- Paperback: 248 pages
- Publisher: CPP; 2nd ed. edition (January 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 089106074X
- ISBN-13: 978-0891060741
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 100 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,519 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type 2nd ed. Edition
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Ringing with practical implications, Gifts Differing both educates and inspires.―Judy Waterman, Principal, Career Management Group
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® 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® instrument worldwide.
Top customer reviews
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It's a shame that I read this book after reading several different treatments of the MBTI, because I was expecting so much more depth and analysis from Myers, herself. But as I understand it, her aim was to make a test that people could take to ascertain which career or vocation would be suitable to their unique talents, from a Jungian cognitive theory perspective. So, keep this in mind as you read and understand that she was simply laying the groundwork to legitimize her self-assessment tool and demonstrate its usefulness.
This is easy to read, and if you aren't interested in delving deep within the theory of cognition and cognitive functions, then this will probably be a satisfying read for you. However, I found the definitions of cognitive functions limiting and too general, and at times I could not tell if Myers valued preferences more or functions more. In fact, there were several instances in which she makes the distinction between, for example, those with extraverted sensing and introverted sensing (cognitive functions), but then goes on to refer to merely those who scored higher on "sensing" (preference), as if there is no difference between the extraverted or introverted sensing type, and thus no difference between function and preference. As well, I found the pages and pages of tables showing how each of the 16 types scored on several different job categories to be pretty tedious, to the point that I skipped over this section.
But I did find the definitions of cognitive functions, however simplistic, clear and thought-provoking. Better than that, I think this book helped to clearly conclude for me which of the 16 types I most closely resemble, which is more than I can say for all of the type assessments out there online, including the "official" MBTI you can purchase.
So, all in all, I would say, if you're a fan of MBTI, then you need to read Myers' book.
Overall, I liked this one much better because it didn't completely focus on the four temperaments.
The book is split into four sections: Theory, Effects of the Preferences on Personality, Practical Implications of Type, and Dynamics of Type development.
The theory part is good for anyone who wants to know the theoretical grounding for the MBTI and the linkage to Jung's theories. It's definitely more geared towards people unfamiliar with the MBTI, because it more or less tries to give validity to the theories by referring to Jung, who is much more respected and well-known.
The second part, Effects of the Preferences on Personality, goes through the effects of each of the preferences: E/I, S/N, T/F, and J/P. The descriptions of each of the types themselves are really nothing special; you can find them online anywhere. However, the book includes a fascinating statistical analysis on the effects of type on career choice. For example, people who study law are overwhelmingly T, while science students are overwhelming N. I personally found the descriptions of the cognitive functions themselves to be fairly good, although I have heard that Beren's books are more specialized in that topic.
The third part, Practical Implications of Type, talks about the implications of type on marriage, learning styles, child development, all the while emphasizing the need for people of different types to work together to balance each other's weaknesses. Most of this information you can find on the internet nowadays, but Myers' analysis goes a little bit deeper than what you would find online.
The last part, Dynamics of Type Development, really just emphasizes one important concept: healthy personal development requires the development of an auxiliary function. Most of this section shows you the negative implications for not developing a strong auxiliary.
The MBTI is really not everybody's cup of tea. As someone who types ISTJ, I have always been highly skeptical that "personality tests" have any validity at all. The MBTI is really no different: there's no real empirical evidence to prove that the theoretical portions are valid. However, I cannot deny the positive impact studying these theories have had on my attitudes toward people. I would approach all these theories (MBTI, Big 5, Socionics, etc) with a healthy dose of skepticism, but I have learned that it also pays to be open-minded to the possibilities these theories offer.
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