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By Linda Gilden
I’ve heard most readers spend eight to ten seconds looking at the outside of a book before they decide to move on or look inside. Have you ever stopped to think what draws you to one book over another? Perhaps it is your personality.
As a strong purposeful/melancholy personality, my preference often gravitates to covers that are to the point so I know what I am getting inside the book. I want it to have value for me and satisfy my thirst for knowledge. The colors are probably subdued without a lot of splash. Why does that appeal to me?
The purposeful/melancholy personality is curious about the world around him or her. The desire to go deeper when reading about subjects is often present. This no-nonsense reader doesn’t want to have to wade through the fluff, but wants the information to be complete and enlightening. A purposeful/melancholy reader searching for a novel to read may look for one with intrigue or settle on a romance with lots of family history and backstory. He or she may become engrossed in a book and forsake other duties to read.
While it may appear that those with playful/sanguine personalities are not avid readers, they love a good story. In fact, they can spin a yarn with the best. But in order to captivate this group of readers, the story line must move along quickly, and the action must be plentiful. Drawn to bright, cheerful, fun covers, if the words do not match the excitement of the cover, the book will probably join others on the book shelf that are half read. Fiction is the genre of choice for this playful, sanguine personality who is so easily distracted.
My friend who is a very powerful/choleric personality is even more matter-of-fact with her choices. The covers that appeal to her are not obscure, but give concise information as to what is in the book. For the choleric personality, a bulleted list is sure to please, with a promise to give information in a way she can understand and catalog in her storehouse of knowledge. A powerful choleric novel reader looks for intrigue and mystery, a story he or she can actively participate in and solve.
Observing the reading habits of the peaceful/phlegmatic personalities, they are drawn to books that have calm and inviting covers with promise of a peaceful getaway. This low-key personality loves to settle in the hammock with a good book that will entertain and give an escape from the hustle and bustle of the world. Books are a perfect gift for this personality.
Is it really important to understand personalities? Does it really matter why you pick up one book or another, or why you are drawn to a particular genre?
For writers, the answer to the first question is an overwhelming “Yes!” Understanding who your readers are and how they receive information gives you the inside knowledge of how to write so they will enjoy your books.
Having the knowledge of the personalities is a tool that can make a difference in your relationship with your readers, others around you, and with God. Certified Personality Trainer Tama Westman says, “Understanding the personalities is like a superpower. Being aware of what a person’s emotional needs are based on his or her personality, transforms your communication skills. You understand how you are perceived and how others receive information. You live more in tune with family and friends because you know why they walk and talk as they do. Personality knowledge made me realize God made me just as I was and He delighted in His creation.”
So the next time you visit the bookstore, what will interest you? Will you look at a cover with a catchy title and realize you like that because you are a playful personality? Will you see the purposeful person next to you drawn to the muted cover of a different book? Or perhaps a powerful person studying the list of features and benefits on the back cover of a book that interests him or her. Will you find a peaceful person intrigued by the story line?
No matter what your personality, there are plenty of books to choose from that will encourage, entertain, and enrich your life.
What kind of reader are you? We would love to hear your comments.
(Photos courtesy of blogthings.com and madisonpublicschools.org.)
Linda Gilden’s most recent book is Called to Write, coauthored with Dr. Edna Ellison. Linda is a Certified Personality Trainer who loves helping people understand how to build better relationships with those around them through a knowledge of the personalities. Linda is an author, speaker, editor, and writing coach. Her other books include Mama Was the Queen of Christmas, Personality Perspectives, and others. Linda lives in SC with her husband, three adult children, and the five cutest grandchildren in the world! Her favorite activity is floating in a lake surrounded by splashing children.