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Please Understand Me: Character and Temperament Types

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  8,887 ratings  ·  215 reviews
Professor Keirsey is a long time clinical psychologist of the gestalt-field systems school. After 30 years of treating hundreds of teaching, parenting, marriage, and management problems, Dr. Keirsey now challenges the reader to "Abandon the Pygmalion Project", that endless and fruitless attempt to change the Other into a carbon copy of Oneself. ...more
Paperback, 210 pages
Published January 1st 1984 by Prometheus Nemesis Book Company
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Josh The book does mention studies and experiments. However does not allows provide a reference.

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Jun 18, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: own
I have been using the 16 types as an analytical social tool for over a decade, as taught by my Jungian-influenced father. The authors here do credit Jung at moments, but they tend to ignore, underestimate, or occasionally outright reject many Jungian principles in favour of other theories. These newer theories and analyses nearly always felt wrong to me, and didn't fit with my empirical understanding of those around me. For those who care, I'm an ENTJ (close to P).

I agree with other reviewers wh
Aug 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The follow-up, Please Understand Me II, is the big seller, but this one is almost the same thing. I first read it in high school and still think in terms of extra/introvert, sensing/intuiting, thinking/feeling, scheduling/perceiving.
My particular temperament (INFJ) is one of those who is naturally interested in this stuff, so there's only so much I can say. But it is PROFOUNDLY SATISFYING (especially after a rough time) to look up your own profile and that of others around you and figure out wh
Jul 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Please Understand Me: Character and Temperament Types is a well-written and efficient way to understand one of the 20th Century's leading personality inventories. It is based largely on archetypes laid out by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung over 100 years ago, which themselves often go back to dichotomies laid out by the ancients. Each individual is "typed" in a four-letter array of codes based on one of two polar-opposite choices. Thus, we're all either mainly Extrovert (code "E") or mainly Introv ...more
Jan 27, 2015 rated it did not like it
Cognitive Function Theory > Keirsey Temperament Types. I doubt his sorter will help many people find their real types, nor will it give them much in the way of new understanding of themselves and others if they do. It is far easier to fall into stereotyping with Keirsey's schema, and his profiles are particularly unflattering to SJs. Contrary to popular belief, SJs can be creative, fun, even progressive. The cognitive function approach to personality allows for greater flexibility and complexity ...more
Mar 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reference
Being a typical INFJ, I strive to do my best at all times, learn as much as I possibly can about everything, and try to make a real difference in the world. Also, I am the rarest personality type, with only 1% of the population sharing this exact same type. Being incredibly creative with a rich and mystical inner life, we have trouble connecting with people on a personal level, and even figuring ourselves out. Being private people, we are sociable and talkative, but very rarely express our true ...more
Esteban del Mal
Jun 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!


"INFJs can intuit good and evil in others, although they seldom can tell how they came to know. Subsequent events tend to bear them out, however."

"[INFJs:] are masters of the metaphor, and both their verbal and written communications tend to be elegant and complex."
Nov 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I first read it in the late 80s, and it has remained one of the most influential books in my life. I've found very few areas of life where it does not apply. It has been most helpful & interesting in interpersonal relationships, professional situations, & understanding a lot of religious & political differences & phenomena among individuals who otherwise share families, cultures, geographic spaces, goals, or interests. It's fascinating. I never tire of discussing it, although I've tired many oth ...more
Feb 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Very interesting and insightful. It relies on the Myers-Briggs typing. It will help me to understand others. I am INTJ. I have always known that I am an introvert, but I wasn't aware of the NTJ part. The book goes into a lot of detail such as mating and temperaments, children in temperament, and temperament in leading. I would recommend this book for people wanting to understand why people behave as they do. ...more
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Favourite of 2018 so far. I especially enjoyed the "Temperament in Children" and "Temperament in Leading" sections which covered the learning, teaching, and managerial styles of the various temperaments. I found it helpful that the temperaments were grouped in 4 categories: SP, SJ, NT, and NF--that really stuck with me, whereas dominant vs. auxiliary functions never did. If you have an interest in MBTI, give this a gander. ...more
Jul 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book is wonderful! Take the quiz at the front of the book at find out which "type" you are. I'm an INFJ. I have a bad habit of labeling people based on this book... I should probably stop doing that, but it is helpful when trying to understand someone who isn't like you. The book has also helped me recognize some of my own strengths and weaknesses. ...more
Charity U
Aug 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I may or may not have an obsession with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, or MBTI. This book greatly aided my research and interest, giving me the original information in a readable format. A must-have for all personality enthusiasts.
Charlie Hecke
Jul 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Personality is one dimension of psychology that is both interesting and practical. In the classic book “Please Understand Me” by Keirsey and Bates, there is support for the research conducted by Myers-Briggs. One immediate gain you will get is a self-test (non-computerized) that is easy to grade. Once your ‘type’ is identified, you can read about your tendencies and preferences.
This book is recommended for:
• Improving family relationships
• Getting along better with the opposite sex
• For sales
Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
One thing I really appreciate about this book is how positive it is. It's not about pathologizing people or making them feel that their way of being in the world is somehow inadequate. No, this book celebrates our personality differences and how we all contribute something unique to our families, workplaces, and society.

I've taken the Myers-Briggs at least 3 times over the course of my life (all in school situations), and my type has remained firmly fixed. It's a bit spooky how well the descript
Mr. Gottshalk
Feb 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is my go-to book on how to learn and cope with all kinds of people. Very helpful for educators, parents, and people who just don't GET various personality aspects of others. I have read it at least 2.5 times and have several copies. I have taught a course on personality types at work and have used the testing matrix in the front of the book to have course participants gain a better understanding of who they are. One of the best NF books I've ever read! ...more
Sep 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
For anyone who is familiar with the Myers-Briggs tests this book helps to become more self-aware and to understand people around you. After you answer the questions and count your scores there are Four main Temperaments based on Ancient Greek Mythology and 16th Types that based on four pairs of Preferences. You read your description and the end result is amazing.
Mar 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology, 5-star
This is my go to book whenever I have difficulty understanding peoples differences. Myself being an INFP. It delves into how we can work together and see where our weaknesses are as well as are strengths.
I have seen people turn their lives around once they seen that their is nothing "wrong" with themselves , their just different (variety is the spice of life).
Gloria T
Nov 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
People are too complex to fit into a box. I can literally identity with all of the "personalities" at different times of my life. Sometimes I like being around people, sometimes I want space. And I am not the only one. People's personalities are not so simple they can fit into sixteen types. To believe so, really limits us. I use to believe solidly in this book, only to grow older and realize how much I change, even in a single day! I know myself a lot better than I did twenty years ago. And thr ...more
Cassidy Stokes
Jul 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
ENFJ here to say that this book is extraordinary. It's like someone read my deepest most personal unexplainable thoughts and was able to put them into words. I know am able to understand how I get myself into these awful situations (not that I'm going to be able to change it) and why I never like to be alone. I am actually a 100% extrovert and I have to say this book is all around fantastic. ...more
Esther Pierce
Apr 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful book on understanding and accepting people. He helps explain what makes different personalities tick, and does so in a clear, common sense way.
HA! I can't believe that I have never added this to my Goodreads list. I read it around 1990, and it became such a part of me that I think I stopped thinking of it as a book! This book changed how I thought of myself and others. It has probably helped me with self-acceptance more than any other book simply because it gave me a ways to talk about how I never seemed to fit with my parents. It came to my rescue again when I was struggling with depression in 2015, reminding me of why my ENFP persona ...more
Dec 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
I had a week-long leadership course centered around this book. Apparently I am a #6
Jan 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
This is the book that saved my sanity as a kid. Unwittingly. In fact, I had no idea of its role in my life until much, much later. But that didn't make it any less impactful.

My mother is a people person. I'm not. As a kid, I was just as happy staying home on weekends to read my books as I was playing outside with my best friends. But apparently my inclinations towards isolation and bookwormishness was an utterly foreign entity to my mother. She was afraid something was wrong with me. Maybe I wa
Oct 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I admit, I've read this book more often than a person should ever read a book. I have to say, it was really a lifeline when I was younger; my personality was very confusing to me (and everyone else) and it was really amazing to have a little sense made of it. This book just has to be taken with a grain of salt. No one perfectly fits every description in this book... it is simply a springboard to understanding who you are and understanding those around you. ...more
Lois Deveneau
Jul 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Very much like the Myers-Briggs and the Enneagram testing and profiles.

I answered the questions, added up my numbers, looked up my type and was of course stunned at how accurate the results are - once again confirming who I am in the world. I read the whole book and found myself guessing at which of my friends and associates were which combination of types. The teaching and learning sections were really interesting.

I'm an INFP by the way.
Bailey L.
Jul 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Learned SO much about the differences in temperaments -- it gives me a whole new language to communicate with regarding MBTI. I enjoyed learning about the temperaments in leading and in childhood, a great juxtaposition of how the temperaments display themselves throughout life. If you're interested in using MBTI as a foundational language to understand those you lead, parent, or work with, I highly recommend this book. ...more
Al Adducci
Jul 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
First read 36 years ago. Was mind bending then. I found it in my mother's small book collection. Typed myself and was fascinated with self discovery ever since. Found my new spouse were exact opposites! Typed all family members with questionnaire, others I met, on airplanes, etc, by questions I came up with, and used to hire employees. Successfully to form dynamic top producing teams. Go back to it occasionally and always get new insights. Jung is the man! ...more
Anna Banana
Apr 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
A dear friend reintroduced this to me years after I first heard of the Keirsey Temperament Sorter. Once my interest had been re-piqued, I took the quiz and read the book in one weekend. Introvert or Extrovert? Ruled by iNtuition or Senses? A Thinker or a Feeler? Judger or Perceiver? As an ENFJ, nothing is more gratifying than self discovery. Maybe that's why I love LOVED this book. ...more
carl  theaker
Jun 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction

XNTJ - what's your sign?

Fun book, one I initially read in a corporate team building class.
Another thing, woman love this stuff. If a woman has taken this
test, you've got a great conversation starter, you don't have to
hope she's a Leo, and it may never
end. For some reason they are fascinated with the categorization
of people.

Apr 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I think this is a great book in trying to understand where others are coming from. To understand WHY we have hard times communicating with some people and not others and how we can adjust to their styles. Highly recommend
Feb 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Reading this for work--need those learning points
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