ISTPs are frank individuals who spend a great deal of time exploring their world, collecting facts and experiences. They are great friends to have and also tend to be good at using their hands for various arts and crafts.

The flexible pragmatists

Being firmly grounded in the physical reality, ISTPs are keen observers of the world around them and are very good at remembering and ordering facts. Coupled with a cool temperament, they have the ability to remain calm in a crisis and adapt well to changing circumstances.

Crafting abilities

Another ability commonly shared by ISTPs is the aptitude for working with their hands and tools. This is why David Keirsey calls them Crafters. Crafters are most at ease when it comes to working on tangible products that involve physical contact. This gives them the opportunity to enjoy the moment and lose themselves in the act that they are performing.

A strong common sense

Crafters generally enjoy being left to their own devices to do whatever needs doing. They are indeed particularly gifted for making their own calls as to how to best use the resources available to them. However they also appreciate working with somebody whose abilities they respect.

The flip side of the coin

What is a strength in a certain situation becomes a weakness in another one. Therefore, our strengths and weaknesses are two sides of the same coin and very much depend on circumstances. Crafters need to be aware that some of their strong points can sometimes dis-serve them:

- The ability to remain flexible is usually counterbalanced by not-so-great planning skills. Crafters would greatly improve their lives by getting a bit more organised or team-up with somebody who already is.

- Being firmly grounded into the here and now of physical reality, Crafters tend to ignore the world of possibilities. Trying to further anticipate the consequences of their decisions can improve this aspect of their lives.

- Because they are straight thinkers who tend to value hard skills over people skills, Crafters tend not to be very good at keeping up with social conventions and can sometimes come across as insensitive. For example when formulating a harsh opinion of somebody else's statement. They should understand that these sort of things can be learned and that it is a road worth travelling.


It is almost impossible to predict which personalities will get on best. However, type psychologists have tried. Therefore, you can have a look to what they have to say. There are after all, a few good ideas, but you should still be very cautious here, especially for romantic relationships. Be careful about who you entrust your heart to.

David Keirsey says for example in Please Understand Me II that ISTP Crafters would be “most compatible” with ESFJ Providers. He explains that the whilst the Crafter will bring fun and excitement to their common life, the Provider will enjoy creating a home of all its occupants.

However, bear in mind that the success of a relationship cannot be predicted on type alone.

Studies and career

Choosing a career is a very important decision. For young people interested in making an informed career choice or anyone willing to change theirs, I strongly recommend that you acquire this fantastic book by Paul Tieger and Barbara Baron: Do What You Are . This book explores, for each of the 16 types, the kind of profession that should allow you to make the best use of your strengths and suit your personality better. You will find here a very short list of professions that the authors would advise for ISTPs:

- Race car driver
- Firefighter
- Marine biologist
- Software engineer
- Radiological technician
- Emergency room technician
- Securities analyst
- Mechanical engineer
- Computer repair person
- Gunsmith

Again, be careful because type alone cannot predict if you will be successful in a career. You also need to take into account your own abilities, dedication to your goal, personal interests, state of the economy, professional environment...

There is no guarantee in life. However, this book is a great place to start your search.

Self esteem

Type also helps you to understand how to like yourself. In Portraits of Self Esteem , Bonnie J. Golden explains that self esteem is a combination of self-worth and competence in the life areas of relationships, intelligence, emotional self, physical self and work. Basically, the more competent you are in all these areas, the more likely you are to feel good about yourself. Also, it is like not having all your eggs in the same basket: if something bad happens in one of these areas of your life, you will still be able to rely on the others to support yourself. About ISTPs, she mentions the fact that they feel particularly good about themselves when:

– they do well and get complimented for their hobby, such as painting
– they see how proud their parents are when they are graduating from high-school
– they don't have to depend on someone else for total support
– they get the highest grade in their class
– they achieve the goal they were striving for

Return from ISTP to Myers Briggs Personality Types

Return from ISTP to Type Central