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What’s Your Type?

The Strange History of Myers-Briggs and the Birth of Personality Testing
Narrated by: Laurence Bouvard
Length: 11 hrs and 49 mins

Non-member price: $19.75

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Publisher's Summary

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, our 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 language - of extraversion vs. introversion, thinking vs. feeling - has 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 success - no 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 midcentury 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, What’s Your Type? examines nothing less than the definition of the self - our attempts to grasp, categorise and quantify our personalities. Surprising and absorbing, the book, like the test at its heart, considers the timeless question: what makes you you?

©2018 Merve Emre (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"This is a sparkling biography - not of a person, but of a popular personality tool. Merve Emre deftly exposes the hidden origins of the MBTI and the seductive appeal and fatal flaws of personality types. Ultimately, she reveals that a sense of self is less something we discover, and more something we create and revise." (Adam Grant, author of Give and Take, Originals, and Option B with Sheryl Sandberg)

"Genius, passion, insight, love, heartbreak, war, family, competition, corporate villainy: the story of the Myers-Briggs personality assessment, and the extraordinary mother-daughter duo who conceived and developed it, has all the stuff of a great novel, with the added advantage that it’s true. Chances are you didn't know that Myers and Briggs were women. In the tradition of Hidden Figures, this brilliant book proves - yet again - that women were behind some of the most important scientific innovations of wartime and postwar America. I absolutely love it." (Liza Mundy, author of Code Girls)

"Merve Emre pulls back the curtain on the world of personality testing and the mother-daughter duo whose work catapulted the field into a movement. What’s Your Type is a fluid mix of history, research, and first hand reporting that speaks to both true believers and skeptics alike. With her engaging and persuasive narrative, Emre elucidates how personality testing became a cultural force, one whose influence persists." (Nathalia Holt, author of Rise of the Rocket Girls)

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  • tracy allen
  • 20-10-2018

Fascinating account of the history of Myers Briggs

Every so often at work we have an away day and do Myers Briggs or some kind of personality test. It’s weird - part ridiculous horoscope, part strangely true. Merve Emre’s history of the mother and daughter who developed it lays this wide open. It’s a really interesting social history and it makes you think about personality and testing and the social environment that supports it. If you’ve ever done a Myers Briggs you should read this - highly recommended