In the story, a guy with average or below-average intelligence gets a treatment that raises his intelligence considerably.

Then there was some sort of a conflict, possibly a blackmailing or trying to gain control of his employer. Maybe an accountant in a crime family, trying to become the boss? I can't remember the details clearly.

I think he might have failed, possibly got betrayed by his wife, who was cheating on him with one of the bad guys?

I read it in 2010s, in English, but most likely it was much older work. I don't believe it was longer than a short story or a novelette.

For some reason I used to think it was by Alfred Bester, but I couldn't find anything by him like this in my library.

I have already ruled out: Understand by Ted Chiang, Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

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    Not submitting this as an answer but Asimov's "Lest we Remember" has some similarities only it's not an intelligence boost but, rather, giving him an absolutely perfect memory. asimovreviews.net/Stories/Story145.html I don't think the wife has an affair with anybody but his career is jeopardized. Commented Oct 18, 2021 at 13:48
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    @EmsleyWyatt that's probably it! Seems I'd also need some boost to my memory
    – habdl
    Commented Oct 18, 2021 at 13:58
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    @EmsleyWyatt that's definitely it! I have read it in Robot Dreams collection. Thank you, I'll mark your answer as soon as it's possible
    – habdl
    Commented Oct 18, 2021 at 14:06
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    @EmsleyWyatt - it sounds as though you should indeed submit your suggestion as an answer.
    – Basya
    Commented Oct 18, 2021 at 14:38
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    The question made me think of The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon, although there are some significant mismatches. But since a match has been identified, I only post this as a somewhat similar work that might interest the OP and others who read this thread. Commented Oct 18, 2021 at 16:29

1 Answer 1


As per the conversation above, I'm answering with "Lest we Remember" by Isaac Asimov. The giveaway, to me, was the work/conflict angle with the wife playing a prominent role. There wasn't, at least to my recollection any kind of organized crime aspect, just your typical corporate intrigue.

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    Can you include the information (from comments or otherwise) that makes you think this is the correct answer?
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Commented Oct 18, 2021 at 18:51

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