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Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence 1st Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 367 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1885705020
ISBN-10: 1885705026
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Phenomenon: Keirsey and Bates's Please Understand Me, first published in 1978, sold nearly 2 million copies in its first 20 years, becoming a perennial best seller all over the world. Advertised only by word of mouth, the book became a favorite training and counseling guide in many institutions -- government, church, business -- and colleges across the nation adopted it as an auxiliary text in a dozen different departments. Why? Perhaps it was the user-friendly way that Please Understand Me helped people find their personality style. Perhaps it was the simple accuracy of Keirsey's portraits of temperament and character types. Or perhaps it was the book's essential message: that members of families and institutions are OK, even though they are fundamentally different from each other, and that they would all do well to appreciate their differences and give up trying to change others into copies of themselves.

Now: Please Understand Me II

For the past twenty years Keirsey has continued to investigate personality differences -- to refine his theory of the four temperaments and to define the facets of character that distinguish one from another. His findings form the basis of Please Understand Me II, an updated and greatly expanded edition of the book, far more comprehensive and coherent than the original, and yet with much of the same easy accessibility. One major addition is Keirsey's view of how the temperaments differ in the intelligent roles they are most likely to develop. Each of us, he says, has four kinds of intelligence -- tactical, logistical, diplomatic, strategic -- though one of the four interests us far more than the others, and thus gets far more practice than the rest. Like four suits in a hand of cards, we each have a long suit and a short suit in what interests us and what we do well, and fortunate indeed are those whose work matches their skills. As in the original book, Please Understand Me II begins with The Keirsey Temperament Sorter, the most used personality inventory in the world. But also included is The Keirsey Four-Types Sorter, a new short questionnaire that identifies one's basic temperament and then ranks one's second, third, and fourth choices. Share this new sorter with friends and family, and get set for a lively and fascinating discussion of personal styles.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 350 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Nemesis Book Co; 1st edition (May 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1885705026
  • ISBN-13: 978-1885705020
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (367 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,747 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. David West Keirsey was born in Ada, Oklahoma but moved with his family to California when he was two years old. His interest in psychology happened in the 1940's during his World War II service as a U.S. Marine fighter pilot serving in the Pacific. The one book Keirsey carried with him through his entire war service was a psychology book; this book was the first spark of his journey into the field of personality.

After the war, at Pomona College and the Claremont Graduate School, Keirsey began his research and study of human behavior. As he researched historical literature in psychology, philosophy, and the sciences, he became intrigued by the patterns of four temperaments. These four distinct patterns of human behavior were woven throughout history, dating back to such figures as Hippocrates and Galen.

In the 1950's, he began putting his theory into practice as an Educational Psychologist, where he developed techniques in helping troubled and troublesome kids and their parents. He also developed techniques for counselors in training and coaching. For more than two decades, he served as a consultant to both educators and psychologists, with continued research and innovations in his theory of the four temperaments.

In the early 1970's Keirsey introduced his theory as an educational curriculum at California State University, Fullerton, where he served on the faculty, and eventually chair, in the department of counseling for ten years. During his time there, he published his theory in the book, Please Understand Me (1978), where he publicly introduced the Keirsey Temperament Sorter(R) to the world. Since then he has continued his research and refined his ideas and wrote several books including Portraits of Temperament (1987), Presidential Temperament (1992), Please Understand Me II (1998) and Brains and Careers (2008), Personology (2010). He had retired from public and worked on his theory of human action until his death in 2013. We hope to publish someday some of that work in the ebook Dark Escape and other forms.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Book Review: Please Understand Me II by David Keirsey, Prometheus Nemesis Book Co.. 1998, 350 pg. By Jack Falt
Back in 1978 Keirsey and Bates wrote Please Understand Me. It was one of the first books to popularize the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI), and it included "The Keirsey Temperament Sorter" so people could get a sense of what their psychological type was. However, Keirsey and Bates main interest in the MBTI was to use it as a way to determine temperament. They saw that the SP, SJ, NF and NT grouping of types fit the four temperaments that Hippocrates had written about twenty-five hundred years ago.
Keirsey had long been interested in the concept of temperament, and while he does discuss the MBTI preferences, both books focus mainly on temperament. Unfortunately, in the first book he labelled the four temperaments with the names of Greek gods, Dionysus, Epimetheus, Apollo and Prometheus. I found these names really difficult to work with when I first read the original book, and had to have a dictionary in my hand to make any sense out of some of the material. In the intervening years Keirsey (Marilyn Bates has since died) renamed them: Artisan for the SP, Guardian for the SJ, Idealist for the NF, and Rational for the NT, which made for easier reading.
In the revised edition "The Keirsey Temperament Sorter II" has been updated with some different questions, and this can still be used to determine your type. He has added "The Keirsey FourTypes Sorter" which determines only your temperament. Both of these quizzes are also on his web site:
The book discusses in detail the similarities between temperaments and MBTI, and also how they are different. The MBTI bases psychological type on internal mental functioning.
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I almost didn't buy this book because I thought it was just a new version of Keirsey and Bates' "Please Understand Me." The appeal of Keirsey and Bates' original work was that it covered much of the information upon which the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is based is a very readable manner. Rather than reading like a psychological treatise, it read like a book written for the general public. I am glad that I bought "Please Understand Me II." It exceeded my expectations. Keirsey's new book is much better than the original Keirsey and Bates book. I had read Keirsey and Bates at a time when I was taking an MBTI qualifying course, and I found it had value to me because it brought the concepts of personality type more alive than the text from the Consulting Psychologists Press. Although we were also using Kroeger and Thyssen's "Type Talk" and "Type Talk at Work," Keirsey gave me an added dimension. I liked it so much that I purchased Stephen Montgomery's "Pygmalion Project: Love and Coercion Among the Types : The Guardian," to get more information.
The basic appeal of a book on personality type is to gain a better understanding of ourselves, our "significant others," and people with whom we work. You might go so far as to say that it gives us an insight into what makes people tick. However, the real purpose of the study of personality type for the layman is to develop an understanding of what Isabel Myers called the "gifts differing." Each personality type has certain qualities that are unique. An understanding of those values adds dimension to interpersonal relationships, whether they be relationships within a family, significant others, or within a work group.
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Granted, personality tests can never quite be taken seriously; most function like horoscopes -- one-size-fits-all: as long as the test-taker wishes to coincide with the results, they are imaginatively verified. But coming to the Keirsey as a skeptic, I've found it unexpectedly accurate, on each of two very different occasions. When I tried the original version of the Keirsey several years ago, its insights had been interesting and useful; but when it occurred to me recently to take the test again, this time with _Please Understand Me II_, I was really struck by the ways in which the results differed, and how certain differences in my personality had been pinpointed, again, with much accuracy. So, even as I'd never trust an assessment of this format to divine anything like a true self, the test did give me occasion for recognizing some of the fundamental changes I had undergone over the years. (For those who might be trying to pick between the two, this second edition I think is more thorough than the first.) On this purely practical basis I would recommend the book, as a possible aid toward fuller self-understanding. Critical and detailed, it's the only "personality test" I've come across that doesn't abuse one's intelligence.
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First off, I'm a skeptic, a scientific thinker in the CSICOP mold. I first encountered David Keirsey's writings on the web site, Keirsey dot com, and thought: A classification system that divides people into sixteen "personality types"? Sounds like astrology -- and I count myself among the firm unbelievers. But I was still curious, and the online questionnaires yielded a reasonably accurate description of me, so I bought the book and dove in. I went straight to the profile of my own type (INTP) to see how much of it I could write off as universal generalities.

I was stunned. Keirsey hit some crucial nerves. There's one passage especially, about the Rational temperament's perception of time, that described me uncannily and does NOT fit non-Rationals I know. It was like cracking open a fortune cookie and finding my suit measurements. This knocked down my resistance, and I began reading other profiles pertaining to people close to me -- which was easy to do, because each type has its own self-contained section with all the relevant details. Now, many personality types have details in common, and as a result, Keirsey repeats himself a lot. This can be understandably irritating if you're trying to read the book cover-to-cover, but it serves well for skipping around, for quick reference -- which is the book's greatest strength. It's not a narrative, it's a reference.

In addition to laying out type and temperament details, Keirsey relates the history of four-element personality theory, starting with the ancients and culminating with Jung, Myers, and Briggs.
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