Tea Time with Annie Kate Rotating Header Image

Review: Personality Plus at Work

Personality plus at work

There are people I just don’t understand…and sometimes I get frustrated with their different ways of thinking and doing things.  They also get frustrated with me.  Yet we all mean well; we just can’t understand each other. At all.

Throughout the years, I’ve observed that many people have the same problem.  What’s more, being ‘nice’ often does not seem to bring people closer together.  In fact, what seems kind, polite, and caring to one can even be interpreted as nasty, rude, and mean by another!

That’s because people are different.  Personality Plus at Work describes, explains, and details these differences and points out how they affect workplace (and family) relationships.  Beginning with an explanation of the four personalities according to Hippocrates, Littauer and Sweet show how personality is an integral part of each individual.   With examples, stories, and tables, they describe each of the personalities in detail, from the ‘popular’ Sanguines and ‘powerful’ Cholerics to the ‘perfect’ Melancholics and the ‘peaceful’ Phlegmatics.

Next they focus on how the unique personalities function in an array of working relationships:  marriage, multilevel marketing, real estate, food services, health services, retail/office, and ministry.

Finally, Littauer and Sweet provide a short questionnaire to help you determine which two of the four personalities describe you.

Although this book shares much information, it does not teach in a dry textbook style.  It is, instead, a journey of eight people taking the Personality Plus at Work course; conveniently, each of them is a different mix of the four main personalities.

Although each person has a definite personality mix, childhood events, current happiness, and surroundings affect how it is expressed.  I was fascinated by a few hints on the relationship between health and personality, but the authors did not develop this topic.

I loved learning how the different personalities react in different situations, and think that the many detailed tables will be quite helpful.  It will take close study to understand more of this book, however.

Since I’ve been rereading the Above Rubies marriage articles, I was especially fascinated by the different kinds of leadership shown by Cholerics (the powerful, bossy personality), and Phlegmatics (the more peaceful, steady personality).  Since everyone is either one or the other of these two, and since opposites attract, there are plenty of marriages where the wife has leadership tendencies and the husband is easy-going.  Yet she must submit, and he must take responsibility; some of the Above Rubies articles discuss this dynamic.

At times the book became just a bit too much for me:  too bubbly, too self-confident, too scattered, and even too cutesy.  Perhaps I’d read it too quickly; it should definitely be studied in short doses.

On the whole, Personality Plus at Work:  How to Work Successfully with Anyone will benefit anyone who studies it carefully.

While this book is written for adults, it would invaluable for older teens as well.  Years ago, Mary Pride pointed out that understanding interpersonal relationships is fundamental for our teens’ success in all aspects of life.  In fact, when one mom asked her children what she had done that most positively impacted them, all three of them praised her for teaching them about the personality types. I’m adding this book to my teen’s high school reading list.

You can read an excerpt of the book here.

Disclosure:  This book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  and is available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

This is my 22nd  book in the 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge.


  1. Stacy says:

    I love Florence Littauer! She is so funny, but so wise when it comes to talking about temperaments. In fact, I have a book, workbook, DVD, and personality test by her and her daughter that I will be using for part of a sociology course for dd in a few years.

    I am a sanguine/choleric. Dh is a melancholy/phlegmatic. DD is a phlegmatic/melancholy. It can make life interesting, but also very frustrating at times.

    I hope you enjoyed reading her book. I find her stories very humorous.

    1. Annie Kate says:

      That would be a great course! It’s wonderful to give teens a head start in understanding themselves and others.

      We haven’t all yet figured out what type we are; I’ve listed my guesses, though, at the kids’ request. When they take the test, they want to know if I guessed correctly. 🙂

      Annie Kate

  2. Jenn4him says:

    I shall have to see if my library has this book. I am interested in books that will help my children interpersonally. Right now I am slowly going through Elizabeth Elliot’s Passion and Purity. So slowly, I’ve only made it to chapter 1. I am wondering if it would be a good read for my teens one day. Have you read it?

    1. Annie Kate says:

      Even if the library doesn’t have this book, it will have others by Littauer.

      I did read Passion and Purity, ages ago, and I have two things to say about what I remember:

      1. It’s idealistic, and not many young people would be interested.
      2. Those who implement these ideas will have a much happier time than others.

      Annie Kate

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *