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The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types Paperback – June 15, 1999

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; 11th edition (June 15, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553378201
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553378207
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (206 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,906 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Recommended by two highly credible authorities, consciousness explorer Ken Wilber and spiritual-growth guru Harville Hendrix, this compendium of Enneagram information was assembled by the cofounders of the Enneagram Institute as an introduction to the subject. Designed with a plenitude of charts, boxes, and quotes (by noted illuminaries such as A.H. Almaas, Maya Angelou, and G.I. Gurjieff), this exceptionally easy-to-use, manual-size paperback teaches the reader how to figure out which of the nine types she is, identifies red flags to self-illusion, and provides practical suggestions for spiritual growth. Advice on how to observe your type's fixations and let go of the need to act out automatic and dysfunctional behavioral responses are down-to-earth and attainable. A distinctly accessible approach to cultivating daily happiness through understanding the complexity of fixations that weave together human personality types. --Randall Cohan


"The Wisdom of the Enneagram is a very important book. By combining the horizontal types of the Enneagram with a system of vertical levels of awareness, Riso and Hudson have produced one of the first truly integrated models of the human psyche. In addition to the importance of this pioneering work itself, it goes to point up the utter inadequacy of anything less than a full-spectrum model of human growth and development. Highly recommended."
--Ken Wilber, author of The Marriage of Sense and Soul

"I highly recommend this book, not only to anyone on the path of personal transformation, but to anyone who wants to understand the complex inner world of others, whether a spouse, family member co-worker or friend. The questionnaires were fun and illuminating. I received some very helpful information about myself, felt challenged to grow and experienced a deepening of compassion. Perhaps the most profound contribution of The Wisdom of the Enneagram is reflected in the word "Wisdom." The authors clearly communicate the complexity of human nature, the spiritual yearning resonant in all of us, and the ascending levels of our possibility. But they do not leave us there. They offer a clear path for personal and spiritual evolution."
--Harville Hendrix, Ph.D., author of Getting the Love You Want

"Don Riso and Russ Hudson thoughtfully engage the richness and depth of the Enneagram, and conjure with its power as a tool of transformation. The Wisdom of the Enneagram is filled with its own wisdom and depth. You'll find yourself returning to it over and over again and discovering new treasures."
--Tony Schwartz, author of What Really Matters

"The Wisdom of the Enneagram is not only a clear and comprehensive description and discussion of this ancient personality typology, but also a major and original contribution to its use and further development. Don Riso and Russ Hudson have designed simple practical guidelines and tests that make it possible to determine one's own personality type and use this knowledge for healing and psychospiritual transformation."
--Stanislav Grof, M.D., author of The Adventure of Self-Discovery

Customer Reviews

It is the best book to understand the system and how to use the Enneagram.
S. V. Sashank
This book focuses on sanctification (transformation), it provides a road map to help us transform spiritually into loving individuals.
C. Cheng
I found it very informative and easy to read, so I would recommend it to beginners.
Susan F. Krusleski

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

193 of 205 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
Use of the Enneagram, a remarkable tool for personal understanding and spiritual growth and development, has been limited by its appearance of overwhelming complexity. Despite the book's remarkable depth, Riso and Hudson have managed in WISDOM to explain the system in an easy-to-read format which incorporates most of the refinements they have introduced (such as levels of development and instinctual variants) which make it possible for almost any reader to find themselves in the system and begin to grow through it. As a bonus, the authors have added a validated self-assessment tool, as well as elucidating common mistypings. The final section contains recommendations for incorporating Enneagram work into a spiritual practice aimed at personal transformation. This book is, in my opinion, the ONLY one you need to begin your personal journey.
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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Peter Messerschmidt on May 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
"The Wisdom of the Enneagram" is one of the better introductions to this popular personality typing and growth system, but the book actually offers a lot more than you'd expect from a general text on the enneagram. Unlike most books on the subject, it offers exploration of both the psychological AND spiritual sides of the enneagram and, with the inclusion of Riso & Hudson's useful system of "Levels of Development," it is a fairly complete learning tool for newcomers and advanced students, alike. As a student of the enneagram for a dozen-odd years, if I were to recommend a *single* book of lasting value for someone wanting to gain an understanding of the enneagram, this one would be near the top of the list.

Part I-- "The Inward Journey"-- approaches the enneagram from a historical and general informational perspective. This section includes a brief-- but quite accurate-- self test, as well as thumbnail descriptions of each of the nine enneagram types. The rest of the section covers topics to help the reader understand the basics of personality, essence, ego and awareness. The authors also explain the interactions and parallels between the enneagram and other personality theories. The section concludes with a primer on the "mechanics" of the enneagram, including the concepts of "Wings," "Instinctual Variants," "Levels of Development" and "Integration and Disintegration."

Part II consists of nine chapters, each one covering a corresponding enneagram type, in depth. For those who don't already know their type, each chapter begins with a fairly detailed set of questions to help the reader determine if he/she resonates with that type.
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94 of 103 people found the following review helpful By Alan F. Bradley on June 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
I have purchased every Riso or Riso/Hudson project, my all time favorite being the revised, orange-covered "Personality Types." The style and content of "Wisdom of the Enneagram" is broader than "Personality Types" and perhaps tries to accomplish too much, with the effect of losing some of the clarity and succinctness of "Personality Types." BUT (!), ANY Riso/Hudson book about the Enneagram is a GOOD one and a MUST HAVE! There are lots of fresh insights and "spins" on Enneagram wisdom in this one. Of all the growing number of Enneagram authors out there, Don Riso has been, is, and will likely remain my favorite. His understanding of the Enneagram - in both theory and application - is rich and deep. Something about his interpretations seem to resonate more harmoniously with "how I see it", too. A definite "must" purchase to round out one's collection of Enneagram literature!
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71 of 77 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
Those of us who have been following Riso's (and Hudson's) writings with gratitude and anticipation will celebrate their latest contribution to our growing understanding of the Enneagram. Each successive book, enriched with fresh insights, has explored this complex system of personality typing from a new angle. What's new about The Wisdom of the Enneagram?
Correctly identifying one's personality type is often difficult because the same traits can stem from very different, largely unconscious, inner dynamics. Both theorizing Fives and practical Ones, for example, can appear detached and logical. Based on matching two choices drawn from each of 2 sets of 3 descriptions, the new QUEST tool (pp. 13-18) is both simpler and more effective than their detailed RHETI questionnaire. The first group actually distinguishes Horney's assertive, withdrawn and compliant styles; whereas the second (or Harmonic) group corresponds to the authors' positive outlook, reactive and competency categories (pp.60-68). (It would be worth the effort to polish the wording of these 6 descriptions further to make them as accurate, neutral and balanced as possible.) You can then confirm your initial diagnosis by jumping to your specific Type Attitude Sorter (TAS) which rates your responses to 15 attitudes characteristic of your suspected type.
By distinguishing 9 (= 3 grades of healthy, average and unhealthy) levels in each type, Riso's 'vertical' analysis explained how an empathetic, people-pleasing Two, for example, could disintegrate into its seeming opposite, namely a domineering, self-centered Eight. This classification made it difficult to account for the curious ways in which healthy and unhealthy traits from different levels often combine to create contradictions characteristic of each type.
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