Dec 14, 2005

gladwell (part 1)

Ever wondered why some things take off as trends and others don't?

Or why is it than sometimes we can look at an object or person and "just know" something in a matter of a couple seconds that ends up being true?

If you have wondered and don't know who Malcolm Gladwell is, you might want to visit his web site. His two books Blink and The Tipping Point have redefined how we define things.

I'd like to offer some of my favorite "Gladwell" quotes over the next couple of posts. Here's a favorite that ponders "Employers love personality tests. But what do they really reveal?" This is a snippet about a personality profile he and a buddy put together to show how ridiculous the big, expensive ones can be.

Once, for fun, a friend and I devised our own personality test. Like the M.B.T.I., it has four dimensions:

  • The first is Canine/Feline. In romantic relationships, are you the pursuer, who runs happily to the door, tail wagging? Or are you the pursued?
  • The second is More/Different. Is it your intellectual style to gather and master as much information as you can or to make imaginative use of a discrete amount of information?
  • The third is Insider/Outsider. Do you get along with your parents or do you define yourself outside your relationship with your mother and father?
  • And, finally, there is Nibbler/Gobbler. Do you work steadily, in small increments, or do everything at once, in a big gulp?

I'm quite pleased with the personality inventory we devised. It directly touches on four aspects of life and temperament-romance, cognition, family, and work style-that are only hinted at by Myers-Briggs. And it can be completed in under a minute, nineteen minutes faster than Myers-Briggs, an advantage not to be dismissed in today's fast-paced business environment. Of course, the four traits it measures are utterly arbitrary, based on what my friend and I came up with over the course of a phone call. But then again surely all universal dichotomous typing systems are arbitrary.


Mark D said...

So THAT'S what you look like without the hat and sunglasses. :)

Tony Myles said...

Just when I wake up.

Thurman8er said...

Reading your blog is going to cost me money. Those books look great.