ISTP Crafter

A Few Caveats

Please bear in mind that none of this has to be a stereotype that rules your life.  You're a unique individual with a unique background, and this description is simply a generalization based on statistics and averages.  It is not your destiny, your fate, or anything like that.  Don't take what you read here as limitations, but as an invitation to grow outside your core strengths.  And especially don't use this description as an excuse.  You're better than that!  :)  Besides, why box yourself in?  Type is a starting point, not an ending place.  Enjoy it and then grow from it.


ISTPs are estimated at:

  • 4.16% of the American population  (sample size 9,320; Myers & McCaulley, 1985)
  • 6.4% of the UK population*  (sample size 1,634; Kendall & McHenry, 1998)
  • 5.16% of the Australian population  (sample size 3,373; Macdaid, McCaulley, & Kainz, 1986)
  • 6.0% of the New Zealand population  (sample size 993; Bathurst, 1995)
  • 6.8% of the Singapore population  (sample size 1,733; Lim, 1994)

*Be chary about comparing the UK estimate with the others.  There's a long explanation. 


A caveat.  Isabel Myers (INFP) married a man named Chief, an ISTJ and a good man.  They were happy together, but according to Isabel's own type theory they weren't predicted to be perfect for each other.  Later on, Myers said that if she had known about type theory, she probably wouldn't have married Chief.  Hm!  There is a lesson to be learned here: type is not everything, nor should it be the decisive factor in choosing your lifemate.  Take it from the founder of type herself.

Then too, the connections between type, attraction, love and marriage haven't been well studied yet.  (The question is more complicated than you'd think.)  You can read about this question and the various attempts to answer it here.

ISTPs are the introverted type least likely to get married. 

Marital Satisfaction

A study of type and one's marriage/intimate relationship found that ISTPs had the third lowest satisfaction with their marriage. 


ISTPs were the type least likely to say that they liked the work environment characteristic "independence and achievement."  Least likely is relative here though; in fact, 80% of ISTPs liked "Independence and achievement."  It's just that the other types liked it even more.  More than 80% of ISTPs also liked "Clear structure" and "Variety of tasks;" most of the other types also heavily liked these areas.  

In terms of satisfaction, ISTPs indicated that they were "Less satisfied with company."  (They were also dissatisfied with "Promotions," but pretty much every type was.)

For the kind of work performed, ISTPs tend to be the type which most often works with their hands, i.e. in fields like construction, outdoor work, repairs, etc.  They were also the type with the lowest liking for art/literature/music-related jobs and the least confidence that they could perform them (Myers, McCaulley, Quenk & Hammer, 1998). 

ISTPs didn't have any particularly notable organizational values; mostly they just didn't see "Outgoing affiliation" and "Financial analysis" as being important to them.  Speaking in terms of general values, ISTPs were one of the four types most likely to endorse "Autonomy" as an important value for them.  However, they rated autonomy after "Home/family" and "Financial security," and autonomy tied with the value of "Health."

According to Hammer (1993), occupational trends for ISTPs include "Skilled trades," "Technical fields," "Agriculture," "Law enforcement," and "Military."  (Curiously, ISTPs were the only type that the manual recommended for the military, and this despite the fact that ISTJs and ESTJs are overwhelmingly overrepresented in the armed forces.  But ISTPs are rightfully known for being the best type with tools, including weapons, so perhaps this is the justification.)

David Keirsey had a soft spot in his heart for the Artisans, and you can find a free sample ISTP Guide to Interacting With Your Employee PDF on his website--a must read for an ISTP boss dealing with Guardian employees. 


ISTPs were rated by psychologists as one of the three types most likely to have trouble in school.  A study found that they were overrepresented in high school programs for at-risk students.  In addition, they have some of the lowest college retention rates.  ISTPs find it helpful (and indeed prefer) not to be involved with many extracurricular activities during college. 

They tend to do average on aptitude tests, but their grades are typically lower than average.  The competitive side of school may attract them; for instance, a study of students participating in the Academic Decathalon, a national scholastic competition, found that ST and SP types were overrepresented (though still in the minority).  If it were possible to win tests rather than to just pass them, ISTPs would probably receive much better grades. 

ISTPs were overrepresented in a sample of male scholarship athletes.


ISTPs have low stress compared to most other types.  A study of type and areas of stress found that not only were ISTPs not in the "high stress" group for any area, but they were also in the "low stress" group for the areas "Finances" and "Balancing home and work."  Be that as it may, ISTPs were nevertheless the type second most likely to report heart disease and hypertension. 

How do ISTPs cope with stress?  The study found that they were the type most likely to "Get upset or angry and show it" (as opposed to not showing it).  They were also among the top four types for "Watching televsion."  ISTPs were the type least likely to use the coping methods "Talk to someone close" or "Talk to professional" or "Exercise." 



David Keirsey had a soft spot in his heart for the Artisans, and you can find a free sample ISTP Guide to Interacting With Your Employee PDF on his website--a must read for an ISTP boss dealing with Guardian employees.


A study found that the favorite ISTP activity was "Playing with computers or video games."  This was the only leisure pastime that ISTPs were overrepresented for.  They were underrepresented for the pastimes of "Listening to music" and "Writing." 


Type Dynamics and Cognitive Functions (Or Not)

I won't be covering type dynamics or cognitive functions here.  Type junkies may be wondering why not, since Ti, Se, Ni, and Fe are widely considered to be characteristic of ISTPs.  But there is doubt over whether the cognitive functions exist.  You can read about it here

Although many of the observations that have been explained by cognitive function theory are valid, many simply are not.  I believe that cognitive function theory causes more confusion than it clears up--particularly in the all-important area of figuring out one's type.  I just don't see much point in pouring more time and effort into a bucket so full of holes, and have opted to leave out this part of type theory.

Post-Apocalyptic Survival for ISTPs

Does your type have what it takes to survive the end of the world, or will you be eaten by monsters?  Read on and find your fate...or don't, and die in unimaginable agony.  The choice is up to you.

Famous ISTPs

Real People

Fictional People

Action Heroes

  • Jason Bourne - Ex-CIA assassin (From the Bourne movies)
  • Illya Kuryakin - An international spy.  (From the TV show "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.")


Books of Interest