Carl jung personality types book

10 Books You Need if You Want to be a Myers-Briggs® Expert

Do you like typing people in your free time? Do you like learning more about how your mind works and where your strengths and weaknesses lie? Do you really care about accuracy in your assessments of people? If so, you definitely will want to check out this list of 10 essential books about personality type. I’ve learned at least 100 times more from these books than I ever learned from the MBTI® practitioners course. I’ve read over 50 books on personality type and these 10 are the absolute essentials you’ll need if you want to have a well-rounded view and perspective of Myers-Briggs® or Jungian type theory.

Not sure what your personality type is? Take our new personality questionnaire here. Or you can take the official MBTI® here.

This post contains affiliate links. I only recommend books I truly believe in.

#1 – Psychological Types (The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Vol. 6) (Bollingen Series XX)

You really can’t have a true grasp of type theory without starting at the source, and that’s where Psychological Types comes in. Famed Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung wrote this book after decades of research and experience with people from all walks of life and with all kinds of backgrounds. He gets in-depth and brutally honest about the cognitive functions and the good and bad sides of each of them. Jung called this book “the fruit of nearly twenty years’ work in the domain of practical psychology”. He provides the depth, and experienced wisdom that many other books about type lack. Be prepared, however. Psychological Types might shake up some pre-conceived notions about type and some over-simplified meanings you’ve heard elsewhere, so get ready to have your understanding of type altered and expanded! Find out more about this book, or order it for yourself: Psychological Types (The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Vol. 6) (Bollingen Series XX)

#2 – Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type

Isabel Briggs-Myers knew that Jung’s work on personality type was heavy reading and rather confusing to a lot of people. She sought to simplify and compound his work into something more understandable and with a practical application. In comparison to Psychological Types, Gifts Differing seems a little “watered down”, but it’s still full of wisdom, insight, and easy-to-understand descriptions of the cognitive functions and the types themselves. This book also talks about how your type develops with age and type development in children. Find out more here: Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type

#3 – Building Blocks of Personality Type: A Guide to Discovering the Hidden Secrets of the Personality Type Code

I just bought this book a couple of months ago, and I don’t know how I lived without it before! Hunziker and Haas describe and give examples of the cognitive functions that are so well-rounded and easy to understand! Building Blocks of Personality Type explains how to identify each of the cognitive functions in yourself and how to identify the functions in others. It also goes WAY beyond the basics and addresses the shadow functions, problem-solving using type, managing change, improving communication, and more! This book is one I’ve been picking up again and again to refresh my understanding of type and get a deeper look at what it would be like to live as any of the personality types. Find out more here:Building Blocks of Personality Type: A Guide to Discovering the Hidden Secrets of the Personality Type Code

#4 – The MBTI® Manual – Third Edition

Feel like stifling the rumors that the MBTI® is a bunch of baloney? Then you absolutely need the official MBTI® Manual. This book contains the results of hundreds of studies on the reliability and validity of the MBTI®. Does that sound boring? Well, then there’s a lot more to discover here! You can get in-depth descriptions of each type, find studies that link type to IQ scores, SAT scores, stress, leisure activities, and coping skills.  You can actually see brain scans that show the difference between the introverted and extroverted brain. You can find out what job preferences different types have and how well they tend to do in college! This book is full of decades-worth of research about how type manifests in real life from childhood through adulthood. If you want a bunch of statistics, data, and research on the MBTI® instrument and theory, then this book is indispensable. Find out more here.

#5 – Neuroscience of Personality: Brain Savvy Insights for All Types of People

If you want to get down to the nitty-gritty science behind your personality type, this is the book to read! Author Dario Nardi is a UCLA professor and expert in the field of neuroscience. His book will open your eyes to the unique brain activity of each type and will show you the actual scientific evidence for Jung’s theories! You’ll find out which personality types are the best (and worst) listeners, which types naturally take charge, and how different types find “flow”. You’ll see the different brain regions that get the most use from each type as well. This book has visuals and diagrams to really help you understand how we all use our brains differently. Find out more here: Neuroscience of Personality: Brain Savvy Insights for All Types of People

#6 – Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence

David Keirsey’s groundbreaking work on personality type is considered highly controversial among many type enthusiasts. Keirsey sorted the personality types into temperaments (NTs, NFs, SPs, SJs) and he also didn’t delve into the cognitive functions, which is considered a travesty to many people. There are a number of people I know who’ve disregarded his work completely for that reason alone. While I’m a firm believer in the importance of the cognitive functions, I also believe that Keirsey discovered some amazingly accurate things about type during his 20 years as an educational psychologist. His type profiles are so in-depth and beautifully written that it’s almost scary. He goes back in history and finds connections between type and historical figures like Hippocrates, Galen, George Washington, and Mohandas Gandhi. He talks about the different types of intelligence that he’s witnessed by observing hundreds of individuals as a psychologist. Please Understand Me has been used in governments, churches, schools, and colleges across the nation as a vital resource for better understanding of others. It’s easy-to-read, hard to put down, and invaluable if you want to have a fuller understanding of not just type, but temperament. Find out more here: Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence

#7 – Depth Typology: C. G. Jung, Isabel Myers, John Beebe and The Guide Map to Becoming Who We Are

Ready to go deep into the shadow processes of personality type? If you’re tired of the basics and want to really get into some heavy-duty theory about the whole-psyche dynamics of type, then this book is essential. This book will show you how you use your non-preferred functions, and how you might have difficulty relating to other types because they are triggering your shadow functions. This book discusses the power and use of each cognitive function, as well as how it can be expressed depending on its placement in your function stack. Hunziker talks about archetypes, culture and personality type, and how to develop yourself fully as an individual using each function at your disposal. This book is heavy reading, and definitely not for newbies to type theory, but if you’re ready to take the dive, you’ll get a lot out of it! Find out more here:Depth Typology: C. G. Jung, Isabel Myers, John Beebe and The Guide Map to Becoming Who We Are

#8 – Nurture by Nature: Understand Your Child’s Personality Type – And Become a Better Parent

As a mother of four (going on 5) this book has been invaluable to me! Its pages are worn and dog-eared from over 11 years of use. While I think that Paul D. Tieger and Barbara Barron-Tieger sometimes over-simplify type by relying more on dichotomies than functions, I do find that their type descriptions for children are extremely accurate and helpful. Nurture by Nature talks about how to identify your child’s type, how to communicate with your children more effectively, and how their type might manifest differently depending on the child’s age. If you are a parent, a teacher, or a child psychologist, this book is going to be a favorite resource, I guarantee it! Find out more here: Nurture by Nature: Understand Your Child’s Personality Type – And Become a Better Parent

#9 – Functions of Type: Activities for Developing the Eight Jungian Functions

Do you want to develop your cognitive functions with easy, everyday activities? Functions of Type gives amazing descriptions of the cognitive functions, and also gives dozens of ways to develop them and utilize them in everyday life. If you want to become more well-rounded and conquer some of your weaknesses, this book is essential. You can go through the book and score how well you use each function by answering some simple questions, and then you can find out whether or not you need to work on developing those functions, and how to do it! Find out more here: Functions of Type: Activities for Developing the Eight Jungian Functions

#10 – My True Type: Clarifying Your Personality Type, Preferences & Functions

If you’ve ever struggled with settling on your type or finding the type of another person, this book is a great resource! Dr. A.J. Drenth gives clear, understandable descriptions of the functions and differentiates them from each other in a way that is easy to identify and connect with. If you’ve been having a hard time figuring out whether you’re an introverted sensor or an extraverted sensor, an introverted or extraverted intuitive, or what type of feeling or thinking you use, than this book can really help you quickly. Find out more here: My True Type: Clarifying Your Personality Type, Preferences & Functions

Books I’ve Written About Type

If you want to check out the books I’ve written about type, you can check them out in my shop. I haven’t listed them in my top 10 list simply because they are related to one specific type (the INFJ) or a specific set of issues (stress) and are not exactly essential if you want to be an expert on type in general.

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Carl Jung Personality Types - Typology

Carl Jung Personality Types, By Fiona Ross

The Framework

The typing of personality assumes a classificatory framework within which one person’s type can be compared and contrasted with another. The framework for Jung’s typology has a mandala configuration, a squared circle divided into four with a cross radiating to or from the centre, carrying the promise of balance, union and the connection of opposites. For Jung the mandala was an expression of the psyche and a symbol of self-realisation and individuation. This configuration creates the diagram of a unitary and centralized psychological field in which a person is operating.

Historical Influences

Jung was continuing a long historical development of applying a classificatory framework to human personality and temperament. Some of his acknowledged influences were:

Oriental Astrologers who classified people according to zodiacal signs presiding over the elements earth, air, fire and water. This system was depicted as a circle with centre, cross and opposites.

Hippocrates who established the belief in ancient Greece that the balance of body fluids, considered as two pairs of opposites, blood and phlegm, choler and bile, determined character.

Gnostic Philosophers recognised three types corresponding to three of Jung’s psychological functions: thinking, feeling (which was regarded as inferior) and sensation.

In contrast, Christianity upheld the principles of love and faith but kept knowledge (thinking) at a distance.

The eighteenth century German poet and philosopher Schiller wrote of a nucleus (e.g. poetry) that could be separated out into its opposites. For example, poetry could be divided into Naïve poetry, dominated by sensations, in which the poet is pulled into the object, and Sentimental poetry which is intuitive and characterised by the poet’s reflection on an inner impression of the object. Jung saw a congruence between Naïve and Extraversion and between Sentimental and Introversion.

Jung drew on the work of the philosopher Nietzsche and the psychologist William James in postulating the opposing attitudinal types of Introversion and Extraversion. Nietzsche distinguished between the Apollonian impulse which was introspective, creating an inner vision, a state comparable to dreaming, and the Dionysian impulse of unbounded instinct gripped by barbaric nature. James characterised two temperaments, the Rationalist who believes in abstract and eternal principles and the factual Empiricist. He tabulated pairs of opposing qualities characterising the two types. Although not agreeing with James’ characteristics, Jung also believed in pairs of opposite qualities.

Attitudinal type

Jung understood theory as an expression of the personality type of the theorist. He saw Freud’s extraversion  reflected in his predominantly centrifugal theory, emphasizing a striving for pleasure in the object combined with repression of unacceptable wish tendencies. This contrasted with Adler’s centripetal, or introverted, theory with its central concept of ego superiority, supremacy of the subject.

Jung wanted to create a psychology which was equally fair to both types. In 1913 he published ‘A Contribution to the Study of Psychological Types’ which consolidated his separation from Freud and presented his first ideas on differing types of consciousness. In this paper Jung argued that there were two contrary movements of the libido; Extraversion, with interest given to the outer world, and Introversion, implying a devaluation of the object world. These represented two habitual orientational attitudes towards the world; an outward movement of interest towards the object or a movement away from the object to the subject’s own psychological processes. Extraverted psychopathology was associated with defences against depression, whereas introversion was characterised by defences against emotional isolation.

Psychological Functions

Jung conceptualised consciousness as a self-regulating structure present at birth, centred in an ego that expressed its ability to orient the psyche through different attitudes and functions. The four functions were presented as two pairs of opposites, Thinking and Feeling, Intuition and Sensation, with an individual’s dominant mode of functioning being locatable somewhere on each continuum. Functions had a compensatory capacity, with the unconscious function primed to balance unhealthy one-sided conscious functioning. The under-developed attitude or function was an aspect of the shadow and consequently very powerful.

Consciousness was seen by Jung as a product of both rational and irrational processes of encountering and assessing reality. Sensation and Intuition are the irrational functions in the sense of their being perceptive, data gathering modes. Thinking (objective) and Feeling (subjective) are the rational functions: they are ways of processing information and making decisions. Sensation tells us that a thing is, Thinking tells us what the thing is and Feeling tells us what it is worth to us. Intuition is about trusting hunches. For Jung psychological disturbance reflected psychic imbalance, with neurosis overemphasizing the characteristic traits of a personality. One of the major tasks of the first half of life was to learn to express effectively one’s dominant function and attitude.

Jung identified eight main personality types:

A brief indication of each type follows.

  • Extraverted Thinking
    Principled, idealistic, objective, rational.
  • Introverted Thinking
    Influenced by ideas, independent, often fearful of intimacy.
  • Extraverted Feeling
    Adaptive, relating well to the external.
  • Introverted Feeling
    Sympathetic, pleases others, may be dependent, reserved.
  • Extraverted Sensation
    Realistic, concrete, pleasant and friendly.
  • Introverted Sensation
    Calm and passive, restrained, controlled and controlling.
  • Extraverted Intuition
    Enterprising, outgoing, can be irresponsible.
  • Introverted Intuition
    Mystical, dreamer and artist. Can be obsessive.

Jung classified himself as an introverted thinker with intuition as his next strongest function.

Post-Jungian Developments and Possibilities

There is a question as to whether psychological types could be linked to other typologies. An association with body type, or somotype, was made by Kretschmer in ‘Physique and Character’ published in 1921, the same time as Jung’s  Psychological Types. Arraj has explored the possibility of an integrated typology including physical and biochemical types. This could form a valuable link with susceptibility to particular diseases. (Arraj 1986).

Beebe (2006) has deepened Jung’s theory by linking function-attitudes with archetypes and archetypal complexes. Mahlberg (1987) has broadened Jungian theory in associating the four functions with the concept of morphic resonance, propounded by the biochemist Rupert Sheldrake, whose theory is one of formative causation whereby the forms of previous systems influence the morphogenesis of subsequent similar systems. Mahlberg linked Introverted Feeling with sensitivity to morphic resonance, and Extraverted Feeling with the ability to transmit morphic resonance.

The Myers-Briggs Type Inventory was devised to put Jungian typology to practical use outside the analytic process. A combination of the two attitudes and four functions, with the addition of Perception and Judgement, which were regarded as implicit in Jung’s work, give sixteen different types. The results of a paper and pencil questionnaire give four letters indicating the dynamic relationship between attitudes and functions for any one individual. The inventory has become the most widespread commercial application of Jungian theory.



Arraj, J. (1986). ‘Jung’s Forgotten Bridge’. Journal of Analytical Psychology, 31(2), pp. 173-180.

Beebe, J. (2006). ‘Psychological Types’, ch. 6 in The Handbook of Jungian Psychology, ed. Papadopoulos, R. K., London: Routledge.

Jung, C.G. (1971).  ‘General Description of the Types’, in Psychological Types, Collected Works vol. 6, Ch. X, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

Hillman, J. (1971). ‘The Feeling Function’, Part 2 of Lectures on Jung’s Typology, Woodstock, Connecticut: Spring Publications.

Mahlberg, A. (1987). ‘Evidence of Collective Memory: a Test of Sheldrake’s Theory’. Journal of Analytical Psychology, 32(1), pp.23-34.

Myers, K.D. and Kirby, L.K. (1994). Introduction to Type: Dynamics and Development, Oxford: Oxford Psychologists Press.

Quenk, N.L. (1996). In the Grip: Our Hidden Personality, Palo Alto, California: Consulting Psychologists Press.

Von Franz, M.-L.  (1971). ‘The Inferior Function’, Part 1 of Lectures on Jung’s Typology, Woodstock, Connecticut: Spring Publications.

📖 Psychological types. Jung KG Read online

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Personality typology according to Carl Jung and influence on culture

How does the nature of perception of the world depend on the psychological type of personality and what is the nature of the archetypal images of the collective unconscious in the works of the Swiss psychiatrist and culturologist Carl Gustav Jung


The name of Carl Gustav Jung is often associated with the name of another famous psychiatrist, Sigmund Freud. Despite the fact that Jung was already popular at the time the scientists met, Freud's work and views had a significant influence on him. However, while mastering and adopting a number of Freudian postulates, Jung was critical of some of his friend's conclusions. Over time, the degree of contradictions between them increased, and in the end there was a complete break.

Carl Jung

Wikimedia Commons

It is during this period of deaf loneliness and "internal hesitation with no ground under his feet," as Jung himself described it, that he turns to the experience of images of the unconscious. Analyzing his own psyche, the scientist comes to the conclusion that it is the psychological type that determines the judgments of the individual.

The problem of typology becomes a key one in the scientist's research. The results of this most voluminous life-long work are expressed in the book Psychological Types.


Jung identifies two main psychological orientations of personality:

> introversion

> extraversion

and two groups of basic functions (subtypes): rational and irrational. Subtypes determine the nature of the perception of the world and depend on what the value judgment of the individual relies on - on logic (amenable to analysis) or on subjective perception.

Rational Young functions:

  • feeling . It is difficult for a person with such a function to make decisions. He enjoys experiences and "sweet suffering", and when making a choice, he can make it not deliberately, but rather impulsively - taking risks. In adulthood, in such people, the emotional vector often changes, so that they become characterized by conservative views. They may also have difficulty adapting to change. For example, emotional extraversion first helped Arthur Rimbaud to become a brilliant poet and attract the attention of his contemporaries, and later contributed to creative burnout and the rejection of writing.
  • thinking . Personalities with this subtype rely on logic: based on chains of cause and effect relationships, they predict possible outcomes. The view of an individual with the function of thinking covers the whole process, taking into account all the little things and details. Slow and collected, such people, first of all, rely on facts, paying special attention to organizing their own time. The tendency to think, together with introversion, probably became one of the factors that allowed Albert Einstein to develop the most complex theory of relativity: the scientist clearly planned his every day, was extremely collected, and methodically analyzed the necessary facts, moving step by step in the right direction.

Jung refers to irrational functions:

  • feeling . People with this function have a sensory type of perception. They are mainly interested in the present, they live every moment in its entirety, all objects “exist” for them only if they have sensory characteristics: weight, volume, color, etc. The categories of good and evil are evaluated by such people through experience - that is, personal experience. For them, the empirical path of cognition is relevant - observation, experiment, comparison, measurement. The famous empiricist Francis Bacon became one of the most prominent English philosophers thanks to his conviction that every phenomenon of the surrounding reality can be experienced.
  • intuition . Individuals with an intuitive function are impatient, impetuous, they often reject the accumulated collective experience (past) and reality (present), preferring to be guided by their own convictions in any situation. Such people do not depend on the assessment of others. Rene Descartes paid special attention to intuition, meaning by it new forms of cognition that are not reducible to logic. Having a tendency to rely on intuitive judgments, the philosopher did not recognize any theories without intuitive (a priori clear) axioms and was convinced that the main thing in a person is the ability to think. One of the most famous expressions of the scientist: "I think, therefore I am. "

The combination of orientation and function forms eight psychological personality types. For example:

> extraverted thinking type

> Extraverted feeling type

> Introverted intuitive type


Developing Freud's theories, Jung forms a new category - the collective unconscious, which determines the type of mental reality outside the personality. "It", as Freud called the unconscious, is based on the experience of an ancient person, myths, images and genetic memory passed down from generation to generation. The collective unconscious literally represents the "memory of the ancestors" - that is, successive memories that accumulate not in the mind of a particular person, but in the mind of a whole family.

However, just one generalized category was not enough for a comprehensive analysis of mental processes, so Jung introduced the concept "archetype" - and identified a whole series of basic images of the collective unconscious, based on art, religious aspects and experiences of spiritual practices.

An archetype is a special program of perception and reactions to the surrounding reality, embedded in a person from birth. Jung associated each archetype with a tendency towards self-expression and, as a culturologist, attached great importance to art. Therefore, the unconscious in Jung is more of a cultural nature, while in Freud it is personal, physiological.

Six archetypes of Jung:

  • Anima is the unconscious feminine in a man. The image of the Virgin Mary, mother, Mona Lisa;

  • Animus is the unconscious masculine in a woman. Image of Jesus, father, Don Juan;

  • A person. The social role of a person, stereotypes imposed in childhood, the need to comply with social encouragement. The image of the mask instead of the true personality;

  • Shadow. Unconsciously mirrored attitudes, persistently affirmed in the mind of the individual. Everything is unacceptable, immoral, repressed. The image of Satan, Hitler. Contrasted with Person;

  • Self. A harmonious archetype striving for integrity. Thanks to him, the core of the personality is regulated;

  • Sage. Image of the Prophet, life wisdom and knowledge


Archetypes can be traced literally in all spheres of society - these are the logos of famous companies, and the heroes of films, books or legends, and vivid cultural images. They are most clearly manifested in the visual arts - after all, each picture visualizes ideas about certain objects from the point of view of artists, each of which, in turn, is influenced by certain archetypes.

Animus and Anima, opposed to each other, represent the gender pillars of personality. These archetypes are unconscious and lead directly to the unconscious. The connection between Anima and the unconscious can be seen, for example, in the rituals of shamans, who often use female paraphernalia, clothes and jewelry in preparation for rituals. An excellent example of the visual representation of the unconscious is the painting by the Peruvian shaman and artist Pablo Amaringo.

Pablo Amaringo

The manifestation of Anima is noticeable in Orthodox icons: men are often depicted with long hair, thin graceful features, narrow wrists, often they are completely devoid of a hint of a mustache or beard.

Andrei Rublev. Icon of the Archangel Michael from the Zvenigorod tier. Early 15th century

State Tretyakov Gallery

Anima, as the female part of the unconscious, forms emotionality, irritability, and in some cases even hysterical sensitivity in a man. Animus , on the other hand, the masculine part unconsciously in a woman, appeals to such concepts as a general conscience that creates public opinion, the image of morality and encouraged virtue. A typical example is Joan of Arc, who mastered an exclusively male, relative to her time, occupation. The unconscious Animus formed an image of honor and valor in the heroine's mind, created the ultimate goal, pushing her to cardinal decisions. Visualizations of Joan of Arc are also often associated with male attributes (armor, men's clothing, weapons).

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres. Joan of Arc at the coronation of Charles VII in Reims Cathedral. 1854

Louvre, Paris

Persona and Shadow are often opposed to each other, as what is formed under the pressure of society, and what is repressed, as unacceptable and immoral. These archetypes are at the heart of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Just as two entities coexisted in one person - a decent doctor and a dissolute criminal - the Person and the Shadow exist in the unconscious.

The self, as Jung notes, is a contradictory archetype that constitutes a true personality with light and dark sides. After the development of the Self, the Ego (the negative part) separates from it, just as, according to Jung himself, Satan separated from God. However, the paradoxical nature of the Self (recognition of good and evil, male and female, intellectual and stupid) makes this archetype individual and collective at the same time, creating the unique features of each person.

Under the archetype Sage is understood the desire of the individual for discoveries, experience and knowledge. A striking example is the character of the famous trilogy "The Lord of the Rings" - the magician Gandalf. Like the archetype itself, the hero appears in those moments when it is necessary to make a decision or find a way out. It is not uncommon for a developed Sage archetype to lead to insight through dreams, borderline states, or mystical experiences, often bordering on reclusion and insanity.

Jung considered these attitudes to be unconscious trends, repressed by traumatic experiences. Over time, they can become destructive, exhausting a person with repressed aspects and the need to suppress certain traits of his personality.

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