keirsey-1998Keirsey D. (1998) Please understand me II - Temperament, character, intelligence. Del Mar, Prometheus Nemesis Books.


For the past twenty years Keirsey has continued to investigate personality differences -- to refine his theory of the four temperaments and to define the facets of character that distinguish one from another. His findings form the basis of Please Understand Me II, an updated and greatly expanded edition of the book, far more comprehensive and coherent than the original, and yet with much of the same easy accessibility. One major addition is Keirsey's view of how the temperaments differ in the intelligent roles they are most likely to develop. Each of us, he says, has four kinds of intelligence -- tactical, logistical, diplomatic, strategic -- though one of the four interests us far more than the others, and thus gets far more practice than the rest. Like four suits in a hand of cards, we each have a long suit and a short suit in what interests us and what we do well, and fortunate indeed are those whose work matches their skills. As in the original book, Please Understand Me II begins with The Keirsey Temperament Sorter, the most used personality inventory in the world. But also included is The Keirsey Four-Types Sorter, a new short questionnaire that identifies one's basic temperament and then ranks one's second, third, and fourth choices.


Dr. David West Keirsey was born in Ada, Oklahoma but moved with his family to California when he was two years old. His interest in psychology happened in the 1940's during his World War II service as a U.S. Marine fighter pilot serving in the Pacific. The one book Keirsey carried with him through his entire war service was a psychology book; this book was the first spark of his journey into the field of personality.

After the war, at Pomona College and the Claremont Graduate School, Keirsey began his research and study of human behavior. As he researched historical literature in psychology, philosophy, and the sciences, he became intrigued by the patterns of four temperaments. These four distinct patterns of human behavior were woven throughout history, dating back to such figures as Hippocrates and Galen.

In the 1950's, he began putting his theory into practice as an Educational Psychologist, where he developed techniques in helping troubled and troublesome kids and their parents. He also developed techniques for counselors in training and coaching. For more than two decades, he served as a consultant to both educators and psychologists, with continued research and innovations in his theory of the four temperaments.

In the early 1970's Keirsey introduced his theory as an educational curriculum at California State University, Fullerton, where he served on the faculty, and eventually chair, in the department of counseling for ten years. During his time there, he published his theory in the book, Please Understand Me (1978), where he publicly introduced the Keirsey Temperament Sorter(R) to the world. Since then he has continued his research and refined his ideas and wrote several books including Please Understand Me II (1998) and Brains and Careers (2008). He has retired from public but is still working on his theory of madness and hopes to publish that theory in the book Dark Escape.

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