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  1. #1
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    Default Please understand me? Book advice?

    Hi all, this is my first post (I think. I've been lurking for so long I'm not entirely sure...), so I hope I'm doing everything right!

    I'm fairly much a n00b when it comes to MBTI, but I'm interested in learning more. Somehow, I got the idea that I should read 'Please Understand Me' 1 or 2, as it seems to be a good starting point. I'm considering buying one of these books, but am not sure which one I should get, and was wondering if I could get your opinions?

    My knowledge of the MBTI is cursory; basically I know what each of the functions stand for and have a vague, basic idea of how they work, but I would like to better understand each function. For example I'm still grappling with how sensing and intuition work, how they differ from each other, and how they are affected by being either introverted or extraverted. The other thing I don't understand at all and would like to, is the uh... hierarchy of the functions... i.e dominant, auxiliary, etc.

    I know I can probably find all of this information on this forum, or elsewhere on the internet, and I have tried, but there is just so much out there, I'm completely overwhelmed by it all, particularly by the level of detail. I'm keen to have a physical version of some MBTI basics.

    My initial problem was the choice between Please Understand Me I or II, since I hear that II is more detailed, which worries me, but then I don't want to be missing out on stuff if I get number I. And then it occurred to me that there may be other books which might be better for a beginner, but I wouldn't know where to start looking.

    Any suggestions for the n00b?

    (Wow, long post. Sorry sorry...)

  2. #2
    Senior Member Mal12345's Avatar
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    Most n00bs want practice before theory, and that begins with type descriptions. Theory can come later. I hesitate to recommend Jung at this time, even though he is the originator of the system which includes such functions as intuition and sensation. His type-descriptions suffer from vagueness. Jung was an Ni himself. Introverted intuition focuses inward (in his case, on the unconscious) in search of abstract images that are difficult to put into words. That he could put them into words is an astounding feat. But the result is very abstruse.

    Very few people around these forums are fans of Kiersey's system, so if you might not get much help with any of it.

    I'm not sure what you mean by a "physical version of MBTI basics." But there are many, many such videos on youtube. Some of them are more fun to watch, some of them are more instructive. This one on sensing vs. intuitive types is instructive, and he's a fun speaker to listen to:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOaILzaZYfM

    Good luck!
    "Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth." Mike Tyson
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  3. #3
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    I actually think Please Understand Me II is a good basic introduction. It's a bit simplistic and all the practical examples given are so flamingly American that if you're not American it's bound to be a little annoying. But it was a good launching pad for me when I got past just researching about my own type, and wanted to start learning about all the 16 types.

    Personality Type by Lenore Thompson is very, very good, insightful into the different types and an excellent introduction to function theory. I highly recommend it for getting to grips more deeply with different personality types and also regarding the hierarchy of functions and all that. Though I admit I find function theory a bit confusing still, at least with the functions I use less/the least! I've most come to grips with introverted intuition and extraverted feeling so far, not surprising for an INFJ

    Hope those help!
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  4. #4
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    Thank you both!

    (Mal, when I said 'physical version', I just meant an actual book, rather than reading on a computer... but it hadn't occurred to me to watch youtube videos, I'll definitely watch some more of those.)

  5. #5
    Senior Member Forever_Jung's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    Personality Type by Lenore Thompson is very, very good, insightful into the different types and an excellent introduction to function theory
    Yes, this book is amazing for getting the basics of each function down. Her description of Ni clarified a lot of things for me, since most people make it sound like a magical, psychic power.

  6. #6
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    Please Understand Me II will do nothing more than reinforce your natural INTJ tendency to form stupid stereotypes about people instead of genuinely understanding them. (You like my irony, bro?)

    But seriously, PLEASE DO NOT START THERE. Read it, but read it after you've learned about function theory.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Chiharu's Avatar
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    Please Undertand Me isn't as bad or as good as people say, in my experience. I read it to start, and it encouraged me to look at the other 15 types, and got me on the path to realizing I was mistyped. Just read it with the knowledge that it's oversimplified. Function theory really is the most accurate way to go about it, but that can be difficult to start with.


    Think of Keirsey as the third-grade artist's rendition of the actual tree. If you're trying to draw a tree, and you're new at drawing, starting off with a circle and a rectangle isn't a bad idea. It's only bad if you think that's the best/most accurate way to draw. You'll get better at shadings and details like texture and leaves and negative space when you learn more about drawing. Typology is the same way.
    Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness." ― Kurt Vonnegut

    ENFP. 7w6 – 4w3 – 1w9 sx/so. Aries. Dilettante. Overly anxious optimist.

  8. #8
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    Was That Really Me? by Naomi Quenk is a good in-depth look at how functions work in healthy and unhealthy ways. It focuses on stress reactions for each of the types but also talks about how the functions work when they are expressed in a positive way.
    INTPish ENTP with sporadic INFP tendencies
    (also kind of indecisive)
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