Here’s What Kind of Books You’ll Be Writing, Based on Your Myers-Briggs Personality Type
Author’s Note: This article is an expanded version of my brief answer to a question I once received on Quora about personality types.
1. ENTJ: Memoir/Autobiography
ENTJs love efficiency-a little too much, in fact, that they end up focusing on their goals and neglecting everything else. Thus, it’s no surprise that they’re likely to write a memoir of their success story. Sure, there are a few failures sprinkled inside, but the book will mostly zero in on the ENTJ’s ability to turn ashes into monuments of glory.
2. ESTJ: Self-Help Guidebook
I’ve had my fair share of dealings with ESTJs all my life, so I know that if there’s another type who’s laser-focused on success as hell-bent as ENTJs, it’s this type. So, a self-help, 50-step book about how to achieve your goals is probably their choice of write-up. Each chapter details the importance of each step if the readers wish to succeed in life.
3. ESTP: Western Adventure
ESTPs generally love stories that give protagonists enough freedom without the emotional baggage of sad backstories. That’s why swashbuckling adventures are a go-to haven, and a Western is likely a good place to start. Imagine the chronicles of a solitary, nameless character with a shady past, and her journey from an outcast to saving the whole town as its dashing heroine.
4. ESFP: Situational Comedy
These types are born performers who bask in the adulation of their audiences, and it shows in their writing preferences, too. An ESFP with acerbic wit and wicked sense of humor can easily write a comedy about batshit things to say and do to get by at work-with situational anecdotes and vivid descriptions of despicable colleagues and [their] horrible bosses.
5. ENFJ: Motivational Book
Have you met someone whom you thought can start a cult and garner a hundred followers right away? Ever-charismatic, ENFJs generally relish coaching others on many things-including life. Therefore, they’re likely to write a motivational book about the search for true meaning in life, and how the book’s protagonist wishes to share their success with others. More importantly: The book’s semi-autobiographical.
6. ESFJ: Romance
There’s no other type who loves a happy-ever-after more than ESFJs. Yes, there are heartbreaks, but good should always prevail. And what better way to show it than through a romance novel? We read about a hero who secretly falls in love with his best friend, who is betrothed to his own brother. Don’t worry: Despite everything, a happy ending is in sight for everyone.
7. ENTP: Psychological Thriller
Say what you want about ENTPs being endless debaters, but their arguments-even those deeply flawed or flat-out wrong-can be persuasive. This is true for ENTP writers, who would love to mess with readers’ minds. So imagine reading a psychological thriller that challenges your perception of truth and reality. Plot twists are expected, so unreliable narrators can pull the rug from under.
8. ENFP: Short Story
ENFPs are very creative and they have a way with words (clever wordplay being plot twists? Sign me up). But they also fight with their worst enemy: Distractions. If their interest wanes, they’ll quickly lose steam. So for ENFPs, it’s either a collection of funny short stories with Checkovian elements, or an encyclopedic book with a Dostoevsky level of chaotic organization. There is no in between.
9. INTP: Science Fiction
The Jungian type with Introverted Thinking (Ti) as its dominant function, INTPs obsess over the obscurest of possibilities, as long as they hang by even a single thread of logic. No surprises here, INTPs would love writing a science fiction starring the heroine’s quest for knowledge by traveling across the universe. Interstellar travel can be the primary plot, and scientific theories are in full display.
10. ISTP: Do-It-Yourself Manual
As the craftsmen and artisans of the 16 types, ISTPs love doing things their way, and they don’t normally warm up to company. Their predilection for practicality and solitude to achieve maximum efficiency is shown though a do-it-yourself book that helps its readers how to learn new stuff. Think of guides for assembling an IKEA chair and a LEGO Death Star…or a book about Programming for Dummies.
11. ISTJ: Nonfiction/History
I’m friends and colleagues with a number of ISTJs whose efficiency are rarely brought into question. They are also the types who don’t dive into theories and instead focus on facts and details. So an ISTJ may write straight-up nonfiction: No bullshit, cheesy one-liners, or sordid platitudes. This may be a thoroughly researched biography of the ISTJ’s hero, or the fall of an ancient civilization.
12. ISFJ: Fable/Parable
Yes, they’re usually stereotyped as meek, duty-oriented protectors, but ISFJs live by a strict moral code that revolves around serving those whom they care about. This code carries over to their writings, which may include a comic or children’s book that appeals to all audiences, with descriptive details on the ISFJ’s love for fighting evil with good. Other examples include superhero comics or Aesop for adults.
13. INFP: Epic Poem
Pound-for-pound, there’s no other personality type with a vivid imagination than INFPs (INXXs can make a case, but they all fall a distant second). Hence, an epic poem is the obvious choice here, about a lonely hero feeling like a social pariah set in a backdrop of lush landscapes of a fantasyland…or arid desolation of a post-apocalyptic earth. In short: Imagine George Orwell writing a Homeric poem.
14. ISFP: Surrealism
ISFPs love expressing themselves in freewheeling medium-music, art, books. So what do you get with an ISFP who isn’t constrained by conventions and has all the time in the world? Well, you get a novel (or at least something that closely resembles to one) with an unconventional structure. Words are entangled with surrealist doodles that would make even Luis Buñuel blush. David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, anyone?
15. INTJ: Mystery
INTJs love keeping things close to the chest-sometimes to a fault. Their penchant for mystery by wearing multiple facades is reflected in their writing preferences. For them, privacy is life, and a mystery novel reinforces it. Readers are encouraged to solve along the way, enamored or frustrated with INTJs’ patented labyrinthine patterns and false trails of breadcrumbs-all of which good buildups to the ‘oh my God!’ moment.
******* If you’re not familiar with your personality type, you can take this free personality test from 16 Personalities.
16. INFJ: Fantasy
The perfect ‘thinking feelers’, INFJs love imagining scenarios in their head, and those scenarios often involve the differences of philosophy among people. Potent daydreamers with solid interpersonal experiences, INFJs can easily write a fantasy novel set in a magical world or Middle-earth, where it’s good versus evil to magnify the differences in ideology. Think of Harry Potter meets Lord of the Rings, with the edginess of George R.R. Martin.