Dear Mr. Buckingham: Personality DOES change with age.

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Initial post: Dec 10, 2009 2:29:01 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 21, 2009 12:33:00 PM PST
Paul K. says:
Interesting new info from UC Berkeley and the APA.

In "Go Put Your Strengths to Work" a big deal is made of the concept that your personality doesn't change with age. And that believing that it changes is holding you back. I can see some aspects staying fixed, but it seems strange that that ALL of them would stay fixed.

I took the big 5 personality test (the most comprehensively tested one) for free online, and thought "hmm, I think I'm getting more emotionally stable with age." (I hope). OK so then I Googled this:

personality change over time

read the American Psychological Association article which references a Berkeley study, based on over 100K people. And yeah, people do change in certain ways.

Granted, I think the book is still very interesting, very practical. But I'm troubled that it makes such an emphatic and certain point on personality not changing, when there's empirical evidence to that casts this in doubt.

It seems unnecessary for the book. What do you think?


In reply to an earlier post on Sep 9, 2010 2:41:04 PM PDT
Actually, you're both right and wrong. Right in a sense that personality and likes/dislikes change over time, but wrong in thinking that the StrengthsFinder is a mere personality test. These "themes" aren't tenancies in behavioral patterns or dependent on maturity levels. Those change over time.

I would highly suggest reading "Now, Discover Your Strengths" or watching the video that accompanies this series, "Trombone Player Wanted." He does a much better job of explaining these themes than I could (and in the book, you get a code to actually take the StrengthsFinder test online).

Lastly, this Gallup poll by 2001 had included over 30 years of research and interviews of over 2 million people. They have included test-retest statistics in the book as well and concluded that there is an acceptable level of internal validity with their study. Something to consider!

Posted on Sep 11, 2010 1:27:17 PM PDT
Paul K. says:
David, thanks for the conversation.

I think it comes down to "how you decide what is so." For me, I'm going for peer reviewed scientific conclusions. You've referenced 3 materials by the same author (which I have read/seen, and are interesting). But these are not peer reviewed pieces.

It's just much less convincing than a reference like this:
Journal reference: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (vol 84 p 1041)

Great, so if Gallup has 30 years of research, then reference the peer reviewed papers in respected journals--if you have journal references that back up Buckingham's point about personality not changing--great, then we can dig in.
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Initial post:  Dec 10, 2009
Latest post:  Sep 11, 2010

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Go Put Your Strengths to Work: 6 Powerful Steps to Achieve Outstanding Performance
Go Put Your Strengths to Work: 6 Powerful Steps to Achieve Outstanding Performance by Marcus Buckingham (Hardcover - March 6, 2007)
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