Analyzing Character eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 522 pages of information about Analyzing Character.

Here is a brief sketch of John Doe, furnished by a gentleman who befriended him and has followed his career for years: 

“John is thirty-one years of age and has just been released from a term in Sing Sing Prison.  The crime for which he served sentence was burglary.  He made a skeleton key with which he gained access to a loft where were stored valuable goods.  He stole three thousand dollars worth of these from his employer.  He admits that he has committed other crimes of forgery and theft.  Perhaps the cleverest of these was forgery which was never discovered.  He is exceedingly friendly and makes friends easily.  He is, however, very erratic and irritable in disposition and often quarrelsome.  He is a fair example of a common type which has intelligence and skill but has not learned to direct his activities along constructive lines.”

A more complicated advertisement followed this first one, giving the portraits of nine men, each successful in his chosen work because well fitted for it by natural aptitude as well as by training.  People were asked to state the vocation of each.  Out of 4,876 replies but three were correct.


Surely, when the untrained judgment of intelligent people goes so wide of the mark, it is worth while to inquire whether or not science can come to the rescue.  Perhaps a brief examination of some well-established truths about human beings will aid in finding an answer to our query.

The science of character analysis by the observational method is based upon three very simple scientific truths: 

First, man’s body is the product of evolution through countless ages, and is what it is to-day as the result of the combined effect upon it of heredity and environment.

Second, man’s mind is also the product of evolution through countless ages, and is what it is to-day as the result of the effect upon it of the same heredity and the same environment as have affected his body.

Third, man’s body and man’s mind profoundly affect each other in all of their actions and reactions and have affected each other through all the centuries of their simultaneous evolution.


Men’s bodies differ from one another in many ways.  A little scientific investigation soon proves to us that these differences are the result of differences in heredity and environment.  Men’s minds differ from one another in countless ways.  Scientific investigation also proves that these mental differences, or differences in character, are also the result of differences in heredity and environment.

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Analyzing Character from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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