Personality Tests and Technical Communicators: Reader/Book Types

Personality Tests and Technical Communicators: Reader/Book Types

By Julia Southwick and Joy Carandang

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While looking at social media a while ago, I saw a link to reader or book type quiz and had to check it out. The quiz asked about books I liked and put together the trends it noticed into what categories of books I’d like and gave some suggested titles to look at. To quote their site, “Reader Types aren’t based completely on the genres you prefer. They also take into consideration themes and subject matter.”

We’ve listed Bookfinity’s descriptions of each type below, which you can find here on their website.

  • Modern Romantic: What’s better than a Friday night snuggled up with a cup of tea, your coziest blanket, and watching your favorite, classic rom-com? For a Modern Romantic, nothing! Simply put: Modern Romantics love love! From fun and flirty to hot and steamy, there are dozens of romance tropes and Modern Romantics can’t get enough.
  •  Serial Reader: When Serial Readers aren’t binging the most recent true-crime docu-series or catching up on the latest true-crime podcast, they are picking up a mystery novel, thriller, classic horror, or true crime biography. Serial Readers crave the curiosity and thrill of the unknown, especially from the comfort of their own couch.
  • Subject Matter Expert (SME): Subject Matter Experts just seem to always know what they are talking about. They love to read for fun and they also love to read to learn. There are two kinds of Subject Matter Experts: SME’s who enjoy fine tuning their expertise and love a deep diving into reference book and SME’s enjoy escaping into another world by way of a science fiction or fantasy novel. 
  • Young at Heart: Getting older is life, but growing up is a choice. YA doesn’t have an age limit, but Young at Heart’s already know that. Whether it was Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Twilight, or Percy Jackson that drew them in, young adult fiction is still their go-to genre.
  • Bookworm: All readers might consider themselves a “bookworm,” but this Reader Type is for those who love the classics. A Bookworm’s bookshelf looks like it came straight from “Top Books to Read Before You Die” (Link to article) reading list along with all the current literary prize nominees. Bookworms love a combination of classic literature, literary fiction, poetry, and art.
  • Trendsetter: You might be a Trendsetter if you walk into the bookstore and go straight to the new releases or if you’re the friend everyone goes to for their book recs. The Trendsetter is the first to read the books making the bestseller lists, loves book to screen adaptations, and will even pick up the latest tell-all memoir. If it’s a buzz-worthy book, there’s no doubt that the Trendsetter has already read it. 
  • Beach Reader: A Beach Reader might not spend much time on a real beach, but don’t worry… Beach happy! Beach Readers love a book they can finish quickly and a story that fits their vibe. They want to read something fun, so you’ll often find their nose in a summer-set romance, twisty thriller, or an intriguing women’s lit novel. 
  • Woke Up Like This: Inclusive and complex narratives are the name of the game for the Woke Up Like This reader. Woke Up Like This loves books across many genres, as long as it’s telling a story that needs telling. Books that focus on LGBTQ+ stories, BIPOC perspectives, and shining a light on underrepresented communities fuel this reader. From fiction to poetry to nonfiction, it’s less about the genre and more about the story being shared.
  • Leading Lady: Who run the world? You already know. Leading Ladies can’t resist a story centered around strong female characters, reading books written by female authors, and biographies and memoirs of inspiring women around world. For a Leading Lady, their heroine’s are both real and fictionalized. They want to feel empowered by the books they read, but aren’t ashamed of picking up a quick beach read or tasty, new cookbook from time to time. 
  • World Traveler: Reading takes you to new places every time you open a book and no one understands that more than the World Traveler. Their house is filled with art and tchotchkes from their travels and their kitchen smells like a dish from whatever new cuisine they wanted to try. Learning from other cultures is essential for the World Traveler, so they enjoy reading (fiction, nonfiction, and poetry), eating, and watching things from other countries.
  • Mountain Climber: There is no mountain too tall and no challenge too daunting for the Mountain Climber. Sure, they could try the straight and narrow, but they’d rather traverse the perilous trail with a great view. When the Mountain Climber isn’t, you know, climbing mountains, you’ll find them at home practicing yoga, brewing their own beer, or sprouting their own microgreens. They enjoy a very active lifestyle and enjoy reading books that pique their interests about adventure, nature, and their health journey. 
  • Time Traveler: The Time Traveler daydreams about being transported to another time and place, but until time travel is invented, they’ll happily read about it. Time Travelers enjoy history and historical fiction novels. Besides reading about the past they also like to travel to historically significant locations, attend Renaissance faires, and frequent history museums. Time Travelers may have a specific time period they prefer to read about but are open to reading about a broad range of times and places.  
  • Cool Dad/Mom: They’re not like regular parents, they’re cool parents. Or at least they’d like to think so. You’ll find them chatting with other parents in the school pick-up line, swapping recipes for kid-friendly broccoli dishes, and listening to audiobooks in the car to keep the kids entertained. Cool Mom’s/Dad’s to read to their kids and/or have kids that enjoy reading. But they want more than just kids’ books. They enjoy listening to a parenting audiobook while on walks with the dog or reading bestsellers (when they get a moment to themselves that is). 
  • Spirtual Seeker: Spiritual Seeker’s open minds and kind hearts draws them to introspective and spiritual reads. They are nurturing and spend their free time (when they aren’t reading or in the kitchen making their famous chocolate chip cookie recipe) looking after their friends and family and volunteering in their community. Spiritual Seekers enjoy inspirational and religious titles, both fiction and nonfiction. 
  • Life Long Learner: You know the person on your trivia team who just seemed to know everything? Probably a Lifelong Learner. Their thirst for knowledge has extended far beyond the school age years. You’d be hard-pressed to find a novel on their bookshelf because they believe real life is stranger than fiction. Lifelong Learners enjoy reading to learn about history, politics, current events, and business. 
  • Self-Starter: As self-described “thought leaders”, Self-Starters want to learn from the top leaders in their industry and show off that expertise. They’ll probably bring up Bitcoin the next time you see then at happy hour. Self Starters enjoy listening to audiobooks because who has the time to sit down and read these days? What can you say… You’ve been grindin’ your whole life! When they do take the time to read they enjoy self-help books, biographies and memoirs of major CEO’s, and business titles.
  • Dissenter: RBG said it best “Dissent speaks to a future age”. Dissenters go against the grain and that’s the way they like it. They want to be informed and inform others of current events and politics, and further social and economic equality through their activism. Dissenters enjoy reading stories, of any genre, that feature diverse representation and main characters of color. 
  • Game Day Hero: Brains or brawn? Why not both! The Game Day Hero has clear eyes and a full heart. They’re passionate about sports and fitness. They may be seen more often at the gym than the local library, but that doesn’t mean they don’t love a good book from time to time. When they put down the weights to pick up a book it will likely be something engaging or relevant, like the latest sports biography or humorous memoir.

Now that you know all of the types, it might be helpful to see some examples of each. We’ve put together a Google Slides presentation with an example for each reader type which you can see here.

Julia: Young at Heart/Subject Matter Expert/Bookworm

After I took the test, Bookfinity gave me the result of primarily Young at Heart with SME and Bookworm as my second and third results. I agree with their assessment as the descriptions line up with what I typically read: anything from children’s and young adult books to sci-fi and fantasy. Reading these results alongside my previous results, I can see a few patterns. The results that I believe line up best with Young at Heart are my type 2 enneagram with a high type 7, Blue from True Colors, Conscientious from DiSC, Empathizer and Optimist from the Gallup Test, and the Innocent from the archetypes. As for my SME result, that lines up with my Thinker result from MBTI, enneagram wing 1, Green from True Colors, Steady from DiSC, Philomath and Thinker from the Gallup Test, and the Sage Archetype. My bookworm result ties all of my previous test results together with the new ones.

Whatever I’m reading, I like to know everything there is to know about it- or as much as possible! Some examples on my shelves are Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya, The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini, Harry Potter by JK Rowling*, and The Secrets of the Immortal Nickolas Flamel by Michael Scott. Although I don’t have the following classics on my shelves, I enjoyed reading The Canterbury Tales, Shakespeare, and The Epic of Gilgamesh. I typically read whatever comes under my nose and find reading a relaxing and fun experience. Once I read something, I tend to remember a lot about it and can summarize it for others. For some of the books I’ve read, I can even quote sections from memory and answer most trivia questions about them easily. That said, I’m looking for new books to add to my reading list and would love to know what you’d suggest I read next based on my results from Bookfinity!

*I’m not going into the politics surrounding the series or author here- it’s on my shelf from when I was a kid.

Joy: Lifelong Learner/World Traveler/Time Traveler

My top three reader types are Lifelong Learner, World Traveler, and Time Traveler. Overall, my results align with my interests within and beyond literature. When I come across something new that I am interested in, whether it is a skill or a topic, I tend to immerse myself in as many resources as I can find—from articles, books, and documentaries. I enjoy reading stories that allow me to immerse myself in a variety of cultures, places, and periods. Some of my favorite novels that have helped me explore these themes include Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing, Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko, and Cheryl Strayed’s Wild. As a reader, I find delving into the intersectionality of each character and how their time period shapes their view of the world around them to be an eye-opening experience.
Many of my previous personality type results overlap with the reader types. For instance, two of my Gallup Test results (Empathizer and Philomath) bear similarities to characteristics aligned with the Lifelong Learner and World Traveler. Additionally, as a Regular Person (Jung’s Archetypes) and INFP (Myers Briggs), I appreciate connecting with individuals of all backgrounds and hearing about their unique experiences. I hope to bridge these interests in my academic career by conducting research on intercultural communication as well as implementing inclusive practices. Bookfinity has since introduced me to countless recommendations I would not have encountered before. Whether you are an avid reader or are simply looking to add new titles to your shelf, I suggest taking this engaging and personalized quiz today! 

…But What Does This Have To Do With Tech Comm?

 A career in Technical Communication can translate into working in several ever-changing industries and fields for various causes that operate within different workflows. Taking Bookfinity’s test can help a budding technical writer, a current technical writer, or an established practitioner looking to find themselves in a new industry connect with their peers and coworkers. Additionally, understanding your results can be beneficial in deciding what to read next for fun or to further increase your tech comm knowledge. 

Those interpersonal relationships drive our success on the job. Learning about our Bookfinity types provides a useful language for technical communicators to understand how we can connect with others over shared interests.

We Want to Hear from You

No test will ever present a complete portrait of who you are, but many people find them useful for self-reflection or as tools to engage with others. We would love to hear from you about your experience with personality tests. Each test you take will give you a different perspective. Let us know what results you have gotten and how you have found that information to be useful or not. 

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