Personality Self-Portrait – A *Must* for your self-help bookshelf!

The only reason it’s taken me so long to write about this book is that… uh… well, I purged it. Forgot about it. Then I found it again. (Yay!)

Personality Self-Portrait by John M. Oldham MD and Lois B. Morris is a powerhouse among powerhouses! But be warned! This is not a book you will flip through casually. Nope! You’re going to WORK. But it’s OH-SO worth it!

Published in 1995 it has spawned 40 reprints… and there are a whole whack of essays, reviews, and websites devoted to the study… but none better than The New Personality Self-Portrait which is THE actual place to take the updated test online, if that kind of thing interests you. For me, I prefer the book. Of course, I do! LOL

I’d taken the test years ago and administered it to everyone I knew at the time. It’s *that* good!

The test itself will take you a solid 15 minutes, if not longer. You want to think a little – not too much, but a little – before you answer. You must be honest, or what’s the use? Know what I mean? And that’s not even the part that takes the longest. The longest part is transferring your answers on the score sheet. Then there’s math. Ugh. It’s easy math but… yeah, the mafs. Hate ’em. Then you transfer those totals onto a graph. Here’s mine.


I suspect it surprises nobody – certainly not me! – that sensitivity ranked high on my chart.

The rest of the book is filled with descriptions – including actual DSM-III-R diagnostic criteria for different personality disorders – and practical exercises to help raise those traits that scored lower than you like or even-out those that scored higher.

The subtitle of this book is “Why you think, work, love and act the way you do” and boy-oh-boy, it’s ALL here!

Now, here’s where I’ll get a little psycho… as in, tell you that the book pairs certain styles with certain disorders. Please don’t let it stop you!

For example, my “Mercurial” style is paired up with Borderline Personality Disorder. The chapter is called, “Fire and Ice” because that’s what it’s like with Mercurial folks. We have intensity and heart. This chapter goes onto describe good matches in friendships and romances, life in the workplace, exercises to make the most of this type and finally, when this trait becomes a problem, as with Borderline Personality Disorder.

A book can’t diagnose you, of course, and this one doesn’t attempt it. What it *does* is offer hope. If you see yourself among the pages – and you will, somewhere – you have this handy toolkit that will help you to see if you’ve tipped over into an unhealthy personality.

Like for me, I’m not “Borderline” but I can definitely see how difficult my personality can be, not that I didn’t know that already. Fire and Ice, indeed.

And this is only ONE trait. I could go through the entire book and keep you enthralled but nothing is as fun and illuminating as doing it yourself, which I suggest.

Let me know if you do and what you find out. 🙂 This one’s a keeper! (She says, after purging it for a reason I do not know or understand. Sometimes, I just do stuff like that. See what I mean about fire and ice? LOL)


  1. Reblogged this on The Self-Help Whisperer® and commented:

    April 23, 2022

    I always want an updated note along with my reblogs. And so today, I began to write…


    ^^^ I said ^^^

    Then, I wondered…

    Do I *really* think that? And if so, why haven’t I pulled it from the shelf more often?

    No, that’s not the mark of a good book… is it?

    A good book STAYS with you… in thought and deed. Isn’t that it?

    Like, this morning, I mentioned to my mother for (like…) the 100th time how much I appreciated an experiment in the book Back in Control (Sorry, can’t link it in a reblog – but here’s the full link if you want to read about it >>>

    Here’s the thing — in re-reading my blog post about Back in Control, I can’t find that I talked about the experiment at ALL… and I WOULD HAVE, had it been in *that book*.

    The only conclusion I can come up with is that it wasn’t in that book, but another.

    This is the trouble with reading SOOOOO MANY self-help books.

    Maybe it’s time to slow down and smell the coffee … or in this case… remember the experiments.

    I’ve read a TON. I’ve shared a ton. I have a ton yet to share… and reshare.

    Something to think about… that’s all. The slowing down, I mean.

    So, anyway, Personality Self Portrait is an excellent book.

    And I need to slow down…


  2. I love trying these tests. Will definitely try this online to start though the book version would be better. Let’s see what it says.

    Liked by 1 person

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