The best books for partners with opposite personalities

Jennifer B. Kahnweiler Author Of The Genius of Opposites: How Introverts and Extroverts Achieve Extraordinary Results Together
By Jennifer B. Kahnweiler

The Books I Picked & Why

Introverts in Love: The Quiet Way to Happily Ever After

By Sophia Dembling

Book cover of Introverts in Love: The Quiet Way to Happily Ever After

Why this book?

I had a great deal of respect for this author from reading her Psychology Today columns. Sophia Dembling is an introvert and from her research and personal experience knows that relationships between different personality types can be challenging to say the least. 

She takes us through all aspects of the dating process and doesn’t slam extroverts. What she does is show us, through her great wit and transparency, how we are not perfect but that we can balance each other. 

Dembling teaches introverts “how to let someone into their hearts while honoring the solitude we need..” I found myself laughing many times, even while reading the table of contents. “Whee! Fun With Extroverts” and “I Love you But Please Don’t Call Me.” And she helps extroverted readers understand and empathize with introverts who don’t find joy in too much socializing. 


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The Cactus and Snowflake at Work: How the Logical and Sensitive Can Thrive Side by Side

By Devora Zack

Book cover of The Cactus and Snowflake at Work: How the Logical and Sensitive Can Thrive Side by Side

Why this book?

The author is well versed in the Myers-Briggs and uses her knowledge of that instrument and years of consulting in this practical and funny book. 

The author focuses on thinking types and feeling types and describes how they can clash and achieve sweet harmony. Thinkers lead with their heads and Feelers lead with their hearts.

This is helpful for me as a “feeler.” I have a roadmap to guide me in the land of thinkers. The “CakFlake” instrument (this gives you a sense of the author’s sense of humor) is a great way to determine when I might fall into a trap like expecting everyone to process information like I do. It is a quick and fun read and you will leave with some actions to take right away.


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Monogamy

By Sue Miller

Book cover of Monogamy

Why this book?

This book is a page-turner. Annie, the main character in this novel has just found out her husband has been having an affair. The book circles back to their marriage and how completely different they are. 

Somehow the relationship works as they totally balanced each other. I love how Sue Miller creates pictures of characters so we get to know them at a granular level. I ended up loving all of them despite their imperfections. Annie makes a life for herself as a widow having been transformed by the man she loved. Opposite personalities can enrich each other as often as they drive each other crazy.


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Truth & Beauty: A Friendship

By Ann Patchett

Book cover of Truth & Beauty: A Friendship

Why this book?

This is author Ann Patchett’s first book of non-fiction. It tells of two very different women who were the best of friends for over 20 years. Lucy Grealy, also a gifted writer, suffered from the effects of childhood cancer and chemotherapy. Her personality was larger than life. Ann, more low-key and grounded, was fiercely loyal and supportive to Lucy. I loved watching their lives unfold together until, in the end, Ann couldn’t save Lucy from the ravages of depression and addiction. 


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Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World

By Adam Grant

Book cover of Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World

Why this book?

This book challenges conventional thinking about how we come up with original ideas. The author, Adam Grant believes that anyone can emerge with innovative, original ideas. You can learn to be a successful non-conformist. 

He writes about numerous fascinating examples from history, science, and entertainment. In one chapter we learn about suffragists  Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Lucy Stone who were so different in their personalities and approaches to the movement. Yet without their different voices we would not have seen women get the vote in 1920.

In another chapter about GroupThink, Grant demonstrates how successful companies make sure they include devil's advocates, people with different opinions,  when introducing new ideas. The consequence of not doing so can mean the end of the organization such as Polaroid, a company he cites.


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