Descripción de editorial
*A New York Times Critics' Best Book of 2018*
*An Economist Best Book of 2018*
*A Spectator Best Book of 2018*
*A Mental Floss Best Book of 2018*
An unprecedented history of the personality test conceived a century ago by a mother and her daughter--fiction writers with no formal training in psychology--and how it insinuated itself into our boardrooms, classrooms, and beyond
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is the most popular personality test in the world. It is used regularly by Fortune 500 companies, universities, hospitals, churches, and the military. Its language of personality types--extraversion and introversion, sensing and intuiting, thinking and feeling, judging and perceiving--has inspired television shows, online dating platforms, and Buzzfeed quizzes. Yet despite the test's widespread adoption, experts in the field of psychometric testing, a $2 billion industry, have struggled to validate its results--no less account for its success. How did Myers-Briggs, a homegrown multiple choice questionnaire, infiltrate our workplaces, 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 devoted homemakers, novelists, and amateur psychoanalysts, Myers-Briggs was designed to bring the gospel of Carl Jung to the masses. But it would take on a life entirely its own, reaching from the smoke-filled boardrooms of mid-century New York to Berkeley, California, where it was administered to some of the twentieth century's greatest creative minds. It would travel across the world to London, Zurich, Cape Town, Melbourne, and Tokyo, until it could be found just as easily in elementary schools, nunneries, and wellness retreats as in shadowy political consultancies and on social networks.
Drawing from original reporting and never-before-published documents, The Personality Brokers takes a critical look at the personality indicator that became a cultural icon. Along the way it examines nothing less than the definition of the self--our 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?
Emre (Paraliterary), an associate English professor at Oxford University, tells the fascinating story of the origins of the world's most widely used personality test, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI.) The MBTI, which was introduced in 1943, classifies personality in terms of four polarities: introversion-extraversion, intuition-sensing, feeling-thinking, and judging-perceiving. Emre profiles each of its developers, Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers, noting neither possessed any formal psychological training. She also observes that for Briggs, personality "typing" was a kind of "personal religion" inspired by her near-reverential regard for Carl Jung's theories, while for Myers, who developed the MBTI's first 117-question multiple choice test, it was more of a vocation and, later, a business. In a major omission, Emre never discusses, or even delineates, the 16 personality types derived from the MBTI. However, she is excellent at recounting how the MBTI began to sweep American institutions in the 1950s Brown University administered it to all 950 members of the class of 1958 and attained widespread popularity after its creators' deaths. Emre's fine study balances some sharp criticisms, such as from social theorist Theodor Adorno, with her own candid testimonial to the MBTI's effectiveness; in the process she restores Briggs and Myers to their rightful place in the annals of popular psychology.Correction: An earlier version of this review misspelled the name of the author's previous book, and also incorrectly referred to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator as the Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory.