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Personality Types: Using the Enneagram for Self-Discovery Paperback – October 29, 1996

4.6 out of 5 stars 143 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Don Richard Riso, M.A. is the foremost writer and developer of the Enneagram in the world today. The most-published and best-selling author in the field, he is an internatioinally recognized authority on the subject. He is the president of Enneagram Personality Types, Inc., and founder of The Enneagram Institute. He has been teaching the Enneagram for more than twenty years, pioneering a revolutionary new approach to ego psychology through his 1977 discovery of the Levels of Development. His four best-selling books are available in British, German, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, and French editions. Mr. Riso was a Jesuit for thirteen years, holds degrees in English and philosophy, was elected to the Jesuit Honor Society, Alpha Sigma Nu, and was a Ford Foundation Fellow at Stanford University in communications (social psychology).
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Rev Sub edition (October 29, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395798671
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395798676
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (143 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,510 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The main purpose of this book is to type yourself in order that you should know how to become a fully integrated individual. Understanding of the self is one step to self-discovery, but the next step, as the book illustrates, is to move toward one's 'point of integration', to attain one's full potential. To that end 'Character Types' has been heaven-sent for me. It becomes painfully clear that left to ourselves, we attempt to improve in the way which is exactly the opposite of what we really need. As a Four, I was constantly introspecting and obsessing, certain that if I did so long enough I would understand everything. Not until I read this book did I understand that the only way to improve would be to fight my natural tendencies, to become more open to experiencing and to take things easier. This insight, though it sounds small, leaves me indebted to Don Riso for writing a book which was as effective as any 12-step program, and which will be applicable for the rest of my life in setting goals to strive towards.
On the other hand, this book should come with some disclaimers. The first is that this book should not be used in rigidly 'typing' other individuals besides yourself. The fact is, no one can ever presume to know what goes on inside another human being, and that natural barrier should be respected. Even if someone exhibits all the signs of a certain type, they should still be respected as the complex people they are, instead of being consigned to a filing cabinet. For people to start saying, "Oh, he's such a typical Five, always reading" is ridiculous, even degrading.
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By A Customer on December 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
Out of the dozen or so books I've read about the enneagram, this one is the best. Riso divides each of the 9 personality types into 9 levels, giving us 81 different readings. The readings are in depth and on target. The levels bleed into each other, so you may find that you identify with levels 1, 2, 3 and 4 of your type, for example. Riso also does an excellent job of describing the two wings to every personality type, so if you know your type you will probably be able to recognize your wing easily. I'm sure there are other possible systems of differentiating people from each other by type, besides this and Myers-Briggs, that haven't yet been discovered, but Riso's enneagram should be more widely known than it is. Educated people should know their type. Some people make the argument that individuals are all unique, that there are no types, but this attitude basically tells us not to try to understand human nature because it's too complicated. This excellent book gives us a good system to understand people.
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Format: Paperback
I bought the first edition of this book back in '88 and thought it was a masterpiece. The expanded edition is even better. Simply put, I have not come across a personality discription book that comes anywhere this close to accuracy and honesty. It can be difficult to read. If you give "Personailty Types" a fair chance, it will anger, depress or even horrify you. You will feel like the authors are ilicitly peaking into your soul. With truth can come serious pain. On the other side, no other book I've read also shows you the best qualities each personality holds better than this. "Personality Types" gives INDIRECT adivise on how to improve. It's not a follow-this-formula-that's-supposed-to-fit-all mentality. It's paradoxally simple and complex, easy to read and challangeing. I can't say I know if I actually believe in the Enneagram itself, or simply Riso and Hudson's interpertation of the Enneagram, all I know is I have had some version of this book for tweleve plus years( Over a third of my lifespan ) because I can see the people in my life and the corrolations to the descriptions in the book. Forget Myers-Briggs. astrology and the like...THIS is a masterpiece. Buy it and give it a chance, I can't recommend it more highly. But be warned. As I said, If one wants to grow, there are growing pains.
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Format: Paperback
Does this sound absurdly melodramatic? I assure you it's accurate. I knew from another source that I was a Four (Romantic), but hadn't really delved into Enneagrams. (I'd been studying Myers-Briggs.) Yet as I leafed through my chapter in Personality Types, I was stunned and mortified to find an assessment of my character so chillingly accurate, it was as if the results of 10 years of intensive psychoanalysis was handed to me on a platter. Dazed, I read on: every single sentence skewered me relentlessly. Self-recognition swept over me in waves, and I furtively glanced around to see if other book store patrons noticed that I was starting to cry. My tears were of relief that through Don Riso's extraordinarily perceptive book I was about to save my own life. I am a Four in a far-advanced state of disintegration, my life so chaotic despite my attempts at self-understanding that I've been on the verge of suicide, or madness, or both. What a revelation....Here are the insights and the help I've spent 5 decades both seeking and avoiding, and thank God, it's NOT too late! I've turned away from a path that would lead to destruction of myself and the lives of my children. And you know what? I've bought tubes of lipstick more expensive than this book. After a TON of work, MY story's going to have a happy ending. Now I have the tools. Thank you, Don Richard Riso!
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