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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 ISTPs are reserved, but not withdrawn: the ISTP enjoys taking action, and approaches the world with a keen appreciation for the physical and sensory experiences it has to offer.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...

Yes! On point indeed

Guest (not verified) says...

I'm skeptical of computers telling me what I am and how I am, but this was spot on. Even a little creepily accurate. Very cool test!

Guest (not verified) says...

The "computer" as you put it, is not telling who you are. It is a test that just so happens to be made available to take on a computer.

Guest (not verified) says...

Obviously, they're using "computer" as a generic term to save time explaining extraneous information though "internet" was probably a better choice. 

Guest (not verified) says...


Guest (not verified) says...

Wow...yeah I do enjoy weaponry and archery...however I do enjoy drawing and writing at a desk.

Juan Ardila (not verified) says...

I'm only 17 and for the past 3 years I have been trying to find something that truly describes me. I found it hard to explain my personality to others. Then I found this. My first thought was "Finally, now maybe if others read this they might understand why I did the things I have done"

The Fredster (not verified) says...

A true ISTP doesn't care if others understand him or not; he just does what he does.

Guest (not verified) says...


Thanatos (not verified) says...

I totally agree with you. this will solve so many problems!

Guest (not verified) says...


Gamer (not verified) says...

Jeez man. Don't get that excited dude! Evan if it is exciting. ISTP's are awesome!

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Guest (not verified) says...

so accurate....

Guest (not verified) says...

I have to say it's inaccurate that ISTPs "shouldn't" become clergy. Maybe not many do statistically, but I know at least one priest and one deacon who are pretty obvious ISTPs and they are *great* at what they do.

Isaiah Moreno (not verified) says...

It's just saying that you might not enjoy being a clergy as much as you would a carpenter or a forester.

Guest (not verified) says...

i'm glad my current job description is in my predicted roles! Funny thing was, the other style i had to pick from had my role in what i would likely not become.

Ancorman45763 (not verified) says...

why is it so accurate?

x_stubs_x (not verified) says...

holy crap bruce lee is an ISTP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanos (not verified) says...

Not funny, didn't laugh...

Guest (not verified) says...

This is exactly who I am. Truly unbelievable how such a simple test can yeild such an accurate description of my personality. I'm a very practical person who likes to get things done rather than to sit around planning and discussing conceptual ideas. While Math theories can be interesting to me, I find it to be a waste of time and effort, unless there is a practical application for it.

Butt-faice Mcgillicutty (not verified) says...

Wow. this is me

Guest (not verified) says...

I was so lucky to have my boss give me the Myers-Briggs test when I was 53. I am an ISTP, and this answered so many questions I have had in my life that nobody was ever able to answer. I finally realized why I was attracted to computers, and why databases, especially, were my first love. And I mean love. When I began with PCs in 1981, it was a 24/7 occupation. Yup, I'm an ISTP, and found that I can finally accept who I really am.

Awesome gal (not verified) says...

Lol i m istp i m dot com nerd as well.

This fits me so well. 

Nw (not verified) says...

Ha I discovered the use of ms access a couple years ago and since taught my self to build one up and now find any excuse to use it even though it can be annoyingly difficult to perform some basic tasks I can do in excel quickly :p... VBA is a slow learning process when your naff at languages lol

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Guest (not verified) says...

WOW. This is me!

Nakita (not verified) says...

This is very accurate!

Forehead Bruh Moment (not verified) says...


Guest (not verified) says...

This website totally nailed me down!

Kimberly S Estopinal (not verified) says...

did you press charges?


Pooty (not verified) says...

perfect description of my personality

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