Please Understand Me


Please Understand Me: Character & Temperament Types. David Keirsey & Marilyn Bates, Prometheus Nemesis Book Company, 1984, ISBN 0-9606954-0-0

Please don't be frightened away by the title. This book is anything but squishy. Keirsey and Bates are examining the human personality types distinguished by the MyersBriggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The book includes a short questionnaire, the Keirsey-Bates Temperament Sorter, which you can use to get an approximation of your Myers-Briggs type.

"NTs as a group tend to enjoy playing with words, finding pleasure in exploring verbal intricacies. Convoluted phrases and paradoxical statements fascinate them. Contemplating Einstein's comment, 'The laws of mathematics, as far as they refer to reality, are not certain, and as far as they are certain, do not refer to reality', would give delight to the NT, as does the reading of satire and the savoring of such complicated word structures as those found in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland."

-- BetsyHanesPerry
Summary of MyersBriggs personality types moved to MyersBriggs page.
I was introduced to this book by a Psychology teacher back in 1986. We all went through the questions, and got a 4-letter personality classification code based on our answers. There are sections of the book that have descriptions of your personality, based on the letters in your code. Mine was right on target. I had since forgotten the name of the book, but this has sparked my memory.

Now, anyone can take the Keirsey Temperament Sorter test, and get their personality code, complete with descriptions from the book. Go to <> [...have patience; site is unreliable. At least it was on 5/5/99.]

-- DavidHooker (an XNTJ, but almost a P...)
Thanks for the tip. I did the on-line test and found my personality description surprisingly accurate (I'm an ENTP). Definitely worth a look! -- RobertPhillips

Okay, informal poll here--I'm an INTJ (just took the test, and it hadn't changed from last time) -- How many others here are of the NT persuasion? I realize three people do not an objective data point make, but still,... -- LucianSmith

I'm an INTP. Learning this in college was a shock I wish I'd encountered years before. -- StephenWynne

INTP (In Keirsey's sytem, anyways -- it's less clear in MBTI or Socionics or others). And I completely agree, StephenWynne. -- ScottMcMurray

INTP -- JamieNettles

ENTP, but just barely a P. I think P's have more fun than J's; as such, I have spent considerable effort trying to convert. Maybe I am still a J, but to the outside world I seem more like a P. -- HankRoark

Well, I guess I must be the odd one out - I just took the test for the first time, and I notched up as ESTP. -- RogerLipscombe

Somewhere (I cannot find the reference!) it's been claimed that software designer/architects tend to cluster in the ENTP and INTP categories. I'm an ENTP myself. I suspect there is also a correlation between NTP's and ADD. -- JohnBaldwin

Really? I am an INTJ myself; I had always thought that to be a stereotypical Software Architect-type classification. -- RussellGold

Innersting. It's been five or six years since I last took it, when I was ENTP. On this pass, it came up ENFP. -- MichaelHill

I'm an INTJ. It makes sense that most on this site would be iNtuitive Thinking types. -- EdBuffaloe

The "Keirsey Temperament Sorter," both versions (from book and online) said I'm ISTJ ("The Inspectors"). But the DDLI test (online; listed above) says I'm INTJ ("The Masterminds"). I find that the long text descriptions of INTJ better match my views than ISTJ, so I'll call myself INTJ. (That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. ;-) -- JeffGrigg

Gee, after seeing this, now I understand why I enjoy the WikiWeb so much. I've tested as INTJ (J close to P) twice in my life 8 years apart. According to what I've read, we're really a minority of the general population. It's nice to have a community here where the people are actually understandable :-) -- GregVaughn

I am an INTJ and so glad to have found other INTJ's here on my most favorite of favorite websites!!!! (Actually, I am right on the cusp of being INTF) So glad to see recognition. -- ChristinaMullinax

Just another NF around, ... an ENFP this time (I scored max on almost E,N,F & P - not always easy to live but, well...). I think that with all those 'components', 'objects' and 'relations' between them, a dipomatic intelligence (relational) can find its share of joy. And it helps to find designs with the QualityWithoutaName. They just feel right. And I like coming here around to satisfy my need of being with others in this patterns field. -- PhilippeBack

We all are XXXX! This business is a fraud. It "works" like astrology or biorythms. -- MarcoScheurer

Nah. I'm naturally skeptical, and I've tried to apply the same exposure strategies to personality types that work with astrology. No dice. My personality type really describes me as none of the others do. The only other INTJ that I interact with regularly (GregVaughn) is more like me than anyone else I've ever met. I know the types fairly well and guess people's types quite accurately after knowing them only a short time. I know this is all anecdotal (I'm an INTJ, after all ;-) but I'm convinced. The personality types aren't perfect, and it's counterproductive to think of them as limiting boxes, but they are descriptive and useful. Sorry, but we are not all the same, and we do (roughly) fit into a few broad categories. -- GlennVanderburg

I believe that the reason why it "works" is that the test asks (sometimes incredibly stupid) questions like "Do you prefer A or B", and if your answer is A, the description of your type will contain something like "You tend to like As more than Bs" or a paraphrase of that ("incredible, this is really me!"). And then the categories are all described very positively, so you want to believe ("I'm an architect! I always knew it!").

But did you learn something about yourself by passing the test?

I became conscious of things I was never consciously aware of before.

Do you really know more about people once you've guessed their type?

No, but it's easier to remember and deal with the things I already knew about those people.

Deeply, this is useless unless you want to discriminate on people who like As, or if you need excuses for bad behavior ("can't help it, this is my NT trait"), or if you like to trade thinking for faith.

No. It's a summarizing technique. It's useless if you want to take it and act on it as some sort of revealed, deep truth about people. But it's as useful as any other summarizing technique when it is seen as exactly that.

Yes, in reality we are not all the same, and we change over time: sometimes "T" sometimes "F", often X (both). The only value of these "personality types" could be to make people realize that we all are different, but the same could be said about biorythms.

I think the reason I object so strongly to the analogy with biorhythms and astrology is that those things really do claim to be tied to ultimate reality in some way, and then use tricks to build your confidence. No description of MyersBriggs that I've ever seen tries to claim that the 16 types are in any sense fundamental. People aren't evenly distributed over the types. Many people don't fit cleanly into any particular type. There may be other completely different sets of categories that are equally useful.

Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable? You'll get different answers depending on whether you ask a botanist or a nutritionist. I'm not qualified to say which is true and which is false, and "fruit" and "vegetable" are just man-made categories anyway, so I'm not even sure the question makes that much sense. But both answers are useful within their domain. MyersBriggs categories are no different. They aren't true, but they're useful. Or a lawyer, who should give the correct answer, viz. that a tomato is legally defined to be one or the other, though I forget which, and it may differ by jurisdiction. -- AnAspirant

I already pointed to that reference, in MyersBriggs, but it may be worth including it here: The SkepticsDictionary offers some insight on this type of personality classification: . -- MarcoScheurer

Several years ago, in Software Development Magazine, there was an article on filling different roles in a software team based on the MBTI results. For instance, let an xNTP do conceptual and logical DB design; get a xSxJ to actually lay it out on disk, so all the knobs are adjusted correctly. Around 1993 to 1995, I think. -- RonLusk

What a horrible idea..?

Even the first time through, my experience over many of these, is that it's too easy to 'game' the results. Particularly if you've read (googled) a bit about Meyers-Briggs, or other 'type indicators AlastairB. is a case study of two software development teams in the same company, doing similar projects, with similar experience levels, but some differencess in MBTI types of the members / leaders. (Doesn't say what development process was being used, but presumably the same one.)

"WikiWiki" may mean "quick" in Hawaiian, but it means "INTJ" in Balinese.

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