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The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  3,826 ratings  ·  261 reviews
The first definitive guide to using the wisdom of the enneagram for spiritual and psychological growth

The ancient symbol of the Enneagram has become one of today's most popular systems for self-understanding, based on nine distinct personality types. Now, two of the world's foremost Enneagram authorities introduce a powerful new way to use the Enneagram as a to
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Paperback, 391 pages
Published June 15th 1999 by Bantam
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Average rating 4.21  · 
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 ·  3,826 ratings  ·  261 reviews


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Leah
Nov 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Best personality theory ever, refreshingly devoid of new age bullcrap. This is for critical thinkers who understand that everyone is a work in progress. Provides an intimate and forgiving look at yourself - and everyone you'll ever meet.
Jessi
Jul 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing
The enneagram is a highly logical, accurate personality profiling system widely used by psychologists and intelligence agencies worldwide. The theory is that there are nine basic personality types, and everyone fits into one basic category, but you can have strong aspects, or "wings" of the other categories as well. you are the only one who can truly "type" yourself, and it is a tool for self-understanding and relationship building more than figuring out other people, but it stands true that the ...more
Rachel DuBois
Sep 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I've lost track of the number of times I've recommended this book. The biggest selling point for me is that it helps you understand why you and your loved ones behave in the bizarre, annoying ways you do!

The book divides personality types into 9 broad categories, ranging from types like "The Helper" who is the stereotypical caregiver who gives away all of their energy for others to "The Reformer" who believes passionately in doing things responsibly and by the rules.

You take a short
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Danielle DeVane Wells
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Best book about the enneagram that I've read yet! I appreciated this one over others I've read because it seemed the most comprehensive and detailed. There was a vast amount of information about wings, and instinctual variants. And it explained the triadic self in an easily understandable way. Two thirds of the book was dedicated to each type. So I got in depth information (25 pages) on my type with info on what my wings and variants would look like. The book also includes a type questionnaire w ...more
Ingrid Stabb
Feb 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Old Favorite. Along with Helen Palmer, Riso and Hudson are two of the most influential authors and teachers on Enneatype. Many people say that this is their favorite book on personality types due to the extensive detail and insightful observations regarding the inner workings and origins of type. Riso and Hudson are best known for their depiction of "healthy", "average" and "unhealthy", versions of each personality type. Riso Don Richard ...more
Metoka
Aug 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those interested in intrapersonal matters, spirituality
I took the Enneagram as an assignment in school and felt the results to be unlike me. And then, as another assignment, I was asked to read this book that delves into the significance of the Enneagram, the personality, and the 9 different personality types. I felt as if someone had stepped into my history and wrote down, experience by experience, the story of my life. It is intriguing and it sold me onto the usefulness of the Enneagram as an assessment tool.


Kristin
Mar 16, 2013 rated it liked it
I love the Ennegram for its truth and flexibility of typing. It doesn't force a person into a label that is static. The idea is of growth, not identity. This book has a lot of detail not found in other Ennegram materials, like the internet sites. However, the main problem I had was the self-focus and the belief that an individual alone, him/herself, without other intervention could achieve the awareness necessary to change. It said we're in a trance and even questioned how someone in a trance ca ...more
Shannon
Nov 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
The Wisdom of the Enneagram is comprehensive, easy to read and informative. While I liked The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective, this book is a must-read companion to that one. Riso and Hudson know and understand each type so well and present every type without prejudice and with compassion. I especially enjoyed their descriptions of how each type deals with everyday acts like walking into a room full of people.

My only complaint? This is not a book I can read one time and glean all there is to
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Ryan
Apr 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Ryan by: Shauna Hall
VERY insightful! It is one of the most down to earth books on personality that I've come across. The basic premise is that we're all beings of light and that our personalities can aid us or hinder us. If you find out the tendencies expressed in your personality you then have power to choose whether you keep them or if you need to get rid of them. Shedding bad personality traits allows us to get to our core being of light. Great book!
Tim
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thus far the Enneagram for me is a practical tool for letting go of the ego through recognizing its individual action in my life. All the spiritual traditions talk of the ego which is a simple enough concept in itself but in practical life how do we start to recognize and let go? How does it work in lived daily reality? Once you recognize the identity of the ego you can start to recognize when it attempts to assert itself in life and through that observational presence, can begin to let go. Unde ...more
Jim
Oct 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
When it comes to personality typing, this book is to the Enneagram what Please Understand Me II is to Myers-Briggs. Basically, if you ever wanted to learn more about the Enneagram, then it is THE book to read on the subject. It definitely taught me a lot.
Henrik
Aug 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-help
A comprehensive book on the enneagram system. Whether you believe in it or not (I myself have my reservations on some things) it is still a thought provoking book on a very interesting topic. Stays with you.
Willa
Aug 21, 2010 rated it liked it
The classic on the Enneagram, which I believe is a brilliant personality system that is overrated as a spiritual path. In any case, Riso and Hudson give a clear overview.
Stephanie
Dec 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
This one was specially recommended by the presenters of the recent workshop I attended. Detailed, imaginative and thorough.
Karis
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
A great introduction to the 9 enneagram types, including suggestions on how to grow within your personality type.
Sarah
Nov 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: psychology
I was reading Richard Rohr's book The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective, only because it's a Richard Rohr book and not because it's about the enneagram, about which I knew nothing. The enneagram distinguishes nine different personality types, and while reading Rohr's book I "typed" myself as a Five. Then, however, I went online to the Enneagram Institute, and did a quick sampler test, and found I was equally two different types, neither of which was Five. (I can no longer access my test results, probably b ...more
Pranada Comtois
Apr 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book is co-authored and each one comes in with anecdotal pieces throughout the book, which lends an interesting flavor--almost as if you're sitting in on a conversation in some parts. The book opens with clear description of the enneagram's development: the symbol and the personality types. The history alone is fascinating reading, and a strong argument for lending some credibility to the system itself.

There's a questionnaire to help you determine your Enneagram type; descriptions about the basic fear an
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Mark
Jan 23, 2012 rated it liked it
[For more direct thoughts on the Enneagram itself, refer to the comments for "The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Power of the Enneagram."]

Our authors approach the Enneagram in an crucial way: a focus is performed on the important distinction between the essential self and the character armor (psychoanalytic term that Becker uses by way of Rank in 'Denial of Death') or character traits that the ego self takes on due to its basic scripting and unique fears. It is the latter which is map
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Ruth
Feb 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
I picked up this book because my spiritual director recommended it. Over the years people had mentioned the Enneagram, & I had read about it & taken online tests, but had never fully identified with my apparent type (4). Sister Mel told me this book could help me sort out the subtleties of the various types & understand the system (& myself) better.

And it IS helping. I am indeed a 4, but I don't have the tendency toward emotional extremes that is often characteristic
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Kim
Oct 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
Generally, my philosophy is that books on "personality types are a dime a dozen". I don't know how many times I've taken quizzes whether it be myers-briggs, or that one that assigns you a color....they all remind of horoscopes...kind of there but not really. I feel differently about this book. It takes a different approach from multiple perspectives and pares the results down to nine types which are scarily accurate. The best part about this book that I think is different than others is the ackn ...more
Talbot Hook
Aug 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Really powerful, and an even better introduction to the concept of the Enneagram than the famous Personality Types book by the same authors. These two books really need to be read together, however, for a more full and nuanced reading of the Enneagram. This book taps into the deep inherent spirituality of the Enneagram, discussing the formation of the personality in light of the wounds of childhood, and dedicates many chapters to the confrontation and transcendence of the Human Essence over the ...more
David
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: enneagram
I'm going to be doing some teaching on the enneagram this summer, leading our staff through it and helping them discern their number. Thus, I wanted to read some more on it. This is a helpful book. If you're new to the Enneagram I wouldn't recommend it as there are shorter and easier to read books. I mean, it is layed out like a workbook (8x11 printing as opposed to smaller, normal book size). This large layout is not conducive to reading, but it is what you expect from a textbook. I didn't read ...more
Leigh Kramer
Jan 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Dense with information, Riso and Hudson lay out their approach to the Enneagram, especially focusing on each type's biggest fears, desires, and motivations. This is considered by many to be the foremost resource when it comes to the Enneagram. Because there is so much information, I would encourage you to proceed with caution when first learning about the 9 types so as not to become overwhelmed. Once you know your type, dive on in!
Laura
Feb 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
if you are interested in discovering a more in-depth take on different personality types, this is a great read. i found it fascinating & eye opening...people are hard to understand when they're different than you - gave great insight in how they might think or see the world. great resource for healthy relationship work.
Steven Fouse
If you are looking for a system to understand your personality and grow beyond it psychologically and spiritually, you are looking for the Enneagram.

If you are looking for a comprehensive guide to the Enneagram and how to make the most of what you learn, you are looking for this book.

Be kind to yourself with what you find through this material, and enjoy the journey.
Raina
Apr 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I am constantly reading this book. The Enneagram is a personality profile (for lack of a better term) similar to the Meyers--Briggs. Whenever I make a new friend I read up on them. And I am continually finding new bits about myself.
Brit Blankenship
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: grow-learn
The most helpful of the three enneagram books that I've read.
Sarah
Apr 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book was life-changing for me and I don't think it was an accident that it came into my life at this exact time...I'll tell you my number, but only if you tell me yours. ;)
Tess Mertens-Johnson
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this book for my yoga book club. I do enjoy reading about personality types, and I was looking forward to it.
I am 57 years old. When I took the test in the beginning to find out my personality type (I am a six). I thought, that cant’ be right?
But the more I read, the more I saw in my age and my situation of life, it was dead on.
In my younger years I was much more confident (cocky?) and knew what I wanted.
After going through a terrible employment situation about two
...more
Nick
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book came into my life at a time when I was most receptive to it, so it really had quite a profound impact on me. It was introduced to me by my best friend and his wife under the premise of having saved their marriage in lieu of more expensive couples counseling. I must say, it has given me the vocabulary to communicate so many facets of soft interpersonal skills that (as a Type Five) I definitely had an intellectual understanding of, but very little experience identifying and recognizing d ...more
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Lecturas inspirad...: La sabiduría del eneagrama. Don Richard Riso 14 6 Oct 17, 2018 06:45AM  
personal psychological and spiritual growth 1 5 Jul 13, 2016 05:30AM  

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“The process of transforming the heart can be difficult because as we open it, we inevitably encounter our own pain and become more aware of the pain of others. In fact, much of our personality is designed to keep us from experiencing this suffering. We close down the sensitivity of our hearts so that we can block our pain and get on with things, but we are never entirely successful in avoiding it. Often, we are aware of our suffering just enough to make ourselves and everyone around us miserable. Carl Jung's famous dictum that "neurosis is a substitute for legitimate suffering" points to this truth. But if we are not willing to experience our own hurt and grief, it can never be healed. Shutting out our real pain also renders us unable to feel joy, compassion, love, or any of the other capacities of the heart.” 9 likes
“As I turned my head and looked out the window, I saw that everything around me was glowing from within. The sunlight on the trees, the swaying of the leaves in the wind, the slight rattle of the panes of glass in the old window frame, were too beautiful for words. I was enthralled at how miraculous everything was. Absolutely everything was beautiful. . . .

I saw clearly that everyone is made of light—that we are like forms of light—but that a crust has formed over it. The crust is black and rubbery like tar and has obscured the inner light that is everyone’s real, inner self. Some blotches of tar are very thick; other areas are thinner and more transparent. Those who have worked on themselves for longer have less tar and they radiate more of their inner light. Because of their personal history, others are covered with more tar and need a great deal of work to get free of it. . .

If we observe ourselves truthfully and non-judgmentally, seeing the mechanisms of our personality in action, we can wake up, and our lives can be a miraculous unfolding of beauty and joy.”
7 likes
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