0227 | Knowing Me, Knowing You – Goldberg & Wharton

Context: started working out with some weights while reading this.

REVIEW
This book has been a real milestone for me in understanding not just why I like to behave the way I do, but also in understanding others and, in particular, Mrs Arukiyomi. Last year, we both got into Myers Briggs Type Indicators. MBTI is a way of identifying traits which you prefer over ones you really find uncomfortable. Basically, I’m an INTJ (Introvert, iNtuitive, Thinking, Judging) while my wife is an ESFP (Extavert, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiver) which is the polar opposite. I’m sure we’re not unique in being the only people who married opposites, but it really helps to know that it’s okay to be who you are when you live with someone who sees the world completely differently from you 24 hours a day.

In understanding how other’s tick, this book is invaluable. It’s full of helpful sections on how to act, what to say, how to encourage, how to challenge and how to work with people from all the different types of temperaments that MBTI has. It would be a great book to keep on your desk at work. You could keep a bookmark with colleagues and their types in it and, just before a meeting, look up what communication styles they’d prefer.

It’s very much opened my eyes to how differently my wife sees the world. I’m now much more able to gauge her reactions to things I might do and say and events that take place. That means I don’t treat her as if she’s mad and I can also explain to her why she might think I’m mad! There’s a section at the back that describes Christmas from the point of view of different types. Ours were so so spot on that we could have written them ourselves. It was like they were writing about us as individuals.

A bonus for me is that it’s written from a Christian standpoint. The only difference this actually makes is that there are chapters on the church and spirituality. Other than that, the book would be relevant to someone of any faith.

The chapter on spirituality, which links temperament to the kind of Christian lifestyle you’d lead, is excellent. For years, I felt I needed to enjoy things like fellowship and evangelism because that was the predominant style in the churches I went to. Well, when I was at university, I realised that I pretty much hated that kind of stuff and stopped doing it. Then I felt a bit guilty even though I enjoyed being a Christian a lot more. Now I realise that, as I’m really not a people person, it’s fine not to enjoy stuff with people. I can’t ignore people and will do what I can to share Christ’s love. But it’s what I can, not what someone else can and that’s very liberating.

I’d recommend this book to pretty much anyone who wants to be better at understanding how people behave. And if you’re a Christian, this is one of the few books on the market that helps you understand what kind of person God made you to be spiritually. For that reason, I’d say it’s a must read. I don’t think we can rate understanding each other highly enough. Because this book is so good at doing that and has definitely made an impact on my life which will last for whatever I’ve got left, I’m going to give it my rare highest rating of superb.

FIRST LINE
Henry Higgins, in a song in the musical My Fair Lady, bemoans the fact that he finds it difficult to understand ELiza Doolittle; he attributes the problem to the fact that she is a woman, and asks: “Why can’t a woman be more like a man?”

CLOSING LINE
We can only agree.

RATING
rubbish | poor | mediocre | okay | good | very good | excellent | superb

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