Welcome to a brand new feature that I just made up this minute – the Great Expectations review! Sometimes you approach a book with very specific expectations about what a book is going to be. Sometimes these expectations are met, and sometimes not. Regardless, the expectations often shape the reading experience. So from now on, if there’s a book that inspires certain expectations in me, I will bust out a “Great Expectations” review, to highlight how the actual reading experience differed from what I thought it was going to be.
Long-winded enough explanation for you? Great, let’s get on with it. Today’s book is Just My Type: Understanding Personality Profiles by Michael J Rosen and Daniel Carlson. I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley and here’s the blurb from Goodreads:
Personality tests have become increasingly popular in the digital age. Examine a wide variety of online personality assessments, and learn how to distinguish useful applications from biased typecasting.
What I Expected:
An in-depth foray into the often hilarious, always conversation-worthy topic of personality testing, possibly including fun, interactive examples of personality tests for readers to try out on their friends. Or themselves.
What I Got:
An 80-ish page brief overview of all the major historical and modern means of personality testing, with a few snippets of some of the tests here and there.
I’ve read a number of textbooks and articles throughout my years of tertiary study focusing on the nature of personality, and methods of personality profiling. One memorable non-study-related read on the topic I can recommend is Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You by Sam Gosling. I was really hoping that Just My Type would be a similarly humorous and entertaining read.
While the information provided in the book is accurate, informative and pitched perfectly at those who need an overview or starting point for further research in the area of personality profiling, I was somewhat disappointed that it wasn’t longer and didn’t provide larger excerpts from the various personality testing devices that were covered. I was hoping for a book that would give me the tools to publicly wax lyrical on the undesirable personality traits of those sitting opposite me at a dinner party, based on sound pseudo-scientific historical practices, or, if it came to it, up-to-the-minute psychological theories.
Despite my disappointment at the fact that the book is clearly lacking in features to assist the reader to embarrass their friends and bring low their enemies, if you are looking for an accessible, concise, historical overview of the psychological theories about what the personality is, how it develops, how it can be defined using interesting tests and how these tests can be used and misused to label individuals and subdue troublemakers, then I would heartily recommend Just My Type to you.
Until next time,