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Conversation with Michael Isom on Coming of Age, Geographic History, and Entrance Into the High-IQ World: Member, World Genius Directory (1)


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

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

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2021/01/08


Michael Isom grew up in the birthplace of hip-hop, South Bronx New York, during its original emergence. Having also lived through its rise and urban renaissance of the mid-80s through the early 90s, Michael was able to experience many of the culture’s core lessons of true aboriginal history with respect to cultural identity, knowledge of self, responsibility through adherence to law, studiousness towards becoming the adept, and mastery of one’s being as thematic underpinnings of the rap music produced in that era. In later years after completing high school, he decided to pursue an undergraduate degree in Forensic Psychology and graduate education in Public Policy specializing in Management and Operations. Afterwards, he obtained an M.B.A. in Strategic Management in the wake of the dot-com era. In 2001, during the Super Bowl 35 Baltimore Ravens vs New York Giants intermission, Michael incidentally discovered what may have been the first online IQ test by the late Nathan Hasselbauer, founder of the New York High IQ Society, which soon after became the International High IQ Society. Having scored well past the 95th percentile requirement for entry, Michael was contacted years later by Victor Hingsberg of Canada, and was invited to take the test required to become a member of his newly established Canadian High IQ Society. After meeting its 98th percentile passing requirement and before moving on to TORR (99.86th percentile or 145 IQ requirement), Michael discovered what is undisputedly the most advanced cognitive assessment platform for IQ testing, in the world: After a completing a battery of 40+ tests within a 1 1/2 year span of signing up, a clear picture of Michael’s scoring attributes emerged within the spatial, numerical, verbal, and mixed item logical areas, with a subsequent RIQ (Real IQ) calculation of 152. As his foray into the High Range Testing world continued, he happened to stumble upon a challenge issued by the ZEN High IQ Society: Two untimed IQ test submissions with a minimum IQ score of 156 (SD 15) are required for entry. And those submissions have to come from a pre-selected set of untimed high range tests. Since Michael already met half the requirements with his first attempt score on VAULT (163), he only needed one other test to qualify – hence Dr. Jason Betts’ test battery: Lux25, WIT, and Mathema are listed as accepted tests for Zen. Scoring 156 on Lux25 not only satisfied the entry requirement, but it also accompanied the rest of his scores on Betts’ test battery for a 151 TrueIQ. With the above experience, Michael decided to gain more exposure to other high range tests from other authors. After taking both the MACH and SPARK tests simultaneously (scoring 168 and 165 respectively on the first attempt), he proceeded towards a specific numerical test, GIFT Numerical III on which he scored 164. After also gaining entry into both the SATORI and TRIPlE4 High IQ Societies, he completed the untimed G.E.T. (Genius Entrance Test) mixed item test in minimal time. After receiving a final score of 162, he returned to and executed one of the most gifted performances on any tightly timed spatial IQ test he’s ever taken. His recent first attempt score of 160 on the incredibly challenging gFORCE IQ test exemplifies that cognitive fortitude can be taken to the brink, while spatial design and difficulty are taken to the next level. He discusses: coming of age story; geographic contexts; forensic psychology and strategic management, and trajectory into the high-IQ world.

Keywords: intelligence, IQ, IQ tests, Jason Betts, Michael Isom, Nathan Haselbauer, Victor Hingsberg, World Genius Directory.

Conversation with Michael Isom on Coming of Age, Geographic History, and Entrance Into the High-IQ World: Member, World Genius Directory (1)

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: So, let’s start with some of the earlier narrative before we begin with some work and ideas, what was the coming of age story? Were you earlier finding out about some of these gifts? Or was this something happening a little later in life?

Michael Isom[1],[2]*: It is probably closer to the latter. However, I did see some instances that could have been the case long ago. It was a contextual situation in which I needed to be more in that type of environment.

My abilities could be better nurtured there. I think I found that, as I got myself together and, basically, improved my personal situation and rid myself of the so-called distractions at the time.

Jacobsen: For those that will be reading some of this, they can’t hear this. You have an American accent.

Isom: Yes.

Jacobsen: What were some of the geographic contexts for you, as well – cities, neighbourhoods? This sort of thing.

Isom: Thank you for asking, I would say that I have been in a paradoxical sense gifted with having grown up in the birthplace of Hip-hop, South Bronx, New York, during the Hip-Hop renaissance era of the 80s and even prior.

When the whole Hip-hop scene was being born, I got to see the history being formed – literally – right before my eyes. I got to see its evolution. In a sense, even though, in those times, during the Carter-Reagan Era, times were very economically challenging.

But culturally, even though, I took it for granted back then; I didn’t necessarily understand how valuable the experience would become today having grown up in that particular era. Even going forward from that particular time, I got to experience a re-emergence of a certain social fabric or chemistry in New York City during the late 90s.

We had the rise of the Internet. The Yankees were winning the World Series during that particular era. I saw a lot of fascinating events occur. I was – literally – right in the middle of it. I used to live two blocks from Yankee Stadium.

I went to school not too far from Shea Stadium, where the Mets play. It was the most unusual thing when I went to graduate school. In a sense, having grown up in that particular New York City Bronx enclave, I got to experience many cultures.

Queens is the most diverse county in the United States, with Manhattan not being too far behind. I got to experience a lot in a condensed geographic metropolitan area. With many nationalities and ethnicities, I got to speak to a lot of people about their perspectives of the world.

Now, I’ve come to the point where those experiences are very, very valuable. Because now, you see things from different points of view, which you may not have been privy to prior. After high school, I went to college and did a degree in forensic psychology with a minor in legal studies.

I did a first master’s degree in public policy administration specializing in operational management. Then I went and did an MBA at St. John’s University in Queens specializing in strategic management.

Jacobsen: Why did you choose forensic psychology? Why did you choose strategic management in particular?

Isom: Forensic psychology at the time was the most unique. It may still be the case. The school that I went to, John Jay College was the only institution offering that degree program. It was one of the most interesting fields to look into.

A lot of consulting agencies were attracted to the school for its intelligence programs, crime scene expertise, and so forth. Quite a few actors came out of the school as well as Pulitzer Prize winners. The field is a multi-disciplinary approach to understanding the intersection among criminal justice, legal studies, and psychology.

“I found it actually had quite a few unusual uses in the outside world. So part of strategic management has a subjective area in organizational behaviour and management where you’re interacting with different points of view in terms of how to develop, execute, and monitor the strategy, whether that be local, regional, or global, or – let’s say – “multi-level” at the same time. (It usually is.)

In many positions in life, you will find there are many psychological precepts that will separate the different layers and levels of organization from each other. I will give you a very simple example.

People who come in on a more technical position … they tend to focus on more specialized skill sets. What happens, as one moves up the organization to supervisory or managerial levels, is you find that there’s a greater – not focus but – steering towards an emotional aspect or an aspect of emotional maturity, where the person becomes more aware of the strategic impacts of decisions affecting other people.

Not just subordinates, but other entities in the organization, laterally and up-and-down as well. It is an unusual combination. I’ve met one or two people who have had a similar academic mix of degrees. I find that they’re very complementary.

It gives me some advantages, academically, over individuals who have more standard course routes. I tell people, as some might ask me for academic advice that “Back then, they wanted the degree. Now, they want the degree and the transcript.”

So, now, you’re seeing employers and other enterprises look further into the individual’s academic career tenure. A lot of my career was mostly in the startup technology space. So, what happened back in the late 90s, early 2000s, you had quite a few people looking for investor funding.

I used to draft business plans, assist teams in drafting business plan documentation, financial statements, and so forth, back in that time period when I was getting ready to go to business school. They would go for investor funding under Regulation D 506, which were basically done through private placements.

So, I did that full-time as a consulting agent with technology startups. I learned quite a bit along the way about how startups work and how they function, and what they mean within the American enterprise, even until now.

I did a lot of these engagements for quite a bit of time. I tried my hand at quite a few things. I did project management and virtual management in Chennai, India, while living in New York. A lot of my technology skill-sets were purely hands-on in terms of designing, coding, and so forth.

I have accrued a lot of experience over the years, in that sense. I will tell you a story. I remember back in 2001 going online. I found this challenge. It was a society called the New York City High IQ Society by the late Nathan Haselbauer. He had this challenge.

If you could score a 126 on this test, an online test, you could be a member of the society. That test is – or was back then, and even right now – at the level of some highly regarded high-range tests.

Get this, I think the test was 30 questions. I was not able to answer the last 5 or 6 because, back then, everything was dial-up. The image files that he had were so big and detailed, they couldn’t load properly on the screen. So I contacted him.

He responded quickly, “Here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to score what you have already answered. It looks like you scored around a 132 or so, which would qualify you for Mensa, again, based on what you’ve answered.

There was the chance to score 140 if I had been able to answer the last 4 or 5 questions. Yet, even with the loading difficulties, whatever I was able to answer got through. As time got on, I began to see Mr. Nathan Haselbauer evolve the New York High IQ Society into the International High IQ Society because everyone began to contact him from around the world.

He thought, ‘The Internet has no boundaries. Why not make it an international thing?’ So, once he took care of that moving further along – this is long before he developed Torr. And a while after I did all that, a few years ago, I was contacted by Mr. Victor Hingsberg, who  himself founded a number of high-IQ societies.

He reached out to me and said, “You took a test a long time ago, and you’re a member of the International High IQ Society.” He had already established a different high-IQ society. So, I was invited to take another test.

I originally thought that it was developed by Richard Sheen, but it may have been by someone else. This particular test was a spatial test. I got in, so I started to move forward. I started to move into the high-range testing community. I think the big move that I made into that space was signing onto

That has been my forte since. As of recent, I have been taking quite a few high-range IQ tests outside of to get experience with various test-takers. For example, I did the test battery for Dr. Jason Betts.

I, recently, scored 164 on GIFT Numerical III of Dr. Iakovos Koukas of Greece. I was able to increase my World Genius Directory listing with that score. Originally, my purpose for taking high-range IQ tests was not really for the score.

I was more curious as to what my innate skill-sets were in terms of what I was really good at, in terms of possible efficiencies. I wanted to look at my skill-sets at a granular level. The current problem connected to this has to do in part with the way academia is structured.

The opportunities for that are not as numerous or insightful. A lot of times, what can happen, someone can be schooled. They can be forced to accommodate a situation where there may be a fit, but it is not as efficient as it could be or should be.

They may have some other abilities that may go untapped. I feel IQ testing is very important in the sense where the most important concept is for a person to be able to learn about him or her self, so they will be able to exploit opportunities moving forward with respect to their strengths and actual skill-sets.

I think this makes things easier for quite a few people if they figure out what they’re good at early on and then move in that direction and get support rather than spend a lot of excess time trying to figure that out through inefficient means.

During the 2000s up until now, I started to see changes in that particular academic space, even in the IQ space, to which I started to come to the opinion that the high-range testing space will eventually expand at some point.

What will happen, it will be more decentralized in terms of how it expands relative to the previous concentration, which it, actually, had. For example, you had high-range testing emerging, I believe, around the early 1970s or so, with people like Kevin Langdon and Ron Hoeflin. I would have to place Paul Cooijmans in that particular area as well – as one of the major contributors to the high-range testing space.

I discovered that quite a few of the problems the high-range testing space has had in terms of its proper evolution started very early. So, for example, the education departments of two governmental entities possibly pursued certain restrictions on high-range testing administration. And I recently found out that it was primarily in response to what Kevin Langdon and Ron Hoeflin had put out.

This doesn’t come as a surprise to me. What is currently happening within the online space, Jordan Peterson actually exposed not too long ago. The high-range testing world has been able to capture the abstraction testing ability that the more formal proctored administrations have been able to keep a secure lock on for a long time.

Also, they’ve been able to replicate the scoring distributions accurately, which the proctored administrations have been maintaining through long-term accrual. For example, if you give people an IQ test, a distribution will evolve from that particular test.

That will be done by rank-order, which will appear as a bell curve. If you take the same sample of people, give them an IQ test, change the items, and keep the abstraction level requirement necessary to solve that item set, the same distribution curve results, even if 100% of the items are changed.

So, now, what you have is a situation where so many people worldwide have figured this out, that it creates a new type of a social situation, where people can, actually, figure out where other people sit on the bell curve based on these particular online and manually scored constructs in the high-range testing world.

In a sense, it’s a situation, in which its social engineering has always been purported to come from more institutionalized entities. The evolution of the HRT (High-Range Testing), in terms of its highly decentralized nature is coming from the participants themselves.

Where you have a group of people taking these tests for self-discovery and evaluation, many will do it for fun. Others will have several other reasons – to each his own. It can be highly personalized. However, from that particular group, you will find a few individuals willing to create their own tests.

They’ll create their own tests, norms, and do their statistical analyses. At the same time, they’ll receive feedback from the testees themselves. And the cycle goes on, in terms of the reinforcement of its evolution.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Member, World Genius Directory.

[2] Individual Publication Date: January 15, 2021:; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2021:

*High range testing (HRT) should be taken with honest skepticism grounded in the limited empirical development of the field at present, even in spite of honest and sincere efforts. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population.


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


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