Personality type is a great tool to learn more about yourself and other people. The most popular personality assessment is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®). And if you want to learn more about personality type, you’ll want to start with a great Myers-Briggs book.
The MBTI is a 16 type theory of personality. And it’s commonly used in businesses and organizations around the world.
But the assessment can also be used for personal and relational growth.
But how to do you know which book to start with? If you search “MBTI books” on Amazon, you’ll find dozens of options.
Some books dive deep into the roots of the MBTI — the eight cognitive functions developed by Carl Jung.
Other books are focused on understanding type through what we called dichotomies (Thinking, Feeling, Intuition, Sensing, etc.).
And other Myers-Briggs books focus more on temperament (NFs, NTs, SPs and SJs).
What does all of this mean? You’ll have to check out some of the books below to find out!
10 of the Best Myers-Briggs Books
There are many different ways to learn about personality types. The best approach is to start with a book that explains the MBTI in a way that resonates with you.
As your knowledge increases, you can expand and read more Myers-Briggs books.
Which book you should get depends on how much you currently know about the system. It also depends on what you’re wanting to get out of this newfound knowledge.
We’ll walk you through the best MBTI books to help you learn more about personality types.
1. Gifts Differing by Isabel Briggs Myers with Peter B. Myers
Gifts Differing is a classic Myers-Brigg book written by one of the founders of the assessment: Isabel Briggs Myers.
Myers developed the MBTI with her mom, Katherine Cook Briggs, in the 1940s. The duo based the test on the original theory of psychological type by psychologist Carl Jung.
Gifts Differing explains personality type in an easy-to-read and straightforward way. Briggs Myers walks the reader through the basics of type and how the knowledge can be applied in careers, relationships, and parenting.
Gifts Differing is best for: People with an intermediate level of knowledge in personality type; people who want a well-rounded understanding of type from reading a single book.
2. Personality Hacker by Joel Mark Witt and Antonia Dodge
Whenever people ask me where they can learn more about personality type, I always recommend the Personality Hacker podcast.
The ENFP-ENTP duo behind the podcast are masters in explaining personality type in engaging and thought-provoking ways. I was thrilled when they finally released a book, Personality Hacker, in 2018.
The book also walks the reader through how the functions show up for each of the 16 types.
The Personality Hacker book is another great Myers-Briggs book for someone just starting to get into personality type. They dive into the cognitive functions and how we use them using a theory called “The Car Model.”
Personality Hacker is best for: People with a beginner to intermediate level of knowledge in personality type; people who are looking for an easy-to-digest breakdown of the cognitive functions.
3. Please Understand Me II by David Kiersey
David Kiersey further popularized personality type in the 1980s and 1990s by developing the Kiersey Temperament Sorter.
Kiersey groups the types into four categories, or temperaments. These are Idealists (INFJ, INFP, ENFJ, ENFP), Rationals (INTJ, INTP, ENTJ, ENTP), Artisans (ISFP, ISTP, ESFP, ESTP), and Guardians (ISTJ, ISFJ, ESTJ, ESFJ).
This take on personality type is a bit controversial — there are other systems that group the types in different ways. But personally, I think Please Understand Me II is an excellent book to help the everyday person get a stronger understanding of type. (In fact, it was the first one I ever read!)
Please Understand Me II is best for: People with an intermediate level of knowledge in MBTI; people interested in learning about temperaments.
4. The 16 Personality Types by Dr. A.J. Drenth
The 16 Personality Types is a short, easy-to-read guide to understanding MBTI. It was written by Dr. A.J. Drenth, founder of the popular personality type website, Personality Junkie.
Drenth explains each of the 16 types as well as gives an easy-to-follow introduction to the cognitive functions.
The 16 Personality Types is best for: People with beginner to intermediate level of knowledge in MBTI; people looking for a fairly quick and easy read on personality type.
5. Personality Type: An Owner’s Manual by Lenore Thomson
So, you know a little bit about personality type. You understand the functions and have found yourself typing your favorite characters while binging your current Netflix obsession.
If you’re looking for something a little deeper and more thorough (but not quite ready for say, Jung) try out Personality Type: An Owner’s Manual.
Not only is this book massive (more than 400 pages) but it also thoroughly examines the Jungian cognitive functions. This Myers-Briggs book examines functions from their two preferences: Extroverted or Introverted and Judging or Perceiving.
It also explains what the functions look like in each position in your function stack, as well as how we use our shadow functions.
Personality Type: An Owner’s Manual is best for: People with an intermediate to advanced level of knowledge in type; people who want to dig deep into the cognitive functions.
6. Neuroscience of Personality by Dr. Dario Nardi
Many people call personality type “pop psychology” but it’s actually been studied by hundreds of psychologists, academics and even neuroscientists!
That’s right — Dr. Nardi wrote Neuroscience of Personality based on his own research into cognitive functions and brain activity.
He breaks down his findings in this insightful and practical guide. The book shows how there is a strong neurological validity in the brain for the 16 types.
The book has activities and tests throughout to help readers discover which type fits them the best.
Neuroscience of Personality is best for: People with an intermediate level of knowledge in type; people interested in a more scientific and less philosophical approach to typology.
7. The MBTI® Manual
Still not sure about the validity of the MBTI? Then it’s time to check out the most research-backed book there is: the official MBTI® Manual!
There is a reason this manual is required reading for anyone who wants to become certified as an MBTI practitioner.
It defines the ins and outs of type like the other books on this list. But it also backs up the theory with hundreds of studies, brain scans, and research collected over several decades.
The MBTI® Manual is best for: People with an intermediate to advanced level of knowledge in type; people who want tons of data and research on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
8. Just Your Type by Paul D. Tieger and Barbara Barron-Tieger
Are you interested in learning about personality type compatibility in romantic relationships? Then check out Just Your Type.
This book dives into relational dynamics between all of the 16 personality types. There are more than 300 pages specifically about personality types and relationships!
The insights can also be applied to friendships, family and work relationships as well.
Just Your Type is best for: People with a beginner to advanced level of knowledge in type; people who want to learn how type applies to relationships.
9. Type Talk by Otto Kroeger and Janet M. Thuesen
Type Talk is another excellent Myers-Briggs book for beginners. It explains the basics of typology but also gives an overview of the dichotomies and cognitive functions.
The book provides insights on personality types and careers, relationships, parenting and more.
Type Talk is best for: People with a beginner to intermediate level of knowledge in type; people who want to learn how type applies to work and relationships.
10. Psychological Types by Carl Jung
I can’t complete a list of the best personality type books without referencing the OG.
While Jung didn’t develop the MBTI® assessment, it wouldn’t exist without his original theory of personality types.
In Psychological Types, recommended for those with advanced personality knowledge, Jung explains each of the eight cognitive functions in-depth.
Jung describes each function in its purest form. In other words, how a person would look if they only used a single function, and not all eight with varying degrees of skill.
Psychological Types is highly recommended for anyone who truly wants to understand type theory from the words of the original theorist.
Psychological Types is best for: People with an advanced level of knowledge in type; people who want as much information about the cognitive functions as possible; people who aren’t a fan of the MBTI interpretation of typology and want to figure it out for themselves.
What Is Your Favorite Myers-Briggs Book?
Did we leave any essential personality type books off this list? Let us know your favorites in the comments! Make sure to spread the love of personality by sharing this with your friends and family on social media!
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