How does your type affect your approach to books and reading?

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How does your type affect your approach to books and reading?

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Ago 15, 2007, 1:08 pm

A comment on another topic got me thinking: does type affect the kinds of books we like, or does it show itself more in our approaches to reading. For example, I really like literary mysteries and stories set in schools, but I know that can't possibly be true for INTJs in general. Maybe the effect is that once I get interested in a topic, a character or an author I'll often suck up all the info I can get on it until something else captures my interest to the same degree.

Do NFs like to read books about relationships of all kinds and do SPs even stop moving long enough to read? Enlighten me.

Editado: Ago 15, 2007, 3:27 pm

I'm an INFP and I would say that is a large part of why I read. I need time to myself and I find the inner world more real than the external. These are traits of an INFP and they are also reasons why reading would be appealing to a person.

Other ways my Myers-Briggs type has likely made me into an obsessive reader;

“Prefer one-to-one communication and relationships”

Well isn’t reading (in a sense) a one to one communication.

“Tend not to live in the now”

Once again reading is an escape from the moment.

Are good at “Using imagination”

This is an essential part of reading.

Are “Comfortable with ambiguous, fuzzy data and with guessing its meaning.”

These are also powerful tools for strong readers.

Ago 16, 2007, 12:48 am

I agree with inkdrinker. One thing, though, is that INFP's are supposed to like fantasy books, but I don't like the fantasy genre that much. I do like it when fantasy enters the realm of the "real" in literary fiction, such as in Slaughterhouse-Five when Billy Pilgrim comes unstuck in time and "A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings" when an ordinary village is visited by a "fallen" angel. I do like fairytales but it is the Jungian aspects of the tales that interest me: such as, how do the quests of the heroes represent quests/struggles in my own life. I tend to enjoy dark themes. I think this is because as an INFP I am optimistic. But I need to balance that out with the more darker aspects of life.

Ago 16, 2007, 5:17 pm

INTJs are supposed to be attracted to science, but I'm not in the least, only if it can be related to something I am interested in.

inkdrinker & TheresaW, do you do much nonfiction reading or reading purely for the info? Or is it more of an escapist or thought-provoking activity? (I hope that makes sense.)

Ago 16, 2007, 8:21 pm

I read about 10-20% nonfiction in a given year...

Ago 17, 2007, 4:31 am

citygirl: my colleague who gave me the Keirsey book is an INTP. She is an English teacher and not interested in Science that much. But being a rational does make her a particular kind of English teacher, very interested in wit and logic, and the architecture of essays and stories.

I am an INFP. I like facts only so far as they ground my stories. I usually turn facts into metaphors very quickly. I will read about a certain kind of fish because it has the qualities I want it to have in order to convey a truth about my characters or a mood. In my non fiction reading, I enjoy memoirs and history and science; but my mind is always turning on how to use that information to the benefit of creating stories. My world is about "feeling." Not logic, not facts. Everything is about how I "feel." That is my truth.

I highly recommend PLEASE UNDERSTAND ME II. It has a literary component that you will appreciate, I think.

Ago 17, 2007, 5:15 pm

inkdrinker (great handle, by the way), #5 was a kind of NT response, with the percentages.

Thank you, TheresaW, I will let Amazon know that I need a copy of Please Understand Me ASAP. And I think your response about feeling is enlightening. When you say "feel," do you mean you "feel" the world outside of you or do you mean your world is about emotions? Or both?

When you have a decision to make, do you say, "how do I feel about that?" May I ask what place logic and facts do have in your world?

With the MB types, it's sometimes hard to remember that people aren't caricatures (all Feeling or all Thinking). So I am trying to imagine my world if logic wasn't my primary mode of decision-making. I have NO idea what I would do. (Geez, I hope this doesn't mean I'm emotionally stunted.)

Editado: Ago 18, 2007, 12:42 am

citygirl: to me the temperament typing is just about preferences. It doesn't mean anyone (least of all you, I think, judging from your inquisitive nature! smiles) is stunted in any way. Temperament typing is all about appreciating difference and about not expecting others to think or react exactly as you do. We all just experience the world a bit differently.

You are right that it does no good if we only create caricatures by using the typing. This may be why some people resent the typing.

I can and do use strategy and logic in my academic and personal life. But my immediate response to any situation is through emotion, feeling. This has its ups and downs, as you can imagine. The up side for me is that I readily empathize with others; the down side is that I can get "hurt" even when people don't mean to hurt me.

Rationals have very deep feelings; it's just that their immediate response is to do as you are doing, to think through a thing logically and to ask questions so that you can get a clear picture. That wouldn't be my first response. But I usually get there, sooner or later. (smiles) By the same token, Rationals have all the emotions; they hurt, they cry, they love. It just runs more under the surface and their exterior can seem cool or aloof.

You remind me a lot of my INTP friend. Whenever we discuss things, she asks probing questions. Sometimes I feel a little like I'm on trial because of her intense concentration on me. Do you see what I said? I said I "feel"... I use that word constantly.

I can understand how relying on logic can feel very satisfying. It builds order; whereas feelings can be unpredictable. However, when I empathize, I feel very centered and grounded. It feels like my world is in "order" at such times.

Ago 18, 2007, 9:24 am

I thought I'd try a tagmash on fiction, Jungian to see if any really interesting book came up. One did. It was Murder yet to come by Isabel Briggs Myers. Has anyone read this? I just checked my Nassau County library catalog and no one has it, and only 4 LTers have it. The reviewer in Amazon said this book was written before Myers had fleshed out her MBTI system.

Ago 18, 2007, 9:33 am

When my wife and I were "typed" in the mid-1980's (prior to marriage as a gift from a friend), it was indicated to us that your score lies across a spectrum so that if you are an extrovert, like I am, I am very close to the middle of the spectrum, so I can exhibit more introverted characteistics at times. So, when one is writing, I don't think one is going to develope a character who is a full-blown archetype like Greek Gods, but rather one who is just as idiosyncratic as us. What I like about the MBTI is that it does let you in on the broad spectrum of how people function, that you may not have noticed just from casual observation or relationships.

Ago 20, 2007, 1:34 pm

My concern with characters and typing doesn't come out a desire to develop archetypes so much as a desire to create a consistent character, one who reads true. We've all had a literary experience where a character does something that seems totally out of character and no explanation is ever given. It gives you the sense that the author doesn't know his character very well. On the other hand, a character that is too consistent, without idiosyncracies, is unreal (e.g., Ayn Rand's characters). I view my characters as real people and I just want to do them justice by understanding them.

#9 vpfluke, that novel sounds intriguing. Is it still in print?

#8 TheresaW, thanks for the compliment! Was it Mark Twain who said, "I could live on a compliment for two weeks"? And thanks too for the reminder that most people don't like to be cross-examined. I forget. I just get so focused on my quest.

You're right: I do have feelings, etc. It's just that I try to make them useful. E.g., I try to use disappointment as motivation to try again. I try to avoid anything that will lead to depression (which is the scariest thing to me. I know how destructive it can be.). When I feel happy I want to share it with others, find some way to be helpful. When I've been hurt I try to learn something profound. I even have strong feelings, I am extremely passionate on a number of issues and about certain people and works of art. But the one thing I resist is being controlled by my feelings. That's really scary territory.

Ago 20, 2007, 3:10 pm

Murder yet to come does not appear to be in print, at least in the Amazon listing, although they indicate 8 copies are available in other places. The most recent edition was 1995, but it came out originally in 1929 or 1930.

Editado: Ago 21, 2007, 2:46 am

citygirl: Ask all the questions you want. What the typing has taught me is that, regardless of how I "feel," NT's mean no harm to me when they ask pointed questions. That is their way. I've come to accept it as who they are. So ask away. Your ability to focus is laudable. That is harder for me.

I have noticed that NTs can be quite philosophical about set backs. You are right; they want to learn something profound by the experience.

I can understand why uncontrolled feelings can be scary to you. I try to control my feelings, too. It may be harder for me than it is for you, but it is still necessary for me to do that. At their best, the feelings help to ground me, connect me, and help me to care genuinely about others. At their worst, they can draw me into a vortex of doubt and paralyze me. Fortunately, I experience more of the former than the latter!

14slywy Primeira Mensagem
Ago 21, 2007, 6:39 am

Another INFP! (If you're into that sort of thing.) I am not so much into fantasy as the surreal. Gabriel Garcia Marquez is an example; also T. H. White in a different way.

Ago 21, 2007, 1:37 pm

#13, TW (note I'm getting lazier, please tell me if you don't like it),

When I was younger, up until my mid-20s I guess, I had less control over my emotions. I was a lot more sensitive, meaning my feelings were more easily hurt and I was in a lot of emotional pain (for various reasons). There was a lot going on. Maturity (I think) has led me to this more comfortable place, where I live more on an even keel, and the actions of others have far less effect on my emotional well-being. I think that's a good evolution for an NT. It means that I can make decisions by looking at a bigger picture.

However, I am also highly intuitive and if a situation or a person doesn't "feel" right, I go the other way. I'm usually on point and part of my growth has been to learn when to listen to intuition even when there is no obvious basis in fact and not question it. Everytime I've gone against my intuition regarding a person, I've regretted it eventually.

What kind of reads on people do you guys get?

Ago 23, 2007, 12:51 am

citygirl ... yes, my reading as an INFP is centered around relationships, as is my approach to studying history.

At this point in life, though, I am trying to recapture the love of fictional worlds that I knew as a child. An analytical streak can be ground into most anyone, while the root of faith -- which allows us to dream along with novelists -- stuggles to maintain its hold. Poets, on the other hand, get by a little easier in my reading ;)

Ago 25, 2007, 11:28 pm

#16 CalicoGal, what do you mean, your approach to studying history is centered around relationships? When I read that my mind went immediately to the Medicis (I don't know why) and the power that certain families had and individuals within the family, and how sometimes the artist is one of the few allowed close enough to see a lot of what's going on. That's all to say that I hate history books, but I love a good story, and to me, those kinds of relationships can make a good story. Is it similar for you?

Ago 26, 2007, 11:05 am

# 16 and 17

I love history but only social history. I think ties in well with my INFPness. Social history has a large element of feeling.

Ago 26, 2007, 11:17 am

#18, inkdrinker, what do you mean by "social history"? How is it different from "history" or "sociology" or "anthropology"? :)

Ago 26, 2007, 1:39 pm

"Social history is an area of historical study considered by some to be a social science that attempts to view historical evidence from the point of view of developing social trends." - Wikipedia (not always the best source... but the definition is what i was thinking.)

Ago 26, 2007, 2:07 pm

Let me try to catch up inthis discussion.

Message #2

inkdrinker, I like your list.  I would expand it toaddress both INTX, INFX, as well.  The list contains many styles that arecommon to those as well.  The reading experience is great introverted/intuitivetime.

I'vebeen told on several occasions that INFP's are very auditory.  I work forone and although she does read books visual she is a big fan of audiobooks.  What do you think?

Citygirl, sometimes I make a decision using all my logic tools and then my intuitive/internalvoice (sometimes I really think it's a voice...I don't think I'm crazy)suggests an alternative (usually better decision).  In fact I've found ifI can stand drowning my self in the details (or at least what I think are the importantdetails) my intuitive/internal voice can put it all together.  I just lovewhen that happens! Feelings can be important when I'm concerned about stability(I don't like emotion conflict...and yes it is not easy being ateacher...another story another time) of a situation.  I have to gage them(feelings) and take preemptive actions to keep the harmony in a situation.

Message #8
TheresaWilliams,Absolutely...we are all the 16 profile types...we just have a center of gravity(a focus point of preference) that we are more comfortable with.  I usethe analogy of left-handedness and right-handedness with my students.  Even the XXTX’s of the world have feelingsthat come into play.

Sorry…I'll have to come back and finish to take go take care ofsome things.




Ago 26, 2007, 6:00 pm


That's so funny you said that INFP's are auditory people. I had never heard that before. I am an auditory learner. However, I'm not that big on audio books. I like them, but it doesn't seem like reading. I probably only listen to about one maybe two a year.

Ago 26, 2007, 6:50 pm

I am also an INFP, but read just about anything. I do like fantasy/sci-fi as INFP's are said to. However, anything will do. I read some non-fiction, but prefer a good novel. I think my latest book is a great example of an INFP read. I should finish The Historian tonight, and I love it. It is a wonderful fantasyish book to escape into, and that is why I read. There is plenty of the real world around me, reading is for escapism. I love big wordy novels with twists and turns and puzzles in which I can get lost.

On the other hand, I do love science and will read about it on occasion, but mostly for work.

Ago 31, 2007, 12:44 am

#17 citygirl, I am like unto inkdrinker in that I am drawn mostly to social history, and yes .... unto you in that it is the relational aspects of the past which I find compelling. I also enjoy reading of the commonplace in history. For example, a professor of mine once labeled the typical menu choices of medieval folk as unimportant. I disagree (though I would hesitate to have a taste of boiled eel)!

Ago 31, 2007, 12:51 am

#'s 21 & 22

I am surprised to hear that INFP's are thought to be auditory learners. While I also am such a one according to type, I believe that I am more inclined to a visual intake of new information. Actually, I really just prefer a quiet setting in which to read, to ponder and to dream.

Ago 31, 2007, 12:23 pm

Speaking of auditory and visual learning. I read this book years ago, The Open Mind by Dawna Markova, which posited that we all have different learning combinations, e.g., visual for the conscious level, kinetic for subconscious, and auditory for unconscious. (I think that's my combination).

The book is somewhere in a box :-(, which is too bad because I'd love to take another look at it and try to make some inferences about typing and learning styles.

I learned in some book, maybe The Open Mind or possibly The Gifted Adult, that because I'm such a strongly visual learner that I can find people's faces distracting when they're talking to me. If talking to someone I know pretty well and they're telling me something important, I often look away and tell them, "I'm paying more attention to what you're saying this way." It's trickier when I have to speak to someone in a business context and can't do that. I have to concentrate really hard.

Set 25, 2007, 10:27 pm

Fantasy and sci-fi are NF genres? Really?

If you dissect my choices, it's something like fantasy, sci-fi, science, philosophy, biography. My actual personal "library" is mostly the first two.

But regarding reading styles: does anyone read, then later re-read, and so forth? It may just hold true for me because my automatic reading mode is at a speed best classified as "skim"; though I don't lose as much information as if I had truly skimmed through the book, it's not quite as good as slow, meticulous reading for catching bits of information.

Set 26, 2007, 11:39 am

does anyone read, then later re-read, and so forth?

It depends on what it is:

Fiction - If I've taken notes in a book because I'm studying the writing, I'll go back and read selected passages with a critical eye. I'll reread Harry Potter and Lemony Snicket. Otherwise, no. Maybe if it's years later I'll reread a favorite. But so many books.... How fast I read depends on the whether the book's a page-turner. If a novel has a lot of discussion of ideas in it, e.g. Mating by Norman Rush, City of God byE.L. Doctorow, or I'm unfamiliar with some aspect of the novel (type of language used, a time period or geographic setting that is very distinct from what I'm familiar with) I'll read it more slowly, especially at the beginning.

Non-Fiction - Usually I skim for the most relevant parts first and then go back for needed information. A book like Please Understand Me II is something that I go back to frequently as questions arise or if I've forgotten something.

Out 3, 2007, 1:18 pm

Excellent discussion here! I've learned so much reading this. I have to say a couple of things...

Im an INFP too, BTW. TW - reading your posts gave me goosebumps! It seems we have a very similar way of looking at things. Very interesting.

I love to read all kinds of books - in fiction my preference is between fantasy, scifi, and classic lit. I read a lot of non-fiction of all kinds, history, natural science (animals), physics, philosophy, psychology...

On the auditory learning comments - I like listening to non-fiction better and prefer reading fiction. If I have already read the book, listening to it is really very enjoyable, for instance listening to the classics like Jane Austin.

Out 3, 2007, 1:27 pm

#26 citygirl - I just read your comments on having difficulty looking at people's faces while they talk. I've the same challenge and used to take my glasses off to blurr the image. I could listen with less distraction that way. I'm still not good at it, I use a notebook to take notes which helps me to listen. Paper is less distracting than faces.

I have a client who is a brilliant medical researcher, she is an older woman and drives my co-workers nuts because she will look anywhere and everywhere but at them when they are talking with her. I can relate, so it doesn't bother me. I find that if I stand or sit beside her, she is much more comfortable than if we are facing each other.

Out 3, 2007, 5:48 pm

Actually, villandry, I think some researcher or another has done experiments showing that people tend to be put on the defensive less often if their conversational partner is seated beside them, rather than across from them.

Nov 9, 2007, 10:47 am

INTJ here. I don't think my type has anything to do with the books I like and read. If it interests me, then it does. Guess that is a typical INTJ comment.

Editado: Jul 17, 2008, 5:43 pm

I just found this really old thread, but it did put me to thinking about what I really enjoy and whether being an ESFP has anything to do with it. Although I read all sorts of histories, philosophy, etc. the things I enjoy most of all are rip roaring adventure yarns that are geared for a male audience, which is interesting since I'm female. I recently finished King Solomon's Mines and found I enjoyed it more than anything I'd read in some time. I've been left with an urge to run off to Africa and go looking for diamonds. If you're out there vpfluke, as a fellow E, any analysis?

Jul 17, 2008, 8:59 pm

Well, I'm an ENTP, and am more E than I but probably only little more extraverted.

I'm currently reading The Christmas Train by David Baldacci, and this book has a fair amount of adventure on it, but it is set on a train, so it isn't really fast paced in the rip roaring sense. I did just finish The Shadow Speaker, a Nigerian science fiction and that was an adventure also, but not necessariy geared for a male audience. The shadow speaker herself in the novel had a very heightened intuitive sense, and that's what I related to, although the heroine was also extraverted and needed other people for her own fulfilling.

Being called away. Maybe will post later.