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Stephen Wolfram added to INTJ List

Thursday June 24, 2021

I added Stephen Wolfram to my list of people I would say are, observationally, INTJs.

I thought a lot about this one. But as of now, I have to conclude that the nature of his thinking is extremely subjective-intuition-driven (Ni) and even stubbornly so. His language is fundamentally visual-metaphorical (watch his gestures and descriptions), which is also an important sign of Ni-basing. And his career keeps coming back to patterns where this intuitive foundation mixes with utter pragmatism and business logic (Te).

There were also some early life & career missteps that seemed more fundamentally INTJ than any other type.

I think that’s the best way I can put it, for now.

Other candidate personality types were: ENTP (I’d say maybe 15% chance based on the reading / watching I’ve done so far), and INTP (5%).

There are some aspects of his use of experiential recall, Te-constructive work over long periods of time, and extraverted intuition that intrigue me. But not enough to distract from my main conclusion. These could easily be family- or environmentally-influenced, for example. Even the fact that one has an audience, or a “social persona,” could be enough to virtually mandate the use of various extraverted personality aspects.

To some degree there’s a bit of a vulnerability or weakness involved in admitting one can be wrong about guessing someone else’s personality type. But I like to lean into that. I have been wrong before, and being wrong about stuff is an important key to learning about personality, and many other things.

The Why

Why do this list-making with personality types?

One reason is that it helps me explore my own interests at a deeply effective level. For example, if I’m interested in math, science, or physics, it may be easier for me to learn Wolfram-the-INTJ’s theories first, and add other challenges later, than it is to learn Einstein-the-INTP’s theories first.

With an INTJ’s “unification-style” theorizing done up front, it would tend to be much easier for me to dive into the “separation-style” theorizing done by an INTP, because I can better see where their discrete, separated-style works fit into the big picture of the theory.

I can test this in a simple way by reading through their materials, and in many cases this has proven a very helpful method for picking up new skills, or just learning new things.

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