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Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type [Paperback]

by Isabel Briggs Myers, Peter B. Myers
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 3, 1995 089106074X 978-0891060741 Reprint

With over twenty-five years in print and more than two hundred and fifty thousand copies sold, Gifts Differing has helped to define our understanding of personality. Written by the creators of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®, this book explains the essential personality types and their practical significance in your daily life; in school, at a job, in a career, or in your personal relationships.


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Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type + Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence + Please Understand Me: Character and Temperament Types
Price for all three: $45.38

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

The late Isabel Briggs Myers devoted her life to the observation, study, and measurement of personality. With her mother, Katharine Briggs, she authored the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator(R) personality inventory. Peter B. Myers, Ph.D., continues research work on the development and application of personality type. Former staff director of the National Academy of Science, he is currently extending the use of the MBTI(R) instrument worldwide

Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Nicholas Brealey America; Reprint edition (May 3, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 089106074X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0891060741
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,786 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
201 of 205 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE book on Myers-Briggs Typology January 13, 2004
By Patrick
Format:Paperback
If you are at all interested in the Myers-Briggs personality typing system, this book should be number one on your reading list. Unlike 95% of the books on the subject, this one is not a bunch of pop pyschology fluff. This is one of the only books on the subject with any depth at all to it. And it's a good thing it does, seeing as it was written by the co-creator of the MBTI herself, Isabel Myers. Unlike other "Please Understand Me" or "Type Talk", this book actually deals with the Jungian basis of personality, and not just the four letters associated with each type. The Jungian personality typing system is based on the concept of dominant functions. ENFPs and ENTPs for instance are both "Extraverted Intuitives", which is what defines the way they think more than anything. (And ENFJ, on the other hand is an "Extraverted Feeler"). You won't be taught these concepts in most other books on the subject. Isabel also eloquently explains why the MB system is different, especially concerning introverts, from Jung's original system.
If you're interested in MB personality types and actually wish to read a book by some one who knows what they are talking about and isn't just writing to sell pop psyschology best seller, read this book. This is also a must read if you have been trying to reconcile Jung with the MBTI and have had trouble doing so.
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70 of 70 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Written with exqusite care, Gifts Differing is one of those rare books to be pondered and reread. I first read it in 1980 when it first came out, and my copy is dog-eared and much underlined. It is not for casual reading, or a quick approach to finding out about one's personality type. Wanting to get Carl Jung's ideas of the psychological types out of the psychiatrist's office into general use, she wrote Gifts Differing to lay out the theory for general readers, with care and in detail. It is a classic, will never be "out of date," and I strongly recommend it for anyone who has been affected by her instrument, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and wants to go deeper into the ingenious theory she fleshed out from Jung's work.
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139 of 150 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book gives an overview of the history and theory behind the widely used Myers-Briggs personality type inventory, and briefly but thoroughly summarizes the characteristics of each personality type as well as the "groups" of related types. This is straight from the horse's mouth: Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother, Katharine Briggs, developed the inventory based on Jung's theory of psychological types, and tested it extensively before it became widely used. The book is generally well organized, easy to read, and clearly written, with occasional touches of humor. But it won't help you identify your type if you don't already know it -- I recommend Kiersey's "Please Understand Me" for that. Still, it's a good resource if you already know your type and want to find out more about it. (Incidentally, you don't have to swallow Jung's psychological theories whole in order to find the Myers-Briggs useful!)
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I cannot say enough good things about this book. October 8, 2004
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I cannot say enough good things about this book. I finally read it, after letting it sit on my shelf for more than a year. I wish I had read it sooner, and frankly I wish I had read it ten years ago; it would have saved me a lot of grief. On the other hand, would I have understood it ten years ago? I'm not so sure.

I absolutely loved the writing style, and another reviewer despised it. I turned out to be the same TYPE as one of the authors, so I wonder if that makes a difference. See? Already I am trying to apply the type theory to the problem of differing points of view.

I do agree that the book is very difficult reading, and that the authors did talk very early about some things as if we understood it already, however I was very lucky. I stayed with it and at some point I had an a-ha moment about part of the theory that I didn't quite get. I re-read some of the earlier parts, and all of a sudden they made perfect sense. The theory really is very beautiful, and consistent with itself, and other theories. I really credit the good writing with getting the theory across in a very accessible way, if you stick with it and are open-minded.

Finally I want to mention that I started reading "Do What You Are" by Paul Tieger and Barbara Barron-Tieger first, before reading this book. I do like that book very much, but one thing I couldn't do with that book was properly figure out my type. I could narrow it down, but not very well, because other close types seemed so attractive. Reading the first sections of Gifts Differing helped me figure out my own type much more quickly and confidently, and by the end of the book I was absolutely sure. It was amazing. Now I've gone back to reading the other book, and I am getting a lot more out of it since I can focus on my proper type. I love it.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for any Myers Briggs scholar November 28, 2002
Format:Paperback
This book reveals much about the birth of the Myers Briggs personality theory. First, readers can see that the theory has very practical origins. It was born out of observing personalities of MANY people. It was meant to be used in a very hands-on way. It was not designed to be a tool for psychologists only. It was meant to be used by anyone who wants to understand self and others.

Another key point that emerges from this book is that differences are good. The theory does not treat personality traits as pathological, needing repair. On the contrary, the authors recognize that the varied types of personalities add unique, valuable qualities to the world.

There are other sources that explore this topic in a more detailed, scholarly way. However, this book sets the context for the origin and the intended use of the theory. Therefore, it is a must read for any student of personality.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant insight into personalities
I have always been skeptical about being "typed" or put in a box... MBTI always seemed "off". Read more
Published 1 month ago by Penelope Conlon
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
I had always wondered about Myers Briggs testing, and although many have moved away from Trait Psychology I still find that it is incredibly useful and for those interested this... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Fire Daniels
4.0 out of 5 stars insightful account of the inventor of MBTI
Loved the in depth account of why, what, how, who, where of MBTI. Vastly interesting and useful. Excellent reading materials for the NTs.
Published 2 months ago by Michael Bongardt
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening
A great introduction to Social sciences given that I read it when I was right out of high school. Would recommend to most.
Published 2 months ago by A. Saed
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Book With Good Information
Good Book With Good Information. I purchased as part of a Engineering Project Manager Leadership Course working for the Government.
Published 4 months ago by Wilbert J. Morell
5.0 out of 5 stars Daughter
My daughter is taking Psychology classes while in prison and loves this book!
When I saw it was offered I knew she would like it. Read more
Published 7 months ago by dena gillin
5.0 out of 5 stars Understand yourself and others
This book does a great job of explaining the personality types in great detail. I enjoyed reading in depth about extraverts vs. introverts, sensing vs. intuition, feeling vs. Read more
Published 8 months ago by lamp
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Book by Amazing Woman!
This is an amazing book written by an amazing woman! Back in the 70s, I knew Isabel Myers professionally and met with her a number of times when she would visit the University of... Read more
Published 10 months ago by silver elves
5.0 out of 5 stars Gifts Differing
Gifts Differing is Top of the list reading for anyone with interest in MBTI. Eloquently and thoughtfully written, Myers' foundational work explains all of the personality type... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Keelakay
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
A must for anyone who wants a deeper understanding of MBTI. The theory is well articulated and the style of writing is engaging.
Published 13 months ago by Hayden
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