IF SELF-HELP BOOKS ARE TOOLS, THIS BOOK IS A HARDWARE STORE
Reviewer: Bart_Stewart@compuserve.com from Fort Worth, Texas, USA
There are a lot of self-help books out there, all of which promise to give you the tools you need to maintain and improve the quality of your life. Please Understand Me delivers on that promise. This book has two separate, but related, virtues. First, it contains some of the best descriptions ever written of the sixteen types defined in the Myers-Briggs personality model. Unlike astrological descriptions, which tend to offer useless generalities ("Today you will breathe air!"), Keirsey's portraits of the sixteen types are written clearly and specifically, allowing readers to recognize their individual types as distinct from others and thus leading to real self-understanding. This section alone makes Please Understand Me worth its cover price, but the truly unique aspect of this book is its description of Keirsey's theory of four temperaments — SP, SJ, NT, NF.
THIS BOOK CHANGED MY LIFE
Reviewer: gina bryant from California
I'll try to keep it short- the negative reviewers must not have really read this incredible book. I read it in 1980 while in college and found out the reason why I always felt like an "alien" in grade school even though I was popular. Reading about my ENTP temperament finally allowed me to appreciate parts of myself and not compare myself to all my SJ and SP friends! It even made me appreciate a family member that before I thought I'd never get along with. I mistook her non-verbal personality as hostile — then she took the test and I found out she was an ISFP — I felt like I was looking into her very (artistic) soul as I read the words that described her exactly. Now I value her deeply. I've given this book to many friends who all agree with me that above any other "self helper" none other even comes close to the insight this offers. I'm using it with my high school students this spring.
OVERWHELMING SENSE OF COMFORT
Reviewer: A reader from League City, TX USA
When I took the temperment test, then read what the initials meant, I could not believe the overwhelming sense of comfort I found. Most of my life, I felt like the swan in the duck's home. I knew no one who seemed to know what I was "feeling." My personality type is one of the smaller percentages in the human world; therefore, I finally found out I'm not "strange" or "crazy" as people who loved me often verbalized even in jest. A must reading for any one who is a misfit in today's work world, or problems with marraige, or raising children. As a Pediatric nurse, I have often recommended parents reading this book.
THE BEST OF THE BEST
Reviewer: Joshua Klarin (see more about me) from Granada Hills, CA USA
Perhaps Im a bit partial as this was the first book on temperament that I read but it is the standard to which I set all MBTI type books. This book is fantastic. From the get-go, Keirsey leads you down the pathways of temperament and character, using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator as a tool. The explanations are not only succinct, but exhaustive on why you behave the way you behave. He relates modern temperament with Jungian ideas, Platonian, and Socratic personality types. I have nothing but good things to say about this book, and today even 3 years after reading it, I find myself going back to it again and again to gleen new information both about me and the people around me. This book opens up a wonderful doorway to character and temperament and now its up to you to step through!
Reviewer: Michael Lopez from Olympia, WA
Reading the rest of the reviews, with the exception of a couple, the kinds of experiences people describe reading the book I can identify with, I recognize from my own experience--even the title, "The Best Book with the Worst Title Ever". I could pull out phrases from here and there and share a knowing laughter with other reviewers because of the ways Keirsey and Bates' book provides a common ground of understanding between others and me. Because of this, if you can "read between the lines" of all the other reviews, then you will have the kind of personality type that will most benefit from reading this book.
This book is life-changing, but most powerfully so for those who are "intuitives" by nature. It is life changing, because it has the power to validate your life experience in a way that no book (for me) before or since has. This, because it says, clearly and unequivocably, "You are right that you felt alienated, isolated, estranged from everyone else. It wasn't because you are weird, but because your way of looking at the world occurs in only a fraction of the population." It will not tell you, "You're right, and everyone else is wrong." It will tell you, "The different ways of looking at things are not just differences of opinion that can be overcome by argument. They go straight to the heart of how we give value to things in the world, and so do not change easily, and then almost only always by violence to the self." I honestly can't say how this book is received by other types, specifically the S-types (who call themselves realists). All I can say is that reading this book took me miles and miles from my original (horrible) home of isolation, inarticulateness and estrangement, and also made it much more possible for me to accept and understand others. A more accurate appreciation of myself and others was, therefore, the first gift of the book. This gift from the book may very well be available for you, whether or not you buy the theory of personality typing, Keirsey and Bates' description of your type, or anything else in the book. It is no accident that almost all of the reviewers are Ns (even the grumpy ones).
Personality type, as described by Keirsey and Bates, amounts to saying "the way in which you perceive the world and assign value or meaning to it". This means that the very language in which we speak carries the weight of our personality type, language being a reflection of personality. For example, an extravert calls himself "out-going"; the introvert calls him "overbearing". An introvert calls herself "reserved"; the extravert calls her "unsociable". The labels arise because of the values encoded in personality; neither are absolutely right or wrong. Realizing this, one can then communicate more effectively, dropping loaded terms and adopting the ones that your listener receives favorably, instead of as an attack. Secretly, the extravert might mean "unsocial" when he refers to the introvert as "reserved", but at least the remark won't spark an argument, and that five dollars he's trying to borrow will actually end up in his hand. My point here is that Keirsey and Bates' book not only says, "Everyone is different", but also gives you the tools to work with and even often overcome that difference. They insist that no one fits each type perfectly, and that the process of individuation is one of differentiation from the type itself; it's not about pigeonholes or sizing people up at a glance. It's about being shown a bridge between differences that otherwise seem uncrossable. It also clues you in to the fact that no spoken word is innocent; each is fraught with the values of the person uttering it. Even if you want to take issue with the specifics of Keirsey and Bates' presentation of personality typing, if you think the whole thing is off-base, it doesn't change the book's value for emphasizing how difference in personality (however you describe it) results in difference in language (however you use it), and how to negotiate around and through that fact.
UNDERSTAND ME, UNDERSTAND YOU
Reviewer: Dan Bodenheimer (see more about me) from Cupertino, CA USA
I am an INTJ, and always wondered why everyone wasn't like me. Well, it turns out that I make up less than 1% of the population, and this book was a great help in helping people to understand me, but also in giving me the information I need to realize that everyone is different, and everyone needs to be understood in a different manner. What might make total sense to an INTJ, might really hurt someone else's feelings. And getting passionate about an illogical point in an arguement completely backfires when dealing with someone like me. Everyone is different, and this books helps to at least start defining those differences into 16 general personality types. Now, there is still a ton of differences within a single type, but getting to 1 of 16 is a great start at dealing with those around you, as well as giving them some insight into your personality as well.
Reviewer: Kelley Hunt (see more about me) from Texas, USA
If you have one of the more unusual personality types you probably have the life-long experience of the more common personality types telling you that you need to be more like them. I am an INTJ, and this book was the first validation of my personality that I ever experienced. This book told me it's okay to be the way I am. I don't need to change. Different personality types are just part of the wonderful diversity that makes the world an interesting place. This book made me more tolerant of other people and I hope it helps everyone who reads it in just that way.
Reviewer: Robert W. Callahan from Nanuet, NY United States
It's not so much the book that grabs you here (if you let it), but the appeal of understanding something that you didn't before, well, at least getting a Glimpse. Light Bulbs do come on. It's amazing how the shortened MB test inside grabs people, at least if they let it. Even the most hardened can be engaged. I've often nudged people to give it a shot. The results can be astounding. Frequently, they want to rush right out and give it to others. I think that it's interesting that they see it as a gift they want to pass on. Men give it to wives and vice versa. It's appeal is multifaceted — it doesn't LABEL, it allows you to look at, or at least consider, other sides to yourself that you were subconsciously unaware of, it can take a great deal of stress out of your life, and so on. Perhaps this is a "Road Less Traveled" type phenomenon for the 2000's.
WANT TO KNOW WHAT MAKES PEOPLE TICK?
Reviewer: Mark B. Hammond (see more about me) from Chambersburg, PA USA
Do you want to get an insight into why people act the way they do? Do you want to find out what makes people tick? "Please Understand Me" is a book about personality types and temperaments. These are the "predispositions" which often influence how those people in your life may act. Reading this book could give you a better understanding in dating and marital relationships, relationships with your children, and those with whom you work. The book includes the Keirsey Temperament Sorter (a personality test) together with instructions on how to score the instrument. You don't have to be professionally qualified to administer this test by the publisher of the instrument like you do with the MBTI.
People are different, one from the other. Different people have varying strong and weak points in their personalities. An individual is the product of his or her personality or predisposition, upbringing and training, and environment. We need to celebrate and work together with the strengths of others. There should be no discrimination against people for personality type. We should emphasize the complementary aspects of personality in a relationship, whether that relationship be a family or work relationship. Hopefully with an understanding of the personality and temperament, we can understand others, work better together, and sustain loving relationships. I am an ISTJ type with a "Guardian" or "Epimethean" (SJ) temperament. This book has helped me at home and at work.
A VALUABLE TOOL FOR IMPROVING ALL OF YOUR RELATIONSHIPS!
Reviewer: babystrange (see more about me) from Bellingham, WA USA
I tend to be very skeptical of any book that smacks of 'self help,' but "Please Understand Me" has been one of my most frequently referred-to books ever since I bought my first copy five years ago. I don't ordinarily push books onto friends and family, but somehow or other I can never keep myself from INSISTING that others read--and, most importantly--USE it.
I've always known I'm a kook, but never really understood why. I took the Kiersey Temperament Sorter in the front of the book, and found that I am split between INTP and INTJ, two of the rarest personality types. Most of my family members are SPs and SJs--small wonder they think I'm a wacko! And no wonder I kept thinking they were uptight, or lacking in imagination. No wonder they don't get my jokes (which are not really jokes--and if you don't get that, you need to read this book <laughs>).
The light "Please Understand Me" has cast on my relationships with my family and friends has been of inestimable benefit. Sure, my ESTP father drives me nuts, but now I understand why, and it allows me to step back and say, "that's how he is--consider this before tearing off on a rant, will you?" It also helps me understand why I am so close to my INFP kid sister, but fought constantly with an ISTJ ex-boyfriend. By understanding how the different types relate to the world and the people around them, it is easier to understand why they behave as they do. It becomes easier to be more compassionate. Rather than lashing out in irritation and frustration because I assume I know why someone is acting the way he or she does, I can use what I know about the Myers-Briggs types and try to see the world through that person's eyes. Some very problematic relationships have been profoundly changed for the better, as a result.
I recently bought "Please Understand Me II," and recommend it as a companion volume; it expands on the ideas here, and is gives more in-depth analysis of the types, but this is really where you should start if you're interested in Myers-Briggs. If you're stuck at Christmastime, wondering what to get your family members, maybe you could give everyone a copy of this book. Get them to take the personality test, and compare notes--especially with people you've never really gotten along with. What better gift than mutual understanding?
INTP FEMALE LOVES THIS BOOK
Reviewer: A reader from Columbus OH
Great book. So much fun to have friends and loved ones do a test. It helps me to understand and love them for who they are. So interesting to read about how other people communicate, process information, learn, etc.
AN EXCELLENT OVERVIEW OF THIS MODEL
Reviewer: A reader from New England
Please Understand Me is a wonderful introduction to the fascinating study of temperament, something that has enriched my life immeasurably. It is a very valuable tool and provides great insight into dealing with people. I recommend, especially in this election year, also reading "Presidential Temperament" by Keirsey and Choiniere. In looking at 41 men who all held the same job, the different temperaments come through clearly in these profiles, deepening one's ability to note patterns of behavior that help to identify the 4 basic styles in anyone encountered in life--whether a political candidate, employer, teacher, family member, etc--use of this system for looking at others, improves with finding real life examples for purposes of comparing and contrasting.
"PLEASE UNDERSTAND ME"
Reviewer: S. Forrester http://www.SuccessForYou.net (see more about me) from California
Keirsey's explanation of the different temperaments was a real eye-opener for me. Finally I understand why people get upset with certain of my character traits, and why I always felt so misunderstood by some people. It was a big relief to know that after all, I'm "normal", and so are the others. Where there used to be resentment on my or the others' part, we now knowingly smile at each other, saying "ah, there shows your J again, can't help it, can you?"
Keirsey introduces us to four basic opposite tendencies in temperament, then describes the temperaments, and applies this to the areas of relationships, work, children, and learning.
The book starts with a questionnaire that you can take to determine your type. I would strongly advise not to just read the part about your own type, though. The real aha effect comes when you read about the others, too. You won't even need everyone to take the test, you'll know just by what you've read what types you're dealing with. It's fun to realize our differences and see them in a new light.
A VERY IMPORTANT BOOK
Reviewer: Leon Marcel Bodevin (see more about me) from Evanston, Illinois
This is a very important book. Everyone should read it. I use the models contained in this book every day. Being aware of people's personalities and their flaws make personal relationships run just a little bit smoother. I can't wait to read the follow-up to this book.
BEST BOOK WITH THE WORST TITLE
Reviewer: teribern (see more about me) from California
I teach in the business department of a community college, and I have recommended and loaned this book to over 50 students over the past decade. (This is why I'm about to purchase my 20th-22nd copies of this book. It gets stolen.) Students of varying ethnic backgrounds have found this book useful. It helps in career direction, understanding roadblocks in school and in personal relationships and it is particularly useful in dealing with work relationships. I find it invaluable as a framework for seeing situations from the viewpoints of others and to give me the courage to accept my own views even when they are not the same as the views of my colleagues. Some of my students have resisted the book's whiny title. I tell them it should be titled: How to be successful and insightful, even when dealing with difficult people and situations, at work and at home.
THIS BOOK IS EXACTLY RIGHT!
Reviewer: sarah from San Diego, CA
My friends and I took the test and it fit each of our personalities perfectly! This is a very helpful book. 'ESFP' right here, baby!
GREAT EXPANSION OF MBTI
Reviewer: firstname.lastname@example.org from Fort Worth, Texas
I first read this book after I had already familiarized myself with Isabel Briggs Myers' work. The constructs that Keirsey invented -- most notably, the temperament groups SP, NF, NT and SJ -- are a very helpful expansion of the MBTI theoretical base. I believe Keirsey's portrait of an ISTP is the finest summary I have ever read for that type. It fits my brother to a "T". I identify most strongly with the ISFP, and Keirsey's characterization of that type is surely the most flattering ever penned. Though some will not agree with Keirsey's speculations about the temperaments of long-dead historical figures, there is much to admire about this volume. I did feel that the book is quite verbose, and needed stronger editing, but this complaint didn't detract from my enjoyment of Please Understand Me. This book will help you figure out so many people in your life. Read it!
DONT PUT PEOPLE IN BOXES, UNDERSTAND THEM! READ THIS!!
Reviewer: email@example.com from South Africa
This book is a must for anyone who is interested in understanding self and others! It has definitely led me to see the world differently, ironically helping me to let go of stereotyping, and move towards accepting and understanding other people in a more respectful way. Pigeon holes are for pigeons. Having read this book when I was 16, I am now using these concepts in a Masters Thesis in Psychology, and running workshops for young people.
EXCELLENT READING FOR UNDERSTANDING SELF AND OTHERS
Reviewer: firstname.lastname@example.org from Santa Ana, California
I am Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist since 1985 and recommend this book for most clients--whether single, married, divorced, parents, or workers/managers/employers. It allows the person to quickly make sense of how he or she perceives the world--from a sensory or intuitive perspective and to accept others' strengths and differences. As the book would imply, we are not here to change others, but rather, to accept and grow together even if the other is "from another world". A must-read when wanting to improve interpersonal communication.
KNOW THYSELF.. AND THEREBY KNOW THE WORLD..
Reviewer: A reader from Toronto
I ran into Keirsey accidentally last year, having over the years read much of Freud and Jung. There are both limitations and useful applications to Kiersey's development of 16 'standard' personality types. The compilation is clearly a result of widescale sampling and extrapolation based on Jung's development of 'components' of personality set out in his 'General Classification of Personality Types'. The result is a highly practical guide to looking at 'types' of personalities in relation to societal norms, how they interrelate to society as a whole, what interests them vocationally and avocationally; and how they view love, responsibility and destiny. One should take out of it a sense of equilibrium of personality both at a personal and the societal level. It is a very valuable technique of seeing yourself in relation to others and in understanding other's motivations. This book does not convey the deep introspection and intuition of the writings of the fathers of psychological categorization and the psyche's construction, which should be read by those interested the subject, but it is an excellent way to look at one aspect of yourself and the world around you.
THE CULMINATION OF MYERS-BRIGGS, JUNG, AND PRACTICALITY
Reviewer: A reader from USA
I have found this book to be an incredible, validating tool that is full of information of the sixteen types offered by Isabel Myers. Ms. Myers obviously was a person with an inconceivable mind, however, Keirsey has made the types most practical with his own insight and observations. I find his criticisms of the original categorizations to fit and am glad that my manager has also evaluated his writings. If not, I would be without a job as I would be misunderstood and not useful in her department. Thank you, Mr. Keirsey. Anyone who wishes to know a little more about themselves, I invite you to get this or the II book. Wonderful!!!!!
AN EXCELLENT RESOURCE FOR UNDERSTANDING OUR DIFFERENCES
Reviewer: A reader from Lindenhurst, Illinois
This is an excellent resource for understanding differences in the way people think, feel, and behave both within the family and in the workplace. Understanding the different components of the temperaments and increasing awareness of our differences is just the first step toward improving communication and relationships, and this book is the perfect introduction to the topic.
INCREDIBLY RIGHT ON!
Reviewer: A reader from Kansas, USA
I took the test and it said that I was an INFP. It helped me understand everything about myself, and the other people around me. I think that this was an awsome book, and I am definitely planning on getting Please Understand Me II.
I'M NOT A LUNATIC, I'M JUST A NORMAL INFP!
Reviewer: A reader from Arkansas
Recommended to me by my therapist, this book blew me away when I read the profile of my character and temperament types. There in black and white were secret thoughts and imaginings that I had never told anyone! How could they know those things? And through reading those things, I healed a lot of wounds from half a life spent being ashamed because I was not like everybody else. Through this book I learned that I am not defective, but I am just a normal INFP! If only someone had told me these things when I was a child! Every one who tries to be in a relationship or parent a child should read this book.
Reviewer: Diannalyst@aol.com from Tulsa, Oklahoma
As a Dating, Marriage, and Divorce Counselor, as well as a Staff Placement Consultant for professional corporations, my expertise is the Myers Briggs Type Indicator. I have personally interpreted one-on-one more than 1,500 Indicators. Please Understand Me is the book I recommend all those who take the test to read first. It is simple. Well-formatted. To the point. Informative. Accurate. It is wonderful to see light bulbs come on in people's heads when they read about themselves through this book. Thank goodness for Keirsey and Bates who took the time to write this book! I recommend it highly for people who desire to learn about themselves. The most terrific thing is that the reading is not only simple, it's lots of fun!! — Dr. P.
EASY TO USE AND AMAZINGLY ACCURATE
Reviewer: A reader from Santa Fe, NM
I'm a sucker for "personality type" quizzes, but this is a winner. The test went quickly, and was so astonishingly accurate about me that I found myself reading everything else I could get my hands on about the Myers-Briggs theory of personality types. Later I took the full test and had it interpreted by a qualified professional -- and the results were exactly what I discovered from the self-test in this book. The Myers-Briggs is a great tool for understanding yourself and others, and, on the basis of my experience and my reading, I'd recommend this book as the best place to get started.
THIS BOOK DEFINED MY PERSONALITY TO A TEE!
Reviewer: Noodles232@aol.com from Pennsylvania, USA
After filling out the personality quiz and looking up the corresponding personality type, I almost fell out of my chair. This described me to a tee! You will find yourself trying to determine what personality type fits your friends and spouse. I strongly recommend this book.
DON'T CONSULT A PSYCHIC! BUY THIS BOOK INSTEAD!
Reviewer: email@example.com from New Orleans, Louisiana
Who would make your best mate? This book tells you. What type of careers are best for you? This book tells you. What is your parenting style? This book tells you. How do you view money? This book tells you. Just answer 70 easy short questions and voila! find out which one of 16 different personality types you are. What does this mean? Well, are you extroverted or introverted; thinking or feeling; judging or percieving; use intuition or sensation? The unique combination of these four types forms your personality. Discovering this is a very affirming experience. Suddenly the decisions you have made--wrong or right--make sense in light of who you are. You don't need to read this book from cover to cover; instead you'll find yourself skipping from page to page and section to section. Extra scoring pages are in the back of the book so you can administer this test to your family and friends. So far this book has a perfect batting average with everyone who has "consulted" it. True confession time: I stole this book off my mom's shelf and since I've had it, it hasn't gathered any dust...my brother has it now, and there is a long line behind him waiting for it.