The People Code: It’s All About Your Innate Motive, by Dr. Taylor Hartman
This book reminds me of one of those sketchy late-night infomercials where an orange fake-tanned spokesman with an equally fake smile attempts to oversell a product that promises to be very useful but where one cannot help but shake the feeling that it is not quite as useful as claimed. This book was given to me by some friends that I was spending time with recently to forward on to someone else as a gift of appreciation from one of the family’s many children, and I was given permission to read the book before passing it along, since my habits at devouring books (including books on personality) is well known . At any rate, I found that this book was broadly similar to other personality tests, especially the animal personality test popularized by Dr. Gary Smalley, and that it was not quite as original and ground-breaking as the author was trying to pass itself off as. As in many cases, this is a book that it would have been easier to approve of had the author been less sweeping in his claims. But he wasn’t, so it isn’t.
The book itself is about 300 pages long or so and is divided into four parts. After a foreword, preface, and interaction that try to hype up the author and his material, the first part deals with personality theory (I) and looks at the fundamentals of personality (1), the modestly titled Hartman Personality Profile (2), the supposed magic of motive that this profile is supposed to uncover (3), and personality in perspective (4). The second part of the book looks at the color types of everyone else (II) by cycling its way through power-hungry reds (5), do-gooder blues (6), peacekeeping whites (7), fun-loving yellows (8), secondary colors (9), and what makes us hot or not in dating based on one’s color profile (10). The third part of the book tries to connect the reader with everyone else (III) starting with red (11), blue (12), white and yellow (13), and more complicated relationship building (14). The fourth and final part of the book looks at applications (IV) including business (15), education (16), and a discussion of character regardless of color type (17), after which the book concludes with some very salesy questions and answers as well as an afterward and index.
There are at least a few ways that this book provides some information but not as much insight as the author seems to think. For one, the author appears overly interested in engaging in negative attacks on the MBTI, which has some details that this book does not include. In addition, the author does not do a good job at acknowledging his debt to Dr. Smalley, whose four animal types are almost if not entirely identical to the author’s conception of power-wielding (red lions), busy do-gooders (blue beavers), gentle peace-lovers (white golden retrievers), and fun-loving people (yellow otters) having to learn how to get along. At some points as well, the author seems to be promoting immoral and ungodlly behavior, seeming to constantly advice people to divorce others if they are in love with someone else, acting as if the abandonment of one’s covenant oaths of marriage is a brave decision made with integrity. The author clearly doesn’t speak with a great deal of moral character in such areas and it is also unseemly when he tries to promote his future books as well as his consulting business as ways of increasing his own bottom line by using this book as a marketing effort as well as an attempt to promote a supposedly original and groundbreaking personality test. This book, as a result, has the feel of someone trying to sell too much, when one would trust the author more if he was more honest and less pushy about it.
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