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Personality Types: Using the Enneagram for Self-Discovery

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  2,207 Ratings  ·  107 Reviews
" The Enneagram is an extraordinary framework for understanding more about ourselves. No matter from which point of view we approach it, we discover fresh conjunctions of new and old ideas." So writes Don Riso in this expanded edition of his classic interpretation of the Enneagram, the ancient psychological system used to understand the human personality. In addition to up ...more
Paperback, 544 pages
Published October 29th 1996 by Mariner Books (first published 1987)
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Book Riot Community
Personality Types is the most comprehensive outline of the Enneagram personality theory I’ve seen (akin to Lenore Thomson’s treatment of Myers-Briggs–Personality Type: An Owner’s Manual–in scope and depth). Riso and Hudson waded through the long history and collective knowledge of the Enneagram from disparate cultures and assimilated it into one cohesive theory. I’ve read a bit about the Enneagram in the past and I approached this book with a huge amount of skepticism about its veracity. To my o ...more
K.M. Weiland
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Excellent in-depth information. There’s a ton of good stuff here, although I did feel the book too much emphasis on a descent into psychosis rather than a rise to health.
Feb 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Interesting read

3.5 -4 (dang wish they had .5 in some of these Labels )

1. The Reformer
2 The Helper
3 The Motivator
4 The Individualist
5 The Investigator
6 The Loyalist
7 The Enthusiast
8 The Leader
9 The Peacemaker

I thought some parts of this book had merit . And other parts had a "horoscope " feeling attached to it .

After reading each personality type. This book then breaks down and makes adjustments to the basic type . This is referred as The Wing or the other side of the basic personality .
Richard Stuart
Feb 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pyschology
this book has taught me to see the world through many different kinds of perspectives. it allows me to enhance my strong feelings of sympathy/empathy because i can better understand where (and why) people are coming from, whether it is a place of fear or anxiety, or just a need for things to be a certain way so they feel comfortable in the world. it is an invaluable tool to learn to ACCEPT people for who they are.
Aug 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I was initially skeptical of the whole enneagram thing, worried it was one of those pop spirituality trends a la The Secret, kinda like Zodiac-Lite meets the Myers Briggs test (instead of 12 signs, there are 9 personality types.) Turns out, it’s not weird or boring at all. Rather, this book gives an insightful and illuminating rundown of the ways different personality types process information and emotions, the various ways we think about ourselves and navigate the world. In the chapter about my ...more
Dimitris Hall

Experience has shown that ... personalities ... may be grouped into various major categories, and for purposes of studying them this is a helpful device. Classifications must never be taken too seriously—they ruin much thinking—but the fear to use them has prevented much more thinking.

—Karl A. Menninger, The Human Mind

The above quote would find a lot of people in the world in open disagreement. Even in the US, where different social needs and anxieties gave birth to almost all forms of typology
Jul 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I've read (studied) Myers Briggs "please understand me" for over 20 years, so was delighted this book incorporated ties to that.. but took it to another level of personal growth and development... no human fits neatly into 16 boxes like Myers Briggs dictates, something that I have never fully embraced as I tended to conclude folks are compilations of several of the 16 boxes.. 20% of one, 50% of another, etc... basically defining their own identity. However, the principles in this personality boo ...more
Sydney (Сидни)
Oct 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: psychology
If you are honest with yourself, this seems to be one of the more accurate personality profiles available... simple to use and detailed - what do you have to lose? :-p
Dec 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Decent read that goes in-depth into Enneagram types. Could have been even simpler though in terms of identifying the basic core fears of each type; but it has complete write ups of each Enneagram type in various stages of health and disintegration, which is useful. I pegged most of my family and friends quite easily as a result.

The Core Fears Simplified:
Core fear – agitated, aggression.

Core 1: fear of being corrupt. (Strive for perfection.) Agitation: you’re an idiot, pushing you away.

Core 2: f
Chris Hunt
Apr 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Wow! If you have a desire to understand who you are, what drives you, and why, this is a powerful book. For self-understanding, I can't think of anything better. It changed my life when I first discovered this gem. Meyers and Briggs have nothing on Riso and Hudson when it comes to support for self-understanding.

My wife and I, for instance, knowing the Types we are, are able to understand the specific challenges we face within our marriage and why, and what we need to do to overcome those challe
Sep 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
El libro es muy detallado y no ahonda en especulaciones amateur en las que entran otros libros que tratan de hablar sobre personalidad.
Es muy bueno porque, además de describir a cada personalidad, describe cuál es el origen infantil de cada una.
Este libro es el primero que leí sobre eneagrama y fue, sin lugar a dudas, el que me provocó un profundo interés sobre el tema (deformó mi cabeza al respecto).
Ármin Scipiades
I'm such a Type Four poster boy it hurts >_>

So, first off, I like personality type systems, they're good tools for self-reflection, and there's a neatness about the concept that attracts me.

This is an unpleasant book. It's unpleasant, at least it's unpleasant for me, to read my type descriptions and see my faults and fears and base desires in all their disgusting glory. It was like so many punches in the belly, I kid you not. Enlightening on some level, but still unpleasant. Same with the
May 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book and the MBTI in depth helped me to understand other people on a level that I never thought to be possible. The distinction between "healthy," "average," and "unhealthy''s of each type was very helpful. When I read this book I could see myself at different times in the different levels of 'health' of my Enneagram type and it was extremely enlightening.

Those who found Carl Jung's personality test or MBTI confusing, Enneagram is easier to comprehend and more specific. Amazing, amazing boo
May 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you want to know more about the Enneagram, this is an excellent overview of the framework. It really helped me to delve deeper into each type and better understand the core dynamics and levels of development for each. This is a great addition to my Enneagram library! Well organized and I was able to easily connect the information in it to my own life.
Bett Correa-Bollhoefer
Mar 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Life changing.
Jan 22, 2012 rated it liked it
This book has some really useful insights into personality, fears, desires, motivations, and parental relationships. It can be quite complicated and takes a lot of reading to attain the information on your personality type. Also doing the typing is not straight forward. However, the information is worth having and has resulted in some deep thinking for me. It has helped me understand what areas of my personality I need to address in order to improve my life.

I didn't like how negative the tone of
Aug 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: psychology, enneagram
I saw a friend mention this book on social media and the idea intrigued me so I checked it out. After reading it I am greatly interested in learning more about the enneagram for it seems incredibly useful. I drove my wife quite nuts talking about the whole thing. I ended up adding 3-4 more books to my amazon wishlist on this topic.

At the same time, I honestly did not read every word of the book. I skimmed each chapter to get a quick grasp on the personality type. I eagerly wanted to get to the c
Mar 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I don't like to over-rely on personality tests, but this book gives the singularly best descriptions of people and is more dead-on accurate than any other personality book I've ever read. Even if you are skeptical, this book is extremely interesting. Anyone that's interested in Jungian/Archetypal personality psychology would likely find this book enjoyable. It's great to turn to and look through the pages to place new people you meet.
Nov 16, 2010 is currently reading it
Learning more about being "the helper"
Dec 12, 2010 rated it liked it
Very interesting. You don't need to buy into the Enneagram to find it's theories fascinating. Apparently I'm a 9 with a 1 wing.
Angela Sorenson
Jan 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Personality discovery

Very in-depth book explaining why our personalities are the way the are and uses classical psychology to explain the claims it portrays.
Dec 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: enneagram
One of my Bibles. I consult this book often. I trust Don Richard Riso's presentation of the enneagram.
Charles Dean
Aug 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Probably my most favorite Enneagram book so far. The distinction between "healthy," "average," and "unhealthy" expressions of each type is so helpful.
Janis Kondrats
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Incredible and at the same time complex journey reading this book.

Before this book I couldn't image how comprehensive personality types can be. How many different motivations and intents people have under the same behaviour. Now it makes sense why certain people behave certain way. How people think, feel and sense self and others. So many combinations.

I also learned that the personality type that someone has it's not entirely defined in life. There are wings, levels and orientations. It can chan
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well, this book hurt. A lot. The type description fits a little too well for my liking and I was so not prepared for that - this being the first book I read about the Enneagram. Who am I kidding even if I knew how spot on the type descriptions are, I still wouldn't have been prepared for that. Maybe that's just my sensitive self who would have preferred a more gentle tone but whatever. It's a great book.
Merenwen Inglorion
Dec 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, writing
This is great for character profiling (which is the main reason I bought this), and includes handy charts showing the various levels of descent typical to each personality type. There are also sections explaining the different sub-types of the personalities and how certain sub/types get along.
A handy resource for writers (fairly accurate for personal use as well; I accidentally found my own personality type, and helpful tips for curbing/changing some of my more negative tendencies). :D
Oct 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2017
This book went too far into the details for me. I got lost in the weeds. I did not read the whole book. I read the intro and (most) closing chapters, the overview of each type, and the whole chapter for my main and wing types. I feel like I have gotten more from internet blurbs about the system than this amount of detail. I didn't even know this system existed until right before I read this book.
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Great dynamic system that formalizes and develops a lot of historical and modern thinking about personality and mental health. Read it the first time about twenty years ago, but it didn’t really stick back then. Super interesting now, though: much more complex and nuanced way to think about the influences of situation and context on character than something like MBTI, and useful in that it places emphasis on growth rather than mere pigeonholing.

That said, 5w6, yo.
Fred Leland
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book on personality types I believe I will be going back to over and over again. Knowing yourself and others via try’s no to understand what makes them tick “Their personality” is a powerful to for building better relationships personal and professionally. This book will help in doing this.
Mar 14, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a very fun book when I was reading about MY personality type, and had great insights in each of the personality subcategories. But there was a lot of psychoanalytic stuff with Jung and Freud that I thought was unnecessary. This book is a good introduction to the enneagram, but maybe shouldn't be read straight through.
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“Self-acceptance is a way of viewing oneself compassionately, without condemnation or justification. It is a starting point in life which makes other things possible. It celebrates the fullness of joy of being alive and of being who we are: accepting ourselves, however, does not mean embracing our neuroses or bad habits and celebrating them as if they were virtues. On the contrary, self-acceptance involves loving ourselves enough to accept painful truths about ourselves. . . . Self-acceptance is, at its simplest, the experience of one's self, here and now, as a complete human being, with all the glories and problems that condition entails.” 15 likes
“Kierkegaard's advice. He suggested that we become subjective toward others and objective toward ourselves. That is, when we judge the actions of others, we should put ourselves in their place, trying to understand how they see themselves and their world. And when we judge ourselves, we should see ourselves as others see us, overcoming the ease with which we find extenuating circumstances for ourselves.” 3 likes
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