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. (Is it difficult to type fictional characters? Yes, because the text usually provides incomplete information. I’d love to hear alternate theories in comments.)

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 begin exploring your type.

Some links—including all Amazon links—are affiliate links, which means at no extra cost to you, you support what we do here on Modern Mrs Darcy. More details here.

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

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

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 →
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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 →
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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 →
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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 →
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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. More info →
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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 →
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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 →
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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 →
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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 →
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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 →
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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 →
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Series: ENTP: "The originator." (Traits: quick-minded, rational, conversational, improvising)
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Taylor Jenkins Reid branches out with a hot new summer release that's quite a departure from her previous works. Her first historical novel focuses on an aging Hollywood starlet, fashioned in the image of Elizabeth Taylor and Rita Hayworth, whose successful career is less intriguing to the public than her tumultuous personal life, namely her seven husbands. Before she dies, Evelyn wants to tell the world which was her one true love, and so she plucks a young journalist from obscurity to write her celebrity tell-all. Evelyn's ENTP qualities make her a strong candidate for her intimate memoir: she's painfully honest and willing to deal with unpleasant truths. As was true with her career, Evelyn knows her weak spots, and expects the sucker punch. In the twilight of life, she knows what she MUST tell the world before she dies, and she's doing it. More info →
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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 →
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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 →
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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 →
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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 →
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Want more book recommendations? Check out the 2017 Summer Reading Guide and take the What’s your reading personality? quiz.

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

P.P.S. I wrote a book about personality! In Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything, I walk you through 7 different frameworks, explaining the basics in a way you can actually understand, sharing personal stories about how what I learned made a difference in my life, and showing you how it could make a difference in yours, as well.

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43 comments

    • Jennifer N. says:

      You might want to check by your acronym. I am an “adventurer” according to the quiz she linked, which lists as “the composer.”

  1. MC says:

    I see a lot of faves on this list, but you absolutely nailed my recommendation. I’m an ISTJ and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry was top three books last year. I loved it so much.

  2. Stephanie says:

    Thanks for the list Anne! I am an ISFJ, but noticed some of my favorite books listed are under complete opposite personality types, mostly the extroverts. Hmm… just curious, anyone else feel this way too?

    • Liza says:

      I’m an INFJ, heavy on the I and most of my favorites on the list are also extroverts. In real life, all my best friends have always been extroverts. They bring me into conversations and activities that I probably wouldn’t otherwise participate in. It makes sense to me that I’m drawn to them in books as well.

    • Sherry Sharpnack says:

      I was shocked that I scored more introverted, 55-45. I must not have answered the questions correctly! Anyway, I saw several interesting books, and some that I have already read, under different personality types.

  3. Elaine says:

    Another good personality indicator model, one that I like even better than Myers-Briggs (which measures preferences)is the Enneagram (which measures motivation). I wondered if you are familiar with it. Fr. Richard Rohr has done some interesting writing about it in a spiritual context but there are also more secular explorations by a number of authors, mainly Helen Palmer. The concept is taught by Sandra Smith at the Alchemy Institute in North Carolina; her workshops are terrific! A link for the Enneagram Institute: https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/type-descriptions

  4. Cheralaine says:

    This is hilarious! I scrolled down quickly to find my INTP book and laughed! I had put off reading 11/22/63 until just last month. I read it and loved it. Great recommendation!

    • Jill says:

      …same – INTP, picked up a copy of the book about a year ago, read it this April. Loved it so much, had to watch the Hulu series right after!

    • rhonda says:

      haha me too. I tend to the analysis paralysis so I’ve been looking at this book for years and saying no, but maybe I’ll give it a try.

  5. Janet Miles says:

    Love this list. I have been meaning to (re)read To Kill a Mockingbird for a while now. I can’t even remember if I read it in high school! The other books look good too! Thanks!

  6. Florence says:

    I took the test and am an ISTJ. As I was reading about the ISTJ personality, I must agree that I really am an ISTJ. So I added The Storied Life of A.J.Fikry to my Want to Read list but several others looked interesting too.

  7. Rachel says:

    As an ESFP, I could not get through Everyone is Beautiful…. her life with small children and all of the emotions felt to real for me and I needed an escape not a version of real life. So all of that to say, the main character probably is an ESFP.

  8. Allison says:

    I’m an INFP and just read Anne this year. I don’t identify with her chattiness, but definitely with everything else about her!

    I also just read Jane Eyre, and I’m pretty sure she’s an INFP as well.

  9. Heidi says:

    I don’t see much for the ISFP-A here. I’m an Adventurer and would love to know if there are any books out there embracing this type.

  10. Dana says:

    I am INFP and, of course, I love Anne of Green Gables. She is who I want to be when I grow up! I was in the middle of re-reading it when we moved last month and it has not surfaced in my stack of books. I may have to go buy another copy ( ! ) So many books on the list are ones I have read and loved: Major Pettigrew, 11/22/63, ( which is in my top 10 favorite books ever), AJ Fikry, To Kill a Mockingbird, which will forever be my #1 favorite book, Harry Potter, which I have read and re-read, ( got the illustrated version for Christmas this year), Pride and Prejudice, which I want to re-read soon. Have Emma and The Signature of All things on my TBR list. read Gone With the Wind when I was 10 or so. I was staying with my grandparents in Atlanta and I had read everything else available. I love mysteries, but i did not care for the Inspector Gamache. Read the first one and that was it. Some of the others sound intriguing.

  11. Kristín says:

    Loved this post (as always 😊). I’m an INFJ and I remember reading Gone with the wind and absolutely hating Scarlett at times while also being fascinated by her – emotions I’ve experienced with real life ESTP’s as well 😉
    Have you ever done a post on Harry Potter and MBTI? Would love to read or hear more from you on that subject.
    Much love from Iceland 😙😙

  12. Veronica says:

    I’m a ENTJ, the commander. I always have to restrain from taking charge, lol. I love the Louise Penny series, so it fits! I like a lot of the other books listed under some of the other personality types as well.

  13. Greg says:

    I listened to the audio version of “The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry” last year during my daily commute. Nothing wrong with it, just not not a favorite. If I had been reading it, I probably would not have finished it. Do you (or anyone else) have another recommendation for an ISTJ engineer please?

  14. Guy Austin says:

    So I was pegged INFP-T so… Anne of Green Gables huh? Ironically I bought it to read with my daughter this summer. Not sure if the hanging T changes things. Not sure I’m a solid Dreamer. But it sure is close.

  15. Sheryl Esau says:

    I’m an ESTP and I have zero interest in reading Gone With the Wind. However, I was an Escapist in Anne’s survey, so I guess I just want to escape my own personality type when I read! Many of the other books are much more intriguing. I loved AJ Fikry!

  16. I think a lot of ENTJs like Science Fiction and Fantasy. So I would choose Cinder from The Lunar Chronicles. She is fiercely loyal to her friends and not afraid to make unpopular decisions. Kelsier from Sanderson’s book, Mistborn, because is a charismatic leader.

  17. I’m an INFJ and I (of course) fantasize about which 3 books I would love and which book would be “not my favorite” if I was ever on WSIRN and To Kill a Mockingbird is hands down my most “not favorite” book. Oops. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve attempted to get through it and failed. However, my INTP husband read and loved your pick for him so go figure.

    • Rae says:

      I’m an INFJ too and found it uninteresting in high school. I’m totally a Harry Potter and Anne of Green Gables fan! However, I feel I read to escape my thoughts, so putting myself in a different world with some comparable traits must be more my thing 🙂

  18. Susan says:

    I am an INTJ, and I love Pride and Prejudice! As an INTJ though, I hate it when Elizabeth is first wrong about Wickham — I want her to see through him right away and don’t want her to be fooled by him in the least! Sure, Darcy makes mistakes too – but I have such high expectations for Elizabeth that I don’t want her to be wrong.

  19. Kristina says:

    I also agree that this is spot on, I’m an ESFJ and really identified with Margaret when I read North and South years ago. It also helped me “type” one of my real life mentors (which I’ve been curious about for a while), who bares amazing resemblance in personality (and Penny’s physical description) to our beloved Inspector Gamache!

  20. Beth T. says:

    I love everything about this list except the characterization of Louise Penny as “cranking out” books featuring Armand Gamache. Her books are finely crafted and beautifully layered works! Hardly “cranked out”…

    Other than that, I found the list spot on. Even as a little girl, my mom likened me to Anne of Green Gables, and when I took the test I was labeled an “INFP-T”. I still find “Anne” a soothing book to which to retreat when the world is draws too close and is too noisy.

  21. Bettylou says:

    Over the years as I’ve taken the Meyers Briggs repeatedly, I’ve learned that I usually have only a slight preference for E over I and P over J. I searched for my current result (ENFP) and had read that book so, why not check some of the variations. I’ve read and enjoyed each one of the four. I’m only 4 for 12 of the remaining types. Interesting. Do I unconsciously self-select or are the genres really that different? Looking forward to reading your book when it comes out.

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