If Walter White Took a Personality Test

My wife loves personality tests, the Myers-Briggs personality assessment to be precise. She finds it a fascinating attempt to see behind the false fronts of others’ well-constructed facades. For me, I enjoy reading about the other famous people who may share particular personality traits with someone who has taken the test.


Recently, we discussed our family members and their personality types in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment. Seeing as how I’m lately of a one-track mind, I wondered aloud, “How would Walter White score on the Myers-Briggs?” Well, wonder no more. Using my best guesses as to how Walter White would answer this basic 72-question Myers-Briggs test, I’ve discovered that Walter is, fittingly, quite the complex character.

First, some of the more interesting questions that anyone could answer as Walter White if they’ve seen even one episode:

  • You trust reason rather than feelings.
  • You usually plan your actions in advance.
  • You tend to sympathize with other people.
  • You think that almost everything can be analyzed.
  • You have good control over your desires and temptations.
  • A thirst for adventure is close to your heart.
  • When considering a situation, you pay more attention to the current situation and less to a possible sequence of events.
  • You are always looking for opportunities.
  • You easily perceive various ways in which events could develop

Walter White is an INTJ, “The Strategist.”

According to the test, he has:

  • moderate preference of Introversion over Extraversion (56%)
  • distinctive preference of Intuition over Sensing (62%)
  • distinctive preference of Thinking over Feeling (62%)
  • moderate preference of Judging over Perceiving (44%)

What about the inner life of an INTJ?

Of the more notable lines concerning our friend Heisenberg are:

  • “INTJs may appear to project an aura of ‘definiteness,’ of self-confidence.”
  • “INTJs are perfectionists, with a seemingly endless capacity for improving upon anything that takes their interest.”
  • “INTJs apply (often ruthlessly) the criterion ‘Does it work?’ to everything.”
  • “Whatever system an INTJ happens to be working on is for them the equivalent of a moral cause to an INFJ; both perfectionism and disregard for authority may come into play.”
  • “Typical INTJ career choices are in the sciences and engineering, but they can be found wherever a combination of intellect and incisiveness are required.”
  • “Personal relationships, particularly romantic ones, can be the INTJ’s Achilles heel.”
  • “Perhaps the most fundamental problem, however, is that INTJs really want people to make sense.”
  • “INTJs are idea people. Anything is possible; everything is negotiable.”

Other articles provide further insight. INTJs “approach reality as they would a giant chess board, always seeking strategies that have a high payoff, and always devising ‘contingency plans’ in case of error or adversity” (The Portrait of the Mastermind Rational iNTj). “They will continue on with their plans, even in the face of adversity and data that might suggest to other more practical types that their goals are no longer feasible” (INTJ – The Free-Thinker).

Famous INTJs include:

  • Lance Armstrong
  • Augustus Caeser
  • Hannibal (Carthaginian military leader)
  • C.S. Lewis
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • John F. Kennedy
  • Isaac Newton
  • Niels Bohr
  • Cassius
  • Gandalf the Grey
  • Professor Moriarty

All of these phrases and well-known personalities aptly describe Walter White, but there was something even more familiar about this list, something outside of the fact that I’ve tried to live in Walter White’s head for the last half-year while writing The Gospel According to Breaking Bad.
I called my wife into the room.
“Remind me of your personality type again.”
“I’m an INTJ.”

God help me. I’m married to Walter White.

[ref]So as not to impugn my wife’s good character, it should be noted that I purposefully skewed the famous INTJ’s list toward the more evil characters. My wife, thankfully, leans very much more toward the C.S. Lewis / Gandalf the Grey spectrum. She’s equal parts smart Christian and kind wizard.[/ref]