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The ISTP Personality Type

ISTPs are observant artisans with an understanding of mechanics and an interest in troubleshooting. They approach their environments with a flexible logic, looking for practical solutions to the problems at hand. They are independent and adaptable, and typically interact with the world around them in a self-directed, spontaneous manner.

ISTPs are attentive to details and responsive to the demands of the world around them. Because of their astute sense of their environment, they are good at moving quickly and responding to emergencies. ISTPs are reserved, but not withdrawn: the ISTP enjoys taking action, and approaches the world with a keen appreciation for the physical and sensory experiences it has to offer.

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What does ISTP stand for?

ISTP is an acronym used to describe one of the sixteen personality types created by Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers. It stands for Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, Perceiving. ISTP indicates a person who is energized by time spent alone (Introverted), who focuses on facts and details rather than ideas and concepts (Sensing), who makes decisions based on logic and reason (Thinking) and who prefers to be spontaneous and flexible rather than planned and organized (Perceiving). ISTPs are sometimes referred to as Craftsperson personalities because they typically have an innate mechanical ability and facility with tools.

How common is the ISTP personality type?

The ISTP personality type is much more common among men than women. Among men, it is the third most common type in the population. Among women, it is the fourth rarest. ISTPs make up:

  • 5% of the general population
  • 9% of men
  • 2% of women

Famous ISTPs

Famous ISTPs include Lance Armstrong, Bruce Lee, Miles Davis, Tiger Woods, Chuck Yaeger, Katherine Hepburn, Clint Eastwood, and Amelia Earhart.

ISTP Values and Motivations

ISTPs are curious about the mechanics of the world around them and typically have a unique ability to manipulate the tools in their environments. They tend to study how things work and often achieve mastery in the use and operation of machines, instruments, and equipment. They seek understanding, but in a practical sense: they like to be able to put their technical knowledge to immediate use and are quickly bored by theory.

ISTPs tend to be detached and prefer the logic of mechanical things to the complexity of human emotions. Independent and reserved, ISTPs treasure their personal space, and want to be free to be spontaneous and follow their own lead. ISTPs are selective about their relationships, and appreciate others who allow them plenty of freedom to do their own thing.

How Others See the ISTP

ISTPs are typically reserved and even aloof. Tolerant and nonjudgmental, the ISTP calmly takes in the details and facts of their surroundings, noticing sensory data and observing how things work. They often tune into what needs to be done, taking care of the immediate needs of the moment in a modest, inconspicuous way. They tend to prefer action to conversation, and are often private about their personal lives. ISTPs are unlikely to “open up” to new people in a conventional way, but may connect with others by sharing an activity or working together to solve a practical problem.

ISTPs are good with their hands and often mechanical. They are typically attracted to hands-on hobbies like woodworking or crafts, and may be found tinkering with bicycles, computers, cars, or household appliances. They often have an intuitive understanding of machines and a remarkable ability to fix things. ISTPs have an appreciation for risk and action, and often enjoy thrilling leisure activities like extreme sports, motorcycling, or weaponry.

For more information: The Art of SpeedReading People

ISTP Hobbies and Interests

Popular hobbies for an ISTP include magic and comedy, archery, weaponry, hunting, scuba diving, rappelling, aviation, skydiving, motorcycles, and other extreme sports. They are often drawn to risky or thrilling activities and those that allow them to work with something mechanical.

Facts about ISTPs

Interesting facts about the ISTP:

  • On personality trait measures, score as Critical, Detached, Guarded, Independent, and Resourceful
  • Commonly found in populations of male college scholarship athletes
  • More likely than other types to suffer cardiac problems
  • Lowest ranked of all types in using social coping resources
  • One of four types least satisfied with their marriage or intimate relationship
  • Among types least likely to complete college
  • Personal values include Autonomy; at work, value Stability, Security, Independence, and Achievement
  • Commonly found in skilled trades, technical fields, agriculture, law enforcement, and military occupations

Source: MBTI Manual

Quotes About ISTPs

"ISTPs have a vested interest in practical and applied science, especially in the field of mechanics."

- Isabel Briggs Myers, Gifts Differing

"If a given tool is operated with a precision that defies belief, that operator is likely an ISTP."

- David Keirsey, Please Understand Me II

"Though very effective at most undertakings, [the ISTP's] unorthodox way of accomplishing something, coupled with low visibility, can often lead to co-workers' wondering, to quote the people the Lone Ranger saved, 'Who was that masked man?'"

- Otto Kroeger, Type Talk at Work

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Guest (not verified) says...

I encourage you to look into the validity and reliability studies published on the MBTI CAPT website. I promise you, if you took the assessment with the correct mindset, 96% of the time, it will result in exactly what your preferred personality type long as you are assessed through a verification process with a credentialed practitioner.

ISTP (not verified) says...

This really is who I am. Recently I have been looking into engineering, and was excited when I found many types of engineering in the predicted jobs! I can also finally understand why I do what I do. I may hold a grudge for a while then drop it randomly, and I always try to steer my friends' conversations away from emotions. This is me in a nutshell and I'm proud of it.

Guest (not verified) says...

Hits the mark way closer than I expected, and now I feel such a sense of freedom and understanding. Granted, there are nuances here and there, but wow. I'm glad I put aside my skepticism for this test and went ahead and did it.

Guest (not verified) says...

I love my result!!!

Guest (not verified) says...

I'm off to jump from a cliff top,

Guest (not verified) says...

Hopefully you didn't jump. Today is the first day of the rest of your life, pace yourself.

Guest (not verified) says...

Hopefully he was talking about bungee jumping or cliff diving!

Melody Hazi (not verified) says...

Or skydiving or all of the above. It doesn't matter what it is the answer is "always jump"

Amia says...

Ha same 

RealityIsCrazy (not verified) says...

Wow. This is right I'm young and is learning computer coding at home I will always love to help, tinker, and anything to do with electronics. And I like to be alone.

Guest (not verified) says...

Part of the 2% :)

Chastinins (not verified) says...

i agree with you all i am a 14 yr old and they all match me! we are doing this for an English assignment and it is actually quite interesting!

ECA (not verified) says...

This makes sense to me. This is spot on and describes me a lot.

Guest (not verified) says...

As an istp i find this very true. But im dissappointed in the lack of job options that should be associated with istp's, like surgeons or lawyer. Im an istp college student who is aiming for a job in plastic surgery. these jobs make the most sense because it appeals to my love of fixing things, aesthetics, mechanics, and curiosity.

Feisfocused (not verified) says...

the jobs did seem limited

Guest (not verified) says...

interesting nonetheless

Lyddie (not verified) says...

I'm an INFP, while my husband for 11 years is ISTP. It was described here that I'm a challenging opposite for him. But I'm so in love with him so I fought with all my heart to keep him happy beside me. I think our relationship really works, and we are both satisfied with each other very much. I adore his ability and sense in things (he's like my personal Superman), and he loves me for appreciating all his works to the specific details. So IMO no matter which group you are, if you love a person deep enough, you could have a beautiful relationship with them by understanding their personality. And of course vise versa. ;) MBTI is the best in describe personalities, I believe. So much fun!

Nickimite (not verified) says...

I absolutely love the sound of your relationship with your husband. I also believe that any two personalities can have a beautiful, loving relationship. I do think it's funny how not-ISTP-like this post is. It is open, free, and expressive of the good things in your life. For an ISTP, generally it takes them until later in life to be able to open up at all. It is obvious to me how different our two personality types are, and I think it's wonderful you can be there to help your man grow as a person.

Gamer (not verified) says...

This describes me. I love technology and spend 76% of my time alone in my room. What else could fit better?

Guest (not verified) says...

it's absolutely true for me....really nailed it...

Nickimite (not verified) says...

I agree with the majority of the content on this page, however it does seem pretty narrow, even by Myers Briggs standards. I am an ISTP and some of these things about me are true, however it fails to capture what other websites delineating what an ISTP is. This website is particularly bad at including borderline personalities, that is, personalities that are close to 50/50 in I/E S/N T/F and P/J. Simply put, it is overly stereotyping the ISTP personality. I attribute the number of people commenting in awe of this website to their lack of gathered comparable information and the desire of those who closely match to express their opinions, whereas the moderates are less likely to come forward. Good day.

potato psoas says...

You are definitely an ISTP. Your Ti is showing. Wonder what you've learnt in 7 months...

TheIntrovertedManiac (not verified) says...

I seem to be a complicated mix of ISFP and ISTP it seems. Kinda depends on how tired I am and my current mood, but I think I lean more towards this than ISFP.

Guest (not verified) says...

This fit me to a t. I am a woman and learned how to ride a motorcycle back in the early eighties. I loved speed. It gave me the biggest thrill of my life. I have always had a natural aptitude for machines also. I have never been one for small talk either

Melody Hazi (not verified) says...

I've always felt mis-understood and an outsider, but as I have grown older I have found confidence in myself as an ISTP. As I kid I always took apart things like my parents old black and white TV to figure out how they worked. People see me as aloof ( I was nicknamed the Ice Queen), because I can not tolerate small talk, small people, lines, mediocrity. My motto is always jump and people see me as risk taker/daredevil, but I actually do think before jumping. I often give mixed signals that confuse people because I can be outgoing and gregarious if a topic interests me, but then pull back and am reserved for topics I find mundane. I work in technology and excel at troubleshooting and working under pressure finding solutions to problems needing resolving yesterday. I do not good with expressing compassion or feelings and people tend to think I am cold though I feel deeply. Now if one day I can finally find someone who gets and will put up with me. If you try to change or control me I will be gone faster then you can blink

Guest (not verified) says...

Interesting fact: Link from the Legend of Zelda series actually has this personality type. Any Zelda fans out there who are ISTPs?

Cookie Crumbles 1000 (not verified) says...

This is so true its creepy

Diesel Mechanic/ Motorcycle rider (not verified) says...

This is amazing. I just got out of a long term relationship, and it nailed it perfectly. I was asking for action and she was more dreaming. this is scary accurate

Sam Pequignot (not verified) says...

This is sooooo dumb

Guest (not verified) says...

this is so true! i have always wanted something to describe me! this is a project that we are doing in school! its a cool idea and shows how my personality depends on my life style and the way i live it! i guess im a ISTP. i did it 2 times and it was the same both times!!

Guest (not verified) says...

I'm amazed, it just nailed it

Guest (not verified) says...

Im reposting this reply I gave to someone else's comment to the general thread in hopes I might get some more incite to my husband.

Yes! My husband took the test at my request early in our marriage and got infp. It didn't feel accurate to me. Now after a few years of marriage and many misunderstandings between the two of us he retook the test on his own and was honest and got istp. It is so accurate my jaw was on the floor. ... from rotflol

Out west (not verified) says...

I jump out of airplanes to put out fires, generally don't like discussing plans over action, and all my hobbies involve crafting things. Pretty much nailed it.

Jackie Tun (not verified) says...

This is me. However, I feel that these qualities are useful for other career paths than listed. Taking my own experience, I have two degrees and various scholarships. I will be training as a barrister (a type of English lawyer) shortly. The mechanics of the ISTP allow me to unravelling complex legal problems and present practical solutions to clients. I should state that I’m intending on practicing at the civil/commercial bar and as such an ISTP may not be as apt to practice at the family bar.

The often terse nature of ISTP’s are also particularly well suited to advocacy as is the ability to reduce complex concepts into simple terms. Persuasion is best done when everyone in the room understands what is being discussed.

Casting that aside . . . I did want to pursue a trade in secondary school.

Guest (not verified) says...

Wow that's great

DeltaJan (not verified) says...

Jesus christ man. I took an rpg personality test that linked my result to this and this description is too hard to believe to be real. I never expected a personality test to be so accurate.

Farhanah says...

I got I, may be N or S, may be F or T, P but I think this one is the closest.

potato psoas says...

Here are some facts about ISTPs from someone who's been studying MBTI and cognitive functions for a while now, to help some of you confirm your results:

) ISTPs are very logically accurate

) ISTPs are very opinionated

) ISTPs like to debate

) ISTPs can be insensitive

) ISTPs can be very awkward in public

) ISTPs are very good at sport, arts and video games

) ISTPs can see into the future

) ISTPs find it draining to constantly learn about abstract topics - they would rather be playing

) ISTPs find social interaction draining

) ISTPs aren't the best at relationships

) ISTPs are independent and not traditionalists

) ISTPs are rebellious

) ISTPs find it incredibly invigorating to help people

) ISTPs detest "fake" people

) ISTPs can have mental breakdowns and anger issues

) ISTPs don't have the best abstract memory

) ISTPs have amazing kinesthetic memory

) ISTPs can be extremely lazy

) ISTPs lack empathy

) ISTPs are very stubborn

) ISTPs lack the ability to brainstorm and be creative

karan (not verified) says...

This is exactly like me every single thing i do is here ........OMG I like all those think like aviation i do archary

mathies says...

This test is 100% accurate. I've always been interested in mechanics and inventing stuff. I draw on a daily basis. I also love to draw blueprints and write how-tos. you would not belive how hiper i get when im alone and am not doing anything.I have severe adhd but i know how to control it. Belive that this site is 100% accurate. I am an ISTP and i am proud to be one. ISTP IS A GOOD PERSONALLITY TYPE+

Just Bob (not verified) says...

Well some of those jobs ain't the easiest to change career to! Would love to be a pilot or try again at mechanical engineering instead of civil/surveying but there's those pesky bills to pay!

Jelena says...

Yeah, I can see myself here, describing ISTP's, but I can recognise myself as an INTP's as well. Like both these types, so nevermind, I like the results anyway. 

Jelena says...

I can recognise myself as an ISTP, as well as an INTP. Even when I'm taking the same test on a different pages, sometimes I get ISTP and sometimes I get INTP. Not really sure which one is my true type, because I can see myself in both of these types. Nevermind, I'm pretty satisfied with the results, it's accurate for me. 

Huien (not verified) says...

  • More likely than other types to suffer cardiac problems

I’m very curious as to this point mentioned. I’m a female ISTP who just hit 30 and have been experiencing heart ‘issues’ for the last year. X rays, blood tests and a treadmill test reveal nothing wrong but yet something in me is convinced this is not normal. The doctor concluded ‘stress’.  I experience anything from tightness, heart pounding and a prickly pain in my chest when this happens- usually when I feel fatigued and still push myself. Nothing to do with caffeine or mental stress in the moment. It’s a physical phenomenon and can even happen in bed when I experience fatigue. No breathlessness or panting or anxiety attacks. So I usually still remain functional and ignore it until it goes away, most of the time. I have a (relatively) healthy diet but struggle to meet my exercise goals as my heart and lungs don’t get stronger over time. Often I fall ill after moderate exercise. The only reason why I’m posting this here because of a health website is because I would like to know if it’s related to my personality type ? Please any answers or arrows pointing even in a somewhat vague direction would be appreciated. 

Mike Kaufmann (not verified) says...

Could you make the book suggestions for ISTPs please? I would be really curious and would try to read them. Thanks for all the given info, love it. 

jovial kumar shrivastav (not verified) says...

Thoughts of an ISTP

according to me the test can basically change your life. Just think about it, that by knowing each others personalitity can help you to understand others in a better way because you know how to act infront of that that particular person that you like the most and you want him/her to get comfortable while he/she is talking to you. And you can also call it mind manipulating technique.

J100 (not verified) says...

Military Officer should be in the avoid category. ISTPs fit best in military positions where technical/weapon mastery is key. Officers are overwhelmingly generalist administrators. At the very least if an ISTP is a military officer they should strive for a position like pilot, navigator, platoon leader, special ops, etc. Most officers (in fact most of the military) are in supporting functions that will not be well suited to an ISTP.

Nikki says...

I don't feel that this personality type fits me. I have done this test twice this year and have the same results. I am pretty unpredictable, unemotional, friendly with a million interests. I like being crafty and finding solutions to any given problem. I don't feel like I grew up as a tomboy, but didn't mind getting my hands dirty and climbing trees. The outdoors are my absolute favorite. I can seem aloof as I don't care about things that are unimportant. I don't get caught up in being emotional. I am in the aviation industry, but not as a pilot. I have always thought about being a police officer but decided against it. Then again, I have thought about many occupations during my lifetime. 

Jason cowart (not verified) says...

This is me.

Tanold Drump (not verified) says...


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