The perfect summer reading for every Myers-Briggs personality type.

The perfect summer reading for every Myers-Briggs personality type.

Today I’m combining two of my favorite things: personality theory and summer reading.

I’ve chosen a great summer read that features a protagonist representing each of the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types. Should you only read the book for your type? Of course not. But seeing which characters embody the various types will help you better understand the Myers-Briggs Type Index and yourself.

Not sure which type you are? Take this short, free test to find out.

Series: ISTJ: "The duty-fulfiller." (Traits: capable, logical, reasonable, peaceful)
The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

$8.54$1.99
Author:
This novel is such good fun for book lovers, and at its heart is small-town bookseller A. J. Fikry. He's seen better days: he's isolated himself after the death of his wife, his bookstore sales are at record lows, and he's decidedly cranky about the state of publishing. Like any good ISTJ, he still takes pride in his work and is a model of personal responsibility. So when a mysterious package (a baby!) arrives on his doorstep, practical, no-nonsense Fikry does the right thing, and it's incredible to see what happens next. An engrossing story about second chances. More info →
Series: ISFJ: "The nurturer. (Traits: warm, generous, dependable, loyal)
The Lost Sisterhood

The Lost Sisterhood

Author:
Philologist and Oxford lecturer Diana Morgan has been obsessed with the mythical tribe of women warriors known as the Amazons since childhood, when her grandmother claimed to be one, then disappeared without a trace. When Diana is invited on a mysterious expedition that claims to have proof of the Amazon's existence, she's too brave (and stubborn) to refuse, even though the plan seems shady. Diana is soon trekking across continents to uncover the truth about the women warriors—and her own family. This sweeping novel switches back and forth in time between Diana and her ancient counterpart Myrina, putting a unique spin on the familiar tale of the Trojan War. More info →
Series: INFJ: "The advocate." (Traits: devoted, passionate, altruistic, gentle)
To Kill A Mockingbird

To Kill A Mockingbird

Author:
In this Southern classic, small-town attorney Atticus Finch attempts a hopeless defense of a black man unjustly accused of rape, and to teach his children, Scout and Jem, about the evils of racism. Atticus is that rare combination (truly, because INFJs make up less than 1% of the population) of idealism and action: though soft-spoken, he will fight to the death for what he believes in. There's no question he'll defend Tom Robinson: Atticus strives to see the world made right, on the large scale and the small. A moving story about an iconic character, and the powerful effect he has on his community. More info →
Series: INTJ: "The strategist." (Traits: intelligent, observant, self-confident, decisive)
Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice

Author:
Oh, My Darcy. You're such a classic ... INTJ. Everything about this man rubs Elizabeth the wrong way: he dislikes crowds and is uneasy socializing with strangers. He's comfortable talking about facts but hates talking about feelings. And he's very perceptive: in a short amount of time, he can form a picture of someone's character. When he makes a decision, he acts on it, which only further complicates things (see: that awkward proposal, separating Bingley from Jane). But he's a man of his convictions—brave and stubborn and protective of the people he cares about—and that brings us to a happy ending. Eventually. More info →
Series: ISTP: "virtuoso." (Traits: optimistic, flexible, action-oriented, analytical)
The Signature of All Things

The Signature of All Things

Who would have thought moss could be so interesting? Gilbert's sweeping novel follows the life of the enigmatic Alma Whittaker, a 19th century scientist (before that was even a word). A maker at heart, and very aware of her strengths and limitations, Alma struggles to develop her unifying "Theory of Competitive Alteration" to describe her findings. Gilbert brings the field of botany to life in this ambitious novel. Add Audible narration for $12.99. More info →
Series: ISFP: "The composer." (Traits: hands-on, creative, perceptive, free spirit)
Harry Potter Series

Harry Potter Series

Author:
The first Harry Potter book came out in 1997. You might think everyone's read it by now, or at least that no one would need to be urged to add it to their summer reading lists, but you would be wrong: the kids and I finally convinced my husband (INTP) to tackle the series this summer. To those who oppose the evil Lord Voldemort, young Potter is The Boy Who Lived, though as an ISFP he's a reluctant leader. Like most ISFPs, Harry is passionate about the things that matter to him and has good instincts about people: he's well-liked by most, and confides in carefully chosen close friends. He can be reckless and impulsive, living very much in the moment, and he'd always rather be chasing adventure than tidying up the details, which he happily leaves to Hermione. Luckily for the reader, Harry's madcap adventures make for great reading. More info →
Series: INFP: "The dreamer." (Traits: sensitive, imaginative, idealistic, thoughtful)
Anne of Green Gables

Anne of Green Gables

Author:
Anne is a textbook INFP: an idealistic kindred spirit who lives more in her dream world than the real world. She can talk the hind leg off a mule (according to Rachel Lynde), but she needs quiet time alone, and drifts into deep thought when she should be focused on practical matters (like geometry, or Marilla's dirty dishes). She's a hopeless romantic, committed to her ideals, and guided by pure intentions—though that doesn't keep her from getting into plenty of scrapes. She brings compassion, kindness, and beauty wherever she goes, but it's never a smooth road: when she's happy, she soars as if through a glorious sunset—then crashes with a sudden thud. Unlike Marilla, who prefers to skip the flying and the thud, the INFP in Anne wouldn't have it any other way. More info →
Series: INTP: "The thinker." (Traits: independent, unconventional, rational, ingenious)
11/22/63: A Novel

11/22/63: A Novel

Author:
In King's beloved Maine, high school English teacher Jake Epping discovers a doorway into the past: into 1958, to be precise. In true INTP style, Epping starts experimenting, and realizes any changes he makes in 1958 have a corresponding effect in the present. (INTPs are inventive, creative, and smart, and tend to act on ideas that aren't fully developed—like, say, stepping into a wormhole into 1958.) Before long, Epping commits himself to a bold mission: to prevent the Kennedy assassination. King's weird blend of history is decidedly creepy, but not scary, and I found it enthralling, if a bit long. More info →
Series: ESTP: "The doer." (Traits: active, energetic, sociable, adventurous)
Gone With the Wind

Gone With the Wind

This epic Civil War drama tells the tale of the Old South from the dawn of the war through Reconstruction through the eyes of Scarlett O'Hara, a beautiful, vivacious Southern belle, and a quintessential ESTP. Dramatic and passionate, Scarlett delights in being the center of attention: she is quite literally the belle of the ball. Like many ESTPs, Scarlett can turn on the charm or be intensely practical (or both at once, if you consider her marriages). ESTPs live in the present and believe life is a daring adventure: Scarlett barely hesitates before she takes on midwifery, the Union Army, Atlanta burning, or battlefield hospitals. Her enthusiastic adventures keep you turning the pages. More info →
Series: ESFP: "The performer." (Traits: adaptable, spontaneous, outgoing, fun-loving)
Everyone Is Beautiful

Everyone Is Beautiful

In this breezy, relatable novel we meet Lanie Coates: a talented artist whose creative work has slowly been crowded out by her three small boys. Lanie's spontaneous style is hampered by the demands of motherhood, and she desperately misses her art. (No surprise: ESFPs have the strongest aesthetic sense of any type.) Things come to a head when Lanie leaves everything behind to move across the country for her husband's career. ESFPs are more likely to avoid conflict than address it, which predictably leads to trouble. It's no spoiler to say that Lanie finds her way back to herself, and she does it by finding a way to let other people shine. Classic ESFP. More info →
Series: ENFP: "The inspirer." (Traits: bright, confident, enthusiastic, charming)
Bridget Jones’s Diary

Bridget Jones’s Diary

Author:
At the dawn of another New Year, Bridget Jones is 32, single, and desperate to take control of her life—so she starts keeping a diary. And such a diary. Bridget is a free spirit, fond of witty banter, enthusiastic about everything, and her enthusiasm lives on every page, where she shares her never-lukewarm opinions about everything from diet to work her love life. She may seem flighty, but she's always searching for deeper meaning. She also has great people skills. This might not be obvious when she first meets straight-laced barrister Mark Darcy (INTJ), but the novel is based on Pride and Prejudice, so of course they get off to a bumpy start. More info →
Series: ENTP: "The originator." (Traits: quick-minded, rational, conversational, improvising)
Faithful Place

Faithful Place

Author:
When he was 19, Frank Mackey planned to run off with his girlfriend Rosie Daly: they would cut ties to home, get married, and start a new life in England. When Rosie didn't show, Frank assumed she changed her mind and left without him. But 22 years later, Rosie's suitcase is found hidden in their planned meeting spot. Frank never got over her, and he'll do whatever it takes to uncover what happened. Frank's ENTP qualities make him a first-class detective: he's painfully honest and willing to deal with unpleasant truths. He knows his weak spots, expects the sucker punch. He believes the most important thing every man should know is what he would die for. Depressing, but French tells a great story. This is the third book in her Dublin Murder Squad series, which can be read in any order. More info →
Series: ESTJ: "The guardian." (Traits: dependable, straightforward, practical, conscientious)
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand

Author:
Major Pettigrew is your typical model citizen: honest, dedicated, and dignified, devoted to tradition and order. He has clear ideas about what is acceptable, is absolutely inflexible, and sticks to his principles in all situations. So when an unexpected friendship, and then maybe something more, blossoms between this consummate Englishman and the local Pakistani shopkeeper, the whole village is aghast. Like most ESTJs, Major Pettigrew is socially adept, but not great at reading other peoples' emotions, and that leads to all sorts of misadventures on the road to happiness. A winsome story with an unlikely hero. More info →
Series: ESFJ: "The caregiver." (Traits: warmhearted, tactful, consistent, enthusiastic)
North and South

North and South

This is Gaskell's Pride and Prejudice. Margaret Hale, an outspoken and energetic woman from the South of England, is forced to move to an industrial town in the North with her family. As an ESFJ, Margaret is resistant to change, and is sentimental about the loss of her old, idyllic life. Margaret has zero qualms about calling out anything unjust, and she forms immediate, strong opinions about the Northern factories, which she doesn't hesitate to share with John Thornton, who runs a local mill. But as Margaret begins to understand and participate in Milton life, she begins to understand, and then enjoy, the town and its people—and can see that she's been clinging to a romanticized version of life in the South, and has seriously misjudged Mr. Thornton as well. (Don't skip the book, but the 2004 BBC miniseries is terrific.) More info →
Series: ENFJ: "The mentor." (Traits: charming, gracious, warm, creative)
Emma

Emma

Author:
Jane Austen called Emma "a heroine whom no one but myself will much like." That may have been true had Emma remained as she was on page one: 21 years old, "handsome, clever, and rich," vain and snobbish. But, Austen's own opinion aside, she's not hopeless. Charismatic and confident, Emma is a natural leader. She loves being the center of attention, yet takes a genuine interest in others—and has a tendency to get a little to involved in their problems, especially when it comes to matchmaking. (No surprise: relationships are central to an ENFJs life.) In fact, she's so focused on her idealistic dreams for other people's matches that she fails to perceive what's actually happening, whether in her own relationships, or theirs. Emma's eyes are opened when that vanity becomes the source of her worse pain, plunging her into the familiar Austen journey of regret, remorse, and self-discovery. More info →
Series: ENTJ: "The commander." (Traits: goal-oriented, forceful, confident, efficient)
Still Life (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Mysteries, No. 1)

Still Life (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Mysteries, No. 1)

Author:
Armand Gamache, head of homicide for the Sûreté du Québec, is summoned to investigate a murder in the sleepy village of Three Pines. In Penny's novels, the murders aren't the focus of the story, exactly—they're an excuse to explore human nature, including the sharp-minded inspector himself. ENTJs love a good challenge, and believe any puzzle can be solved if you pay attention to the right things. Gamache is an expert listener: he claims his job is to "collect the evidence, but also to collect the emotions." Gamache is charismatic and inspiring, larger than life to his team and the villagers, quietly heroic and incredibly kind. It's no wonder Penny calls him her "ideal man," and keeps cranking out novels for him to star in. More info →

Want more book recommendations? Check out the 2015 Summer Reading Guide.

P.S. MBTI: strengths :: enneagram: motivations, my burst of insight, and 5 reasons discovering your personality type will change your life.

The perfect summer reading for every Myers-Briggs personality type

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101 comments

  1. BlondeRJ says:

    To clarify, I’m sure many INFJs have actually read To Kill a Mockingbird, and who doesn’t enjoy it? But I think it’s probably a bad pairing of their actual personality. You’ve got to pick something with fantasy. 🙂

    Oh, and I still hate Margaret Hale. 😛

    • Anne says:

      Chuckling at Margaret Hale. And you’re right, this list features a protagonist from each personality type. Picking just the right book for each personality type to enjoy (like you’re saying, fantasy for an INFJ, etc) sounds HARD, but awesome.

  2. Nat says:

    Great list of books, thanks for the recommendations, Anne!

    I’ve read another articles that actually type Margaret Hale as an INFP (not the dreamy kind of INFP, but the extremely idealistic one). I certainly see her more as an introvert, and INFPs tend to speak up bluntly when their values are threatened (just like Margaret does; actually, I’m an INFP and I have behaved a little like her in the presence of injustice or conflict), because our Te tends to take control when we are under extreme stress. But I confess that I’m still learning about MBTI and cognitive functions. What do you think about this possibility of Miss Hale as an INFP? 🙂

  3. Danny says:

    To be honest, I hadn’t expected this to be accurate. Scrolling down to find my type, I kept seeing books that I thought looked boring, and even saw that INTJ, which I had been mistyped as for a while, had “Pride and Pejudice” — which I wasn’t the least bit interested in reading, at all — but I must admit I was pleasantly surprised when I got to INTP and saw that you’d put a Steven King’s book. Reading the description, I can honestly say I’m planning on reading this book first chance I get. Thanks for the great recommendation, and good job!!

  4. Abby says:

    I’m an ESFJ and North and South is one of my FAVORITES!

    I just wanted to come over here and tell you that I’ve just discovered your blog. I feel like we’re kindred spirits! I am making my way through all of your posts, little by little. I am inspired by your post about making time to read. People ask me that all the time, but it’s my favorite thing to do–it’s my reward for the day. I read on my Kindle and my phone when my nursing baby is on her way to sleep, and on my Kindle when i dry my hair. Also in the bubble bath. I would love for my two little ones to see me reading BOOKS instead of my “phone” (even if it is a book). So after reading your post, I’m going to pull out some real books and leave them around the house and just be ok with having several books in progress instead of just bingeing on one at a time.

  5. Melanie says:

    I am an INFP and Anne of Green Gables was absolutely my most favorite of allll the favorites, I wanted to be just like Anne when I grew up. In fact now that I think of it my husband kind of looks a bit like Gilbert from the movie…. (Wow… I just put that together….😳). Little Women was a close second, do you think Jo was an INFP too?

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