Skip to main content

Personality Plus (How to Understand Others by Understanding Yourself) by Florence Littauer

  • Author:
  • Updated date:

We are capable because we are gifted with strengths; therefore, there are reasons to celebrate. We have flaws that make us humans, not machines; thus, they challenge us to be flexible and teachable.


Nobody pleases everybody and always, even if one tries hard to please. It is impossible. There comes a point when a person irritates us as if he or she is an alien to our world. What in the world is wrong with him?

How we are surprised when another person fires up on us next time without understanding why. What in the world is wrong with me? Let us just say we have different temperaments, and there is a problem if we do not know what they are.

Personality Plus explores the four temperaments: Phlegmatic, Choleric, Melancholic, and Sanguine. It requires a personality profile test for readers at the beginning to know where they belong. They choose from forty sets of words that best describe them. Word definitions are provided as appendix.

A summary follows like an overview of each temperament when it comes to emotions, work, parenthood, and friendship. Knowing a dominant trait is revealing enough what more when described in details.

Personality Profile Guide: A Quick Look

TemperamentStrengthWeaknessArea of Need/ Improvement

Powerful Choleric





quick, correct, judgements



Popular Sanguine


dominating a conversation



sense of humor



Peaceful Phlegmatic






avoids confrontation


Perfect Melancholic

eye for details


committing mistakes


ability to organize


sense of humor

Personality Types

Personality Types

One of its goals is to recognize individual differences and let these differences create harmony in relationships.

Scroll to Continue

For example, peaceful phlegmatics pacify powerful cholerics, while perfect melancholics tone down popular sanguines’ energy. They complement each other; one’s strength supports the other’s weakness. Next objective is to give accounts on what works or not in dealing with people; what to expect and not to expect.

Familiarity with the temperaments lessens the misunderstanding that occurs when someone’s attitude overwhelms us. Understanding our tendencies makes room for acceptance and improvements, which points us to the third goal.



Personality Plus reminds us to be true to ourselves. We are capable because we are gifted with strengths; therefore, there are reasons to celebrate. We have flaws that make us humans, not machines; thus, they challenge us to be flexible and teachable.

Helpful tips solve weaknesses in each trait. See the other person as unique and not someone we can mold into our liking right away to fit in the relationship. It guides readers to these steps: self-examination, potential, improvement, application, and empowerment.

Empowerment requires a source of strength, energy, and an exceptional person any believer can look up to. No matter how much effort we invest in maximizing our strengths, the book speaks of a power greater than ourselves. Clue: the author finds inspirations in biblical passages.

I thought whether or not temperaments have to do with the nature-nurture relationship. The book does not state it directly with a yes or no, but there is a hint I can only guess. It was clear to me that temperaments are already obvious in early childhood, while most parents cannot determine what they are unless they are knowledgeable about them.

I was, in addition, intrigued in the concept of “masks of survival” in reaction to past hurts, unfulfilled needs, and stressing situations. I have a dominant trait, but circumstances may push me to put on a personality to seek attention, earn respect, or show a sense of responsibility.

Finally, this book gave me a personality crash course in a day, and clues on what personality complements mine. It is said, opposites attract. It puts me in a position where I can be comfortable with my skin, less the awkward feeling to conform just because people think I am so and so. It provided practical guidelines I can work with and rely on to become better. I was satisfied.

Photos c/o Freedigitalphotos and Flickr under Creative Commons-license.

© 2011 chelle

Related Articles