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Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence
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Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence

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4.17  ·  Rating details ·  5,824 ratings  ·  246 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 350 pages
Published June 15th 2006 by Prometheus Nemesis Book Company (first published 1998)
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Merry Oh heavens no! This is just an updated version with new material in it. In reality, you wouldn't want to read both.

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4.17  · 
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 ·  5,824 ratings  ·  246 reviews


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JoAnna Spring
Dec 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator - MBTI, y'all. It's Jungian.

When the CERN rappers take on personality preferences, I'll totally let them use that to close out. Word to your SJ mother.

Myers-Briggs is the world's most used personality indicator and the basis for any understanding I have of all people. Please Understand Me II by David Keirsey covers practical aspects of the 16 Myers-Briggs types - communication style, decision making, interests, leadership style and tons more. It assumes, presumably be
...more
Esteban del Mal
Jul 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
I think all this reading about the MBTI is turning me into a fascist. I've got this passive-aggressive co-worker and I'm finding myself muttering things like "ISTP cocksucker" under my breath more and more. Time for a fiction break.
Stephanie A. Higa
Jul 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
One of my (many) obsessions. Five years ago this book told me I was an INTP, and I was skeptical. I did not think four letters could sum an entire personality. Little did I know...they could and did! (Sort of.) Then I found out that skepticism is a typical INTP trait. Keirsey is also an INTP! So is (probably definitely) Thomas Pynchon! I've probably taken at least 30 variants of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator since, and while the one provided in this book isn't the best, the profiles are top-no ...more
Sarah
Sep 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a good one for all you Meyers-Briggs junkies out there. I became guilty of this title when in high school I first took the test and began to discover why I relate to people in the way that I do. His explanations of the different temperaments were certainly clear enough for me to begin typing people I live and work with. In effect, I began to realize that we all have things that we are good at (and not-so-good at) and that the world would not turn the same way without them. I began to hav ...more
Katya Kean
Mar 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: katya-faves
Although some people make themselves annoying with this book by quickly typecasting everyone publicly (people don't like being told who they are usually), its still a really amazing premise. It really helped me appreciate people better, especially my family, and understand why they didn't understand me. This book has made my life less frustrating, and helped me with sales and the ministry, where I need to quickly read someone (or at least get a loose approximation) and what they might value. It' ...more
Ron Wroblewski
Sep 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have used this personality rating system well over the years, good for both professional and person learning. I am a ENFJ, although sometimes the J turns into a P when I retake the assessment. I am about a 60% extrovert and 40% introvert. Definitely a N and F. Great book.
Tanya
Oct 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
So we have been having difficult with my son at school. He's smart, he's generally kind to people and respectful of adults. Yet school has been like pulling teeth since he started kindergarten. Enter an old friend of ours who happens to be a school teacher and she recommends this book to us, tells us to try and figure out what Bode is (and she has a hunch already after meeting him and hearing stories), and then we can understand better what makes him tick, what he likes, dislikes, how our parent ...more
Thomas
Sep 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A splendid analysis of Myers-Briggs Type Indicator - though Keirsey diverges from Jung and Myers, he explains his observations well without assuming his interpretations are 100% correct. He divides the types into four groups based on communication style (concrete or abstract) and how we interact with one another (utilitarian or cooperative). He dedicates lengthy yet well-written chapters to each bunch: the Artisans (SP), the Guardians (SJ), the Idealists (NF), and the Rationals (NT). Not only do ...more
Jodith
Dec 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Jodith by: Sr. Patricia
I've loved the Myers-Briggs Temperament Inventory since I first took it almost 20 years ago. I've found it to be instrumental in helping me understand myself in ways that I had never considered before. With the knowledge I gained, I have been able to embrace who I am instead of constantly working against myself, and have ventured on the path that has brought me to greater self-awareness and joy.

Please Understand Me is the single best book I've found describing the various MBTI temperaments and h
...more
Sue
Jan 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Many years ago we learned about the Myers-Briggs personality typing system, and one of the books we read was 'Please Understand Me' by Keirsey and Bates. I found it somewhat useful, but a bit simplistic, and preferred other books. This sequel is a complete re-write, with new information and far more helpful descriptions.

Keirsey uses the Myers-Briggs/Jungian terminology in his book, but rather than focusing on 16 different types of people he divides them into four categories, which he calls the
...more
Anita
Dec 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Personality theory was may favorite psychology class in college, which is where I first encountered the MBTI, upon which this book is based. FWIW, one the full test I'm a moderate I, and nearly balanced on the other three scales, though INTP seems to fit the best.

To me, personality theory is a way of finding the demarcations between types of people; different theories will cut the pie differently and no one theory could ever hope to capture all variability. The MBTI creates binary scales along
...more
Wendy Sparrow
Feb 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I saw this book recommended in a book on writing--though I can't remember precisely which one and I figured I'd check it out. This book will help you build depth to your characters like you never have before. It'll show you other aspects to their personality that you've had to work hard to figure out in the past. It feels like a cheat sheet to the personality of your characters.

It's also a fascinating study in human nature and you'll immediately start analyzing everyone around you, but it's now
...more
Tienne
Jul 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
At my lowest point, I read this book and found the answers I needed to keep moving forward. It is not too great a statement to declare that this book saved my marriage. Until I got to the Rational Mastermind I honestly thought my husband hated me. This book opened my eyes and helped me understand where my husband is coming from when he behaves in ways that are counter to my natural inclinations and needs. I particularly appreciated that Keirsey never presents any personality type as being superi ...more
Jonimarie Whiting
Apr 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I was so thankful to read this book because it helped me to understand my family and friends better and helped me to see that differences in each person is good. God made each one of us all unique and our uniqueness is important we all have a purpose and a part to play in God's plan.It was a freeing book to read! :-)
Michael Weaver
Jul 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Keirsey breaks down the basic precepts of human behavior and gives an excellent perspective on understanding and effectively interacting with others. One of the best references to be able to communicate with co-workers, friends, dates, spouses, kids - anyone. If you are in a position of leadership, you NEED this!
Joseph Fountain
Aug 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you do not want what I want, please try not to tell me that my want is wrong. Or if my beliefs are different from yours, at least pause before you set out to correct them. Or if my emotion seems less or more intense than yours, given the same circumstances, try not to ask me to feel other than I do. Or if I act, or fail to act, in the manner of your design for action, please let me be. I do not, for the moment at least, ask you to understand me. That will only come when you are willing to giv ...more
Chain Reading
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: paper
I am a psychologist, and I think it's important to say that there isn't really good science behind this book, or the Myers-Briggs. Very few things in psychology are best conceptualized as 'either or' dichotomies, and so I don't necessarily believe that people stay the same MBTI type their whole life, or are even really all one type at one time. I don't believe that people are that black and white.

However, I do believe that our lives can be very influenced by the stories that we tell ourselves,
...more
Wanjiru Thoithi
Keirsey gives a convincing short history of temperament theory which sets the basis of his work. My only issue is that he often paints very wide brush strikes when it comes to interests and vocations of different temperaments. Other than this his work as proven to be very useful to me especially in understanding big picture differences between temperaments. I now understand his neglect of cognitive functions.
Zack
Apr 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
Great stuff. Keirsey does a nice job developing a new schema on top of the Briggs tradition. He divides up the 16 personality types (based on 4 letter variables) into 4 major sections: Artisan, Guardian, Idealist, Rational. The book starts off looking at how similar 4 divisions have been made since the start of the the western tradition. Keirsey bases his criteria on observing how people use tools and how people use language. I can't speak for the other types but the Rational section nailed me w ...more
Donald Linnemeyer
Jun 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
Keirsey has done a great job of popularizing the Myers-Briggs approach to personality. This book is accessible, and each personality is represented well, with plenty of interesting sociological insights.

That being said, there are plenty of potential problems, and the system can obviously be abused. On the idealogical level, Keirsey seems to err on the side of genetic fatalism and a very rigid application of the 16 personalities. If you're an ESTJ, you've always been an ESTJ, and you will always
...more
Beckysue
Dec 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I read this book because I am project-oriented, because I like to put things and people into categories that I understand, and because I feel compelled to make sense of complex systems like how people are. I have been working on this off and on for many years, and this book is so much better than most of the popular "what makes you like that" personality books I have read that I wish I had read it first and saved some time! It has helped me appreciate and value the differences in others, and to ...more
Craig
May 11, 2011 rated it liked it
Okay--I got fanatical about the Jung Myers-Briggs theory of personality last year. I tested my family and many of my friends and acquaintances with an online test, and thought intensively about the theoretical and practical implications of the tool (i.e. the test) and the theory. I wanted something to further my knowledge of it and I wanted to see some ingenious ways of applying the theory--and hopefully some empirical research on such applications. Instead I found that most of the stuff Kiersey ...more
Alicia
May 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2011
This is a great book to read and learn more about the people around you. And I actually learned a lot about myself (for instance, I am not the temperament that I've been instructed to be for most of my life). I found this to be really informative, and actually a fun pasttime with my friends pointing out how closely each matched the personalities they were indicated to be. The book tends to drag a little in places, as it has some of the same basic information as introductions for the different te ...more
Judy
Oct 29, 2009 added it
I read the Parenting section & had my teenagers do the 16 question Four Types sorter. It was a great reminder that my children have different personalities than I do (duh!). I of course learned more about myself as a parent than I did about my children - it's always good to have some help "looking in the mirror." The personality descriptions don't fit perfectly: for example, my voracious reader of fantasy has a predominant personality type that isn't supposed to do this. But don't let that p ...more
Elizabeth
Mar 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookclub, non-fiction
This was a really fun book club. Before we read the book, we all took this free online test http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/j... and then sent the hostess our 4 letters and told NO ONE else. The night of book club she had summaries of all the personalities (not all 16 but the ones that at least one person at book club has) and we each had little sheet to guess who we thought matched. Then we revealed at the end. There were some surprises! It was interesting to see who is like us and who is o ...more
David Boyle
May 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Thought provoking and informative. I read it as a tool to expand my horizons for character creation, and though, as a complete approach to personality it hovers over the left-brain camp, it does provide a sure footing for leaps into the fog of the collective unconscious. In my case it will be a reference that I turn to for a glimpse of the terrain, rather like google maps, but the real understanding will be more of a dash to the destination in rush hour traffic. That being said, it was rewarding ...more
Rachel
Jun 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
There's a reason Nina says she's lost track of how many copies of this book she has purchased, lent out, and then never seen again. (I still have her copy... eeek!) This book is great for helping you understand yourself and also understand why other people see/feel/think about things differently than you all the time. I am much more aware of the different ways people experience and process the world after reading this book, which allows me to be much more strategic and empathetic about how I man ...more
Maddie (HedgehogBookReviews)
May 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
I recently became interested in the 16 Myers-Briggs Personality types, so I thought this book would be a good choice for myself. I was right! It was a very informative, descriptive read that explained each of the 16 Types. A nice addition was the explanation of how personalities get along in relationships (marital and friendship). Reading this book gave me a better understanding of the types, with the specific 16 and the 4 temperaments as well.
Cathy
May 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
The first time I took the Meyers-Briggs (which Keirsey's is based on) personality test was in 8th grade -- my piano teacher gave it to all her students in order to help her understand our learning styles. From what she learned about me, I know I gained from this personal examination.

This book offers the details you want to read about when you're offered explanations from others such as, "I'm an INTP" or "I'm an ESFJ."

It's about tendencies, not absolutes. Very interesting.
Sara
Oct 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
This isn't specifically a parenting book but I tagged it parenting because there is a section on parenting with different personality types and that was the main reason I wanted to read it. This is not light reading, more like a text book (I busted out a highlighter!), but I found it helpful in understanding more about myself (rational) and my daughter (artisan). There is also a section on romantic relationships - I need to get my husband to fill out the quiz next!
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“If you do not want what I want, please try not to tell me that my want is wrong. Or if my beliefs are different from yours, at least pause before you set out to correct them. Or if my emotion seems less or more intense than yours, given the same circumstances, try not to ask me to feel other than I do. Or if I act, or fail to act, in the manner of your design for action, please let me be. I do not, for the moment at least, ask you to understand me. That will come only when you are willing to give up trying to change me into a copy of you.” 22 likes
“You want to be the first to do something. You want to create something. You want to innovate something...I often think of Edison inventing the light bulb. That's what I want to do. I want to drive over the bridge coming out of New York there and look down on that sea of lights that is New Jersey and say, `Hey, I did that!' ” 10 likes
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