September 13, 2004

Malcolm Gladwell Strikes Again

Ever take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test? Most big corporations and some colleges use this personality test to assess the suitability of employees for possible positions. I took the test my freshman year in college, and it drove me nuts. The M-B tests features a series of questions in which you are forced to make a preference between two choices. In some cases, you might love both choices, in others loathe both, yet you still have to choose as if one were your favorite thing in the world. Some were easy to answer, but some were downright infuriating. My favorite was, "What would you rather do: read a book or kiss a girl?" My response: "What book? What girl?"

Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point, continues to write fascinating articles for the New Yorker. This week, in the September, 20 issue, he takes on the problem of fashioning personality tests to predict employee effectiveness. Unfortunately, the article isn't available on the New Yorker website, and isn't up yet on his own site, but there are plenty of wonderful previous articles to read here