Considerate inventor

I connected on LinkedIn with former colleague Chris recently and thereby discovered his blog, which tipped me to, a fun online personality quiz. It says I am a “considerate inventor.”

I agree with much of what it says about me (“problem-solving is a specialty of yours, owing to your persistence, curiosity, and understanding of how things work”; “you value your close relationships very much, and are more likely to spend time in small, tightly-knit groups of friends than in large crowds”; “you like to look at all sides of a situation before making a judgment, particularly when that situation involves important things in other people’s lives”; etc.), but that’s not the true test of how good a personality quiz is. It’s easy to describe vague complimentary personality traits that almost anyone can agree with — just look in any newspaper’s horoscope column. To find out if it’s really individualized, you have to look at the answers that other people get and ensure they don’t apply to you.

I did a Google-Blog search for “personaldna” and found several other people’s results. Unfortunately, there was little in their results that I disagreed with for myself; so by my criterion, PersonalDNA is not a very good personality test.

The Myers-Briggs test, on the other hand, passes the other-people’s-results-don’t-apply-to-me test. I took an online version several years ago and it too pigeonholed me as an “inventor” (type ENTP). Others around me who took the test got results that didn’t apply to me at all. So impressed was I with its accuracy that I predicted the result for my friend Steve, sealed it in an envelope, gave him the envelope and bade him take the test. Though he was scornful of most tests of this kind, he was convinced about Myers-Briggs when his result agreed exactly with my prediction.

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