Steve Carell is no dummy. In fact, the man who plays hapless half-wit Michael Scott on NBC's The Office and equally hapless gumshoe Maxwell Smart in this summer's big-screen redo of Get Smart is nothing short of a genius — a genius wrapped in a doofus, hidden by an idiot. Here's his advice on how to attain Carell-level smarts.
Engage in Reading-Type Behavior
If we were meant to read for enjoyment, would God have created television? Read as it was intended — for exercise. The more you read, the more you expand your — what's the word I'm looking for? — your stockpile of words. You must have a stockpile of words that you can pass along to your children for their stockpile.
Appear to Listen
I've learned to appear scintillatingly intellectual by asking people questions ("Do you like pizza?"). Then I just look at them, nodding and saying "Hmmm" and "Um hmmm" every few seconds. Try and keep one or two things in your head to regurgitate later. After all, what is knowledge, really, but high-resolution regurgitation?
Just Say Yes
I've been injecting human growth hormone into my brain for several years now, with no ill effects. I feel smarter, and I often feel compelled to show people — really show them — just how smart I am. HGH has also colored the way I perceive the world, which is now a sort of bloodred.
Get the Abs of Einstein
A healthy body means a healthy mind. You get your heart rate up, and you get the blood flowing through your body to your brain. Look at Albert Einstein. He rode a bicycle. He was also an early student of Jazzercise. You never saw Einstein lift his shirt, but he had a six-pack under there.
Don't Chew Your Food
I recommend tuna melts. Fish is very healthy, as is cheese, and toast. I also recommend eating peeled baby carrots. Carrots are very good for the eyes, but they absolutely must be baby carrots so you don't chew too much. I don't think I have to explain crunchwaves to people who read wired. They already know that when you chew something too hard, the vibrations fire up those crunchwaves, which shake the neurons in your brain. Do that too much and those brain cells shake loose and die. I usually gulp my food, and you should, too.
Practice Thinking by Yourself
Your brain, like your tongue, is a muscle. Practicing thinking by yourself really helps develop your brain, which you need throughout your day. I like to practice my thinking in a darkened room, alone. I focus on one thing, such as Tree. I think about Tree. Then, after that, I think about Cloud. Then later, as I walk outside, I see Tree and since I have practiced thinking, I avoid hitting it. I try and have six or seven thoughts a day.
Match Your Shoes to Your Belt
If you don't look good, you don't think good.
It's important to be well-rounded — not purely scientific and analytical. Explore the arts: poetry, music, decoupage (a visual art form I've been developing since the first grade). And remember, it's always better to have a cursory knowledge of a lot of things than to actually know a lot about any one thing. This is called a liberal arts education.
When I go to parties, people often look stunned at how smart I am. But nobody wants to talk about astrophysics at a dinner party. Hey, when I want to talk like that, I head to the lab! Instead, I talk about "human" things they enjoy and understand: midrange wines, movie trivia, and mundane subjects like family and emotional fulfillment. I like to end my conversations with a quote, usually something in French, like "c'est la vie," which means "down the hatch!" But don't overdo it: Nobody likes a show-off.
Retain Your Childlike Sense of Wonder
Children are very smart, in their own stupid way. A child's brain is like a sponge, and you know how smart sponges are. My children are like little processors. They pick up all kinds of things, then process that into information. And what is knowledge, really, but processed information? We must always strive to be overly processed, like our children.