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It is some years now since I wrote the first edition of this book. I found over time, in those who read it, a predictable sequence of reactions. First, and always: boredom-"I don't need to know this." Then intense interest, as readers discovered the care with which research had been done, and the many consequences. Finally-but I'm not going to tell you now. First I want to aid you beyond those initial barriers.
Some said to me, "I don't believe in putting people into boxes." Well, what if individuals really are different? Then they are already in boxes. Describing those differences is liberating, not restrictive.
"I have enough problems right now," said others. "I don't need to study abstract ideas." Fair enough. But problems usually involve people. Often issues are caused by inability to see another person's viewpoint-that is, people don't see your viewpoint. An understanding of how thinking patterns differ is not theoretical. It is practical. It can suggest ways around your problems.
"I can't do anything with my life as it is now," others said. "If I were single, married perhaps then to someone else-" Well, in my experience, certain people almost predictably marry certain other people. In each type of marriage-I have found only half a dozen really common combinations-there are the same compatibilities and conflicts. The conflicts, approached differently, are what generate the compatibilities.
Recently, for example, I met someone who lived near our city of Victoria. We began to talk. He asked me what I did. I told him a little, then some more. He was fascinated as I described trait after trait from his private life: "You're batting a thousand percent."
Then we moved to marriage. "I had problems with my parents," he said. "I got away from them, only to marry someone like them, and experience the problems all over again."
True, it can happen. But I began to look further. "Knowing how you think," I told him, "I can guess what your wife might be like. For example, is she careful with personal expenses?"
I began to describe his wife's personality to him, point by point. He had seen his marriage as somewhat 'average.' It turned out they had one of the most potentially dynamic and compatible combinations possible. He wouldn't have guessed it.
As I have talked with others, and we move to the subject of thinking patterns, a common reaction has always been, "If you're right, then why isn't everyone excited?" Or, "It can't be true, or somebody else would have done it already." The comments came out in the blank stare, the questioning look. Read further-I'm going to bring you beyond that stage.