Customer Reviews of Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type
THE book on Myers-Briggs Typology
If you are at all interested in the Myers-Briggs personality typing system, this book should be number one on your reading list. Unlike 95% of the books on the subject, this one is not a bunch of pop pyschology fluff. This is one of the only books on the subject with any depth at all to it. And it's a good thing it does, seeing as it was written by the co-creator of the MBTI herself, Isabel Myers. Unlike other "Please Understand Me" or "Type Talk", this book actually deals with the Jungian basis of personality, and not just the four letters associated with each type. The Jungian personality typing system is based on the concept of dominant functions. ENFPs and ENTPs for instance are both "Extraverted Intuitives", which is what defines the way they think more than anything. (And ENFJ, on the other hand is an "Extraverted Feeler"). You won't be taught these concepts in most other books on the subject. Isabel also eloquently explains why the MB system is different, especially concerning introverts, from Jung's original system.
If you're interested in MB personality types and actually wish to read a book by some one who knows what they are talking about and isn't just writing to sell pop psyschology best seller, read this book. This is also a must read if you have been trying to reconcile Jung with the MBTI and have had trouble doing so.
I've studied type for years, I am a qualified practitioner of type, and I teach type at the college level. Type exists in its current practical, useable form because of the work of Isabel Briggs Myers, summarized by her in this fine book. Please do not take the advice of the reviewer who recommended Keirsey's book for assessing your own type. Find a qualified practitioner and take the MBTI; discuss your results; and validate your type with an expert. And read and enjoy this wonderful book which is just filled with insightful and useful information about type.
Roadmap to what lies behind the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
Written with exqusite care, Gifts Differing is one of those rare books to be pondered and reread. I first read it in 1980 when it first came out, and my copy is dog-eared and much underlined. It is not for casual reading, or a quick approach to finding out about one's personality type. Wanting to get Carl Jung's ideas of the psychological types out of the psychiatrist's office into general use, she wrote Gifts Differing to lay out the theory for general readers, with care and in detail. It is a classic, will never be "out of date," and I strongly recommend it for anyone who has been affected by her instrument, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and wants to go deeper into the ingenious theory she fleshed out from Jung's work.
I cannot say enough good things about this book.
I cannot say enough good things about this book. I finally read it, after letting it sit on my shelf for more than a year. I wish I had read it sooner, and frankly I wish I had read it ten years ago; it would have saved me a lot of grief. On the other hand, would I have understood it ten years ago? I'm not so sure.
I absolutely loved the writing style, and another reviewer despised it. I turned out to be the same TYPE as one of the authors, so I wonder if that makes a difference. See? Already I am trying to apply the type theory to the problem of differing points of view.
I do agree that the book is very difficult reading, and that the authors did talk very early about some things as if we understood it already, however I was very lucky. I stayed with it and at some point I had an a-ha moment about part of the theory that I didn't quite get. I re-read some of the earlier parts, and all of a sudden they made perfect sense. The theory really is very beautiful, and consistent with itself, and other theories. I really credit the good writing with getting the theory across in a very accessible way, if you stick with it and are open-minded.
Finally I want to mention that I started reading "Do What You Are" by Paul Tieger and Barbara Barron-Tieger first, before reading this book. I do like that book very much, but one thing I couldn't do with that book was properly figure out my type. I could narrow it down, but not very well, because other close types seemed so attractive. Reading the first sections of Gifts Differing helped me figure out my own type much more quickly and confidently, and by the end of the book I was absolutely sure. It was amazing. Now I've gone back to reading the other book, and I am getting a lot more out of it since I can focus on my proper type. I love it.
A must read for any Myers Briggs scholar
This book reveals much about the birth of the Myers Briggs personality theory. First, readers can see that the theory has very practical origins. It was born out of observing personalities of MANY people. It was meant to be used in a very hands-on way. It was not designed to be a tool for psychologists only. It was meant to be used by anyone who wants to understand self and others.
Another key point that emerges from this book is that differences are good. The theory does not treat personality traits as pathological, needing repair. On the contrary, the authors recognize that the varied types of personalities add unique, valuable qualities to the world.
There are other sources that explore this topic in a more detailed, scholarly way. However, this book sets the context for the origin and the intended use of the theory. Therefore, it is a must read for any student of personality.