Looking to add some magic to your summer? Opening a book can transport you to another world, an adventure, a mystery, or it can simply give you some good belly laughs. I’ve spent a number of months conversing with people of every personality type to find out what kinds of books they enjoy. It has been a fascinating time! I’ve learned that sensors like fantasy and science-fiction books just as much as intuitives do, and that probably 60% of authors are INFPs (that may be an exaggeration, but it seems like it!).
So without further ado, here’s what you should read this summer! And you never know, you may like ALL of the books on this list! (I do, and I’m an INFJ).
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ISTJ – The Hunt for the Red October
Tom Clancy’s novels were a major hit with ISTJs and ESTJs. The Hunt for the Red October is the groundbreaking first novel of the Jack Ryan series. It’s packed with action, history, mystery, and intrigue. ISTJs will appreciate the accuracy with which Clancy writes about submarine operations, the heroism of Jack Ryan, and the suspense that keeps the whole story moving at such a fast pace. Find out more about this book here: The Hunt for Red October (A Jack Ryan Novel)
Others: Carry On, Mr. Bowditch
ISFJ – Beneath a Scarlet Sky
ISFJs love stories of courageous people who have made a real difference in our world. They often enjoyed biographies and historical fiction. Beneath a Scarlet Sky is a little of both. This epic story introduces us to Pino Lella, an unsung World War II hero who fought in secret against the Nazis and helped bring Jews and trapped allies to safety. This is a story of heroism, selflessness, and love. ISFJs will enjoy the fact that the story is based on real events, and will relate to a hero who puts the needs of others far beyond his own. Find out more about this book here: Beneath a Scarlet Sky: A Novel
ESTJ – Make Your Bed
Make Your Bed is written by Admiral William H. McRaven, a Navy SEAL and a commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command. McRaven’s book is filled with common-sense strategies towards overcoming failure, standing up to bullies, and leading people with kindness and determination. Unlike other self-help books written by spiritual gurus, Make Your Bed is full of advice derived from real-life experience. ESTJs will enjoy the no-nonsense, practical advice offered in this book and they’ll get inspiring tips to become more influential leaders, parents, and friends. Find out more about this book here: Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World
ESFJ – The Lost History of Stars
The Lost History of Stars is a heart-wrenching and inspiring story of a young girl and her family who suffer unimaginable hardships in South Africa during the Boer War. 14-year-old Lettie is taken from her home and forced into a concentration camp, where she faces starvation, disease, and persecution. During her struggles, she draws comfort from memories of stargazing with her grandfather, her plans to be a writer, and friendships that comfort and challenge her. ESFJs will enjoy the hard-working, determined, and brave character of Lettie, and they will appreciate how she uses past experience to remain brave for her family and friends. Find out more about this book here: The Lost History of Stars: A Novel
Others: The Undomestic Goddess
ISTP – Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern Warfare
ISTPs were drawn to fast-paced, action-filled accounts of people who fought against insurmountable odds. Black Hawk Down delivers with Mark Bowden’s account of the longest sustained firefight involving American troops since the Vietnam War. On October 3rd, 1993, a hundred elite U.S. soldiers were dropped by helicopter into the dangerous market in Mogadishu, Somalia. They were charged with abducting two top lieutenants of a Somali warlord and returning to base. This job was supposed to take one hour. Instead, they are thrown into a horrific all-night fight to survive and complete a mission while evading thousands of heavily-armed Somalis. ISTPs will be drawn to the courage, heroism, and determination of the soldiers in this epic true story. Find out more about this book here: Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War
ISFP – The Language of Flowers
Victoria Jones has spent a lonely childhood in a corrupt foster-care system, moving from home to home, unable to get close to anyone. At 18-years-old she is emancipated from the system and lives in a public park, where she plants a small garden of her own. She understands the Victorian language of flowers and knows which flowers will bring grief, signify mistrust, or embody solitude. Through a series of personal hardships and heart-wrenching struggles, Victoria uses her knowledge of flowers to help others and to unravel the mystery of how she came into the world.
ISFPs will be drawn to the courage, independence, and ruthlessness of Victoria. They’ll enjoy the complexity of her character, and the lush beauty and mystery of the flowers she surrounds herself with. Find out more about this book here: The Language of Flowers: A Novel
ESTP – Sherlock Holmes: The Ultimate Collection
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, is an ESTP, so it’s only natural that ESTPs would be drawn to his books! This collection contains 12 adventures and 11 memoirs. The adventures are short, concise, but full of mind-bending mystery and action. They will engage the ESTP’s auxiliary thinking function and keep up with their adventurous, action-oriented sensing side. Find out more about this book here: Sherlock Holmes: The Ultimate Collection: A Study In Scarlet, The Sign of the Four, The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Valley of Fear
ESFP – The Uglies Series
ESFPs love fast-paced fantasy/adventure stories, and The Uglies will certainly not disappoint! This series follows the adventures of Tally Youngblood, a girl trapped in a society created to function with perfect-looking people who are incapable of thinking for themselves. She wants to upend the system and take down the corrupt social infrastructure through a series of daring adventures and attacks. ESFPs will love Tally Youngblood’s determination and the exciting, edge-of-your-seat escapades she has to get through to take down an oppressive government. Find out more about this series here: Uglies: Uglies; Pretties; Specials; Extras
INFJ – The Divine Comedy
Dante Alighieri is the quintessential INFJ author; his writing is filled with the mysterious, symbolic, and profound. INFJs will be mesmerized by Alighieri’s visions of the afterlife; Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. In the poems and stories, readers will find inspiration, terror, adventure, monsters, and lessons of good and evil. Find out more about this book here: The Divine Comedy
INFP – The Lord of the Rings Book Series
J.R.R. Tolkien captures warfare, survival, and courage in a way that only an INFP can. His epic stories tell the tale of young Frodo Baggins, who finds himself faced with the immense task of destroying the One ring of power. He must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-Earth to the Cracks of Doom, to destroy the ring and defeat the Dark Lord Sauron.
INFPs will enjoy the fantastical, lush world of Middle Earth and the integrity and will-power of Frodo Baggins and his friends. Find out more about this series here: The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings (the Hobbit / the Fellowship of the Ring / the Two Towers / the
ENFJ – I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is the unforgettable memoir of poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou. This story captures her troubled childhood, the extreme racism she faced, and how she overcame it with a strong spirit, love, kindness, and the help of her favorite authors. ENFJs will find a kindred spirit in Angelou; this writer is considered by many to be an ENFJ herself. Her hope, vision, passion, and motivation to help others will be inspiring to like-minded ENFJs. Find out more about this book here: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
ENFP – The Beach
Ready for a mind-bending adventure both terrifying and magnificent? Alex Garland’s The Beach is just the thing. The Beach tells the story of a young backpacker, Richard, who travels to Bangkok where he meets Daffy, an elderly traveler who kills himself and bequeaths him a mysterious map to a hidden beach. This beach is the stuff of legends among other young travelers, and it has been turned into a communal Eden by a small community of International travelers. At first glance, the Beach appears to be a utopia, but as time goes on Richard discovers there are deadly undercurrents and troubling secrets hiding in the community.
If you saw the movie “The Beach” and hated it, don’t fear. The movie was a terrible adaptation of the book and didn’t stay true to the story at all. ENFPs will enjoy the many levels at which this novel operates. On one level it’s a fast-paced adventure story; on another level, it explores why we search for utopias and refuges from the outside world. The novel asks harrowing questions about humanity and whether we are incapable of destroying the very sanctuary we seek. Find out more about this book here: The Beach
INTJ – Seveneves
Seveneves is a science-fueled saga that begins with the destruction of the earth’s moon. This destruction sparks a meteor shower that is dubbed “the Hard Rain”. This shower will bombard earth for thousands of years, destroying all life on the planet. Humanity has only two years to get off the earth and into the Cloud Ark, a group of small, quickly built spaceships that will house millions of the Earth’s inhabitants. Who will go and who will stay? How will the survivors outlive the lethal conditions of space? Will the internal politics in the ships destroy all hope? Seveneves is an epic story of humanity and surviving against all odds.
INTJs will love the grand, complex scale of Seveneves. This story is filled with depth and a big-picture, futuristic vision that will captivate the INTJ mind. Find out more about this book here: Seveneves
Others: The Changeling: A Novel, Phantastes, The Stranger
INTP – The Spy Who Came In From the Cold
Considered “the finest spy story ever written” by novelist Graham Greene, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold tells the tale of Alex Leamas, a British agent in early Cold War Berlin. Leamas is in charge of keeping double agents undercover and alive, but East Germans start killing them. As a result, Leamas is called back to London by his spy master where he expects to be fired. Instead, he’s given a terrifying assignment: play the part of a disgraced agent, a complete failure that everyone talks poorly about. He’s sent deep into Communist territory to trap the Germans in their own game.
Author Le Carré worked for British intelligence himself when the Berlin Wall went up, so he knows what he’s talking about and writes with incredible clarity. This isn’t a “flashy” spy story like James Bond or Jason Bourne, but it’s accuracy, honesty, and suspenseful pace will be spellbinding to INTPs. Jean L Carré was an INTP himself, after all! Find out more about this book here: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold: A George Smiley Novel (George Smiley Novels)
ENTJ – The 33 Strategies of War
This thrilling non-fiction book synthesizes dozens of political, philosophical, and religious texts spanning thousands of years of warfare to provide tactics for defeating failure and negotiating from a position of strength. Author Robert Greene gives us a guide to the social game of life by using ingenious and effective military principles. You’ll learn lessons from a variety of people including Napolean Bonaparte, Shaka the Zulu, Samurai swordsmen, movie moguls, and more. He’ll use these examples to give you clear strategies to win life’s wars, avoid unwinnable wars, and respond to dangerous situations. You’ll learn how to overcome self-defeating patterns and forever gain the upper hand in business and conflict.
ENTJs will love the sharp, clever tone of this non-fiction book. Their strategic minds will be stimulated by the abundance of material to draw from and the methods devised by warriors throughout history. For the commanding, visionary ENTJ, The 33 Strategies of War is full of lessons they’ll enjoy using in a dog-eat-dog world. Find out more about this book here: The 33 Strategies of War (Joost Elffers Books)
ENTP – Fight Club
Chuck Palahniuk brings a world of anarchy and angst to life in a book that points a finger at materialism, corporate power, and greed. The narrator of this story leads an empty existence investigating accidents for a car company in order to assess their liability. He’s an insomniac who feels isolated and bored. After crossing paths with the nihilistic Tyler Durden, the two friends form “fight clubs” across the country where thousands of young men fight each other “just as long as they have to”. Durden harnesses the despair, alienation, and violence he sees into a complete anarchy culminating in a terrorist attack full of bizarre plot twists and surprises. This book is outrageous, hilarious, violent, and thought-provoking all at the same time. I read this when I was 16 and it changed my life; I gave it to my ENTP brother and he couldn’t put it down.
ENTPs will love the imaginative connections Chuck Palahniuk forms in Fight Club. Palahniuk himself is rumored to be an ENTP, and his ever-shifting honest perspectives and powerful insight into humanity and hidden agendas will keep the Ne-dominant mind entertained and inspired. Find out more about this book here: Fight Club: A Novel
What Do You Think? Do you enjoy these books? What are your recommendations? Let me know in the comments!
Find out more about your personality type in our eBooks, Discovering You: Unlocking the Power of Personality Type or The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic. You can also connect with me via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!
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