Sunday, 20 March 2016

Al-Waleed bin Talal (LIE): Personality Type Analysis

As a general observation, I'd say that when typing people like Al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al Saud, it's as important to take a step back and look at him from a distance, to get a broad-brush view of him, as it is to observe him closely in videos and interviews.

The broad-brush view is this: this is a guy who, having been born in a very privileged social situation in a sort-of medieval society - you can hardly be more "privileged and medieval" than as a senior member of the House of Saud in Saudi Arabia - yet decided to build up his own wealth and career himself. He obviously sees creating wealth, and showing off some of it, as big parts of his focus and his life. He likes to see himself, and that is probably largely true (even in his context) as a man for whom work and being productive is core. All of that suggests F as quadra value, and so far nobody suggested anything but Gamma or Beta for him, which I think is right.

There is the problem of differentiating what is 'real' and what is posturing, or cultural influence. That's always difficult, and I can add that it is obvious that some of his answers are very careful. For instance, in his interview, Fareed Zakaria asks the Prince directly about his chances of succeeding to the throne. He gives a general, technical, vague answer. But no analyst familiar with the House of Saud, I think, would say that Prince Al-Waleed has the slightest chance of ever becoming King. By blood he is close to the inner circle of the dynasty but not politically. His own 'career choice' of going into business, rather than to try to get into government, besides his present high profile as a (relatively) westernized and urbane promoter of moderate reform - all of that in effect isolates him politically even more. And that's no secret; yet he gives a no-answer.

His interviews show him talking at length about his own investments, his opinions on economic trends, his views on global situations, on foreign affairs, on oil price, and a bit on the situation of women's rights in Saudi Arabia. He gives his views as a knowledgeable expert and he seems at ease in that role. His delivery is friendly-dry without too much emotional expression. Most of that he says is P in content, as most have noted. So overall I think that the analyses pointing towards LIE are correct, it is indeed the most obvious typing and there is nothing really going against it. 

On other Gamma types such as ESI, the problem is that apart from his comments on "ethics" and on individuals, he hasn't really spontaneously gone into R related subjects. But then, his own position makes that more difficult. Of course it's not 'impossible' that he is an ESI; but the available evidence does not suggest it over LIE.

I want to comment on the possibility of EIE... What makes that unlikely, to me, is not so much his behavior, but a look at his career. For most of his career he was building up his wealth 'quietly', in the background - pretty much like Warren Buffet. The Prince only became a public figure after he had achieved a very high level of wealth. His 'claim to fame' today is also as the main shareholder of Citicorp. Compare that with the Beta tycoons such as Donald Trump (SLE) or Steve Jobs (EIE). For the latter, the image, the brand, the vision, is from the beginning closely connected to how they build up their fortune. The Prince invests well in lots of businesses with no obvious connection to each other in order to get even richer, and that's pretty much it.

Finally, something I see more as 'confirming' a general Intuitive-Energiser type rather than a core argument for it: if you look at all his interviews, he moves and talks with a sort of 'nervous energy'. There is nothing calm or solid about him. This is a high-energy man who probably can't ever relax. This is secondary, but it fits LIE (or EIE) far more than LSI (or ESI).

To learn more about LIE, click here.

If you are confused by our use of Socionics shorthand, click here.

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