Almost everyone wants to understand themselves better.
If you are one of those people, here are some great books on personality types to give you an overview of some of the most popular personality theories.
10 Personality Type Books
From the Myers-Briggs to biological theories, these books on the different personality types will explain the biggest theories about who we are really as people.
Check out our list of the best personality type books you can read to get a better understanding of how your personality works:
1. What Type Am I? Discover Who You Really Are? by Renee Baron
A concise introduction to the staple personality test used around the world, this text helps the reader assess their own personality by examining their preferences in four core areas of life: extroverting vs introverting (how they relate to the world around them), sensing vs intuiting (how they process in information), thinking vs feeling (how they make decisions), and judging vs perceiving (their living preferences). The reader is guided through the test and it’s concepts by experienced family therapist Renee Baron, providing information on the sixteen personality types in order to help them discover their own personality type and use that knowledge to enhance their life.
2. Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type by Isabel Briggs Myers and Peter B. Myers
In use for over 60 years, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) tool has become the most popular method in the world for determining personality type. Likewise, for over 25 years this work has been the key source for those looking to understand the MBTI assessment. Using Jungian concepts of psychoanalysis, the work identifies the four categories of personality type and the implications of these types on how the individual perceives and interacts with the world. The text goes on to examine the practical implications of personality type on life choices such as education, occupation and marriage, before exploring how such personality types develop and how the individual can apply the lessons of this to live a more fulfilled life.
3. Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence by David Keirsey
Following on from 1978 bestseller ‘Please Understand Me’, which sold nearly 2 million copies in its first two decades, this work continues the author’s investigation of personality differences, building on the original theory as expounded in that work identifying four temperaments and further defining facets of character. Beginning with The Keirsey Temperament Sorter, now the most used personality inventory in the world, the work goes on to include The Keirsey Four-Types Sorter, a new questionnaire designed help an individual identify their basic temperament and then rank their second, third, and fourth choices. Keirsey then examines each of his identified personality types in depth, focusing on specific types behaviour exhibited by such personalities, and the lessons which can be learned by knowing both one’s personality type and that of those around us.
4. Personality Type by Lenore Thomson
Where Keirsey examines personality types through typical behaviours and Myers-Briggs unveils the psychological mindset behind such behaviour, this work examines in great depth how each personality type absorbs information and communicates through an exploration of cognitive function. Inside the reader will find a personality type test which, when taken, will reveal information about their own personality type and the implications for their life choices. The work explores how personality forms, how an individual’s unlived opportunities and possibilities are trying to come to their notice and how their relationships can help them tap into potential and talents they didn’t know they had.
5. The Enneagram Made Easy: Discover the 9 Types of People by Elizabeth Wagele and Renee Baron
Providing a fun, easy to understand but basic introduction, this work provides a useful starting point for those wanting to understand the Enneagram, a method of personality typing which identifies patterns individual’s understanding of the world and how they manage their feelings. Using cartoons, tests and exercises, this witty text sheds light on nine different personality types, what motivates them, what fuels their desires and how to make the most of possessing such knowledge to live a fuller life. A final chapter provides information on how the personality types identified by the Enneagram fit together with those identified in Jungian psychoanalysis.
6. Personality Types: Using the Enneagram for Self-Discovery by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson
This work takes an in-depth look at the Enneagram, the ancient psychological system used to understand the human personality. Riso and Hudson provide updated descriptions of nine traditional Enneagram personality types and provide detailed guidelines for understanding the test and it’s use. In addition, the authors outline the Core Dynamics, or Levels of Development, within each type, providing more detailed, specific information these nine personalities than previously available. Targeted at a broad readership, from therapists, to students and those with a general interest, this work helps readers gain a deep and precise understanding of the Enneagram and its applications, giving them the tools for self-understanding and ultimately self-improvement.
7. The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson
Following on from their previous work on Personality Types and the Enneagram, Riso and Hudson here provide a guide to using the enneagram for spiritual and psychological growth. Including two questionnaires for the reader to use in determining their personality type, the work goes on to provide in depth profiles of each type, including information on how such individuals can maximizing their potential and reduce failures. With accessible information and practical exercises tailored to each personality type on spiritual refreshment, recognizing and using wake up calls and red flags, motivations, fears, desires, breaking habits and improving relationships the reader has access to a host of sophisticated concepts and techniques to enable them to better understand themselves and work towards a more fulfilled life.
8. Personality: What Makes You the Way You Are by Daniel Nettle
Guiding the reader through what modern science can reveal about the human personality, this work explores up to date findings from genetics and neurology, considering man’s evolutionary beginnings and the implications for society of differing personalities. Providing an introduction to the five ‘dimensions’ on which all personalities are based, this work blends true-life stories and scientific research to take the reader on a tour through human personality and motivations. Addressing issues such as why family members possess different personalities, whether or not there is a ‘best’ personality type and whether a person can change their personality, this work brings a combination of both scientific insight, practical advice (including the Newcastle Personality Assessor) and human wisdom to enable readers to learn more about their own nature.
9. Why Him? Why Her? How to Find and Keep Everlasting Love by Helen Fisher
Biological anthropologist and relationship expert Helen Fisher outlines her theory, based on analysis of the personalities of nearly 30000 people, that long-term love is based on evolutionary neurology and one’s own brain chemistry. Identifying four personality types determined by the brain’s exposure to certain hormones and neurotransmitters whilst still in the womb, Fisher outlines here how understanding this typology system can help the individual deduce its impact on their likely success in finding love and romance. Once the reader has identified their own personality type they are offered a of how to find and keep their perfect relationship.
10. Top Brain, Bottom Brain: Harnessing the Power of the Four Cognitive Modes by Stephen M Kosslyn and Wayne Miller
Leading neuroscientist Stephen Kosslyn and writer Wayne Miller debunk the popular left-brain/right-brain theory, instead offering the reader a new way to think about their mind and how they can use its power to achieve success. Through presentation of extensive research the work describes how thought patterns can be identified and understood using four modes of thinking which shape the personality. Included in the book is a scientifically developed test enabling the reader to determine which mode of thought most applies to them and the practical implications of this from work to relationships with the aim of accessing a more fulfilled existence.