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Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type Paperback – 31 May 1995

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Product details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Davies-Black Publishing; New ed of 2 Revised ed edition (31 May 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 089106074X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0891060741
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 1.9 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 84,820 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

The late Isabel Briggs Myers devoted her life to the observation, study, and measurement of personality. With her mother, Katharine Briggs, she authored the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® personality inventory. Peter B. Myers, Ph.D., continues research work on the development and application of personality type. Former staff director of the National Academy of Science, he is currently extending the use of the MBTI® instrument worldwide.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 57 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 4 Jun. 1998
Format: Paperback
This book gives an overview of the history and theory behind the widely used Myers-Briggs personality type inventory, and briefly but thoroughly summarizes the characteristics of each personality type as well as the "groups" of related types. This is straight from the horse's mouth: Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother, Katharine Briggs, developed the inventory based on Jung's theory of psychological types, and tested it extensively before it became widely used. The book is generally well organized, easy to read, and clearly written, with occasional touches of humor. But it won't help you identify your type if you don't already know it -- I recommend Kiersey's "Please Understand Me" for that. Still, it's a good resource if you already know your type and want to find out more about it. (Incidentally, you don't have to swallow Jung's psychological theories whole in order to find the Myers-Briggs useful!)
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Simultom on 5 Dec. 2006
Format: Paperback
For me, reading this book unlocked some of my difficult relationships in work - it helped me to identify my type out of 16 possibles (felt a shock of recognition first time of reading)) and to make a good guess at the types of friends and colleagues. This brought the insight that different people have different ways of seeing and behaving and that they are all - shock - of equal value, to be respected and nurtured.

A highly recommended book written with clarity, compassion and understanding and readily accessible whether you know about the MBTI method or not.
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79 of 86 people found the following review helpful By Nigel Seel VINE VOICE on 29 May 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I recommend this book as the first book to read for people who need to understand what type theory is *really* about.
Many of the popular books treat type theory as a flat space of 16 static types. Katherine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers understood and developed Jung's theoretical framework, and the dynamical theory is very clearly explained in Chapters 1 and 2. Chapter 3 outlines the original MBTI empirical research, showing the impact of type on chosen occupations - this is still striking. Part 2 of the book is a systematic examination of the four dimensions of type theory, and includes familiar portraits of the 16 types. Parts III and IV of the book are what you might call 'applications of type theory'. Other reviewers have dismissed these as an eclectic collection of dull chapters: I can only say that I found them an illuminating example of the power of type theory to shed light on many areas of life which appear at first sight to lack unifying features.
If you read this book first, it is then worth looking at David Keirsey's "Please Understand me II" for the encyclopedic number of insights he documents. Hower, with Keirsey you get the empiricist rejection of the Jungian paradigm as somehow "unscientific". (Keirsey's approach seems reminiscent of the view from physics: a computer science or AI approach has considerably fewer conceptual qualms with the kind of internal personality "architecture" presupposed by the Jungian paradigm).
Beyond Keirsey there is "Personality Type : An Owner's Manual" by Lenore Thomson. This is like the post-grad version of "Gifts Differing", and additionally includes a Jungian critique of Keirsey's work and Temperament Theory. After the obligatory low-powered introductory chapters, it's hard going, but essential.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Miss Layton on 3 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback
Fascinating, and full of "aha" moments as I read about myself, my parents and various friends, who leapt out of Myers' descriptions at me. Good to know we are all "normal" - just of our types.

INTJ, me, and I was also interested in what she said about auxiliary functions, type development and learning to operate with the less familiar functions, something I know I've had to do over the years.

The last few chapters go off rather: I lost interest once she started expounding her child-rearing theories. But still 5 stars for the first 2/3 of the book!
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63 of 69 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 30 July 1999
Format: Paperback
_Gifts Differing_ sets out to explain the theory behind the Meyers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). I was looking forward to reading this book, because I hoped that it would expand my knowledge and understanding of type theory. I wanted a deeper understanding so I could bring my knowledge of type theory to bear in even more contexts than I do already.
I anticipated an eloquently written and stimulating outline of Type theory, but was discouraged by what I found in the book. The writing was dry and bland, and I often found myself reading several paragraphs before I realized that I didn't remember one thing that I had read.
Also, the book's target audience seemed to be inconsistent. At times the authors seemed to be writing for someone who had never before studied the MBTI, and at other times they seemed to be writing for people who were already expert at the system. For example, they frequently wrote of effect introverted and extraverted forms of a process have on a personality, yet they never explained what the differences were between the introverted and extraverted forms of a function.
The last part of the book contains several chapters which try to relate common experiences to type theory. There's a chapter on marriage, choice of occupation, early childhood learning, and a couple others. These chapters were all duds without exception, and the chapter on childhood was the most irrelevant. They made a brief mention of the cognitive processes at work in early childhood, and spent the rest of the chapter proselyzing on how to raise our children, how we should accept them for whatever type they are, etc..
Overall, this book contained a few nuggets of useful information, but the rest was poorly explained, poorly organized, and poorly written. Not recommended.
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