Analyzing the American presidents from George Washington to George W. Bush


Personality, Character, and Leadership In The White House

Psychologists Assess the Presidents

432 pages; 6" x 9" ; 8 B&W Illustrations

$22.95   $18.36
Available: August 2005


Personality, Character, and Leadership in the White House is the first book-length work to present truly scientific personality evaluations of the American presidents. This benchmark work dramatically improves the state-of-the-art in classifying presidents and predicting performance in the White House. Dr. Steven Rubenzer and Dr. Thomas Faschingbauer asked 120 experts, including biographers, historians, presidential advisers, and other knowledge-able sources, to rate the presidents by filling out standardized personality tests. For each president that fell within their area of expertise, the evaluators completed a 592-item questionnaire regarding personality, intelligence, and behavior. From the results, the authors identify nine traits related to presidential success, examine how the presidents’ personalities affected their job performance, and list their scores on the major dimensions of personality. Rubenzer and Faschingbauer provide revealing insights about every American president and profile twenty-one of them in detail, including all post–World War II presidents and all of the “great” presidents.

In addition to revolutionizing the way we look at the presidency, the study offers entertaining and unexpected conclusions. For instance, which recent president’s personality and character most closely resembles those of Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln? The answer may surprise you. Presidential scholars, students, and anyone who likes to be well informed when discussing their political preferences will find this enlightening book irresistible.

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About the Author(s)/Editor(s)

Steven J. Rubenzer, PH.D., is a licensed clinical and forensic psychologist specializing in personality and intellectual assessment. Visit and for more information.

Thomas R. Faschingbauer, Ph.D., is a retired medical psychologist, formerly a professor at Duke University Medical School, the Baylor College of Medicine, and the University of Texas at Houston, and a member of the New York Academy of Sciences. Both authors live in Houston.


"Personality, Character, and Leadership in the White House is by far the most comprehensive scientific study of presidential personality ever published. It must provide the starting point for all future debate about the intricate connection between a president's personality and his leadership."
Dean Simonton, professor of psychology, University of California at Davis, author of Why Presidents Succeed and Greatness: Who Makes History and Why

"Although many books proclaim to be unique and groundbreaking, this one really is. Rubenzer and Faschingbauer’s work should shift the prevailing paradigms of presidential and leadership study. Any scholar or any well-educated layperson should come away with a new understanding of the importance of the individual president/leader and the importance of their psychological attributes. All previous attempts to understand presidential psychology and its importance simply pale beside this work."
Prof. Tim H. Blessing, Alvernia College, author of Greatness in the White House

"This book provides a unique objective assessment of the personality and character of each president since Washington in a crisp and highly readable format. There is something important here for all who have an interest in the personal qualities of political leaders that reaches beyond the scope of traditional biographies."
Prof. Stuart J. H. McCann, University College of Cape Breton

"Fascinating . . . Provides some very interesting reading. . . ."
Journal Inquirer (Manchester, Conn.)

Table of Contents:


1. Personality and Character
2. Who are These Guys? Personality Characteristics of Presidents, Founding Fathers, Democrats and Republicans
3. Predicting Presidential Success (with Deniz Ones)
4. Types of Presidents

5. Three Dominators – Andrew Jackson, LBJ, and Richard Nixon
6. Two Introverts – John Adams and Woodrow Wilson
7. Two Good Guys – Dwight Eisenhower and Gerald Ford
8. One Innocent – Ulysses S. Grant
9. Two Actors – Warren Harding and Ronald Reagan
10. Two Maintainers – Harry Truman and George Bush
11. Three Philosophes – Thomas Jefferson, Abe Lincoln, and Jimmy Carter
12. Three Extraverts – Theodore Roosevelt, FDR, and JFK
13. Special Cases – George Washington and Bill Clinton
14. George Walker Bush
15. Epilogue
16. Notes
17. References and Bibliography

18. Appendixes
A. Rationale of the Study, Advantages of the Approach, and Technical Issues
B. Producing Objective Personality Portraits
C. Composition of Supplementary Scales
D. Correlations of Personality Measures to Measures of Success and Ethics on the Job as President
E. Participants in the Study – Specialists
F. Raters for each President (Specialists)
G. Generalist Raters

About the Authors