18 Famous People You Never Knew Were ISTJs02 December 2022 / By Jolie Tunnell Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on October 18, 2022
From politicians and movie stars to the recently deceased Queen of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, ISTJ personalities are capable of achieving greatness in any area of expertise. Here are 18 famous people you probably never realized were ISTJs.
The retired Chancellor of Germany, and arguably one of the world’s most powerful women, said, “I am courageous at the decisive moment. But I need a good deal of start-up time and I try to take as much as possible into consideration beforehand.” Known for her tact, quiet competence, eye for details and preference for following the rules, ISTJ Merkel worked tirelessly with the European Union.
Augustus, the first Roman Emperor
Augustus is famous for saying, “Festina lente,” or “Make haste slowly,” which is about as ISTJ as it gets. Known for his unlimited capacity for work, careful preparation and practical common sense, Augustus had the ISTJ qualities of patience and moderation that his adoptive father, Julius Caesar did not.
The first female African-American US Secretary of State and an ISTJ, Rice clearly relies on facts and data to make informed decisions. Organized, reliable and honest, she flourished in reforming and restructuring her department, pioneering national policies. Says Rice, “When somebody underestimated me, it made me want to prove them wrong.”
Known as the Golden Bear, Nicklaus finished his career as an American professional golfer with 73 victories, placing him third on the all-time list. “Resolve never to quit, never to give up, no matter what the situation,” he said. His book, Golf My Way, is regarded as a highly detailed technical manual, highlighting his keenly observant and methodical ISTJ markers.
Joyner-Kersee, an American track and field gold, silver and bronze Olympic medal-winner, trained and met her goals despite being asthmatic. Tenacious from a young age, she’s a hard-working ISTJ who now advocates for young athletes. She says, “The one thing every athlete wants and needs is somebody who’s as motivated and committed as she is. Someone who’s willing to work hard along with her.”
The now-retired American boxer and undisputed champion at cruiserweight and heavyweight exemplifies the ISTJ discipline. Holyfield’s methodical approach to his sport and work ethic spurred him on to hold the only four-time world championship. He said, “If you quit every time things don’t go your way, then you’ll be quitting all through your life.”
Known for "Amarillo by Morning", "I Cross My Heart" and "Write This Down", Strait is an icon in the American country music genre. Named Artist of the Decade in the 2000s, elected into the Country Music Hall of Fame, and a three time CMA Entertainer of the Year, Strait has been with the same record label for over 25 years. Dedicated and reliable, this ISTJ unsurprisingly said, “I like people who are loyal to me, and I like to be loyal, too.”
The English musician, songwriter and actor rose to fame in the band The Police before launching a highly successful solo career. Structure and routine, as well as being stubbornly traditional, are the hallmarks of his work. He holds seventeen Grammy Awards to prove it, and says, “I write the music, produce it, and the band plays within the parameters that I set.”
Known for songs like "Valentine", "A Broken Wing" and "Independence Day," McBride is an American country and folk music singer, record producer and songwriter. With a strong respect for family, authority, tradition and methodical approaches, this ISTJ says, “I’ve been able to have a solid career that we’ve built one step at a time and a family. I know that I’m in a good place.”
Military (and Politics again)
The first President of the United States, said, “Happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected.” This ISTJ general crossed the Delaware River in the dead of winter to win a war and then went home to live a quiet, reserved life. If his reputation as a strong leader who could make tough decisions, his honesty, integrity and good judgment aren’t enough, he also wrote an 1888 book on etiquette. Can you say “rules”?
Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson
This United States Civil War confederate general said, “Let your conduct have uniformity: temperance, silence, and order” – earning his nickname fair and square. Another sign that Jackson was an ISTJ? He said, “It is not desirable to have a large number of intimate friends. You may have many acquaintances, but few intimate friends.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Eisenhower, the 34th United States president and supreme commander of the allied forces during World War II, is often compared to Washington and shared many of the same personality traits. He was a consummate leader, able to unite diverse people toward a common goal. Eisenhower said, “This is a long tough road we have to travel… fake reputations, habits of glib, clever speech, and glittering surface performance are going to be discovered.”
The American founder of the Ford Motor Co. was an industrialist and formidable businessman. His often-repeated quotes, “Be ready to revise any system, scrap any method, abandon any theory, if the success of the job requires it,” and, “Thinking calls for facts; facts are found by digging; but he who has gathered this wealth is well equipped for life,” and, “To be good is not enough; a man must be good for something,” reveal him to be a consummate ISTJ.
Super investor and author of Invest Like a Millionaire and The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America, lives with honesty, self-control, integrity and consistency. His detailed framework for how he operates reveals the inner structures of an ISTJ. He says, “It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
Bezos, the founder of Amazon and one of the richest people in the world is also an ISTJ. His practical side shows in comments like this: “A company shouldn’t get addicted to being shiny, because shiny doesn’t last.” With a head for details, this perfectionist follows data instead of instincts for his long-term success.
Known for the movies Good Will Hunting, Ocean’s Eleven and The Bourne Identity, Damon once said, "I’d had people say, 'You'll enjoy being famous for a week, and you’ll never enjoy it again.’ But I don’t think I had that week. I may have been working and missed that moment.” That’s pretty ISTJ, right? His integrity and intelligence landed him at Harvard, but his work ethic made his movie career. Damon is an Introvert who keeps his private life to himself.
Robert De Nero
De Nero may have made his roles in Raging Bull, Godfather II and Goodfellas look easy, but he once said, “Movies are hard work. The public doesn’t see that. The critics don’t see it. But they’re a lot of work.” This ISTJ keeps his life private, is dedicated to his career, and takes a methodical approach to complex roles, netting him two Academy Awards and a Golden Globe Award.
The stay of Black Swan and V for Vendetta applies her strong ISTJ personality both on and off screen. She’s not only won multiple awards in her career, including an Academy Award, but secured a degree in psychology. Practical, determined and logical, she said, “I’m going to college. I don’t care if it ruins my career. I’d rather be smart than a movie star.” Choosing the sensible path over fame and fortune? It doesn’t get more ISTJ than that.