- Paperback: 136 pages
- Publisher: Archer Pubns; 1 edition (May 1, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1885705034
- ISBN-13: 978-1885705037
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 21 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #123,122 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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People Patterns: A Popular Culture Introduction to Personality Types and the Four Temperaments 1st Edition
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If you want a short, simple description of the four basic temperaments, with illustrations of each drawn from popular books, TV shows, and movies, then this is the book for you. If, on the other hand, you're looking for a much longer, more in-depth exploration not just of the four temperaments but of all sixteen personality types, then you might prefer to read Keirsey's "Please Understand Me II". But if you want to make absolutely certain that you fully understand Keirsey's ideas about personality, I'd recommend reading both, since they do take rather different approaches to explaining the same basic material; so, when you read them together, you get a more nuanced view of the subject than you would by reading only one or the other.
As for the more general criticisms of Keirsey's typology, I understand and sympathize with the objections that many people have to this approach to classifying personality differences. And, while I feel that many of the criticisms of Keirsey are misguided, at least some of his critics do raise legitimate points that ought to be taken seriously. But I'm a pragmatist; so the bottom line for me has to be based on practical utility: Do I find Keirsey's approach to understanding personality types useful? Yes, I do. Do I find it more useful in practical, real-world applications than any of its competitors? Yes, again. It's not a perfect instrument, of course. There's no such thing. It's not 100% reliable. Its scientific validity is questionable. And it is easily misused by those who fail to recognize its limitations. But, in spite of all these shortcomings, I'm still convinced that Keirsey's typology is a useful tool to have when trying to deal with people in real-world settings. It gives me at least some idea of how other people see the world, what they're likely to do in any given situation, and how I can communicate with them effectively. It's not a perfect tool, to be sure; but it's significantly better than any of its competitors, and vastly better than having no tool at all.
Most people who could gain valuable insight from his work might be lacking the time or motivation to read Keirsey's book written in a more academic style. That makes People Patterns a really useful tool for a broader audience.
I do think that a bit more of Keirsey's insights could have been included, which is why I gave the book 4 stars instead of 5.
One if Keirsey's ideas that I believe is important for all and could have been explained more in detail in People Patterns is the discussion about misconceived ideas of Freud, Maslow and others. Their theories are just two examples of psychologists/analysts who describe human motivations from the point of view of their own "type", like the classic example of a fish in water asking "what water, I don't see any water". This one pointed view then discredits or downplays the validity of the motivations of other types.
Montgomery reviews the history of the four temperaments that has been consistent for thousands of years. He then goes on to state how Freud and Pavlov, among others, killed off the culturally recurring idea of four broad types in the 20th century with their theories that all people have the same intrinsic motivations. I wish he had expanded this topic a bit.
Here's a summary of some of Keirsey's insights on the "one motivation" theorists: Maslow's heirarchy theorizes (from his point of view as an idealist, according to Keirsey) that all humans do or should seek "actualization", spiritual oneness, as the highest form of human achievement. Not more than about 10% of people really do this, which causes proponents of this theory (often fellow idealist psychologists)to tut tut about how so many fall short in this regard.
Keirsey is revolutionary in his explanation that the highest accomplishments and life achievement goals of each type are different. A fully mature and developed guardian is quite different from that of a fully developed and mature rational, artisan or idealist.
Kiersey tells a story, asking us to imagine the frustration and confusion, let alone the despair, of a beaver being taught by a fox to stop making mud houses and instead to learn to raid the henhouse.
This understanding of the variety of human motivation could remove much of the pigeonholing that tries to tell women and men, too, what their roles "should" be.
Jean Shinoda Bolen wrote eloquently about this idea in her book Goddesses in Everywoman: Powerful Archetypes in Women's Lives. She writes of the "fads" in assigning singular "correct" roles for women that seem to cycle one at time from one generation to the next. The proper Victorian woman sheds her inhibitions to become the "flapper" who evolves into "Rosie the riveter" who then must be "the 50's housewife", and the "career woman" of the 80's, the "return to home" disillusioned career woman of modern times, etc.
Her use of Jungian archetypes is different from Keirsey's. She uses Greek goddesses, but both illustrate the mistakes we make in trying to find the "correct" motivation for all. She also states that more than one motivation can co-exist in a person. (for the record, it is a tenet of type theory that one develops the "skills" of one's opposite tendencies as one matures--although, I would say that one never becomes a wholly different person, just more balanced)
A woman who has a strong career drive may also want a child, but may not want or need a romantic partner, for example. A woman who wants a romantic partner may not feel the need to nurture a child. Letting people be who they are is the common theme.
The natural tendency to paste one's own motivations onto others as the "correct" one, goes on. I just read a blog about how being a parent is the true highest calling of all people. That made me sigh. I thought we were just to the place where men and women feel free to marry or not, reproduce or not. Now this again.
If you are concerned about helping yourself and others to find their own place in the world, based on their deepest tendencies, type theory is one valuable piece of the puzzle. I believe it should not be used in a rigid way, but rather as a way of allowing others to be themselves without needing to "correct" their style. This is not to make an excuse for rudeness, but rather a call for compassion for the strengths and weaknesses of others, which may be opposite one's own. A friend or child who has trouble being on time can be helped rather than shamed, for example.
People Patterns can be useful to help friends and co-workers reduce stress that comes from being frustrated by "why can't they act right, like I do" and "why don't they understand me" at home and work.
I am a much better trainer now that I realize my intuitive "explaining theory first, then method" is valuable mostly to other intuitives. It frustrates the "sensing" types who are more the majority, especially in the training I do. I adjust my style now to main topics and bullets for them, full of simple "how to's" in sequence, and include some expansions for any intuitives that might be in the room, if necessary.
It's straightforward: Intuitives tend to focus on theory and possibility, grasping ideas whole in a flash, while sensors focus on what is actual and here now, doing and thinking in 1,2,3 sequence. Not that they are mutually exclusive, but more one primary focus over the other. In fact, I can do a very mediocre job, from my point of view in a given training by following the textbook in "boring" rote, but the sensors will like it much better than a very creative, less structured training, however technically and creatively brilliant. My ultimate goal is to do both, have a coherent ordered script, and use creative, relevant information of interest. Without type knowledge, I might be trying to convince them to "just deal" with my style.
Further help for trainers can be found in Telling Ain't Training.
I can almost immediately recognize fellow intuitives who "get" my conversational topics from the context of a story and can finish my sentences. Sensors may or may not understand what my anecdote is illustrating until I make a concrete statement of intent. I have mentored some of each type, and the sensors, who love me anyway, have commented that my stories to illustrate a point don't always hit home for them like they do for the intuitives. If I am concerned about hurting someone's feelings, I don't like to give feedback that feels like being "blunt". With type knowledge and encouragement from the seeker of feedback, I can be more flexible to adjust to their style.
Type knowledge is not a trivial tool to have in working for more effective communication. To me it makes the difference in keeping or losing relationships of all kinds.
The world would experience much less conflict if we taught type in schools.
Keirsey's book, Please Understand Me II makes the point that K-12 schools are not built for the success of some types, being largely run by Guardian types with their focus on rules and order, however much they are necessary, some things get lost and left out. Our artisans, for one, who might be best involved in vocational training whether the arts or trades are frustrated in rote learning, sit still classrooms, and may be falsely labeled as "ADD".
That's another topic, but one that has profound implications.
I have the utmost respect for David Keirsey and his monumental books in the Please Understand Me (PUM) series. I have always felt that these two books were an NT response to feeling pressured by NF's and SJ's. In that regard, it seems NF's are more likely to read them since they are somewhat conceptual in nature.
To that end, Montgomery seems to have made an attempt to bring this material to the majority masses (read SJ's and SP's). It seems that an abbreviated version is needed since so many are not likely to be able to make it all the way through PUM2. My earlier critique was that such an effort would require photos or maybe even a movie version. However, I can now better appreciate the written attempt to connect these temperaments to film, tv and book characters. Will SP's and SJ's read it and understand it? I am not sure, but there is a much better chance than expecting them to digest PUM2. I still think a movie would be cool.
This is a great resource for those who won't be able to get through PUM1/2.
After friends and family did the questionnaire, it was fascinating to see how they feel and think. Have become more patient now and more understanding and appreciative of their personality types .....and how each of us contributes to our lives and the world.