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Gifts Differing

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Gifts Differing

Understanding Personality Type

Nicholas Brealey Publishing,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Unlock the mystery of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator by understanding its results.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable


Isabel Briggs Myers, who had no training as a psychologist, broke new ground when she applied Carl Gustav Jung’s psychological types to healthy individuals. She writes that each person has unique innate gifts, and that makes human interaction singular and challenging. This classic textbook – though repetitive, scholarly and laden with technical tables – can help you understand how to deal with personality types that differ from your own. Briggs Myers (in collaboration with her son, Peter B. Myers, who wrote the preface) developed this text as an outgrowth of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which she created with her mother, Katherine Cook Briggs, to help place women in jobs when World War II took most able-bodied men out of the US workforce. Most of its information is enduringly useful, though the chapter on marriage seems mired in an earlier time. getAbstract recommends this book’s insights and communication lessons; it can help readers better understand themselves, their bosses, their staff and their loved ones.


“An Orderly Reason for Personality Differences”

People behave differently in similar situations because they “perceive” and “judge” events in two unique ways:

  1. “Two ways of perceiving” – According to the pioneering psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung, people view the events around them in two ways: by using their physical abilities to see, smell, touch, taste, and hear, or by using less-concrete hunches or intuition.
  2. “Two ways of judging” – After you perceive a situation, you judge what you observed. You consider it in one of two ways: You weigh the event logically, or you evaluate it with your feelings. Children quickly learn that one approach makes more sense to them than the other. That choice affects their adult personalities. Kids who judge things logically tend to excel at facts and ideas as adults. Those who pay more heed to how they feel grow up with a gift for relationships. As you mature, the way you see things and decide what to do about them affects how your personality develops.

“Combinations of Perception and Judgment”

How people act is based on their personalized assessment and their blend ...

About the Authors

Isabel Briggs Myers co-created the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a popular personality measurement tool. Her son Peter B. Myers, researches the development and application of personality type. Former staff director of the National Academy of Science, he is extending the use of the MBTI(R) instrument worldwide.

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