Rise of the Introverts

The great English professor Alan Jacobs (currently at Wheaton, but headed to Baylor University’s Honors College) blogs at The American Conservative. A couple of days ago, he noted a “very thoroughly researched and well-argued scholarly article” published in 2005 that shows group productivity is an illusion. He

  1. Matthew Bartle

    Thanks for that link to Jerry Brito – those points are right on the money!

    I’m so far over on the introvert scale they almost need to extend it.

  2. Susan in Seattle

    Deeply introverted – and as Matthew says above, your friend Jerry’s list is spot on.

  3. The Mugwump

    Long joke short:

    A teacher goes to heaven and finds that members of his profession have been awarded prime real estate in paradise.  He remarks to Saint Peter, “this is all very nice, but where are all my colleagues?”  It turns out they’re in hell for the day having a faculty meeting.

    My sentiments exactly.  

  4. Edward Smith

    I am alone at a computer, responding to the question, “Are you an introvert?” with only a cat, asleep in a box atop my bookshelves (with something on the order of 200 – 300 books that include works of Herodotus, Bede & Hayek in the house).

    What does that make me?

  5. Miles

    I, too, am close to the E/I border.

    I have taken MBTI twice – once, in my early 30s, and again just after my 49th birthday.  Fascinatingly, the only indicator which changed was the E/I.    The individual who scored and interpreted the second knew of my results from the first, and commented that ‘one of these is your true nature; the other represents a hard-won skill.’  

    I now know that the E was the learned skill.  God, it’s exhausting.

  6. Miles
    Edward Smith: I am alone at a computer, responding to the question, “Are you an introvert?” with only a cat, asleep in a box atop my bookshelves (with something on the order of 200 – 300 books that include works of Herodotus, Bede & Hayek in the house).

    What does that make me? · 1 minute ago

    Save the location of the cat (mine is on the long arm of the desk), it could make you me.

  7. Vance Richards

    I guess I am an introvert, but I would rather not talk about it.

  8. Kim K.

    If you love Ricochet but are mostly a lurker and don’t comment often, does that make you an introvert? Also, if the thought of going to a big Ricochet meet up sounds both fascinating and terrifying.

  9. Robert E. Lee

    I am most definitely an introvert.

  10. Eleanor

    I am on the extreme introvert end of the introvert scale. Married to one such. Adult daughter has been one all of her life. Son-in-law is an extreme extrovert. He makes our daughter laugh. She especially laughs at our cringing at our son-in-law. He has finally figured it out and goes from one to the other of us talking. No higher love does the introvert have for the extrovert than to try to listen?

  11. Bryan G. Stephens

    ENTJ here.

    And I do NOT lack imagination. That is where my N comes into play.

    Really, meetings can be productive if they are conducted correctly. They just usually are not.

    But, if you think all meetings are useless, then I want you in charge of the otherside in a war. I’ll have my staff meetings, and your guys can just go it on their own, based on your memos.

  12. Bluebottle

    Introvert.

    Here’s a link to one of the few TED talks I found worthwhile:

    http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts.html

  13. Schrodinger

    Count me in on the introvert gang.

    I can fake the extravert thing for short periods of time, but prefer one on one communication.

  14. david foster

    “Group productivity” and “brainstorming” are not synonyms, and many kinds of productivity can *only* be achieved by a group.

    Consider an aircraft company (Boeing, let’s say, since they’re a Ricochet advertiser) creating a major new model of airplane such as the Dreamliner. There is creativity required in the aerodynamic design and the structural design and the controls design AND in the design of the overall manufacturing process to make it AND in the execution of the specific details of that process…all these aspects highly interactive with one another, and the whole thing entirely beyond the mental capabilities of any one individual in any one lifetime.

    If group productivity is impossible, how did the Dreamliner ever get made?

  15. david foster

    Bryan Stephens…”if you think all meetings are useless, then I want you in charge of the otherside in a war. I’ll have my staff meetings, and your guys can just go it on their own, based on your memos.”

    Agree that meetings need not be useless; they are essential and can be of great value if properly run. But I can’t resist what a Soviet officer (supposedly) said to a NATO officer after the Cold War ended and they were talking about what would have happened had the balloon really ever gone up:

    “While you were making your presentation slides, we would have been killing you”

  16. Miles
    Bryan G. Stephens: ENTJ here.

    ….Really, meetings can be productive if they are conducted correctly. They just usually are not….

    Exactly, on both counts.  What you need is a ruthless TJ to run them (ISTJ here.)  At the risk of sounding boastful, the brevity and efficacy of my team meetings are legend in my former* workplace.  

    Go in, outline the issues, make a decision, meeting adjourned.  

    *currently on a well-deserved sabbatical.

  17. Percival
    Bryan G. Stephens: ENTJ here.

    Really, meetings can be productive if they are conducted correctly. They just usually are not.

    INTJ.

    Are coffee and doughnuts being provided?

    Jean-Paul Sarte and I would never have agreed on much, but “hell is other people” is as profound a four word combination as anything short of “In God We Trust.”

  18. Bryan G. Stephens
    Miles

    Bryan G. Stephens: ENTJ here.

    ….Really, meetings can be productive if they are conducted correctly. They just usually are not….

    Exactly, on both counts.  What you need is a ruthless TJ to run them (ISTJ here.)  At the risk of sounding boastful, the brevity and efficacy of my team meetings are legend in my former* workplace.  

    Go in, outline the issues, make a decision, meeting adjourned.  

    *currently on a well-deserved sabbatical. · 23 minutes ago

    NT’s (the Rationals) are a mere 6% of the population. ENTJ are 2% and INTJ (Masterminds!) are 1%.

    I agree, a TJ will crush a meeting if given the chance.

  19. Sister

    Introvert, and I hate meetings. You don’t want me at one of yours, because I’m the person who will keep asking, “So, what is the point?”

  20. Eeyore

    Extrovert – Random House Webster’s Unabridged 1st choice; -avert 2nd

    Extravert – Some snooty English Collich Perfesser – and this window underlines it as misspelled. The tyranny of demands for “proper Latin.”

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