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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
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. Some very problematic relationships have been profoundly changed for the better, as a result.
I recently bought "Please Understand Me II," and recommend it as a companion volume; it expands on the ideas here, and is gives more in-depth analysis of the types, but this is really where you should start if you're interested in Myers-Briggs. If you're stuck at Christmastime, wondering what to get your family members, maybe you could give everyone a copy of this book. Get them to take the personality test, and compare notes--especially with people you've never really gotten along with. What better gift than mutual understanding?
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
and use as a reference when I talked about the Myers Briggs...Read more