You’ve probably heard of the Myers-Briggs personality test, that thing where you get sorted into one of 16 personalities like you’re at a really big Hogwarts with a four times the houses.
While I like to think that I’m unique, I also can’t like that my own results for this test, ENFP, fit me spot on.
But wouldn’t you know it, I learned recently that there are some books to learn more on the subject, for those who want to really dig into what their personality entails, and how you can work with others in the most efficient way.
Sounds good to me, so I created this list. Below you’ll find the quick list, but below that is my detailed explanation for each book and why I included it on the list. I hope you enjoy!
Of course, I have to start with the original book, the one that (sort of) started it all, Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type by Isabel Briggs Myers and Peter B. Myers.
Recognize those names? That’s because Isabel Briggs Myers was one of the founders of the classic Myers-Briggs assessment. Her work was based on the prior work of Carl Jung (which I’ll get to in a bit).
If you didn’t know, the Myers-Briggs assessment was originally developed by Isabel and her mother, Katherine Cook Briggs all the way back in the 1940s. It’s managed to gain enormous traction since then. This book provides an intermediate understanding of how everything works. It’s by far the best foundational work on the subject, which is why I had to put it first on the list.
Now that we’ve had the best introductory book, let’s look at something a little more basic. If you’re just starting out and want to become familiar with your Myers-Briggs personality type, then this is the one to pick up.
This book is simple, which is the main reason why I included it on the list. It’s a clear-cut way to understand each Myers-Briggs type.
So if you have no idea what to make of your own personality assessment, then this is the one to start with.
On the flip side, this book is for the advanced reader, the one who really wants to dig into the science of personality type theory.
Essentials is THE book on on the Myers-Briggs type indicator (MBTI). There’s no better. It’s a bit pricey but that’s because it’s pretty much a textbook on the subject.
I’ve actually read this one, and I can say that it is the best if you really want to dig deep into the subject. It covers everything you need to know, and is surprisingly understandable for a textbook.
This is another relatively basic book on personality types. Though it does have an appendix that gets into some of the deeper stuff. So it’s one of those good options that has the basics, but with some more advanced info for those who want it.
This is another one that I strongly recommend for those who want to learn more about personality types, because it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Guess what? These guys have a podcast! It’s the Personality Hacker podcast, and it’s great.
The two hosts of the podcast are also the authors behind this book, and they definitely know their stuff.
The book goes through each personality from ENTP to INFJ, and break it down for you. It’s kind of beginner-intermediate level, but it’s great for modern readers who want it explained in layman’s terms.
This is another one that is short, sweet, and to the point. And unlike some of the others, it was written by a doctor.
It’s another really good explanation of each of the 16 types, as well as other ways to apply certain principles in your own life.
I haven’t actually read this one, but I did see it recommended by a ton of other sites, and on the first page of Amazon for this search term, so I knew I had to throw it in with the list.
I mentioned Carl Jung earlier, and that’s because the MBTI is largely inspired by Jung’s book Psychological Types: or The Psychology of Individuation.
Carl Jung is a foundational psychologist in so many fields, having inspired not just psychologists, but storytellers as well. I myself have read his work to create better fictional characters when I’m writing.
His work is older and perhaps a little outdated, but it’s such an important stepping stone in the realm of personality types that I couldn’t not put it on this list.
Here’s another one that’s good for intermediate to advanced readers. As the subtitle: An Owner’s Manual suggests, it’s a book that really goes deep into your personality, no matter which one it is of the 16.
I’ve read part of this book, but I’ll admit, I mostly just read the bits that were relevant to my personality type. The whole thing is over 400 pages, which is massive! But if you’re interested in this subject, there are very few other options that are just as good.
You should definitely pick this one up if you’re interested in this subject.
This is another one that’s written for a more modern audience, so if that’s you jibe, then give it a try. The author has a masters degree specifically in the Myers-Briggs personality type, so she knows her stuff.
This book isn’t too long, so it’s really just more of an introduction to each MBTI type. So if you’re new to the subject of the personality indicator, this might be a good place to start.
Neuroscience of Personality is another one of those books for the advanced reader. Written by an actual neuroscientist, it digs into the science of personality types.
This is actually a great one to add to your list, because most people often brush off personality tests as pop-psychology, bordering on a pseudoscience. However, Dr. Nardi points out that there’s a lot of scientific basis for the Myers-Briggs personality test, so this really is a good place to look if you know a few sceptics in the house.
While I’m not trying to lift the Myers-Briggs test above any of the others, I do think it’s telling that this particular personality quiz has gained so much traction and popularity of the years, including a lot of scientific attention, and yet it’s still well-regarded today.
Just something to keep in mind.
So if you’re like me, you’ve probably wondered if there’s something in your personality that is responsible for you still being single…hehe.
Okay, but seriously, personality types have a lot to do with our relationships with other people, and this book goes into detail about these different interrelationships.
I love the practical implications of this, because who doesn’t need more help understanding others, right?
I also love that this particular book goes into a specific niche, and isn’t just another overview book of each different type of Myers-Briggs indicator.
Last, but not least, this is another classic book that took the science of the Myers-Briggs test a few steps forward.
David Kiersey took the ideas laid out by Myers and Briggs, and grouped each of the 16 types into four specific categories:
Like the MBTI test in general, this format has generated some controversy over the years, but it’s still central to understanding the overall development of these ideas. From Jung, to Myers/Briggs, to Kiersey, to modern-day psychology.
Have you read any of these? Do you know of any others that are your favorite?
I hope this list was useful to you, and that if you have any other thoughts that you leave them in the comments below.
In the meantime, check out some of my other book lists. The first one is my favorite: