**** (of 5)

The bottom line: A solid reference and broad overview of the major personality theories.


Personality Theories is a resourceful textbook that details all the chief theories of human personality and psychological development.

The book begins by explaining the science and philosophy behind theory development and provides the reader an objective scale by which to gauge all subsequent models. Engler then devotes one chapter each to a personality theory or a group of theories, complete with some historical information that sheds light on who the theorists were and what influences helped to shape their postulations. Generally, the chapters are arranged in chronological order, starting with earlier models (Freud) and then progressing to more modern theories. Pertinent scientific research is cited in each chapter as well that sheds light on how each model has been externally validated. The author does (briefly) devote some time to non-Western theories at the end of the book.

The biggest downfall of the book is its lack of highly specific detail on each theorist, but this should only be any issue unless you are pursuing an advanced degree in psychology or a related field. The level of detail should be more than adequate for a college or graduate level course. Notably, the book does dig digger with Freud. Also, specific therapeutic modalities are briefly discussed but not explained in detail great enough to allow the reader to employ said techniques in a clinical setting.

I read (most) of this book as part of a graduate level course on “Theories of Personality.” Personality Theories has proven useful after the termination of the class and still provides educational dividends as a quick go-to reference. If you would like a general overview of human psychology and the theorists who have shaped its development, then this book will serve you well.


Dr. C. H. E. Sadaphal

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