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191 of 203 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most readable, comprehensive explanation yet available.
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...
Published on August 15, 1999

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars The Wisdom of the Enneagram
Too much information for someone just starting out learning the Enneagram. I think there should be a simplier book read first before reading this one.
Published 20 months ago by Margaret condon


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191 of 203 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most readable, comprehensive explanation yet available., August 15, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types (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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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Introduction to the Psychological & Spiritual Enneagram, May 1, 2005
This review is from: The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types (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. The authors then describe the type and its associated issues in considerable detail, with separate sections to show the differences caused by a predominant "wing," and by a person's "instinctual variant." Although self-tests (and even online "quizzes") can be helpful in determining type, by far the most accurate and reliable way to be certain is to read detailed type descriptions to see which has the strongest feeling of "rightness." The descriptions offered here are quite comprehensive, and are expanded through adding Riso & Hudson's system of "Levels of Development" for greater "granularity." Each type-chapter then progresses to describing the underlying "issues" facing that type, along with guidelines to the "paths to growth." Whereas these sometimes feel a bit "mechanical" to me, and perhaps are not the most thorough I have seen, they are certainly quite adequate to start readers on a path of personal development.

Part III-- "Tools for Transformation"-- is somewhat brief, but does a respectable job of introducing the spiritual aspects of the enneagram. The section includes "type-appropriate" considerations in choosing and following a spiritual practice, and talks about ways in which each type can get trapped by their fixation. There is also a brief discussion of transcending ego and personality, and how to find our essence, which will lead to a state of inner peace.

Final thoughts: Highly Recommended (9 out of a possible 10 bookmarks) as an excellent introduction to the enneagram, with enough in-depth material to help students quite a long way along their journey to self-actualization. Whereas the authors' backgrounds in the more psychological traditions of the enneagram (as a "personality typing tool") are often evident, the inclusion of spiritual material makes this a highly worthwhile read.

Thanks for reading!
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94 of 103 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive, though a bit diffuse..., June 13, 2000
This review is from: The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types (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
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for all enthusiasts of personality typing!, July 17, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types (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. In this regard, Helen Palmer's more 'intuitive' approach offered more colorful descriptions of the 'trap-door' mechanism through which principled Ones flirt with their repressed desires (compare p.114 on 'escape hatches'), or of the push-pull attraction that makes for the stormy relationships of tragic romantic Four. Now, by disassembling each type into a cluster of well-defined 'signatures' and focusing separately on each trait in turn, Riso and Hudson have largely recovered this lost territory. Such welcome nuances are seen in the application of new concepts such as Acting Out and the Security Point. Under stress, cerebral Fives act out, in the manner of unhealthy Sevens, the neglected appetite for sensory stimulation. The tough domineering Eight reveals its hidden vulnerability and tender feelings within the familiar circle of loved ones. This is a positive addition to Riso's previous critique and synthesis of Freudian, Hornevian, DSM-III(R) and other mainstream psychological theories. Riso was a Jesuit for thirteen years, and Hudson is an accredited specialist of East Asian religions. While endeavoring to demonstrate the centrality of the Enneagram to work, love and other sustained personal relationships (in books to be released soon), they never lose sight of the ultimate goal of self-fulfillment, of transcending one's type and thereby unleashing its full potential.
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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best for beginner and expert, April 28, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types (Paperback)
As someone who believes the Enneagram is the most profound and practical way of understanding ourselves and others, I use the Enneagram to help me increase personal and spiritual growth, enhance my work as a psychotherapist, and relate & communicate more appreciatively with others. Wisdom of the Enneagram is my favorite Enneagram book and the one I reccomend for both beginners and experts (though Don and Russ's other books are 5 star as well). I'm constantly impressed by how Don Riso and Russ Hudson can write such a comprehensive far ranging book of great depth and make it so readable and appealing. Especially since it is so well organized with many very interesting tables, charts, and sections; this is a book you will read and refer to again and again.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book to get!, March 12, 2000
This review is from: The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types (Paperback)
If you only read one Enneagram book in your life, it ought to be "The Wisdom of the Enneagram". It gives you clear and concise explanations of the system and the types along with tests and exercises to not only figure out your own type, but to learn from it and grow! Every time I read this book I feel that God is speaking directly to me through these words and I am able to let go of some more of my baggage. The message is brought forth with compassion and clarity without ever being condescending. It is an invitation to live a more fulfilling life. Don't say no! Read this book!
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A TOP NOTCH ENNEAGRAM BOOK!, August 20, 2001
By 
Tarin Frances (Long Beach, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types (Paperback)
Amongst the myriad of books about personality, The Wisdom of the Enneagram stands out as one of the most clear, focussed, and nurturing.
I love the charts, graphs, and explanations about high/low level functioning of the types as well as the easy flow used when describing an intricate theroy. This really should be required reading for all -- would improve all types of relationships and help reduce the divorce rate!
For the person looking for answers about his or her life choices, this is a good place to begin.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best and most balanced single reference on the Enneagram., May 2, 2006
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This review is from: The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types (Paperback)
This is the best single reference on the Enneagram that I know of and I own a lot of books on the Enneagram and use it in my coaching practice. If I had to limit my recommendations on the Enneagram to one book for all audiences, this would be my top choice by a mile.

Riso and Hudson cover the basics of Enneagram theory in a thoughtful, well-organized and almost poetic manner. They integrate psychological insights with spiritual wisdom without sacrificing a balanced presentation.

One of the things that make this book truly a gem is the presentation of the developmental aspects of the Enneagram levels. In Riso and Hudson's model, there are nine different levels to each type and they describe this depth dimension well without going overboard on detail. They also do a good job of covering the instinctual variants, wing types and suggestions for personal growth for each type.

In a relatively short book, Riso and Hudson cover and incredible amount of ground in a detailed, but easy to read format. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about their personality and how to work with it.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Its a Wonderful Life, June 30, 2000
By 
Les (Marietta, GA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types (Paperback)
Any successful pilgramage requires that the traveler have knowledge of both the destination and of the path to be traveled in order to arrive at the destination. As a clinical psychotherapist, I have come to realize that this is especially true of the pilgramage to becoming fully alive! There are some incredibly helpful resources in religion, philosophy and psychology that give us insight into what being fully alive looks like. They detail the essense of this way of being and do it in such a way that something deep within us stirs with recognition. This stir of recognition moves us to know that there is "MORE" to us than we are. Unfortunately, these resources most often leave us frustrated in the learch between recognition and actualization. They help us recognize the "what", but give little insight into "how" to get there. Other resources point us in our search to "The Destination." Unfortunately, they fundamentally operate from the perceptual framework that believes we do not need an apriori recognition/validation of the destination. If we just "do it this way" and "take these steps down this path", then we will recognize the destination when we get there. Both resources are important, but incomplete.
The "Wisdom of the Enneagram" provides both. The pilgram who reads and uses this "complete atlas" of the soul will find their recognition stirring within and their path unfolding before them. If caring for the Soul, yours and that of others,is for you, the path you travel, then The Wisdom of the Enneagram IS "the" essential! It clearly and concisely details the landscape of the Soul. Theoretically sophisticated and practically useable, it equipts the reader to DO the work, which sets us free to truly BE.
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39 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Introduction, June 28, 2005
By 
This review is from: The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types (Paperback)
I have a confession to make. In the early 1990's I automatically hated 99% of all Dallas Cowboys fans other than myself. Why? Because those same Cowboys "fans" were wearing Silver and Black, Burgundy and Gold or, most likely, nothing at all to do with the NFL during the 1980s. It was just me and a couple of other hardcore guys who suffered through the last days of Danny White, the only days of Steve Pelleur and even, that's right, Paul Palmer and Steve Walsh. It hardly seemed fair for the other jerkwads who stuck their head in the sand to enjoy the benefits of three Super Bowls in four years. But finally, I realized it was their problem, not mine. If they could live with themselves doing that, more power to them.

The same is sort of happening now with the Enneagram. It's become, suddenly, the hipster's guide to psychology, and like anything that becomes such a tool, gets twisted and distorted to some peoples' own purposes much like the Cowboys' fan club did in the 90s: to make people feel better about themselves. Having been a student of the enneagram for almost a decade now, I hate to see something so important to psychology and my own personal worldview become another passing fad. But, much like the real Cowboys fans of the early nineties, it's the popularity poser, not the true student of the enneagram, who will have to live with themselves being bandwagoners.

Which brings me to this excellent book by one of the authors who helped bring the Enneagram into the modern age. The Enneagram, for those of you who aren't familiar with it, is a personality matrix (for lack of a better word) of nine personality types. The types interconnect in a variety of ways and range from very healthy to very unhealthy along each type. While this book does go into some detail on each type, it's main function serves as what to do once you know what type you (and others) are.

It gives both practical and ideological advice for moving yourself into healthier ranges of your type, and breaks down each type into different manifestations. Some, but not many, types of meditations are included. For example, being an average type seven, I know that I'm prone to do anything to avoid dealing with anxiety. The more anxiety I have, the "busier" I become, the more I eat, the more I indulge, because it becomes harder to avoid it. Several of the meditations for sevens had to do with learning to focus on what that anxiety is rather than jump from one project to the next to the next in a futile effort to avoid the anxiety. It's been quite helpful for me, though the learning process is a long one. After all, it took almost 30 years of habit to perfect the avoidance.

Riso warns several times in the book about using your type as an excuse, a part that I'm sure will be skipped over by most fives, nines and ones. Regardless, the warning is there, and it serves it's purpose as I sometimes drift into making excuses for myself. But that's the best part of the enneagram in my opinion. No type is better than the others. At their best, each type is a model of perfect mental health. At their worst, each type is a disintegrated wretch of a person. Most of us are somewhere in between, but we all have something to strive for.

I was a little disappointed at the disjointedness of the book, even within each chapter (one for each type). In addition, it almost seemed, at some points, like an enneagram starter book with minor focus on what to do to help you become healthier. But the content....the content jacks up the review of this book.

Obviously, I'd recommend this book to anyone. But if you do become interested in the enneagram, study it, and make sure you're still a fan when it's no longer hip to be one.
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