Personality Isn't Permanent Book Summary - Personality Isn't Permanent Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

Personality Isn't Permanent summary

Benjamin Hardy

Break Free from Self-Limiting Beliefs and Rewrite Your Story

4.6 (265 ratings)
22 mins
Table of Contents

    Personality Isn't Permanent
    Summary of 7 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 7

    Personality testing isn’t about science – it’s about making money.

    How many types of people are there in the world? 

    Well, that depends on who you ask. One of the best-known personality tests, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, identifies 16 different kinds of personality. Then there’s the Revised NEO Personality Inventory, which claims that there are six different personality types. Other tests say three, or thirty-three.

    So why do the people who design these tests come to such radically different conclusions? Here’s the short answer: personality testing is pseudoscience. Because there’s no way of proving or disproving any individual theory, test designers can come up with any answer they please. Usually, that’s little more than a way of marketing their product.

    The key message in this blink is: Personality testing isn’t about science – it’s about making money.

    Take it from Merve Emre, the American author who literally wrote the book on personality testing. In her 2018 history of the industry, The Personality Brokers, Emre points out that the market for tests is worth around $2 billion. That’s a huge incentive for designers to pump out questionable tests and cash in on lucrative opportunities to “explain” the results they generate.

    This isn’t a recent development, though. As Emre shows, the very origins of personality testing are steeped in pseudoscience. Myers-Briggs tests, for example, were developed in the early twentieth century. Neither Katherine Briggs nor her daughter, Isabel Myers, had a scientific background. In fact, they’d never so much as stepped foot in a lab.

    Instead, the test was based entirely on Briggs’s personal experiences. After noticing that she and her husband responded differently to similar situations and that one of their children was much more shy than the other, she began to speculate on personality differences.

    Myers and Briggs didn’t just identify different personalities, though – they also claimed that these were innate. The flip side of this idea was that you shouldn’t try to change your personality. Rather, it was up to others to accommodate your hardwired dispositions. So-called “traits” like kindness or stinginess, Myers and Briggs believed, aren’t virtues or vices to be cultivated or abandoned – they’re simply the way you are.

    This is why the realization that such testing has no foundation in scientific evidence can be so liberating. When you stop thinking that you’re, say, “naturally” introverted or impatient, it becomes possible to think about ways of changing your personality if you want to!

    Want to see all full key ideas from Personality Isn't Permanent?

    Key ideas in Personality Isn't Permanent

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is Personality Isn't Permanent about?

    Personality Isn’t Permanent (2020) debunks the myths surrounding personality that get in the way of a life of personal growth, development, and success. The biggest misconception according to psychologist Benjamin Hardy is the notion that our personalities are innate and fixed. Correcting this error isn’t just a scientific advance, though – as we’ll see in these blinks, it also opens up a path to personal reinvention.

    Best quote from Personality Isn't Permanent

    I wasnt being true to myself, I was being true to the self I wanted to become. – Adam Grant

    —Benjamin Hardy
    example alt text

    Who should read Personality Isn't Permanent?

    • Self-improvers interested in new perspectives
    • Rationalists fed up with evidence-free advice
    • Anyone looking to kick a bad habit

    About the Author

    Benjamin Hardy is an organizational psychologist and the author of the bestselling Willpower Doesn’t Work. A prolific blogger, Hardy’s practical, science-driven advice has reached over 100 million readers. Hardy is also a regular contributor to Forbes, Fortune, Psychology Today, and many other outlets.

    Categories with Personality Isn't Permanent

    Books like Personality Isn't Permanent

    People ❤️ Blinkist
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked

    Start growing with Blinkist now
    27 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    Of Blinkist members create a better reading habit*
    *Based on survey data from Blinkist customers
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial