Please Understand Me Review
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Did you ever wonder what cosmic irony leads us to fall in love with our polar opposite, and then drives us to remake them into exact facsimiles of us?

Maybe youíre someone who canít go to the bathroom without your Blackberry, but youíre set gloriously free by a guy who canít find his cell under all the old pizza boxes. Perhaps youíve been procrastinating for years about whether to take that road trip up the Pacific coast or replace your furnace, and you find yourself dazzled by a woman who sits you down, works out a budget, then tells you to fix the furnace, promising that sheíll give you plenty of breathtaking scenery right there in the living room.

But, over time, those endearing traits get on your nerves. That laid-back guy doesnít return your calls because he still canít find his cell phone, and budget woman keeps telling you how to rearrange your furniture for your three-hundredth living room great escape. And then, inevitably, the cloning process begins.

The premise of Please Understand Me: Character and Temperament Types, by David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates, is that our personality differences are real, but theyíre gifts to be cherished, not objects to be re-sculpted. Until we acknowledge that fact, itís easy to judge others who donít think and behave as we would in their situation.

The authors use the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a well-established clinical personality measurement tool, to assist readers in understanding the distinctions between four different temperaments (the desire for freedom, usefulness, power, and being). They also review 16 personality types, which reflect differences in how each draws energy, gathers information, makes decisions, and deals with closure. The book also provides a questionnaire to allow the reader to identify his or her type. Additional chapters explain how personality patterns show up in mating, childhood, and leadership.

So do I recommend it? Absolutely. The a-ha! experience can be so rewarding that most people I know want their loved ones to do it, too. Sometimes, itís just so they can say, ďSee? I told you!Ē But allís fair, because their friends or family members get to say it right back when they get their results. And, with any luck, what follows is laughter, hugs, and a little more kindness.

There are those whoíd say you canít reduce individuals to a type or a label. I certainly agree. But a bit of insight into our muddled, often stressful self-images and relationships can be welcome, and this book delivers. These days, web sites offer quizzes that invite you to answer a few questions, so you can learn exactly what kind of candy bar you are. Thank God, this book doesnít do that. What it can do is help you better accept yourself and those you loveóor even those you donít! So give yourself a gift, and go read it.

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