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Making Sense of People: Decoding the Mysteries of Personality by Samuel Barondes

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One. Personality Traits

When I was in high school, I signed up for the student newspaper. To get me started, the editor offered some standard advice on how to write a story. He said I should be sure to answer five questions: What happened? Who was involved? When? Where? Why? He said that knowing about these “five Ws” served as a check for completeness because novices sometimes left out one or more of them. He then assured me that I wouldn’t need them for long because answering these questions was something I was already inclined to do intuitively.

Intuition is also what journalists rely on when they size up people. Through years of practice, they develop a knack for identifying distinctive personality traits and finding the words to describe ...

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