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The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  744 ratings  ·  61 reviews
Richard Rohr and Andrea Ebert's runaway best-seller shows both the basic logic of the Enneagram and its harmony with the core truths of Christian thought from the time of the early Church forward.
Paperback, 296 pages
Published September 1st 2001 by Crossroad (first published 1989)
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In this book Richard Rohr and Andreas Ebert explain the enneagram, an ancient personality test used first by Christian ascetics and monks and later by Muslim sufis. It divides people into nine personality types which can be described by their primary need ("need to be perfect", "need to succeed", etc.), their primary sin ("pride", "anger", etc.), or other features. These nine types are arranged in a continuum around a circle, with lines connecting them indicating various relationships to each ot ...more
Sep 09, 2009 Karen added it
I'm relieved to know that your Enneagram type is supposed to be humiliating because it is.

My favorite quote from this book didn't come from the author but Thomas Merton: "The great tragedy of our age is the fact...that there are so many godless Christians--Christians, that is, whose religion is a matter of pure conformism and expedience. Their 'faith' is little more than a permanent evasion of reality--a compromise with life. In order to avoid admitting the uncomfortable truth that they no longe
I have looked into different ways of categorizing personalities many times, but this was the first time I was confronted with something both insightful and capable of dealing with real complexity. Identifying personality types by means of the ways we cope with the world is brilliant, and sets inner struggles in a whole new light.

Not only was this helpful to me as a person (and it was), it was also extremely helpful to me as a writer. Stories are about characters, and they operate on readers. A g
Sean Post
Self-assessments are certainly popular. There are plenty of them that claim to give us insight regarding how we work and function. But how helpful are they really? Is the insight that is provided actually meaningful and helpful?

In the case of the Enneagram, the answer is "absolutely." Although I didn't know much about the Enneagram before reading this book, apparently many Christians are freaked out by it. The Enneagram is built around the idea that there are basically nine shapes of the human
Joel Wentz
"Personality" assessments can be a dime-a-dozen, and in the worst case, they can simply encourage one to categorize other people, seeing them in light of whatever filter the assessment provides. Something I really appreciated about this book is the extent to which the authors seek to avoid this pitfall. Both the introduction and final chapter take great pains to discourage the reader from this perspective.

All of this aside, the Enneagram itself a remarkable tool. So many of these types of assess
Keanu Heydari
The Enneagram, or at least the components inspiring it, is an interesting tool for spiritual growth that is supposed to have been developed in the 4th century AD by the desert fathers. Based fundamentally on our "root sins" and the cardinal virtues/deadly sins, now commonplace terms, the system can provide some insight into our self-image and interpersonal relationships, as they relate to our primary root sin.

The authors' efforts at communicating the rather complicated (sometimes jargon laden) p
Kim Karpeles
Over dinner one night my friend said, "I'm an Enneagram Type Six, what are you?" From online Enneagram test results, I knew I was a Type One. She went on to talk about the freedom and healing she'd found in knowing her type and what she needed to work on to become a mature and balanced Type Six. That information I didn't find online, but in this book by Richard Rohr and Andreas Ebert.

Unlike the familiar Myers-Briggs personality grid, the Enneagram is a cryptic, almost mystical, circle with nine
Jason Leonard
Of all that I've read regarding the Enneagram, this is the only work that focuses almost entirely on the redemptive application of the Enneagram. Rohr & Ebert understand that the Enneagram's usefulness is not in finding and operating out of your type. Rather, it is about understanding yourself and what freedom and Christ-likeness look like.

The only drawback to this book is that some of the language is too nuanced to be widely applicable. If you identify with their language, you'll find it e
Patrick Doyle
Not the best book to read if you're looking for a self esteem pick-me-up, but great if you're looking for insight as to how you function and process the world in real terms - the good, bad, and ugly.
This is a great book for anyone who likes personality tests and profiles. You may be familiar with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) as a test that is commonly used for many purposes. I've taken that one several times and found it interesting, especially when I took it with career placement in mind.

The Enneagram is less well known than the MBTI, but much older. It's also not strictly a test, although there are tests to give you a hint as to what number you are. But most people suggest just
Sarah Klaassen
I remember the first time I read through the nine types of the enneagram five or six years ago. I naively decided I wasn’t any of the types, but I did pick out my favorite qualities from each. Oh how that disillusion has long faded as I have come to know more intimately my greatest sin(s). On that journey I am assisted most recently by the clear writing and gentle yet astute analysis of Richard Rohr and Adreas Ebert.

Engagement with this work must necessarily be at least partly personal, because
I read this book in conjunction with listening to Richard Rohr's audio tapes on the Enneagram and discussing them with a group. While I haven't yet read any other Enneagram books, I highly recommend this one. Rohr does a great job of explaining the history of the Enneagram and why it matters to Christians.

For me, knowing my Enneagram number has helped me understand myself better, extend grace to myself for some of my idiosyncrasies and see some of the (annoying) traits of those I love as part of
Melody Shores
This is the first personality-type system that has helped me see my own flaws and become more compassionate toward others, especially my spouse. It is humiliating, humbling and all the things Rohr said it would be, but at the same time, gives me hope for real change.
Pranada Comtois
A friend recommended this book to me. I like The Wisdom of the Enneagram better for a thorough explanation of the system. See my review on that book here. The insights in this book tend toward more theological understandings, which I found interesting even though I'm not a Christian. The authors offer additional insights not clearly given in the Wisdom of the Enneagram. If I had to choose between the two I would have to opt for The Wisdom of the Enneagram for its clearly laying out this persona ...more
Amy Neftzger
This is a wonderful book that merges psychology and theology to provide a framework for the different schemas people have and explains that people don't all the view and interact with the world in the same way. The book helps to explain why certain people act the way they do, are motivated to do specific things, and why some people get along better than others. The entire theory is based around core sins/ virtues and what people need to do to become balanced and healthy. Having read a lot of psy ...more
Very dense but super insightful - particularly in a marriage relationship.
Amanda Espinoza
I used the book more as a reference tool rather than reading it cover to cover. It explains the Enneagram types really well. The Enneagram is a fascinating study.
I like typologies like the Enneagram, and I also like Richard Rohr. This book does a good job summarizing the nine Enneagram types, but spends too much time on its supposedly religiously plural roots (too much Sufi mysticism and what felt like a shoehorn into Christian history) and then concludes with rapid Christian application. I want a Christian perspective on the issue, but this seemed Christian for purposes of justification of the Enneagram's use (but there are plenty of weird Christian ide ...more
Sara floerke
Insightful. New information to me. The idea is to find yourself within the descriptions...but I'm too much of a chameleon. I need to TAKE the test, which costs $10 online...and I just paid $12 for the book so I'm not jumping in yet.
Kimberly Coyle
Fascinating. I loved it and I want to know more.
Karla Owen foisy
This book, unlike most personality books, not only describes the reader's personality but it also highlights the unhealthy aspects of one's personality and challenges the reader to adopt healthier practices/coping skills.

Low stars because I had difficulty forcing myself through the pages in order to get the information, because the style is so dry. No personality. Just information. It seems it could have been written with at least an attempt to not read like a mandatory textbook.
This leaves me wanting to read more of Richard Rohr's books, the last 20 pages were incredible. His approach to this subject is very pointed and not at all sparing. It helped me make a lot of connections between various aspects of my life experiences and beliefs. Christians interested in understanding what separates them from God and what acts as a barrier to their transformation will find this an enlightening book and only a starting place to a huge base of knowledge and truth.
I'm not one for self-help literature, and Richard Rohr sometimes sets me on edge, but the authors truly present this not as some astrological power but a tool for self awareness. It was carefully laid out to highlight the same aspects of each personality type in detail, and then summarized all in a nice set of diagrams and a summary chart, so I had something to take with me when I had to return the book. This is one introspection book I do want to use in the future.
Typology always frustrates me as I always feel I don't quite fit anywhere. The thing I liked about this book is that it used the types to attack and expose your sinful tendencies and power-dangers. Of course, those are also your great strengths, but it was not slow in putting them in their place and acknowledging the ways we weild our strengths to trouble the world (rather than better it).

It also does help you see the gifts of others ...
Nigel Berry
I'll be revisiting this book for a long time! I feel that a once-over does it injustice and that there is much wisdom to glean within its pages.
Kooky at times, and a regrettable section on "Jesus and the Enneagram" at the end, but generally fascinating. I like taking personality-type quizzes online, and the Enneagram seems like a workable classification system. Rohr does a good job, too, of couching the discussion in Christian language (i.e. "these are the sins of a personality type", not just "these are the negative perceptions of a personality type").
Uplifting, humiliating, enlightening, life changing......this book is was all of these, for me. It led me to a detailed and informative look at my gifts and weaknesses and gave me solid information about how to effectively manage both. I read this book as part of a group and that contributed to the book's effectiveness. If you are interested in why folks do what they do, you will enjoy this one.
Really interesting connection between the Enneagram and the Christian Tradition and theology. I especially liked the section where rohr and andreas ebert uses gospel stories of stories of Jesus to describe how Jesus fits into all 9 personality types at there healthiest. The Enneagram Christmas sermon at the appendix was also amazing. A good book to use also for pastoral counseling.
A great piece to help discover a bit more about our own personality and overall self awareness. I think it is a more appropriately nuanced and complex scheme for discovering and assessing personality types. It has the benefit (in my opinion) of being a transcultural tool, rather than many of today's personality tools that reflect western cultures stereotypes.
Brad Henderson
Rather than a book that one would read like a novel, this struck me as a book best used as a toolbox for understanding and using the Enneagram. That being said, Rohr's own understanding and expression re the Enneagram is "spot on" and highly useful in helping people to understand themselves and how they function in life. Definitely a keeper!
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Fr. Richard Rohr is a globally recognized ecumenical teacher bearing witness to the universal awakening within Christian mysticism and the Perennial Tradition. He is a Franciscan priest of the New Mexico Province and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC) in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Fr. Richard's teaching is grounded in the Franciscan alternative orthodoxy—practices of contemplat ...more
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