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Please Understand Me: Character and Temperament Types Paperback – January 1, 1984
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For anyone acquainted with the ubiquitous Myers-Briggs personality test, Please Understand Me will be familiar territory--but gone over with a fine-toothed comb. And for the uninitiated, this book will be a quick introduction to personality typing the Myers-Briggs way--with a Jungian accent. After presenting a brief rundown of 20th-century psychology movements, Keirsey and Bates encourage you to take the 70-question "Keirsey Temperament Sorter," a sort of mini-Myers-Briggs test that places you in 1 of 16 personality types. Like the Myers-Briggs system, this test sorts your personality into groups of extraversion/introversion (E/I), sensation/intuition (S/N), thinking/feeling (T/F), and perceiving/judging (P/J). Unlike the Myers-Briggs system, Please Understand Me also presents four easy-to-remember temperament types--Dionysian (freedom first), Epimethean (wants to be useful), Promethean (desires power), and Apollonian (searches for self)--that underlie the 16 possible personalities identified by the test. The book then delves into a detailed analysis of each type, with sections on mates, children, and leaders. An appendix paints portraits of the 16 possible personality types.
Unless you're already a true personality-typing devotee, this book may seem a little esoteric, especially the somewhat "in" references to psychological theory that few laypeople will be likely to understand. But give it a chance and you may find that you'll begin to understand why you always know where to find Anna Karenina on the shelf (you have an ESTJ husband), why your boss is sarcastic one day and praises your achievements the next (she's an NF), and why knowing the reason that the sun comes up in the same place every day is important to your little one (he's Promethean). You may even find that once you accept quirks and ticks in others, they will understand you a little better, too. --Stefanie Durbin
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Top Customer Reviews
I've always known I'm a kook, but never really understood why. I took the Kiersey Temperament Sorter in the front of the book, and found that I am split between INTP and INTJ, two of the rarest personality types. Most of my family members are SPs and SJs--small wonder they think I'm a wacko! And no wonder I kept thinking they were uptight, or lacking in imagination. No wonder they don't get my jokes (which are not really jokes--and if you don't get that, you need to read this book <laughs>).
The light "Please Understand Me" has cast on my relationships with my family and friends has been of inestimable benefit. Sure, my ESTP father drives me nuts, but now I understand why, and it allows me to step back and say, "that's how he is--consider this before tearing off on a rant, will you?" It also helps me understand why I am so close to my INFP kid sister, but fought constantly with an ISTJ ex-boyfriend. By understanding how the different types relate to the world and the people around them, it is easier to understand why they behave as they do. It becomes easier to be more compassionate. Rather than lashing out in irritation and frustration because I assume I know why someone is acting the way he or she does, I can use what I know about the Myers-Briggs types and try to see the world through that person's eyes.Read more ›
Keirsey introduces us to four basic opposite tendencies in temperament, then describes the temperaments, and applies this to the areas of relationships, work, children, and learning.
The book starts with a questionnaire that you can take to determine your type. I would strongly advise not to just read the part about your own type, though. The real aha effect comes when you read about the others, too. You won't even need everyone to take the test, you'll know just by what you've read what types you're dealing with. It's fun to realize our differences and see them in a new light.
Everyone is different, and this books helps to at least start defining those differences into 16 general personality types. Now, there is still a ton of differences within a single type, but getting to 1 of 16 is a great start at dealing with those around you, as well as giving them some insight into your personality as well.
"Please Understand Me" and "Please Understand Me II" are two completely different books, not an original and updated version of the same book. "Please Understand Me" covers the basics, understanding what each letter means, and the way they combine. "Please Understand Me II" is a detailed description of each of the 16 personality types, carefully structured to allow easy comparison. It would be difficult to understand for anyone not already familiar with the Briggs-Meyers personality type system from "Please Understand Me" or another basic book.
While the "Please Understand Me" system can be interesting as a means of self-analysis, it is most useful when turned outwards, as a way of understanding the people around you, and as a way of planning your actions for maximum effectiveness.
For example, when planning a party, it can be easy to slip into planning only the types of activities that you like. But your guests will be of all personality types. So consider - the extrovert's may love a loud dance floor, but the introverts will need a quite space to recharge now and then. Sensing types will love the stimulation of good food, good music, etc.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My daughter loved book 2, so had to order the original book. She loves it!Published 12 days ago by Lorene S.
Classic starter book if you want to understand the Myers Briggs Test. I would add a few stars to my rating. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Karl J. Elshoff
I love this. It is my favorite personality test/book. When I was first introduced to it 20 years ago, someone said, "You will wonder who has been following you around and... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Nikola Sievert
I took the Myers-Briggs Assessment when I was in college, but there was little explanation of the meaning of the types and how types relate to personal interaction. Read morePublished 2 months ago by M. A.
One of the best ways to find people's character. I recommend this early addition, not the later additions.Published 3 months ago by Jane
Very helpful and very revealing. Highly recommended as an introduction to the Myers-Briggs personality typology.Published 4 months ago by E