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Why Him? Why Her?: Finding Real Love By Understanding Your Personality Type

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A groundbreaking book about how your personality type determines who you love.

Why do you fall in love with one person rather than another? In this fascinating and informative book, Helen Fisher, one of the world’s leading experts on romantic love, unlocks the hidden code of desire and attachment. Each of us, it turns out, primarily expresses one of four broad personality types—Explorer, Builder, Director, or Negotiator—and each of these types is governed by different chemical systems in the brain. Driven by this biology, we are attracted to partners who both mirror and complement our own personality type.

Based on entirely new research—including a detailed questionnaire completed by seven million people in thirty-three countries—Why Him? Why Her? will change your understanding of why you love him (or her) and help you use nature’s chemistry to find and keep your life partner.

222 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2009

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About the author

Helen Fisher

43 books578 followers
Helen E. Fisher is an anthropology professor and human behavior researcher at the Rutgers University and is one of the major researchers in the field of romantic interpersonal attraction.Prior to becoming a research professor at Rutgers University, she was a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

By many accounts, Fisher is considered the world’s leading expert on the topic of love. Presently, Fisher is the most referenced scholar in the love research community. In 2005, she was hired by match.com to help structure the chemistry.com pair-matching website using both hormonal-based and personality-based matching techniques.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 346 reviews
Profile Image for Ben.
74 reviews958 followers
May 6, 2010
So I recently picked-up the audio version of this from the library and though I’ve been listening to it, I didn’t list it as “currently reading”, because, I mean look at the title -- it’s embarrassing: Why Him? Why Her? Finding the Perfect Match. Who wants that shit in their update feed?

I didn’t listen to it so I could find my “perfect match” -- but the psychology and biology behind attraction and love interest me. And perhaps to a greater extent, personality typing interests me; particularly the theories associated with the Myers-Briggs. And the theories in this are aligned with those developed by David Keirsey, who wrote a best-selling book in which he exposed four main temperaments deriving from – yes – my beloved Myers-Briggs.

My Myers-Briggs obsession began in college when one of my teachers, in preparation for a year-long group project, had our class take the Keirsey Temperament Sorter to enhance the likelihood that each group was diverse in personality. My level of interest was ignited when I found that in this class of about 25 people I was the only “N”. (This “interest” developed into a sort of obsession. I read – no, devoured -- anything on the internet about the MBTI I could find; I read books about it; I had friends, family-members, and the girls I dated take the test; I was always thinking about other people’s types and how it affected their decisions, behavior, and how I understood and got along with them. Yes, obsession, I guess is the appropriate word.)

I’ve toned down my zealotry for the Myers-Briggs in recent years, but I’m still a believer, and it still interests me greatly.

So now-- Fisher did tons of research on her four types; mostly through the personality test on her dating website, chemistry.com. Most data corresponds with studies already done on Keirsey’s four temperaments, but there are some new findings. She also emphasized secondary temperament type, which I think was wise of her.*

So yes, this book is original and novel at times, but it’s also reductive. The best example stems from Fisher’s defining each of the four types by a specific chemical that helps define their personality (Testosterone for Directors, Serotonin for Builders, Dopamine for Explorers, and Estrogen for Negotiators). While I’m sure your typical Director has more testosterone than average, all of our chemical make-ups are complex, and I’m sure there are plenty of people with the Director personality-type that have low levels of testosterone. So it’s reductive, yes, but can also be instructive if handled with care, because having an abundance of a certain chemical can – key word, “can” -- drive one’s personality in some major ways.

As you can tell from the title, Fisher spends a lot of time focusing on the different types and how they think, feel, behave and interact with other types -- when in and when seeking -- relationships. She bases most of her research, again, from chemistry.com, and her findings with relation to attraction and “type matching” are interesting; different from other type-based relationship theories I’ve read. I won’t bore you with the details ��� but if you have knowledge about this stuff and want to know her basic type-based relationship theories, send me a P.M. and I’ll talk your ear off.

Lastly, to all of you that have problems with personality tests because you think it pigeonholes people: Do you really have such a low view of humanity that you think people can’t think for themselves and see the parts of their own and other’s personalities that do and don’t coincide with their test results? Perhaps humanity is a little more independent-minded than you give it credit for. Well researched personality tests are helpful tools, not prescriptions. Unless you’re looking at these things from the wrong angle, they should allow you to better admire the uniqueness of the individual. When approached with an open mind, having this knowledge makes understanding yourself and others easier.

So I’ll take my Why Him? Why Her? Finding the Perfect Match, thank you very much.

*In the cases of some people, I think a profile derived from a combination of their primary and secondary temperament-types can actually be more exact and accurate than their MBTI profile. For example, according to Fisher, I’m a “Director” (which is equivalent to Kerisey’s “Rational”); but at the same time I’m a bit more enthusiastic and impulsive than your typical Director. This can only make proper sense when put into the context of my secondary type, Fisher’s Explorer (or Keirsey’s Artisan). But this can bite both ways, because I’m very heavy on “N” (“Intuition”, according to the MBTI), and a lot of my “N” qualities could be falsely attributed to my secondary type as being the “Negotiator” (or, “Idealist”-like, to use Keirsey’s term); but I am not a Negotiator – not even close. The “N” distinction is a major one, and no temperament has been able to reconcile the natural overlap that exists between “N” and the fact that both Negotiators/Idealists and Directors/Rationals share the traits associated with it.
Profile Image for Gary.
948 reviews209 followers
November 3, 2020
This book aims to help people find their correct partner for love and marriage-the brain chemistry for romantic love.
It centres around the supposition that there are four basic personality types, controlled by the dominant chemical element in the body.
The author begins with the statement that scientists now believe that some 50% of the variations in human personality are associated with genetic factors and we inherit much of the factors of the mind.
She however further reminds us that ones personality is more than biology alone. It is made up of one's character which stems from experience and temperament which stems from ones biological make up and chemistry. Character traits being shaped by our parents interests and values. , how people in our community express love and hate ; what relatives and friends regard as polite , dangerous or exciting, religious beliefs, types of recreation and many other cultural factors.

Ones temperament , which is determined by biology, on the other hand is determined by biology and the author quotes Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset who puts it 'I am plus my circumstances' Temperament being the 'I am' and which is the very foundation of who we basically are.

Our biological nature whispers continually within us to influence who we love' continues the author
The four personality types are
Explorers whose basic chemical element is dopamine, and who seek adventure and sensation , are risk takers, are impulsive and curious. And hate the idea of 'being tamed' they crave adventure They tend to be more liberal in their political outlook than the other personality types. Explorers trust their impulses. As the author puts it 'Explorers drink life' A famous person who the author gives an example of as an Explorer is Helen Keller.

the Builder whose dominant chemical element is determined by serotonin is describes a pillar of society, guided by orderliness, the desire for stability, respect for authority, routine and schedule and a definite reverence for tradition. The are cautious but not fearful, conscientious , and crave belonging . They are social, clam and beneficent. They tend in their political views to be conservative and towards traditional religion. Builders trust their values. As the author puts it builders are the 'pillars of society' A famous person who the author gives an example of as a Builder is George Washington.

The Director is driven by the chemical testosterone and is a born leader. They have great social skills and often have good musical and athletic ability . Generally they despise political and social correctness. They are analytical, logical and direct, tough minded, decisive, exacting and sceptical. Directors trust their logic. As the author puts it directors 'shoot for the stars' A famous person who the author gives an example of a Director is Albert Einstein

The Negotiator whose dominant chemical is Estrogen are intuitive, imaginative, tolerant and altruistic. They are also agreeable and people's people and strive to please. They are also emotionally expressive. As the author puts it what negotiators achieve with their broad gaze outward and their penetrating search within is wisdom. A famous person who the author gives an example of a Negotiator is Charles Darwin.

The author also cites each person as having a primary and a secondary type, hence there are for example EXPLORER/directors, NEGOTIATOR/builders , Director/negotiators and any combination of the four basic types there of.

The author then go's on to describe how explorers need play mates, builders need help mates, directors need mind mates and negotiators need soul mates.
She talks about Courtship and similar values : “Regardless of how the conversation begins an Explorer is soon likely to ask what you do; a builder will be more interested in finding out what you know; A Builder will be more interested in what you know ; A Director will want to learn what you think, and a Negotiator will be more interested in how you feel about how you feel about some issue or event.

From there the author describes how we exchange needs and provide roles. She describes how we build love maps borrowing the concept from psychologist Marcel Zentner who calls this complex psychological chart your 'Ideal Mate personality concept' .

She then describes how we love and analyses the matches between the different personality types, who is attracted to whom and how. How the relationships between these types work out and their sustainability.

Lastly the author advises the reader on how to put chemistry to work. She again has sections on advice for each of the four personality types. As well as describing such mechanics in romance as face talk and handicapping and the realities of such things as kissing and casual sex.
7 reviews15 followers
March 4, 2009
This book was one I initially didn't think would be too interesting and informative for me - I've basically had the same romantic partner for 34 years. But because I continue to do research for my show "Brain Chemistry For Lovers", and because I admire Dr. Fisher's work and heard her lecture about this book, I decided to give it a try. Once again she has shifted my perspective of relationships and how they work (or don't) - not just in romantic love, but in all human interactions.

I hesitate to categorize people by "type". It can often be too limiting and most people are not easily defined in this way, but I am currently in Washington D.C. lobbying for a musicians right to fair pay for radio airplay and I've found that the insights about the chemical and hormonal influences on our personalities and perspectives to be extremely helpful in this situation! It's much easier to know what it is that is of value to people and to speak to that without judgment. I also take things much less personally when confronted with people who see things very differently than I do. I wish Dr. Fisher could do a questionnaire for politician's, take saliva, blood and urine samples to measure their dopamine, seratonin, testosterone and estrogen levels, and then compare that data to their questionnaire answers. I know a few lobbyists who'd love to have that data in advance of their meetings!
Profile Image for Shaghayegh.
13 reviews2 followers
February 9, 2023
اولش که میخواستم کتاب رو بخرم از نوشته های روی جلد خجالت میکشیدم ‘چرا او؟ ‘، ‘یافتن عشق واقعی’ اما الان هر چقدر به آخر کتاب نزدیک تر میشدم ناراحتیم بیشتر میشد
به نظرم این کتاب واقعا جذاب بود
، بیشتر از دید ژنتیک و انتخاب طبیعی توضیح داده بود
و خوب فقط مربوط به انتخاب پارتنر نیست اطلاعات خیلی خوبی راجع به خودمون میفهمیم و بهتر هم میتونیم اطرافیان رو درک کنیم
مثلا اینکه چرا تک به تک رفتارهای دوستتون روی اعصاب شما هستش و اون هم شما رو کسل کننده ترین فرد میبینه.
یا کلا خیلی از ویژگی هایی که دارید و همیشه براتون سوال بوده که واقعا چی شده که من اینطوری شدم؟با خوندن این کتاب فهمیدم باید تاثیر هورمون ها رو بیشتر جدی بگیرم ، و خیلی از ویژگی هایی که داریم تحت تاثیر ژنتیکمون هستش و به نظرم با دونستنش میتونیم کنترل بیشتری روی این ویژگی ها داشته باشیم.
بخش دوم کتاب رابطه ای که این چهار تیپ شخصیتی میتونند با هم داشته باشند رو توضیح داده بود و به نظرم واقعا جواب سوال ‘چرا او؟’ را داده و حتی اینکه توی قرارها چه سیگنال هایی برای هم میفرستیم بدون اینکه خودمون اطلاعی داشته باشیم ازش و خوب توی فصل آخرش خیلی قشنگ از عشق نوشته و اینکه همه ی ما عاشق میشیم .😁
Profile Image for Aaron Milavec.
Author 22 books7 followers
May 18, 2015
Currently reading Helen Fisher, WHY HIM? WHY HER? (2009). Found her book at the library. I’ve read most of it and I’m identifying myself as an Explorer:

You seek adventures of the mind and senses. You are very curious and creative, and you are willing to take some risks to pursue your interests. Adaptable and optimistic, you can be easily bored when you’re not doing something interesting. You have a lot of energy, and you tend to be spontaneous or even impulsive.

You are more creative than other personality types and usually have a wide variety of interests. You find it easy to focus intently on what interests you, and your enthusiasm promotes motivation and a drive to achieve. You can be very generous to family and friends [when I’m feeling included and accepted], and you’ve always got something going on.

As an Explorer, you look out not in; you are foremost interested in the world around you. So you are attracted to a mate who is also intellectually and physically adventurous and interested in dissecting this complex, tangible universe. You particularly like imaginative and theoretical people, a “mind mate.” And you like a partner who is sexual, because you regard sex as an important aspect of a relationship. You have nerves of steel and thrive on the edge. You are also decisive and direct. So you are unconsciously drawn to those who can balance out your highly independent and tough-minded spirit—those who are novelty seeking, yet compassionate, verbal, intuitive, trusting, flexible and emotionally expressive.

Dr. Fisher finds that Explorers can make do with other personality types, but they kick into high gear with other Explorers. This helps explain why my current partner finds me attractive at the same time that I drive her crazy at other times. This also helps explain why we are excellent working partners but that we so easily disappoint each other when it comes to family and money and entertaining friends. . . .

Update 18 months later: The steady stream of dissatisfaction leveled against me by my partner finally eroded the compassionate ground on which we both stood. So I have left a marriage of thirteen years in order to reinvent myself for my final phase of living life to the full. I am recovering my gratitude and joy day by day. Meanwhile, I am seeking an Explorer who would like to enter into a journey of bliss with me for the next twenty years. 15 May 2015
Profile Image for Kent.
31 reviews9 followers
February 18, 2009
While "Why Him? Why Her?" is presented and marketed as a discussion of the psychology behind romantic relationships, it excels as an introduction to the brain chemistry which drives personality and friendship. In this respect, it is an engaging read.

The book begins with a brief personality test and then introduces the reader to the four primary personality types: Explorer, Builder, Director, and Negotiator. This structure allows the reader to compare their own experience with that of each archetype. And, in many instances I found myself nodding in understanding with the descriptions, habits and traits of each type.

"Why Him? Why Her?" is at it's weakest when attempts to use historical figures to represent the personality types. Further, expect a bit of a commercial for the author's other professional projects.

This book won't tell you how to find love - what book ever could? But if you are interested in learning more about the physiology of your personality, why you react to some people the way you do, "Why Him? Why Her?" is fun and worthwhile.
Profile Image for Andy Bigley.
45 reviews1 follower
May 15, 2016
The data and relationship insight Fisher provides is nothing short of evolutionary. The book is my 'gateway drug' into a hunger for deeper understanding of what makes us all tick, but more importantly, how we synchronize with a partner. The science that backs Fisher's findings avoids the purely feel-good but ultimately hollow and baseless recreational reading that often passes for relationship 'advice.' Not only will you learn about yourself and why you often do (or don't do) exhibit certain patterns of behavior, more importantly you'll discover how your personality type meshes with and is perceived by others. In short, the book should be required reading for everyone who is serious about finding a life-long partner who will accompany them through a mixture of happiness, compassion, and respect.
Profile Image for Leslie.
134 reviews21 followers
December 28, 2019
Fantastic! A must for anyone interested in self-understanding and a deeper understanding of those around you, and your relationships. I resonated with her personality categories, now having a more nuanced understanding of the people in my life, past and present, and how our interactions have been influenced by our respective types and traits. I experienced a significant gain in insight, which is always quite valuable and so fascinating.
Profile Image for Samin_pzr.
102 reviews32 followers
July 10, 2023
یه کتاب عالی برای شناخت خود و درک بهتر روابط و رفتارها که با نوید هم خوانی کردیم، بازم به پیشنهاد استادم خوندمش …
حدودا به صورت روزانه این کتاب رو خوندیم 😁🌼
Profile Image for Taka.
687 reviews531 followers
April 4, 2014
It's okay—

While Helen Fischer's categorization of people's personalities into four types based on neurotransmitters and hormones is interesting, it ultimately succumbs to simplification, though to her credit she does admit the complexity of personalities by qualifying her statements and presenting other factors influencing your personality. The simplification, however, works sometimes (though I'm not sure if it's just theory-induced blindness coupled with confirmation bias), and you realize there are people out there who seem to be more prone to one type than the others. Besides, it's kind of fun to look at your behaviors based on your biochemistry (while keeping in mind the complexity of the subject at hand).

One complaint I have about this book is that the first half is engaging and informative—characterization of each type and their dating style—and then the second half sort of becomes a bunch of generic "dating tips" that weren't all that informative or illuminating. I for one was curious how some people can be in love after 20 years of marriage, how you can retain the flame, etc., but she touches on the subject tantalizingly and doesn't answer it, saying the important thing is to find the ideal match your personality type calls for.

Fun read, but ultimately not satisfying.
Profile Image for Theresa ♫.
250 reviews56 followers
July 16, 2012
I'm typing this review as a 15-year-old. (A really klutzy, naive, childish, immature 15-year-old. And even though I AM a 15-year-old, I've been mistaken for being 11 within the last week, so I also LOOK childish, too.)

Anyway, I've had to deal with crushes and love in the past 3 years and I've made so many huge mistakes, but I think I can say that I do know what love is. (Sort of. A little bit.)

First of all, it's kind of interesting how there's a book about such a thing because love is so freakishly complicated to understand. It makes people happy, it makes people suffer, there's all sorts of different kinds, it creates all this drama, it can mess up someone's mind, it can drive people crazy, and it can hope of all things.
How on earth can ONE emotion do all that?

It's probably because it's an emotion that needs another person. If you've spent your whole entire life trapped inside a room without anyone else, completely alone, you don't have anyone else to love.
I think that's why love is so complicated to understand.

But after reading (well, I sort of . . . skimmed through and understood only the main points of everything) this book, I realized one thing that's crucial to whatever you're looking for if you chose this book for a reason.


It's about attraction.

Oh yes, the rules of attraction. The north/south pole personality, opposites-attract theory, personality based group of rules.

DO NOT mistaken attraction for love. EVER. EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER IN THE HISTORY OF YOUR LOVE LIVES. Do you understand, my fellow review readers?


Theresa's dictionary of craziness presents the definitions for:
ATTRACTION: How one person is attentive and taking notice to another. (Because of personality, physical traits and looks, eh-ti-cuh.)

LOVE: An emotion that hopes, needs, wants, endures, protects, and never forgets (no matter what someone's physical traits or thoughts are).

If you're attracted by looks, you DON'T love them. Because what happens if a horse runs over that person's face over and over and over, and they no longer look the way that attracted you. Will you still be attracted to them?

LOVE will love, no matter how many times their face gets run over by a horse!

BUT, attraction is a start.

If you're attracted to someone, you'll approach them. You'll get to know them better. Become friends, then more than friends. Then you'll confess your love and then get married and love and live happily ever after!

Well, some relationships work like that.

My FIRST love (when I was 13) was NOT out of attraction. (Let's call him Bob.) Bob and I became pretty close friends.
Every time my friends brought up the possibility that I COULD like Bob, I wrinkled my face and said, "EW! Not Bob!"
Besides, at that time, I had this crush on this one other guy (who was a jerk, no less).
But I kept thinking, "If the guy I liked had the personality of Bob, or was as good a friend as Bob was, he'd definitely be my dream guy."
And then I started noticing that if I wanted the guy I liked to change, then I didn't like him.
That's when . . . (Ugh. -_-) I started liking Bob.
THIS love towards Bob took ages to develop.

My LAST love (around March, a bunch of months ago) was based off of attraction.
HE was attracted to me, so he started being extremely nice and kind to me. I thought that was out of his personality ACTUALLY being kind, so I was attracted to him because of that.
I think I loved him. I don't know if he LOVED me but I know that he was attracted because of my looks. Because of my interests and what I had in common with him.
I liked him because he was so nice to me.
But he was NOT as nice as I thought he was. He was a COLD, CRUEL PIECE OF FART. (We're still friends but I don't look at him in that way anymore.)
THIS love happened within two weeks. Three weeks, maybe. It was very fast.

See the difference?


So this book gets three sparkly sparkly stars.
The research must have taken FOREVER. It must have taken time and effort, and it was pretty interesting for me to read.
It's also cool how she came up with a really interesting test to find your personality type and such. And her research makes A LOT of sense.

Explorers (those who love to experience new things) are attracted to other explorers.

Builders (those who are comfortable with routine and traditions) are attracted to other builders.

Directors (those who are strong with competition and logic) are attracted to negotiators.

Negotiators (those who look at both good and bad conclusions of a problem) are attracted to directors.

I think that's all true. People who like to experience new things are attracted to other people who also like to experience new things. Traditional people are attracted to other traditional people. The tough-headed are attracted to the tender-hearted. It makes sense.

I mean I know a bunch of tough-headed people, and if they ever had to deal with other tough-headed people, they'd butt heads like a pair of super grouchy bulls.
But I think tough-headed people would protect the tender-hearted, and the tender-hearted would comfort the tough-headed. (I've been watching and reading too much romance movies and cartoons, but I think it's all true.)

The thing about this book is that this book is GENERAL. There are 6 billion people on this planet. There are so many different personalities and possibilities. There's a bit of each personality type in everyone, and even if some personalities dominate over others, things work out in all sorts of unexpected ways.
EVERYONE is different somehow. The test told me I'm an negotiator/explorer, but there must be millions of other negotiators/explorers in this world, and I KNOW that no one else in this world thinks like I do or has the same personality as me.

There might be more than one Theresa roaming this world, and there might be more than one negotiator/explorer roaming this world, and there might even be more than one negotiator/explorer named Theresa roaming this world, but I'm the only ME there is. There is no one else exactly like me.

If I'm an explorer and I'm attracted to other explorers, there's no other explorer that's exactly like me. There's no one else that will agree with me completely on everything.

If I'm a negotiator and I'm attracted to other directors, there's no way there can be one director that won't drive me crazy at some point in time. Opposites will most definitely disagree on things.

And I'm a GIRL. I've heard guys (like my dad and my brother and a bunch of my guy friends) complain about how complicated and complex girls are.
If they're angry and you try to speak to them when they say they want to be left alone, they get angry.
If they're angry and you walk away when they say they want to be left alone, they get even MORE angry because they think you're not trying to help them.
Either way they get angry. It sucks.

And GUYS to me are all jerky or stupid in some way.
Some of them DON'T GIVE DIRECT ANSWERS for whatever reason they have. Maybe they're shy, or embarrassed, or WEAK, or afraid of reactions. But I (as a girl) think that guys need to just get the guts to just say what they feel directly.
They also do things to girls that they think is for their own good. If a guy thinks he's no good for that girl, he might leave her so she can find someone who's good enough. BUT THAT'S STUPID because leaving the girl hurts the girl and makes the girl think that she's not good enough for HIM.
If you TRULY LOVE THE GIRL, then YOU have to be the one to protect her. Don't let some other guy steal her away!
Some guys give up way too easily and it's incredibly irritating.

Since guys and girls are just naturally opposites in this case, how on earth can you find someone that you can COMPLETELY agree and cooperate with?

It doesn't matter what personality type they have. You'll probably disagree or argue about something with them every now and then.

I guess the attraction thing AND the point of this book is to find someone who is less likely to disagree and argue with you.

HOWEVER, the problem I have with the rules of attraction AND this book is that love doesn't care what you agree and disagree on.

I mean if you love somebody, but you guys can disagree on ice cream flavors (like if I love chocolate flavored but the guy I like HATES it) is that a reason why you should stop loving?

Or maybe something more serious, like how to spend money. Maybe you think that you need to spend money on things you NEED over things you want, but the person you love likes to spend money on things that they want.

Agreeing on materialistic things doesn't matter in love. Love wants happiness and it comforts and cares and protects. For all that to end just because of a disagreement on something materialistic isn't a good reason to end at all.

That's just my opinion. This book took LOADS of research and effort, I know.
But, my dear review readers, please remember:


2. Materialistic things DO NOT matter in love at all.


4. Out of the 6 billion people on this world, every single person is different and thinks different and looks different.

5. No one is solidly one of these personality types. I got a 32 for an explorer, a 24 on a builder, a 13 for a director and a 33 for a negotiator, so I'm part of every single type.
Even with a 13 as a director, I have to admit that I am pretty competitive when I'm merciless.

The mystery remains:
Don't just search for someone who has one personality.

My dream person is generally someone who's comforting and funny and kind. (Your average dream prince.)
But I've fallen for someone who gives me the cold shoulder sometimes, and is strictly serious at some points, and gives me a hard time at the worst of times (probably the opposite of what I really, really want), but I go to him for hugs when I need them the most and he happens to be the dude who's most comforting to me. Y'know, when he's trying to comfort me.

Life is unexpected. You have NO IDEA what kind of person you're going to fall for. In fact, right now, the person you're going to marry is probably roaming the earth RIGHT THIS MINUTE.

This book is general. But life is not like this book, trust me.
This book tells you what to expect.

But things will happen in ways you DON'T expect. It's more fun that way.

Whoa, this was a long review. And it's more like a rant than a review.

THREE sparkly sparkly stars. That's not bad, y'know!
Profile Image for Mehrsa.
2,234 reviews3,649 followers
April 12, 2021
I sort of hate the idea of "science-driven" or AI dating and romance and I know Fisher has consulted several apps that promise that sort of compatibility. Not that I think there is anything wrong with that, but also that I don't think that long-lasting love can be sorted out like that. I mean, match-makers in other countries do some of that personality sorting to ensure compatibility but then they tell them to not worry about falling in love but that it will come later. I did like this book, however. It breaks people up into 4 overly inclusive types which I'm a bit skeptical about too, but then she seems open to the possibility of any of these types working out with any other by just learning what drives the partner. There are also some interesting stories in there.
Profile Image for Zeynab.
107 reviews58 followers
July 7, 2021
کلی نکته‌های جالب یاد گرفتم ازش :)))
Profile Image for Jennifer Tse.
299 reviews
July 21, 2009
At first, I found the personality quizzes pretty interesting and entertaining, but she doesn't provide an explanation/solution about what to do with the personality results much. Upon closer examination, her argument is logically flaw. She provides 4 categories of personalities, but I scored some points on all 4. So there are parts of me in every type and it's not linear, just like others are not linear. There is around 306 million people (stated in Wikipedia) in America, but she didn't go into enough details about her statistical samplings. She claims that builders/builders would have more stable marriages, cause she said they are more traditional instead of always looking for new challenges. However, she doesn't provide any divorce statistics... only preliminary statistics on "opinion" surveys. I don't think it's worth the money and time to read the book (I read it in an afternoon at the bookstore), cause her reasons about why people are attracted to others are already universally known. Like having the same values/goals, passions/interests, close geographical locations, attractiveness, etc. Fisher made a good effort, but romance/attraction is a very hard topic to analyze. Attraction is about being compatible/one minded with the opposite sex and a special feeling, not a statistical/logical thing.
Profile Image for Wendy Bunnell.
1,304 reviews32 followers
February 20, 2019
I'm taking a writing class about characters with different personality types, and this is one of the four books. I hadn't read or heard of the concepts in this book before.

The premise is that the hormones in our body cause people to fall into four personality types based on serotonin, estrogen, testosterone, and dopamine. The four types are
Explorer - dopamine, example, Helen Keller
Builder - serotonin, example, George Washington
Director - testosterone, example most CEOs
Negotiator - estrogen, examples include Gandhi and Charles Darwin

I liked the concepts and the discussion in the book. Looking forward to discussing it in my class.
I don't know how "neatly" people fit into these though, as most people will rank fairly evenly on several.

Interestingly, the author used the concepts in this book to develop the dating website chemistry.com which I guess is still running. Being married, I'm not that up on dating websites. :)

Profile Image for Bram.
60 reviews4 followers
October 2, 2013
I know the basics of the science of personalities and wanted to learn more. No better way than reading a book of a professor-researcher in human behavior, right?

Wrong. This seems to be bad science. Her research is based on 4 MBTI-like types (=junk). The author then makes correlations of these types with a lot of things and then assumes causal relationships.
I was also surprised to read what her future research will show, huh?
There are so many references to her customer match.com and its sister dating site chemistry.com, that the book almost seems an ad for these sites.

The big five, the most accepted, scientific personality type model, isn't even mentioned! At least not before I couldn't stand the pseudoscience any longer.
Profile Image for Ilgar Adeli.
63 reviews7 followers
April 16, 2023
این کتاب رو من با علاقه خاصی خریدم ولی خورد تو ذوقم.
همش رو‌نخوندم . قبلا کتابی رو تموم نمیکردم اضافه اش نمیکردم ولی این وسواس رو میزارم کنار چون قرار نیست هر کتابی تموم بشه .
ولی چند فصل ازش رو دوس داشتم.
یه جاهایی رو من کلا نمیتونم قبول کنم مثلا تو تقسیم بندی های شخصیتی تقلیل گرایی رو نمیپسندم.
اینکه بیای افراد رو تو چهار شخصیت تقسیم کنی منو قانع نمیکنه چون تو مدل ذهنی من انسان ها اینقدر ساده دست�� بندی نمیشن.
بخش هایی که از مکانیزم های بیولوژیکی ما در میدان های رقابت تولید مثلی گفته جالب بودن. توصیه هاش جالب بودن ولی بنظرم اونقدری علمی نمیومدن.
و اینکه منبعی هم واسه حرفاش نیاورده منو به شک میندازه
گرچه ایگلمن یه رفرنس هایی به این کتاب داده بود.
26 reviews5 followers
August 30, 2021
کاملا ارزش خوندن داره
ما دائما ممکنه با ادمهای اطرافمون توی ذهنمون دچار مشکل بشیم. اما وقتی انواع شخصیت هارو میشناسیم. میدونیم ک برای چی اون رفتار رو داره و میدونیم برای چی ما رفتار متفاوت یا تفکر متفاوت داریم. و بدون خرده گیری شروع به حل مسئله میکنیم.
Profile Image for Hissa.
252 reviews292 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
April 10, 2017
I really tried to give it a chance, but I couldn't continue listening to the audiobook.
Profile Image for Dany Vicente.
43 reviews2 followers
October 16, 2018
I first started to read this book because i was curious to know more about behaviour traits and personality types. In the beginning of the book I was very pleased to read the biological factors that could lead to the different types of personalities, but after a while the book took a very linear path reducing the magnificent and complex human machinery into a bare two dimensional world.
Despite the failures this simple model looks quite applicable to the real world for a very basic categorisation of people and I can recognise some connections with the big 5 making it more robust
Profile Image for Ilib4kids.
1,100 reviews3 followers
June 27, 2016
155.264 FIS
CD 155.264 FIS
author is the scientific adviser to Chemistry.com, a division of Match.com

I write HelenFisherPersonalityType.html to test personality type.

Some points that excludes in this book
1. p 39 Extroversion vs. Introversion, often ignore in definition of difference: how you get your energy. Extroversion get energy from others. Introvert are oriented inward, become relax and rested and reward when turns to inwards.
2. p41 neuroticism and anxiety.

Notes in this book:
1. Personality consists of : character from your experiment; temperament from your biology.
2. 4 personal type
Explorer : drink life to the lees, play mate :Dopamine, novelty seeking, boredom susceptibility, energetic, restless, compulsivity, Creativity also linked to madness,Curiosity, flexibility, spontaneous, extravagant generosity, devoted to experience, adaptability as chameleon, unlike to reveal their emotion.
Builders: a pillar of society, help mate : Serotonin, moral and traditional, meticulous, conscientiousness , calm, cautious but not fearful, plans carefully, superb at managing people, be a good manager, administrator and guardian, frugal, see loyalty as duty, social people.
Directors : always to the stars , mind mate:testosterone, intellectual, systemizing, spatial skills, Musical and athletic ability, logical, mechanically skilled, straightforward, tough-minded, devoted to their work, seek knowledge, few friends, detach reason from emotion, seen as cold-hearted.
Negotiator: philosopher king, soul mate:Estrogen, intuition, introspection, emotionally intense, seeks intimacy, appreciate the depth of connection, devoted to family, people, idea, mental flexibility, like to introspect, inward-looking, search for own identity, drama king or queue,idealist least realistic.
Explorers and Directors love sex.
Difference about image and create, image: more combine existing data and idea, synthesize; create: generate new idea

3. Middle age people are more consistent on personality than kids and elders.
4.p31 Gaming the test: 3 results: who you really are; who you think you are (your self-concept); how you wish to be perceived (your self-presentation).
5. p140 The explorer: looking a play mate, Ludus. playful love
The builder:looking for a help mate,Pragma, love based on compatibility and common sense.
The Director: looking for a mind mate, Storge, a deep feeling of special friendship for a partner that lacks over displays of emotion.
The Negotiator: Looking for a soul mate, Agape, gentle, unselfish, all-giving, unconditional love, sex and love are utterly intertwine.
Explorers are drawn to Explorers, Builders to Builders, Directors to Negotiator, Negotiator to Directors.
6. Factors to fall in love pp142 -159
6-1. A timing: during a life passage, a transition, a period of change tends to fall in love.
6-2. Proximity 6-3. Familiarity and barriers. 6-4. Looks count 6-5. Shape counts, waist circumference/hip measurement = 70% 6-6. Voice 6-7. Rhythm's message h. oder prints 6-8. Courtship talk (assortative mating, or fitness matching) 6-9. Exchanging needs (Social exchange theory); 6-10 The roles we play 6-11 Love maps 6-12 Building your love map 6-13 Positive illusions 6-14 Love begets love.
7. Ways to help dating
Be lovable; Like yourself; Brag carefully; Don't play "hard to get"; "Come Hither" flirting ploy; face talk; Handicapped (wear unattractive, unkempt); loom and crouch; the five-part pickup; active listening and humor; who pays for dinner? kissing; casual sex? commitment; born to love.
8. p221 humans are born to love. The sex drive motivates us to seek sex with a range of partners; romantic love predisposes us to focus our mating energy on just one individual at a time; and feeling of deep attachment inspire us to stay with a partner long enough to raise our children as team.

1. Lexical hypothesis
2. The Symposium by Plato Aristophanes God of Love: a single entity with men and women union.
3. NEO-PI Neuroticism Extraversion Openness Personality Inventory
4. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI): total 16 types.
5. TPQ Tridimensional personality questionnaire
6. index finger vs. ring finger ratio: p86 Directors tended to have a longer ring finger, Negotiators had a ring figure same as or shorter than index figure.

1. Ritalin (methylphenidate): treat ADHD, use by students in tests to boost energy.
2. Prozac, Paxil, boost serotonin to feel serene, drugs like MDMA, LSD, DMT, psilocybin trigger a surge in serotonin system, giving the feeling of intense well-being and comfort, sensitivity, perceptual effect.
Profile Image for Monica Miller.
Author 2 books33 followers
November 29, 2017
This book is a total life-changer for me. I learnt a lot of things about my personality type and that it's okay to be in a certain way, and that it's normal. It made me feel a lot better, and I had better understanding on my relationships with my friends and close ones.

I can't wait to read more books written by Dr. Fisher.
Profile Image for Natali.
455 reviews287 followers
February 11, 2009
I was on Fox News' Red Eye with this author a few weeks ago. I was ready to write her off as a quack pot psychologist, probably because I was quite literally judging the book by the cover. I don't love the title but I did enjoy the book itself. I'm glad I received a copy after the show and even more glad that I picked it up a few nights ago before I fell asleep.

Fisher is a highly qualified biological anthropologist. She describes four archetypes of the human race. She scientifically discusses why each group is drawn to the various archetypes that they are at various times in their lives. She provides a quiz, much like the MBTI quiz, which allows the reader to know his/her archetype and realize patterns from the results. I was dubious but in the end, I could not believe how accurate her assessment was.

I am a negotiator/director. As a negotiator, I am analytic, empathetic, idealistic, and introspective. As a director, I am efficient, hardworking, driven, and logical. According to Fisher, I should be drawn to like-minded people, rather than an explorer who is rash and impulsive, or a builder who is traditional and linear. That has certainly been true in the past.

I could have done without the ritualistic behavioral advice. The science in this book is what makes it so great. The tips on flirting and courting seem like they were added to appease a publisher who wanted to print for popular intellect.

So what do I do with this information? Who knows. Even Fisher acknowledges that people violate the rules of grouping because love is not logical. It isn't like we can ignore how we feel about someone simply because they are not on the appropriate side of the spectrum. But we can deal with various personalities in a more educated fashion and be smarter in the early stages of selection. I guess. In theory.
Profile Image for Vanessa.
43 reviews14 followers
September 17, 2017
Helen Fisher separates people into four personality types based on a dominant chemical in the brain and the character it brings out. We have the dopamine, serotonin, testosterone and estrogen systems which correlate to the Explorer, Builder, Director and Negotiator. You take the test and tally up your score which gives you your Primary and Secondary type.

PRO of the book: It really sunk in for me that there truly are radically different personality types that each function and thrive in different ways. So often in my relationship I had been stumped at how to get my boyfriend to see things my way as if it was the only way. Fisher's personality type analysis helped me to be more open to a potential partner's different way of processing/seeing the world.

CONs: Fisher gives examples of transgender individuals' different reactions to hormones (upon taking testosterone, a trans man reported to "missing seeing the bigger picture" for example) I didn't like how she failed to use the post-hormone pronoun, referring to the above trans man in the same sentence as "she".

She analyzes each personality type at first as a Primary type, then she states that our Secondary type is also important and so she analyzes the secondary type in relation to each Primary type, and by the end, she takes us through every single possible relationship type. Explorer-explorer, explorer-builder, explorer-negotiator, and on an on. By the time I got to that point in the book, it was starting to sound repetitive to me. I felt like I had gotten the gist by then of each personality type.

PS. Fisher emphasizes throughout that biology is only half of the story of how one will end up choosing a partner, and how important life experiences and our environment growing up are! So, if you enjoy pop science but are weary of biological determinism, don't be deterred!!!
Profile Image for Aaron.
196 reviews36 followers
June 27, 2014
Why Him? Why Her? has two Why's in it because its alternative title is "Why 2: The Sequel to Why We Love?"

Helen Fisher's sequel to Why We Love has all the same characteristics of the original book: an extraordinary amount of cultural references combined with many academic references to psychological and anthropological studies. In my opinion, she is more careful to address issues with transexuals and homosexuals than she was in her first book. However, unlike her first book she is not laying out her case descriptive case for love, but a prescriptive case. "If ... Then ..." is sort of the underlying point of the entire book. If you're a director, to x y and z to get a good relationship with a negotiator. Or, lets say "if you're a explorer in a relationship with a builder, then you should focus on matching your zaniness to their sturdiness."

The one questionable thing about the book really is the premise of personality types. Like: "it can't be that simple and the exact hormone/neurotransmitter relationships aren't really explained!" Fisher uses historical references- to Greek and Native American personality types- to try to shore up these divisions. The appendix includes some of the data from her Chemistry.com data, which, I suppose, does mean /something/ is going on here. But obviously it isn't very set in stone, and Fisher thankfully makes that clear. Instead of saying, "If my quiz says this, then you must date this" she talks about how best to deal with those around you.
Profile Image for Philip.
18 reviews
October 27, 2012
Self-help, desperation title aside, I didn't see this as a read intended to help me find the perfect match. Which is good, because that's not what it's about.

I heard Helen Fisher's TED talk and found it very interesting, so I decided to read her book.

Being that she is an academic that studies romantic love form an inter-disciplinary angle, I was eager to hear her thoughts.

I'd say I walked away from the book with a much stronger understanding of myself in relationships, the people around me and their expectations, and why many past relationships had not been successful. I'd say that makes it worth the price of admission.

I don't think it made me any more likely to find my perfect match. Frankly, I didn't want it to. But, it did provide some nice tools for thinking through relationships it a more useful way.

If you've ever wondered why some people say opposites attract, and others believe that you need to find the person you have everything in common with, this book does a good job explaining.
Profile Image for Anita George.
370 reviews13 followers
April 8, 2016
The basic premise is interesting, but I was hoping for more depth and more science. This reads like an ad for the online dating company that Fisher worked for, rather than scientific research. The premise is that certain personality types are based on biology, particularly associated with high levels of dopamine, seratonen (sp?), testosterone, and estrogen, but where is the scientific evidence? It seems to me that a some point one would need to test the subjects to see if they in fact have high dopamine levels rather than assume that they do based on the questionnaire. I suppose it's possible that this research was done, but is not mentioned in this book, but if that is the case it's a huge oversight that seriously weakens her position.
Profile Image for Stephanie Thoma.
Author 1 book20 followers
June 23, 2020
A classic, breaking down the personality types of a builder, explorer, negotiator and director. We typically have a primary and secondary, like with our love languages!
Here’s a quick overview of each type:
- builder: values tradition and order
- explorer: values spontaneity and adventure
- negotiator: values emotions and philosophy
- Director: values power and sex

Other things that stood out:
- iris of the eye, crypts or pits signal warm-hearted and tender negotiator traits and furrows, those lines curving around the iris are more common in impulsive explorers.
- conversation- explorers ask what you do, builders ask whom you know, negotiators will ask what you feel, and directors will ask what you think
- exchange of food for sex (dinner dates) is common in the animal kingdom
185 reviews32 followers
July 19, 2016
Interesting premise, but pseudo-science at it's finest. It's pop psychology gilded with a sprinkling of "some scientists say" and "some researchers claim".

Fisher's premise is interesting. She posits that there are four basic personality types: Explorer, Builder, Director, Negotiator, based on people that are more sensitive to dopamine, serotonin, testosterone, or estrogen. This would have made, perhaps, an interesting article in a science magazine, but from this theory she draws unsupported conclusions about everything. Everything you do is supposed to fit into her theory. It gets ridiculous about halfway through.
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