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Ten Recommended Books about MBTI Personality

Ten Recommended Books about MBTI Personality

Which books about MBTI® personality theory and type have had the biggest impact on practitioners? We posted this question on one of our LinkedIn groups a while back to discover the titles that had most impressed and inspired practitioners or been a key support in their work with the MBTI assessment. Twenty books rose to the top of the pile. Here are the first ten – in no particular order – with comments from the individual reviewers. We’ll be publishing the second batch later in the year.

Life Types

1. Life Types – understand yourself and make the most of who you are, Sandra Krebs Hirsh and Jean Kummerow (1989)

  • “A very easy book to dip into to get some insight into the fascinating world of other, different people, especially the chapters on each type in the second half of the book. The section on ‘loving’ for my type has been especially useful…” (John Hackston, Head of Research and Development at OPP)

Type talk

2. Type Talk: The 16 Personality Types That Determine How We Live, Love, and Work, Otto Kroeger and Janet M. Thuesen (1989)

  • “A detailed glimpse into our working roles within our life cycle in and outside the workplace. This book has assisted me in evaluating close working relationships and how to improve them .” (Stacey Killon, Senior Learning & Development Advisor for NHS South Commissioning Support Unit – Assoc CIPD)

MBTI Manual

3. The MBTI Manual, Isabel Myers, Mary McCaulley, Naomi Quenk and Allen Hammer (third edition, 1998)

  • “It’s now in its third edition, and I cut my teeth on the second edition back in ‘85 when I was first introduced to the MBTI. Yes, it’s the book with all the technical data in it that many people just put away on their book shelf after they’re qualified. But it has so much more than tables of numbers (that this INTJ loves). Please pull if off the shelf and delve into it – you will find it full of treasures for type practitioners, especially the application chapters: Uses of Type in Organisations and Uses of Type in Multicultural Settings .” (Betsy Kendall, Executive Director, COO and Head of Professional Services at OPP Ltd)
  • “My course manual! Still got it .” (Dawn Sillett, author of How to be Zoomly at work – the essential handbook for thriving at work)

Was that really me?

4. Was that really me? How Everyday Stress Brings out Our Hidden Personality, Naomi Quenk (2002)

(Note: this is an update of Quenk’s earlier Beside Ourselves: Our Hidden Personality in Everyday Life, 1993)

  • “I love the Naomi Quenk books.” (Vanessa Rhone, Director, VenusWorks Ltd)
  • “A must for working with and developing an understanding of the inferior.” (Lynne Norman, Managing Director, Equip Consulting Ltd)

In the Grip

5. In the Grip – understanding type, stress, and the inferior function, Naomi Quenk (second edition 2000)

  • “My go-to book for many years – first to understand (and normalise) my own type’s response to stress and how to manage it. I most frequently pick it up now to remind myself of strategies for helping others through the stressful periods. Invaluable!” (Penny Moyle, CEO of OPP Group)

Gifts Differing

6. Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type, Isabel Briggs Myers and Peter B. Myers (revised edition 1995)

  • “I read Gifts Differing prior to becoming MBTI qualified. It was a fascinating window into the type world, and whetted my appetite for more. I found the chapters on ‘learning styles’ and ‘type and occupation’ to be particularly interesting.” (Helen Rayner, Consultant, OPP)
  • “For me it’s Gifts Differing. This was one of the first books on type I read after qualifying and Isabel Briggs Myers’ explanation of type pressed the ‘Ah! Now I get it!’ button for me.” (Claire Bremner, Business Psychologist)

Neuroscience of Personality

7. Neuroscience of Personality – Brain Savvy Insights for All Types of People, Dario Nardi (2011)

  • “Recently I’ve been intrigued and excited by Dario Nardi’s Neuroscience of Personality… Gives a fascinating and compelling experimental underpinning to type.” (Jerry Gilpin, Coach (EMCC Senior Practitioner), Supervisor, Facilitator and Trainer)

I'm not crazy, I'm just not you

8. I’m Not Crazy, I’m Just Not You – the Real Meaning of the 16 Personality Types, Roger Pearman and Sarah Albritton (1997)

  • “The first book that I read and still have on my shelf… Great breakdown of type and especially the importance of valuing difference.” (David Monro-Jones MA, FCMI, AMC, Accredited Master Coach, OD Consultant, Co-Author of ‘A World Book of Values’)

The Leadership Equation

9. The Leadership Equation – Leadership, Management and the Myers-BriggsLee Barr and Norma Barr (1989)

  • “Aims to help leaders/managers understand themselves and others better and therefore improve both their interaction with and leadership impact on others.” (Dawn Parkin, Organisational Development and Change Consultant/Coach)

The Challenge of Change in Organisations

10. The Challenge of Change in Organisations: Helping Employees Thrive in the new Frontier, Nancy J. Barger and Linda K. Kirby (1995)

  • “An absolute must-read for anyone applying MBTI to organisational change. Written by the same authors as Introduction to Type and Change and Type and Change, Leader’s Resource Guide.” (Betsy Kendall, Executive Director, COO and Head of Professional Services at OPP Ltd)


Are there any books that you’d add to the list? What have you read on MBTI personality type that would be useful to MBTI practitioners? We’d love to hear your comments below!

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