... Each of us, he says, has four kinds of intelligence, tactical, logistical, diplomatic, strategic, though one of the four interests us far more than the others, and thus gets far more practice than the rest. Like four suits in a hand of cards, we each have a long suit and a short suit in what interests us and what we do well, and fortunate indeed are those whose work matches their skills.
As in the original book, Please Understand Me II begins with The Keirsey Temperament Sorter, the most used personality inventory in the world. But also included is The Keirsey Four-Types Sorter, a new short questionnaire that identifies one's basic temperament and then ranks one's second, third, and fourth choices. Share this new sorter with friends and family, and get set for a lively and fascinating discussion of personal styles.
And he emphasizes the danger of what he calls the "Pygmalion Project," our tendency to interpret others' differences (from ourselves) as faults or misunderstandings to be corrected -- to try to change other people's basic nature, an endeavor which can only cause worse problems.
Personally speaking, I've learned from Keirsey to better understand my wife (and vice versa), my mother-in-law, many friends (and I've learned why I chose these friends), my boss...once you get a feel for this stuff, it illuminates all sorts of relationships. The book has chapters on love and marriage, too, highlighting the special dynamics between particular paired types. (More often than not, one's ideal mate is NOT a carbon-copy, but a contrasting type who speaks the same language.) I've learned to ease off from struggling against people's basic ways of thinking, feeling, working, and communicating. Better to learn to speak their language and to understand their motivations, which may be radically different from yours. It makes a big, positive difference.