DISCOVERING YOUR PERSONALITY TYPE: Beginner’s guide personality identification system [Book review]

Discovering Your Personality Type

Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson

[Mariner Books, 215 pages]

Discovering Your Personality Type is a beginner’s guide to the Enneagram Type Indicator, a scientifically validated personality identification system that has roots in early Greek philosophy, Judaism, and Christianity.

The first part of the book features an introduction to the Enneagram and a test  for readers to figure out their own Enneagram type. The test is time-consuming, and sometimes difficult to choose between the options, but accurate. After taking a couple of other Enneagram tests online I found that the results matched up.

Part two of the book describes the nine personality types, plus information on wings (secondary types), directions of integration and disintegration, and the three instincts. For example, when one type disintegrates they start behaving like an unhealthy version of another type.

Part three deals with interpreting the Enneagram and applying it to the real world, whether for business, parenting, relationships, personal growth, or cultural studies. The descriptions Riso and Hudson give of each of the nine types in business, parenting and relationships closely resemble people whom I have encountered in those situations. I think it could be especially effective at work, a situation in which people of varying, and possibly conflicting, types need to function together.

I was impressed with the book’s detailed descriptions of the nine types and real-world examples of type behaviour. More explanation of how the test was scientifically validated, and more discussion of objections to the Enneagram could have been included in the work, but the fact that they’re not present is justifiable. The basic premise of the book is to inform readers about the Enneagram in the most clear, concise way possible. Raising objections may have confused the beginning Enneagram student, and including tons of scientific data may have bored a reader who does not have a background in psychology or science. Second, the scientific validation of the RHETI was done by an independent researcher, and Riso and Hudson do provide the title of her thesis for those who want to read further about the scientific side of the Enneagram. They’ve also written other books that go into more complex detail about the Enneagram’s features.

I’d recommend Discovering Your Personality Type to beginner psychology students or anyone just wanting to learn more about themselves and how they can improve their interpersonal and intrapersonal functions in their life. People who believe that personality comes from nature can identify with it, as it discusses how the Enneagram acknowledges that people are born with a certain personality type, but allows for nurture to affect that type by creating either a positive or negative manifestation of the type’s characteristics.

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