This article ran in D magazine.
by Betsy Thaggard

The Johnson O'Connor Research Foundation's Human Engineering Laboratory ... sounds like some kind of new-age psychobistro. Actually, O'Connor (the man) began giving aptitude tests for General Electric in 1922, and his foundation now sponsors 13 public testing centers around the country.

Johnson O'Connor's theory is that you're born with certain talents, and you'll lead a happier, more productive life if you can identify and use as many as possible. Tests and follow-up counseling are based on inherent abilities -- not education, not interests. "We'll suggest interest tests and personality profiles when clients ask, but our research is about natural aptitudes," says Katherine Derry, director of the Irving center.

Clients age 14 and up use test results to choose college majors, look for new careers and facilitate retirement and other life changes. It's rumored that, years ago, one son in a large, politically oriented family (Johnson O'Connor won't give out names) tested out below average in every aptitude and was found to have an extremely "objective" personality -- attributes common to managers. Armed with that information and higher-than-average ambition, he pursued his perfect career path, culminating in the ultimate manager's job: president of the United States.

Hand-burning tough guy G. Gordon Liddy wasn't as pleased with his results, according to his autobiography, Will. At loose ends at 23 after leaving the army, he ran Johnson O'Connor's gauntlet of tests and learned his aptitudes were suited for editing a scholarly journal. "I hadn't trained myself for years to be a warrior," he wrote, "only to spend my life behind a typewriter."

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