ENTP in a Nutshell
ENTPs are inspired innovators, motivated to find new solutions to intellectually challenging problems. They are curious and clever, and seek to comprehend the people, systems, and principles that surround them. Open-minded and unconventional, Visionaries want to analyze, understand, and influence other people.
ENTPs enjoy playing with ideas and especially like to banter with others. They use their quick wit and command of language to keep the upper hand with other people, often cheerfully poking fun at their habits and eccentricities. While the ENTP enjoys challenging others, in the end they are usually happy to live and let live. They are rarely judgmental, but they may have little patience for people who can't keep up.
What Makes the ENTP Tick
ENTPs are energized by challenge and are often inspired by a problem that others perceive as impossible to solve. They are confident in their ability to think creatively, and may assume that others are too tied to tradition to see a new way. The Visionary relies on their ingenuity to deal with the world around them, and rarely finds preparation necessary. They will often jump into a new situation and trust themselves to adapt as they go.
ENTPs are masters of re-inventing the wheel and often refuse to do a task the same way twice. They question norms and often ignore them altogether. Established procedures are uninspiring to the Visionary, who would much rather try a new method (or two) than go along with the standard.
Recognizing an ENTP
ENTPs are typically friendly and often charming. They usually want to be seen as clever and may try to impress others with their quick wit and incisive humor. They are curious about the world around them, and want to know how things work. However, for the ENTP, the rules of the universe are made to be broken. They like to find the loopholes and figure out how they can work the system to their advantage. This is not to say the Visionary is malicious: they simply find rules limiting, and believe there is probably a better, faster, or more interesting way to do things that hasn’t been thought of before.
The ENTP is characteristically entrepreneurial and may be quick to share a new business idea or invention. They are confident and creative, and typically excited to discuss their many ingenious ideas. The ENTP’s enthusiasm for innovation is infectious, and they are often good at getting other people on board with their schemes. However, they are fundamentally “big-picture” people, and may be at a loss when it comes to recalling or describing details. They are typically more excited about exploring a concept than they are about making it reality, and can seem unreliable if they don’t follow through with their many ideas.
ENTP in the Population
ENTP is one of the rarer types in the population. ENTPs make up:
- 3% of the general population
- 4% of men
- 2% of women
Popular hobbies for the ENTP include continuing education, writing, art appreciation, playing sports, computers and video games, travel, and cultural events.
Famous ENTPs include Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Richard Feynman, Leonardo da Vinci, Niccolo Machiavelli, John Stuart Mill, Jon Stewart, “Weird Al” Yankovic, and Conan O’Brien
Research on ENTP
Interesting facts about the ENTP:
- On personality trait scales, scored as Enterprising, Friendly, Resourceful, Headstrong, Self-Centered, and Independent
- Least likely of all types to suffer heart disease and hypertension
- Least likely of all types to report stress associated with family and health
- Scored among highest of all types in available resources for coping with stress
- Overrepresented among those with Type A behavior
- Among highest of all types on measures of creativity
- One of two types most frequent among violators of college alcohol policy
- Among types most dissatisfied with their work, despite being among the types with highest income
- Commonly found in careers in science, management, technology, and the arts
What the Experts Say
"ENTPs tend to be independent, analytical, and impersonal in their relations with people, and they are more apt to consider how others may affect their projects than how their projects may affect others."
- Isabel Briggs Myers, Gifts Differing
"ENTPs are the most reluctant of all the types to do things in a particular manner just because that is the way things have always been done."
- David Keirsey, Please Understand Me II
"Don't tell an ENTP that we can't fly a rocket to Mars, build a 200-story skyscraper, or communicate over two-way wrist radios. That will be an invitation for the ENTP to prove you wrong."
- Otto Kroeger, Type Talk at Work
ENTP at Work
At work, the ENTP is concerned with applying innovative solutions to challenging problems to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of systems. ENTPs often take an entrepreneurial approach to their work and they prefer to approach tasks in a casual and unstructured way, with few limitations on their ingenuity.
ENTPs prize competency and often want to be the expert. They enjoy work that demands continual improvement in their knowledge and skills. They value power, and want a career that allows them contact with powerful people and the opportunity to increase their own influence.
ENTPs are idea people, and chafe at routine. They get bored very quickly when required to repeat a task or attend to details. They do best when their work is highly conceptual, and allows them to solve problems creatively without having to think through the details.
The ideal work environment for an ENTP is intellectually challenging without being rigid, with creative and intelligent coworkers. The ideal job for an ENTP allows them to put their creativity to work developing innovative ideas, while allowing them to delegate responsiblity for the tedious details of implementation to others.
Popular Careers for the ENTP
Top careers for the ENTP include:
Least Popular Careers for ENTPs
It is important to note that any personality type can be successful in any occupation. However, some occupations are well suited to the natural talents and preferred work style of the ENTP, while other occupations demand modes of thinking and behavior that do not come as naturally to the ENTP. Occupations that require the ENTP to operate outside their natural preferences may prove stressful or draining, and often sound unappealing to ENTPs who are choosing a career.
The following occupations have been found to be unpopular among ENTPs, based on data gathered from surveys of the general population.
ENTPs as Leaders
In leadership positions, ENTPs are imaginative and enterprising. ENTP leaders tend to be intellectually competitive, and want a team that can keep up. They are likely to encourage independence and creative thinking among their reports, but will subject any new ideas, including their own, to a thorough and critical analysis.
ENTPs look for trends, and want to have plenty of information and data available in their search for patterns and principles. They tend to be focused on systems more than people, and may neglect their team's emotional needs in the pursuit of knowledge, understanding, and innovation. When they do focus on personal concerns, their strength lies in strategy rather than diplomacy, and they often use their understanding of human behavior to engineer and influence social systems.
ENTPs on a Team
ENTPs are ingenious, entrepreneurial team members who want to explore new and creative ideas. Flexible and adaptable, the ENTP wants to discover the best way to do something, and is often excited by an opportunity to innovate. ENTPs are generally energetic and optimistic, and confident in their ability to solve difficult problems. They often feel the best solutions come from skirting or even ignoring the rules, and rarely have much interest in adhering to the established procedures. They may have considerable friction with teammates who take a more traditional approach.
ENTPs are typically open-minded, and like to hear many perspectives on an issue. They are good at synthesizing information and often show a talent for incorporating the best of many ideas into one, unified concept. However, they can be competitive, and sometimes like to take the credit for a team’s successes. They are rarely good at hammering out details, and may want to take ownership for the group’s overall direction, while leaving the exact specifications of the plan to their teammates.
ENTP Communication Style
ENTPs are lively and agile communicators who speak in terms of the “big idea.” They like to explore possibilities and make connections with the information they receive. ENTPs love innovative solutions and are enthusiastic about change, but they are also highly analytical and will not hesitate to criticize ideas that don’t hold up to their logical analysis. ENTPs can be hard to keep up with in conversation; they like to play with lots of complex ideas and have little patience for explaining details.
ENTPs as Partners
In relationships, the ENTP is inventive, enthusiastic, and spontaneous. ENTPs are often exciting partners, full of ideas for new things to explore together.
ENTPs prize their ability to understand others and communicate effectively, and have an ongoing interest in improving themselves and their relationships. They want to know how their partners' minds work, and are creative in coming up with solutions to interpersonal problems.
ENTPs like to encourage their mates to pursue their ambitions. However, they may be competitive or even argumentative; they enjoy a good debate for its own sake. They typically need a partner who is emotionally resilient and doesn't take offense at their intellectual challenges.
ENTPs can be unreliable as they follow their inspiration, wherever it may lead. They have little interest in order or routine, and may neglect mundane household chores as they pursue more stimulating activities. The ideal mate for an ENTP appreciates their ingenuity, competence, and perceptiveness, and supports them in their ever-changing interests, schemes, and social pursuits.
ENTPs as Parents
As parents, ENTPs are concerned with developing their children as independent thinkers. They are fun-loving parents who want to give their children many experiences to help their young minds expand and grow. More interested in challenging their children intellectually than caring for their physical needs, the ENTP is inclined to leave the day-to-day details of childrearing up to another parent if possible.
Although ENTP parents may be distracted from their families when other interests capture their attention, they derive great joy from offering their children many and varied opportunities to develop.