The Personality Brokers by Merve Emre

The Personality Brokers

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 beyondThe 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...

Details The Personality Brokers

TitleThe Personality Brokers
Release DateSep 11th, 2018
GenreNonfiction, Psychology, History, Science, Biography, Audiobook

Reviews The Personality Brokers

  • Gumble's Yard
    In reading for pleasure do you (a) Enjoy odd and original ways of saying things or (b) Like writers to say exactly what they mean” To which I will add my own three questions. Feel free to give me your answers in the comments and I can provide you my own unofficial but carefully researched Goodreads Myers Briggs Type Indicator. When you have finished a book do you (c) look for ways to engage with others who have read the book or (d) look forwar...
  • Peter Mcloughlin
    The Myer-Briggs test the pop-psych fad that won't die. This is a biography of the mother and daughter team and their unlikely test that you might find on a buzzfeed quiz these days. It has marched through business culture, the CIA, pop-culture, west coast Jungian gurus, to the interwebs. This story takes many unlikely threads from the twentieth century almost as if to employ the Jungian idea of synchronicity. It is a weird test that is totally un...
  • Robin Bonne
    3.5 Stars. The beginning really tried to sell me on the mystery of the author’s journey to uncover the history of MBTI. After such promise, it slowed down for awhile, which is why I can’t rate it higher. Then it took a turn toward the bizarre when Katherine had a strange relationship with Mary “Tucky” Tuckerman. Overall, it was fascinating and there were moments of, “What did I just read?”Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a fr...
  • Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
    This book was a disappointment. I looked forward to it: I went through a phase of interest in the Myers-Briggs as a teenager, and so was eager to learn more about it. Unfortunately, after a fascinating introduction in which the author delves into the almost cult-like atmosphere of Myers-Briggs training (in an attempt to get access to Isabel Myers’s archives, the author was required to pay $2000 for a week of “re-education,” which was pretty...
  • Mitch Hedwig
    The Personality Brokers combines a conceptually sophisticated intellectual history with a thrilling narrative. It takes a special kind of talent to make ideas this interesting. The "personalities" covered come to riotous life--Hitler, Jung, Truman Capote, to say nothing of Katherine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers themselves. Emre is always witty and always sharp, but never condescending to her subjects, no matter how eccentric they can be. An ama...
  • Audrey
    This is mostly a biography of Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers, the mother and daughter who came up with the pervasive Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a personality test based on Carl Jung’s theories. It’s also a history of the evolution of the indicator and of personality tests in general. The writing is more academic than conversational, making it hard to read a whole lot at once.Emre does her best to remain disinterested in the subject matte...
  • Glen
    I won this book in a goodreads drawing.A book that goes into the history and the provenance of the Myers-Briggs test. Mostly, it's a history of fraud and cult like behavior from the very beginning. Created by a Progressive era crackpot, it became a cause celebre of big business, but there does not appear to be any actual scientific evidence behind it.Sounds about right.
  • Amanda O.
    My friend lent me her advance copy and I finished it in a week!The Personality Brokers is the fascinating history behind the Myers-Briggs test and the mother-daughter duo who created it. The book was incredibly well-written and well-researched and raised interesting questions about personality psychology, which interest me greatly. I also loved how it delves into the history of the test - how it weaves together the psychological frameworks of Jun...
  • Mehrsa
    The book was very well-written and very good and easy to follow, but it was not what it could have been (should have been?). It was a story of the mother-daughter pair that began Myers Briggs and sort of how the test got adopted. It reads very well and the stories are interesting. It is not a commentary on why or how these tests became mainstream. Moreover, it's critical of the tests in a pretty shallow way. I am not a fan of these kinds of tests...
  • Anna
    I was totally engrossed in the story of the mother and daughter team behind Myers-Briggs. This test is nearly one hundred years old, and it's fascinating to see how it continues to impact huge institutions from the CIA to Fortune 500 companies. Highly recommend.
  • Abdurrahman AlQahtani
    This is largely an interesting read, but not completely pure from shortcomings. I really needed it and I believe it is a must read for anyone who has done an MBTI, or promotes it one way or another.What I Most Liked:Let me start with I liked most about the book. Merve Emre is a master when it comes to critique and story telling. She depicted the history of MBTI and personality typing amazingly, and clearly has done her homework in going through t...
  • Olga
    Weirdest true story ever! If you have any experience with the Myers-Briggs test (who doesn't?) or are just interested in the idea of personality testing, definitely check out this book. This bizarre and compulsively readable history will make you think a little more deeply about all the professional development activities or Tinder profiles you come across that reference MBTI results. Super fun and informational read!
  • Navi
    This was an enjoyable read for me. The author provides an interesting insight into the early beginnings of the Myers-Briggs test and the worldwide effect it has had ever since. I was surprised to find that I enjoyed the parts written about Katherine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers more so than the test itself. These ladies were trailblazers at a time when the identity of women were primarily focused on their domestic life. I listened to the audiob...
  • Fox
    The Personality Brokers is a book about the history of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, more commonly referred to as the MBTI. It is book about the two women who created it, how they came about their beliefs, and the impact the MBTI had upon the world. It is a history of personality testing in general, and the optimism that it would change the world. It is about the danger of personality testing and consigning people to boxes, believing personali...
  • Marks54
    If you hang around business education and consulting/guru domains long enough, it is difficult to avoid contact with the Myers-Briggs Inventory. This is a standardized paper and pencil instrument designed to identify the characteristics of the subject completing the instrument along a series of personality dimensions, presented in terms of a series of dichotomies and operationalized through a series of forced choice questions based on the persona...
  • Jason
    I'm an INTP on the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MTBI). The Logician. So is Gandalf and Yoda and Dumbledore. "INTPs are marked by a quiet, stoic, modest, and aloof exterior that masks strong creativity and enthusiasm for novel possibilities" (Wikipedia). I'm also the astrological sign of Cancer. A water sign. So is Tom Cruise and Vin Diesel and Arianna Grande. "Deeply intuitive and sentimental, Cancer can be one of the most challenging zodiac sign...
  • Ian Tymms
    This is not an easy book to quantify. Emre begins with a critique of the Myers-Briggs test but, having explained that the test in not valid in the scientific sense, she goes on to write a book which is far more interesting than a simple critique. Her project is to explore where the Myers-Briggs test comes from - a fascinating slice of 20th century history on its own - and how and why it has become so deeply embedded in modern society. It was in E...
  • Charlotte
    This book was riveting and impossible to put down. A friend loaned me a copy and I finished it in three days even though I'm a slow and distractible reader.It's a fascinating history of the mother and daughter who developed the MBTI (much earlier than I would have imagined), and a broader examination of other personality tests, theories and research. It grapples with the question of why we as Americans, or maybe as humans, are so drawn to these t...
  • Pixie
    The back flap says the author is an Oxford professor of English, so she doesn't get the extra star I would give to someone who might not know better. The book constantly labels sexism and other bigotries without ever developing any explanations. Same goes for criticisms of the test. They are mentioned but never developed. The book consists of a compilation biography of the test's creators and a bit of history about how the test has been used sinc...
  • Aberdeen
    Fascinating, sometimes disturbing, written by a skeptic who also appreciates the impact MBTI has had on people's lives. I'm glad I know the history behind MBTI now, with all its weirdness (Katherine's dreams and obsession with Jung, for example) and its inspiring underdog-ness (two untrained women changing her country and our world in an age when women in the workplace were not respected). I think it helped me take MBTI, and the personality typin...
  • Jen
    This book covers the history of the Myers-Briggs Personality inventory. There are many fascinating nuggets here, but the book really bogged down in the middle. It's not as simple to brush off as the click bait articles about its amateur beginnings would have you believe, and I'm left feeling as I do about most personality descriptors: don't allow them to limit you, but if you feel like they describe you, find the benefit in that. I wish that the ...
  • Ange
    This was a slog. After an introduction where the author describes attending an MBTI training, it begins sounding like the biography of the mother and daughter responsible for the MBTI with a lot of speculation about their lives and conversations. Okay, I’m all for presumptions about how they felt and spoke about things that can’t be verified, if that’s what you’re going for. Then, the book turns into a historical record of personality tes...
  • Kiki
    Interesting overall, but like so many historical non-fiction works, I found that the author tended to wander off in the weeds trying to make sure all the research, however irrelevant to the original topic, was included in the book. However, I enjoyed the book and learned a great deal about a subject I had very little previous knowledge in.
  • Sarah
  • Rachel Davies
    one of my favourite reads o the year
  • Stephanie Sanders-Jacob
    I'm an INFJ. My husband is an INFJ. My best friend, who introduced me to my husband, is an INFJ. I have stopped a coworker in mid-conversation to accuse them of being an INFJ; I was right. I knew I'd be right because I liked them and trusted them innately. I felt that weird familiar spark - the blink of recognition that, through lenses made thick by too much introspection and intuition, morphs into something bigger, something more akin to predest...
  • Cheryl
    Some of this book was interesting but for the most part, it was just OK. I will say that the two women who developed the Myers-Briggs personality assessment, Katherine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers, were definitely quite strange. I had no idea that this personality assessment has little or no scientific evidence to back it up. It is fun to determine your personality type but it's really not to be taken too seriously. I remember taking the assess...
  • Ly N
    Highly not recommended. One of the worst books I’ve read in this decade, which is tough to do in an age where reviews are abundant and softwares do their best to tailor things based on your tastes. Author cherry picks details heavily under the guise of good research and in the name of Feminism and diversity for marketing purposes. Starts ok as the history of the Myers-Briggs test and then devolves into pure self indulgence (“my type is better...