Cover image for The four temperaments : a rediscovery of the ancient way of understanding character and health
The four temperaments : a rediscovery of the ancient way of understanding character and health
Rolfe, Randy.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Marlowe & Co., [2002]

Physical Description:
x, 219 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
RA776.5 .R64 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



The system of the four temperaments, or humors--melancholic, choleric, sanguine, and phlegmatic--has been used to analyze personality and health for over two thousand years, since the philosophical insights of Aristotle and the healing arts of Hippocrates. It has been the basis of Western medicine and character portraits ever since. Now The Four Temperaments offers an introduction and overview of this ancient knowledge, providing readers a clear picture of all the humors have to offer. Randy Rolfe shows how to identify one's own temperament and how to dramatically improve health, relationships, career, and happiness with a basic understanding of the four temperaments. Since the author has been studying, applying, and teaching the wisdom of the temperaments for over thirty years, she is able to link these four ancient personality and health types with the findings of modern medical researchers. She guides readers to finding the proper balance between temperaments and using their strengths to overcome their vulnerabilities. Illustrations are included.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

These two books are based on the ancient Greek concept of the four temperaments (sanguine, melancholic, phlegmatic, and choleric). First-time author Maddron refers to them as colors-orange, gold, green, and blue, respectively. Each has a "ruling sign" (air, earth, water, and fire) and is typified by physicality, high standards, intellectualism, and sensitivity respectively. Chapters cover the characteristics of each personality type as well as various combinations, and the author includes an instrument for self-analysis. Particularly intriguing is Maddron's discussion of how colors complement one another in functional society and the importance of understanding and appreciating the strengths and limitations of each. Despite the risks inherent in oversimplifying people and society, Maddron's treatment is nonetheless very thoughtful. Rolfe's passionate examination of the role and function of the four temperaments in life translates into half handbook, half treatise. Like Maddron, Rolfe (The 7 Secrets of Successful Parents) describes the traits and characteristics typical of each humor and accounts for the blending of multiple humors. Reasonable and encouraging in tone, the book emphasizes that "the humors can only add to and not detract from your deepest understanding as your life unfolds." Rolfe uses a holistic and ambitious approach that sometimes meets with uneven results. Discussing all the humors at once is often confusing, and the nutritional suggestions feel incomplete. While neither author tries to pigeonhole people, both present "a set of lenses for looking at the world" and its inhabitants. Both are recommended; Maddron's narrower scope results in a clear, entertaining read, while Rolfe is for readers seeking a serious treatment. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.