An unprecedented history of the personality test that has achieved cult-like devotion, devised a century ago by a pair of homemakers and found today in boardrooms, classrooms, and beyond.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is the most popular personality test in the world. It has been harnessed by Fortune 100 companies, universities, hospitals, churches, and the military. Its languageof extraversion vs. introversion, thinking vs. feelinghas inspired online dating platforms and Buzzfeed quizzes alike. And yet despite the test's widespread adoption, experts in the field of psychometric testing, a $500 million industry, struggle to account for its successno less validate its results. How did the Myers-Briggs insinuate itself into our jobs, our relationships, our internet, our lives?
First conceived in the 1920s by the mother-daughter team of Katherine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers, a pair of aspiring novelists and devoted homemakers, the Myers-Briggs was designed to bring the gospel of Carl Jung to the masses. But it would take on a life of its own, reaching from the smoke-filled boardrooms of mid-century New York to Berkeley, California, where it was honed against some of the 20th century's greatest creative minds. It would travel across the world to London, Zurich, Cape Town, Melbourne, and Tokyo; to elementary schools, nunneries, wellness retreats, and the closed-door corporate training sessions of today.
Drawing from original reporting and never-before-published documents, A More Perfect Type examines nothing less than the definition of the selfour attempts to grasp, categorize, and quantify our personalities. Surprising and absorbing, the book, like the test at its heart, considers the timeless question: What makes you you?
|Publisher:||Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||6.30(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.50(d)|
About the Author
MERVE EMRE is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Oxford and Fellow of Worcester College. She is the author of Paraliterary: The Making of Bad Readers in Postwar America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The New Yorker, Harper's, Bookforum, The New Republic, The Baffler, n+1, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, where she is senior humanities editor.
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Introduction: Speaking Type
Excerpted from "The Personality Brokers"
Copyright © 2018 Merve Emre.
Excerpted by permission of Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.
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Table of Contents
Introduction Speaking Type xi
Chapter 1 The Cosmic Laboratory of Baby Training 1
Chapter 2 Women's Work 20
Chapter 3 Meet Yourself 34
Chapter 4 An Unbroken Series of Successful Gestures 53
Chapter 5 Desperate Amateurs 71
Chapter 6 The Science of Man 89
Chapter 7 The Personality Is Political 105
Chapter 8 Sheep and Buck 120
Chapter 9 A Perfect Spy 140
Chapter 10 People's Capitalism 159
Chapter 11 The House-Party Approach to Testing 177
Chapter 12 That Horrible Woman 201
Chapter 13 The Synchronicity of Life and Death 227
Chapter 14 One in a Million 245
Conclusion True Believers 262
A Note on Sources 273
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I first need to say that I won a copy of this book from the publisher. What a weird, weird story. I'd heard stories about how the Myers - Briggs Personality Test was pseudo-science, but I had no idea how Katherine and Isabel came up with their test. The story is one that needs to be read to be believed. A truly interesting book.