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  1. #1
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    Default Please Understand Me II – Temperament Character Intelligence by David Keirsey



    Keirsey’s book, written in 1998, describes his view of temperaments that is slightly different than MBTI or JCF. He uses descriptive terms for each type including the four primary temperaments – Idealists (NF), Rationals (NT), Guardians (SJ) and Artisans (SP). If you want a place with the best overall description of each of these temperaments, this is the book in which to find it. Each of those is broken down into the subtypes. For example, NTs include the Fieldmarshal (ENTJ), Mastermind (INTJ), Inventor (ENTP) and Architect (ENTP). There are several things in the book that are if not unique, very well described. The author let’s us know what the self-image of each type is based on, which I found to be particularly interesting. Also, there is a chapter on leadership that I thought was excellent. Each type prefers a certain style and it describes how there is an ordering to it. An example is that the ESTP leads first with tactical, then logistics then strategy and then lastly diplomacy. NT’s lead with strategy. SJs lead with logistics. It all makes sense and is a very helpful way of understanding how each type tackles leadership. There is a chapter on “Mating” which describes how each type approaches courtship and a chapter on Parenting. Both were quite interesting.

    It’s all good and if you are interested in type, this is pretty fundamental/basic reading. My criticism of the book is that it feels like some of the content is invented. I didn’t have complete confidence in some of the material and I don’t fully trust the profile descriptions in particular as well as those in some other books. Still, I do recommend Please Understand Me II.

    Four stars.

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  2. #2
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    I think it's one of the most concise and informative typology books out there...but sadly, someone on the internet a long, long time ago who interpreted it too literally decided to write his own spin on it and caused the anti-Keirsey stigma that now runs rampant. The nicknames he gives the different types are the best things about it, and they're very succinct.

    One thing I like, indirectly related to the book, is PersonalityZone and its more modernized interpretations of the types, and how they work in college, work, relationships, and so on. I think it's a bit better than Berens.

    It's interesting how, despite Keirsey not being interested in function theory, the functions are subtly hinted at in the type descriptions.

  3. #3
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Ü™ View Post
    I think it's one of the most concise and informative typology books out there...but sadly, someone on the internet a long, long time ago who interpreted it too literally decided to write his own spin on it and caused the anti-Keirsey stigma that now runs rampant. The nicknames he gives the different types are the best things about it, and they're very succinct.

    It's interesting how, despite Keirsey not being interested in function theory, the functions are subtly hinted at in the type descriptions.
    That's interesting. Can you provide a little more detail on who wrote what about it? I agree with you on the nicknames. Love those.

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    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    That's interesting. Can you provide a little more detail on who wrote what about it? I agree with you on the nicknames. Love those.
    Sadly no, it wasn't really one person, it was just how the theory seems to have evolved on the internet because of users who read the book and interpreted it one way. And many have forgotten the source material, sort of like how legends become distorted over time.

    One thing that's really common is when Artisans are described as artistic, but in the book, Keirsey didn't mean it necessarily in the way most of us think of an artist, he was more technical about it, basing his definitions on the actual word origins and such. and so online communities started believing that if someone had artistic inclinations must be Artisans, or that Rationals "have" to be scientifically inclined (in the layman sense).

  5. #5
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    While Keirsey makes his central theme out to be "It's okay to be different", his writing seems to suffer from a bias in favor of iNtuitives. He also takes artistic liberties in basing type descriptions off of personal anecdotes, dressing them in metaphor and shipping them off as if they're anything more than raw kernels of bias. That aside, I found his implementation of multiple intelligences somewhat promising in that I would like to see more multiple intelligence theories developed.

    Even though I don't find the book entirely agreeable, I do think it offers an accessible venue for those who have a budding interest in typology.

  6. #6
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ginkgo View Post
    While Keirsey makes his central theme out to be "It's okay to be different", his writing seems to suffer from a bias in favor of iNtuitives. He also takes artistic liberties in basing type descriptions off of personal anecdotes, dressing them metaphor and shipping them off as if they're anything more than raw kernels of bias. That aside, I found his implementation of multiple intelligences somewhat promising in that I would like to see more multiple intelligence theories developed.

    Even though I don't find the book entirely agreeable, I do think it offers an accessible venue for those who have a budding interest in typology.
    Yes - I liked that multiple intelligences bit a lot.

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  7. #7
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    ^^ Agreed on the "multiple forms of intelligence."

    Keirsey was actually the first "MBTI" style book I ever read, back in 1995-96 (?) and then I got PUM II when it came out. His temperament theory uses MBTI as a basic but is focused more on the four temperaments themselves. I think the Tieger books (and some others) are more basic; Keirsey provides a middle ground of a book that is still readable by a layperson but more thorough and conceptual.

    Been years since I've read this, but it was my sourcebook for the first few years I was into MBTI until I found a variety of information online. I do consider the book a "fundamental" of the type genre. It also helps provide a "humour" style approach to MBTI style theory, integrating those two systems so you can see the similarities. I actually figured out later that it wasn't pure functional/MBTI theory, it was really Keirsey's particular adaptation of MBTI and Jung, but it's insightful.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Ü™ View Post
    One thing that's really common is when Artisans are described as artistic, but in the book, Keirsey didn't mean it necessarily in the way most of us think of an artist, he was more technical about it, basing his definitions on the actual word origins and such. and so online communities started believing that if someone had artistic inclinations must be Artisans, or that Rationals "have" to be scientifically inclined (in the layman sense).
    I agree, people kind of misinterpreted the terminology; he's cutting more to an archetype concept and how one's personality gets filtered, rather than being necessarily "literal" in his word choice.

    But this has always been an issue when more complex topics are filtered down the layperson level, it affects far more topics than personality theory. People don't understand the language being used, especially if common-use words are being applied in more nuanced ways.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

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