling out old favorites and reading them again.

Having an e-reader does help provide access to books at those odd moments, but I prefer the visceral feel of a real book so usually use the Kindle when I’m traveling.

Thank you for your time, Deb Stone.


  1. LinkedIn. (2016). Deb Stone. Retrieved from

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Chair (2015, July), AMC (National Board of Directors), American Mensa; Owner (2015, August), Stone Business & Risk Consulting LLC.

[2] Individual Publication Date: September 22, 2016 at; Full Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2017 at

[3] Thompson River University (1986-1988); Douglas College (1984-1986); Kamloops Senior Secondary.

[4] Photograph courtesy of Deb Stone.


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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