General Question

gciochina's avatar

What's is a book that describes and explains the different aspects of human personalities?

Asked by gciochina (107points) November 21st, 2007

I’d love to read a book that describes different types of human character traits… I just want to learn how to handle different characters…Can anyone tell me of such a book (author and name would do) Thanks!

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8 Answers

nerfmissile's avatar

E.O. Wilson’s Consilience (1997) is a trip. It’s a pan across the fields of evolutionary biology, neuroscience and genetics and introduces such topics as “epigenetics” and “epiculture”. The chapter on the mind is particularly useful for establishing how and why individuals relate to culture. Anyway, that’s a suggestion for the hard science aspect.

From a writer’s handbook standpoint, both of the following have good reviews and you can find them on Amazon:

Characters and Viewpoint (Elements of Fiction Writing) by Orson Scott Card (1999)
Creating Unforgettable Characters by Linda Seger (1990)

Yet another suggestion is to get your hands on a manual of psychiatric disorders or neuroses. The show Boston Legal is such a draw, in part, because each of the characters has a bizarre and prominent neurosis… and, as in this show, quirks and neuroses are best used as leverage to expose the strengths and weaknesses of both characters and society in writing.

hossman's avatar

I join nerfmissile in heartily recommending “Characters and Viewpoint,” or indeed anything written by Orson Scott Card, who is remarkably insightful into humanity and its motivations.

mirza's avatar

On The Road by Jack Keouac

sharpwriter's avatar

I’m going to throw in a vote for “Life of Pi” by Yan Martel.

lifeflame's avatar

@gciochina – are you looking for a psychology book that will help you “handle different characters” in real life, or are you looking for a book to help you as an aspiring writer for your short story, novel, etc?

If it’s psychology I would recomment you look at Psychological Types by Carl Jung; which was developed later by Myers Briggs. It’s a classic – about introverts/extroverts; thought/emotion; intuition/sensation.
As with any personality type rubric it should be taken with a pinch of salt, and my personal take on Jung’s types is that rather than it being either/or (as in people are either introvert or extrovert, thought or emotion), people can reach different degrees of maturity in the various dimensions. However, I found it an interesting construct to understand people.

If it’s on writing I would recommend books like,
“The Art of Fiction” by Ayn Rand
“Stein on Writing” by Sol Stein

by the way, @sharpwriter, I remember enjoying “Life of Pi” but isn’t he on a boat with only a Bengal tiger for half of the book?

sharpwriter's avatar

@lifeflame—You’re right. He was on a boat with a tiger for MORE than half the book. But, man, there was just something about that tiger.

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