If you’ve never heard of the Myers-Briggs Personality Test, now could be the time to look it up. It’s NOT a one-size-fits-all fortune telling quiz. Everyone paints their type with their own shades and it really is a spectrum. The test results are meant to be more of a guideline to how you approach life than a point by point outline of your exact personality.
If you’re interested, the test can be found here. It’s free and takes around 10 minutes.
Some of the personality types enjoy reading above all other hobbies. Some of the types would literally rather do anything else but waste time sitting still and reading. Either way, here is a brief description of your personality type and two suggestions for book genres that might match with your unique perspective on reading.
INFP – Introverted Intuitive Feeling Perceiving
INFPs are one of the types that generally love reading, and may twist words around every day for their job. True idealists, this type can seem very shy but that quiet outside hides a deep inner flame. Fiction is a favourite, for sure, but they also enjoy works that help them form a deep understanding of themselves or others. Private time to recharge is very important to this personality type. The world can batter them down, especially with that idealist outlook.
To regain some hope after a bad few days, try heading to worlds where everything is already ideal with Fantasy. Here’s a Goodreads listopia for inspiration.
Although it might not be a genre they’ve considered, Romance can also be an entertaining escape. We’ve got a list of The 10 Top Romance Authors right here on BRMW to get you started.
ENFP – Extroverted Intuitive Feeling Perceiving
ENFP’s are free spirits that thrive in a social and emotional web. They see everything as connected, but unlike the more logic-based personality types they don’t analyse each connection to bits, they are happy just to feel it. Emotions are an important part of their outlook on life. When it comes to reading, sitting down for an entire thousand page book is not an ENFPs cup of tea. They do enjoy reading but fit it in around their social commitments.
For fun, try collections of stories that are humorous or satirical (and short). Try this List of 100 Short Story Collections curated by BookRiot.com.
For learning, try stories about Travel and Adventure. The Art of Manliness blog has a good list of 50 Non-Fiction Adventure Books for you.
INTJ – Introverted Intuitive Thinking Judging
Introverted but also very logical and analytical, INTJs approach life with a chess mentality. Moves and countermoves get them through. They might have been labelled the “geek” or “bookworm” when they were younger because they love knowledge in any shape or form and are always ready to learn. If you want random fun trivia, this is the personality type to ask. When it comes to reading INTJs are happy to dig into anything that interests them. If they don’t find it compelling, they won’t waste their time.
For fun, try books about real-life Science/Medicine. Not dry textbooks, the living and breathing stories behind medical/scientific advances like The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson.
For learning, try collections of unique trivia. Like Other Worldly: Words Both Strange and Lovely From Around the World by Yee-Lum Mak or Lost in Translation, an illustrated list of untranslatable words from other languages by Ella Frances Sanders.
ENTJ – Extroverted Intuitive Thinking Judging
Extroverted with a strong, leadership personality ENTJs keep the long term in mind. Like ENFPs this personality type thrives on connections, but unlike the FP type, they approach things with logic and analysis more than their feelings. When it comes to reading, ENTJs approve of the idea of acquiring different types of information through the written word, but actually doing it is the hard part. They are often very busy and focused on the future, which makes reading one more demand on their valuable time.
For a relaxing read, they might like Mysteries. Here are the Top 100 Mysteries of all time from the Mystery Writers of America.
For an educational read, they may like Nonfiction Biographies of famous or successful people. Out of the 25 Recommendations for Life Changing Biographies from ThoughtCatalog.com, there should be some that look worth checking out.
INFJ – Introverted Intuitive Feeling Judging
INFJs are introverted, but combine that trait with a deep sense of connection to the world. They can have a strong belief in karma and hate injustice. They might be quiet about it, but they carry deep beliefs and will fight hard for them. Omnivorous in their reading style, INFJs are passionate about finding new knowledge to absorb. Pretty much anything from speculative fiction to researching new medical advances online can hold these folk’s interest.
For fun reads, try the other worlds present in Fantasy. Paste Magazine has a list of the 30 Best Fantasy Books of All Time for you.
For learning, try the eye-opening stories in Speculative Fiction. NPR has a list of 100 readers voted favourites that are pretty eclectic.
ENFJ – Extroverted Intuitive Feeling Judging
ENFJs are busy extroverts and may wish sometimes that they had more time to sit down and read. This type has a strong personality and they are often found at the head of the charge for a cause they believe in. They have a love of learning that occasionally can get them to sit and devour a book on their latest topic of interest. When they do get some time for a book, ENFJs might enjoy reading outside as part of their relaxation time, or as part of a book club for that social feel.
For fun, try Literary Fiction. Library Thing.com has a list of the best Contemporary Literary Fiction you can check out.
To stimulate the brain, try books about personal growth and leadership. Harvard Business Review curated a list of 11 Books Every Young Leader Must Read if you’re interested (I’m never going to say you must read them, but I didn’t go to Harvard.)
INTP – Introverted Intuitive Thinking Perceiving
The most logical and precise of all the personality types, INTPs are also known for a robust intellect that they take pride in. Wading through details to logic out a solution is something these people love. They might appear to be daydreaming but in reality, their minds are buzzing non-stop with ideas, solutions, problems and possibilities. As introverts, they are happy to share this thought process with a select few, but large groups of new people will never hear about it.
Slowing this personality type down enough to sit and page through a book can be a challenge. Sure, they have stacks of books in their TBR pile but they have gotten distracted from finishing a lot of them.
For fun, they should try Humour or Satire like the works found in this list from Ranker.com.
To enrich the intellect, try Science Fiction, especially collections of experimental short stories. Electric Literature has the 25 Best Short Story Collections of 2016 to get you started.
ENTP – Extroverted Intuitive Thinking Perceiving
Oh, you ENTPs. No one debates like an extrovert who views the world through logic. Not only does this type not shy away from conflict, they seek it out (as long as it’s intellectual sparring and exchange of knowledge, not baseless mud-slinging). They develop a deep understanding of others as they seek each side of an issue, the better to debate it from all angles. Reading is something this personality type enjoys, the problem is that they start constructing arguments with the words as they read and get distracted from finishing the book!
For a fun read, try the escape of pure Adventure/Thrillers or Westerns. NPR has the Top 100 Killer Thrillers for you to pick and choose (damn I wish I’d thought of that title too.)
To build up that knowledge, try true life Mysteries/Crime. Here are 9 Books For the True Crime Obsessed from the Barnes and Noble blog.
ISTJ – Introverted Sensing Thinking Judging
The most common-sense of all the personality types, ISTJs are driven first by logic, integrity and dedication. Nothing makes them roll their eyes harder than hearing someone say they “followed their heart” because making decisions based on the whims of a blood-pumping mass of muscle is not something they can see working in real life. Heart following types may see them as cold, detached or emotionless but they would be wrong. It’s just very difficult for ISTJs to break out of the logic long enough to express their feelings. When it comes to reading ISTJs enjoy it as long as it connects to them in practical ways.
For fun, this type should try reading Historical Fiction with characters they can personally relate to. Here’s 50 Essential Historical Fiction Books from Abe Books.com.
For learning, try nonfiction accounts of Medicine mayhem, like this list from Book Riot.com.
ESTJ – Extroverted Sensing Thinking Judging
Strong believers in authority and tradition, ESTJs like to bring together a community through their organising. They don’t do the hard work of bringing people together alone, preferring to form a trusted group to get things done. It’s hard for them to understand that not everyone in the group might want to work as hard as they do, and dishonesty is the fastest way to tick them off. Getting ESTJs to sit and disappear into a book in the midst of all this organising is extremely difficult. There are thousands of other things they could be doing, especially when they have to sit and read alone with no people to interact with.
For fun, this type should try reading the book form of a movie they’ve just seen. Check out this Listchallenges.com survey of Books Made Into Movies.
For an interesting read, try an Autobiography of a favourite person as part of a book club. (ESTJs might like organising their own book club too.) Business Insider.com has 13 Inspiring Autobiographies to try.
ISFJ – Introverted Sensing Feeling Judging
Although introverted, this personality type tends to have great social skills. Though they react to the world by feeling, they are also excellent at using their judgment and analytical thinking. To others, this personality type can seem like a conundrum. Truly selfless, they enjoy taking care of people but do not enjoy big public expressions of gratitude (there’s that introversion coming through). When they get a break from taking care of everyone, this personality type does enjoy a good read.
For fun, ISFJs might enjoy escaping from the everyday world entirely with Manga or Comic books. CBR.com has a list of 15 Must Read Manga Series for Comic Fans, go check it out!
To inject a little trivia into the reading and still keep it fun try Historical Fiction/Romance. Try this Abe Books.com list of 50 Essential Historical Fiction Books
ESFJ – Extroverted Sensing Feeling Judging
The popular kids on the personality spectrum, ESFJs thrive on social interaction and are truly interested in keeping up with how their (many) friends are doing. Going off into metaphysical discussions turn this type off, they would prefer talking about fun, practical things or even better, doing something practical and fun. They love to help, and also enjoy being appreciated for what they do. Criticism of their ideas or offers to help are like arrows right to their heart and felt deeply. This personality type does enjoy reading but has to justify the time spent doing it when they could be helping someone else instead.
For fun, they could try the deep connections found in Literary Fiction. Librarything.com has a list of 30 Contemporary Literary Fiction novels.
For an educational read, they could try Dramas set in the time period they are most interested in. Washington Independent Review of Books has a list of The Top 10 Historical Fiction Authors to give you some ideas.
ISFP – Introverted Sensing Feeling Perceiving
ISFPs shine in the spotlight. They like to push boundaries and change expectations. An adventure that engages all five senses, preferably outdoors, with their small group of trusted friends is the perfect day for an ISFP. They then surprise everyone by holding up for a little while, far from the spotlight, to recharge. Sensing is very much how they approach life, and music is their tool of choice. Reading is not first on the list when they do pick up a book they want something whimsical and fun.
For fun, this type should try Urban Fantasy with a dash of Romance. The Barnes and Noble blog has 16 Complete Urban Fantasy Series to dive into.
For sensory cerebral reads, try Poetry. Entropy Magazine has you covered with the Best of 2016: Poetry Books and Collections
ESFP – Extroverted Sensing Feeling Perceiving
All the world’s a stage for ESFPs, and they shine. This is the friend most likely to burst into random Disney songs and, even better, get everyone to join in. They are also encouraging, caring, generous friends. Reading is not a fun activity for ESFPs because they see it as cutting themselves off from the world. When they are stuck reading they aren’t sensing the people around them and that is not their idea of a good time, so they don’t read much.
For fun, they might like to read the novel form of the movies they’ve seen with their friends. Elle.com has a list of 25 Books Becoming Movies This Year and by this year they mean 2017.
For educational reads, ESFPs could try the fun articles in their favourite magazines. Huffington Post has you covered with 5 Under the Radar Style Magazines for you.
ISTP – Introverted Sensing Thinking Perceiving
Curious and very rational types, ISTPs are people who make things. Trial and error and hands-on is their preferred method to approach life. How can you know how to do something unless you can touch it, work with it, and keep trying until you get it? They are friendly but extremely private and please don’t interrupt them when they’re in the middle of a project. Being hands-on, reading isn’t really a go-to activity for them and when they do read they want to learn about useful, real things.
For fun, ISTPs might enjoy Western adventures. Earlybird Books has the 12 Best Darn Western Books of All Time for you to try.
For a practical read, a manual or how-to book about their current project is the best idea. Vocademy.com has The 10 Best Books to Inspire Makers which sounds perfect for ISTPs.
ESTP – Extroverted Sensing Thinking Perceiving
Last but definitely not least, ESTPs are the leap before they look type of personality. Intelligent, energetic, passionate and dramatic all describe ESTPs. They love to take risks. Sometimes they pull right over their more sensitive friends without even noticing. They enjoy learning and researching but aren’t super great at sitting down for prolonged study periods.
For fun, ESTPs could try Nonfiction Adventure stories (they’ll probably get ideas from reading them!) The Art of Manliness.com has a fun list to get started with.
For research, ESTPs can try the short but interesting articles in Science & Technology Magazines. All You Can Read.com has a list of the Top 10 to inspire you.
What do you think? Do these genres fit in with your personality? If not, give us a fix in the comments for others with your personality type to try!
(Beautiful illustrations were taken from 16personalities.com)
13 thoughts on “Book Genre Recommendations: Based on Your Myers-Briggs Personality”
I took the test twice and came out as an Advocate first, then Mediator. I think it was right the first time… but after all, no one is one specific type. I’m probably a mix, but the genres for each kind of fit me. I’m actually not that into fantasy (unless it’s Harry Potter, ha!), but I’m definitely a romance fan and like to explore different non-fiction genres.
This is the most genius idea for a post I have ever seen. For realsies!
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That’s super kind of you, thanks
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As an INTJ, I can confirm that The Ghost Map is an amazing book. I was required to read it for a class recently, and am glad that I enjoyed it so much.
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That book was so fascinating!
I am an ENTP and definitely thrillers are my favorite go to. As the debater I am, I generally would be solving out mysteries in my mind while reading the book and most of the time I guess out right.
Gayathri @ Musings Over Nothing
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Do you yell at the characters who make dumb choices too? Pretty cool that you guess the mystery!
Oh yes. That is my true calling in life.
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“Sensing is very much how they approach life, and music is their tool of choice. Reading is not first on the list when they do pick up a book they want something whimsical and fun.”
Wrong. So wrong. Reading IS and has ALWAYS BEEN first on the list. Good lord … urban fantasy with a dash of romance? How about historical fiction … REAL historical fiction, not costume romance novels. And I’ve never been much into poetry either, which is their secondary recommendation.
None of this should surprise me, since the entire “personality profile” was pretty far off. A handful of traits were recognizable as me, but as for their main description – they could have been describing an entirely separate species!
OK, this is so funny.
I am an INFP and my husband is an ENFP.
The illustrations were so apropos! I am a hippie by temperament and love hippie clothing and being outdoors. My husband is CONSTANTLY dragging us on hikes, just like the ENFP in the picture!
That said, Stephanie Jacobs is right: Meyers-Briggs doesn’t describe everyone well. Out of the four traits, some people don’t have a clear preference for one or the other, and that can affect how the other traits manifest in your personality. Also, Meyers-Briggs doesn’t measure important things like energy level, sensitivity, and social styles. It can happen that you learn a social style that doesn’t match your Meyers-Briggs type, or that you are an extraverted type who is nonetheless a “highly sensitive person.”
I think that was what was meant by the paragraph at the top saying that each person “shades” their own type differently.
You can read Please Understand Me, which described the types, and for every type, you can usually think of a person you know who exemplifies it. But you will not find every person in your life described in the book.
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It’s always good to remember the Meyers-Briggs is just one out of nearly endless ways to describe the people around us. Thank you 🙂