Profile of the ENTP Personality Type

An introduction to the ENTP personality type, AKA the Visionary, according to the theory created by Isabel Briggs Myers.

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.

For more information: The Art of SpeedReading People

Famous ENTPs

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

For more information: Famous ENTPs

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

Popular hobbies for the ENTP include continuing education, writing, art appreciation, playing sports, computers and video games, travel, and cultural events.

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

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