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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Revised edition (January 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618004157
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618004157
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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).

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1
The Practical Guide to Personality Types

We are like prisoners in an unguarded cell. No one
confines us against our will, and we have heard that
the key that will release us is also locked inside.
If we could find the key, we could open the door and
be free. Yet, we don't know where it has been hidden,
and even if we knew, part of us is afraid to break
out of our prison. Once out, where would we go, and
what would we do with our newfound freedom?
This is not a meaningless metaphor: we are
prisoners of our ego, enchained by our fears,
restricted in our freedom, suffering from our
condition. No one prevents us from searching for the
key that would free us. We must, however, know where
to look for it and be willing to use it once we have
discovered where it is.
With the Enneagram, we have found a master
key, one that will unlock many doors. It gives us
access to the wisdom we need to escape from our self-
imposed prison so that we can embrace a fuller life.
The Enneagram helps us to let go of the limiting
mechanisms of our personality so that we can more
deeply experience who and what we really are. It
provides insights that can help in freeing us from
our fears and conflicts, from our wayward passions
and compulsions, from our disordered desires and
inner confusions.
No part of this process is automatic,
however. Even after we have identified our
personality type, it still may not be clear how to
use the insights we have been given. People often
ask, "Now that I know my type, what do I do with it?
Where do I go with it now?" Understanding the inner
workings of the personality types helps to some
degree, but information alone is not enough to free
us. Instead, we need to understand the transformative
process and our role in it. The paradox is that we
cannot bring about our transformation yet, without
our participation, it cannot be done. So what part do
we play in our own inner development, and how can the
Enneagram help?
The Enneagram can help because it is an
invaluable map for guiding us to the points of
blockage in our particular personality structures.
The fundamental premise of the Enneagram is that
there are nine basic personality structures in human
nature - nine points of view, nine value systems,
nine ways of being in the world. They have much in
common with each other, although each manifests its
own set of attitudes and behaviors, reactions and
defenses, motivations and habits. And each requires
its own unique prescriptions for growth.
The central message of this book is that by
showing us what our personality is made of, so to
speak, the Enneagram indicates what is necessary for
our real growth and transformation. Everyone is not
cut from the same cloth, or poured into the same
mold; therefore everyone's psychological and
spiritual issues will be somewhat different, and the
order in which they can best be addressed will be
different. By helping us understand the structures of
our own personality type, the Enneagram shows us how
and why we have closed down and become constricted in
our growth. It provides us with a panoramic view of
what is happening in us and in our significant
relationships. It gives us nonjudgmental,
nontechnical language in which to talk about these
ideas, and it demystifies much in the realms of
psychology and spirituality. We see that these
realities are neither foreign nor strange: they are
the worlds in which we already live.
In addition to giving us insight into our day-
to-day behaviors, the Enneagram offers an answer to
our spiritual yearnings because it shows us with
great specificity how our personality has limited us,
what our path of growth is, and where real
fulfillment can be found. It teaches us that the
longings and structures of our personality are
actually useful guides to the greatest treasures of
our soul. By regarding our self-defeating patterns
and even our psychological pain and limitations as
indicators of our spiritual capacities, we are able
to see ourselves in a different light. With this new
perspective comes compassion, healing, love, and
transformation.
We believe that, rightly understood, the
Enneagram can have a tremendously positive effect in
the world today. By touching people profoundly,
mirroring their experience of themselves and helping
them trace the trajectory of their lives, it reveals
our common humanity. It speaks to the soul,
reawakening faith, hope, and love. Many of our
students and readers have told us that the Enneagram
has helped them to rediscover spirituality - and even
brought many of them back to the churches and
traditions they once left. Their deepened
appreciation of spirituality and awareness of what
spirituality really means allowed them to operate
more gracefully within institutional frameworks. They
could see the soul of the religion they had left and
were able to orient themselves to its true Spirit.
In this book, we have enriched our
presentation of the Enneagram with ideas from Fourth
Way* schools such as the Gurdjieff Work, the Diamond
Approach of A. H. Almaas, the seminal insights of
Oscar Ichazo and Claudio Naranjo, and other awareness
practices. We have also drawn upon major religious
traditions (principally Christianity, Buddhism,
Islam, and Jewish mysticism). We hope that this book
will be a useful introduction to the Enneagram for
those who are unfamiliar with this system, as well as
a valuable resource for those already familiar with
it, as there is much new information here.
Above all, we hope this book will demonstrate
the Enneagram's relevance to all forms of
transformational work - and firmly place the
Enneagram in its true psycho-spiritual context. The
Enneagram can be applied on a superficial level, of
course, and the reader may wish only to use this
information to find out what type he or she is, or to
find out the type of someone else. New and valuable
insights are possible with even this kind of
pragmatic information. But to get the full benefits
of the Enneagram, one must integrate it into a
genuine spiritual practice. Otherwise, the
information alone tends to become an end in itself -
and ironically tends to solidify the personality
structures rather than liberate the person from them.
But when the Enneagram is part of a spiritual
practice, it more readily becomes a means for
recognizing our True Nature, and hence for loosening
the structures and limitations of the personality.
Of course, having a spiritual practice does
not guarantee ego transcendence and liberation from
egocentric structures and consequent suffering. But
without a spiritual practice, it is less likely that
we can become liberated from the limitations of our
personality. The momentum of the ego is too great,
and it cannot be transformed without bringing an even
greater force to bear upon it: the awareness that
comes from a spiritual perspective on ourselves and
our lives.

The two principal areas in which to use the Enneagram
are for self-understanding (seeing ourselves as we
actually are) and for understanding others (so that
we can have more harmonious relationships).
By far the most legitimate use of the
Enneagram is to understand ourselves. It can help us
understand our fears and desires, strengths and
weaknesses, defenses and anxieties, how we react to
frustration and disappointment - and, more
positively, what our truest capacities and greatest
strengths are so that we can build on them rather
than on misjudgments and illusions.
We will get the most benefit from the
Enneagram if we approach it with a spirit of open-
ended inquiry, using it as a support for discovering
things about ourselves and for seeing how our
characteristic issues are played out. As we observe
ourselves with the help of the system, we will see
what we are up to again and again, especially how we
are fleeing from ourselves - and why. And although we
may discover many things that make us uncomfortable
or that do not fit into the self-image that we have
of ourselves, it is important not to judge or condemn
ourselves for what we find. As we study our type, we
will begin to understand more clearly than ever that
our personality is a form of defense that we have
continued to use for reasons that started in our
infancy. Our personality has brought us this far, but
we may not need some of its features as much as we
once did. Because the Enneagram predicts the healthy,
transcendent qualities that we can expect to attain,
it helps us to have the courage to let go of old
outmoded habits.
There are three stages to this work. First,
we need to learn self-observation so that we can see
our behavior as objectively as possible. Second, we
need to increase our self-understanding so that we
can know the true motives for our behavior. And
third, we need to cultivate awareness or presence,
which facilitates and deepens the process of
transformation. Self-observation and self-
understanding alone will merely provide us with
insight to get us to the threshold of transformation,
but it is only through presence and awareness that
transformation actually occurs. Without developing
the ability to "show up" fully, the transformative
moments of our lives will have limited effect.
The Enneagram is not only about understanding
and transforming ourselves, however; it helps us in
understanding others, in fostering compassion for
them and developing insight into how they think, what
they fear and desire, what they value, and what their
strengths and weaknesses are. In short, we more
easily appreciate perspectives that are different
from our own.
Indeed, understanding others more profoundly
allows us not only to appreciate the good we find in
them but also to be more objective and compassionate
about things we may not like about them. Although we
tend to think that other people are basically like
us, it is helpful to recognize that different types
think and feel and react quite differently. By
understanding personality types, we can see others
more objectively, connecting deeply with them yet
remaining in our own center, true to ourselves. By
understanding the Enneagram, we paradoxically become
both more self-possessed and more capable of reaching
out to others.
In fact, we often use the Enneagram in our
relationships because it is as important to
understand others as it is to understand ourselves.
We simply cannot (and do not) go through life with no
idea about "what makes others tick" - about how they
are likely to react in various circumstances, about
their motivations, about how genuine or truthful or
good they are. Whether or not we are conscious of it,
we always use some kind of "personality theory." It
is therefore extremely helpful to recognize what our
implicit theory is and to make sure that it is as
accurate and comprehensive as possible.
Another reason for understanding the
Enneagram is that it helps us recognize our
unconscious tendencies before they become self-
defeating habits so that we can avoid the tragic
consequences of those habits. The Enneagram can act
as an "early warning system" of potentially harmful
behavior, allowing us to do something about it before
we become trapped in unhealthy patterns. If our
attitudes and behavior did not have potentially
tragic consequences, we could think, "Well, why
should I care about self-knowledge? What difference
does it make to know more about myself or my
personality type?"
The answer is that our attitudes and our
actions always have consequences, some of which can
affect the whole of our lives. This makes acquiring
self-knowledge and insight into others an
extraordinarily practical thing to do. Without self-
knowledge, we can make choices that may turn out
disastrously. Without knowing our own motives and not
having control over our behavior, we can do harmful
things to ourselves, our spouse, our children, our
friends and acquaintances - even to people we may
never meet.
Furthermore, without being good judges of the
characters of others, we can be terribly hurt and
abused. Many marriages end in bitterness and divorce
because people do not know either themselves or each
other. How often have we heard somebody say, "If I
had only known what my husband was really like, I
would never have married him." Or, "If I had only
known the Enneagram twenty years ago, my life would
have been so different . . ." We can console
ourselves with the thought that at least we know the
Enneagram now - and with its help, we will be much
more likely to avoid the suffering caused by our lack
of self-knowledge and the unwise actions that may
result. With insight, we have a much better chance to
avoid tragedy and become happier.

Each of the great spiritual traditions uses different
metaphors to express many of the same discoveries
about human nature and to express its insight into
the way out of our predicaments. At its deepest, the
Enneagram is not only profound psychology but a path
toward the spiritual since true self-knowledge is the
first step toward spirituality. Despite the
Enneagram's origin in a variety of spiritual and
metaphysical traditions, however, it is not overtly
religious. It can be - and has been - adapted to many
different religions and religious expressions because
it reflects the patterns found in human nature. By
helping us more clearly understand the human side of
the relationship between the Divine and the human,
the Enneagram can become an integral part of any
spirituality.
Thus, while it can say very little about the
revealed truths of religion, the Enneagram can say a
great deal about the forms that the human ego takes -
and these are the primary obstacles to a direct
experience of the Divine. It demonstrates both the
need for working on ourselves and the direction we
must take if we are to do so. The Enneagram is a tool
that, when used properly, can help us discriminate
between the more superficial aspects of ourselves -
our personalities - and the deeper aspects of our
true nature - our Essence. That is all it is. But
considering the sublimity of this work, the Enneagram
is a treasure, something more valuable than anything
we could have hoped to discover.
Even in a purely psychological,
nontheological frame of reference, we want to
understand the Enneagram so that we can become more
free - more liberated - from whatever is blocked,
negative, and destructive - from whatever is unfree,
conflicted, fearful, and wounded in ourselves. The
Enneagram can aid our healing so that we can use our
growing freedom in ennobling and constructive ways.
Once we begin to be liberated from our ego
states and our inner conflicts - from the darkness
and fear inside - with each step we take toward the
light, we will gain that much more freedom and create
new capacities in ourselves. Strength will build upon
strength, grace upon grace, virtue upon virtue, and
each new capacity will summon forth yet another as we
become the persons that we are meant to be.
In the end, however, the Enneagram will be as
useful and rewarding as we make it. The Enneagram
will enrich us to the degree that we understand it
correctly and use it properly in our lives. We can be
confident that we will find endless insights and
great riches here.

Understanding the Enneagram is a practical guide to
this system, building on many of the insights first
presented by Oscar Ichazo and Claudio Naranjo. We are
not concerned here with the basic structure and
theory of the Enneagram or with comprehensive
descriptions of the nine personality types, as they
have been provided in our other books.
Indeed, very little material is repeated from
Personality Types, and what little was necessary to
repeat is completely revised and expanded. This book
is also cross-referenced to the Revised Edition of
Personality Types so that you can return to that
longer resource if you want to find out more about
something. Furthermore, much of the new material here
is completely independent of the earlier book (the
Type Profiles, the Questionnaire, and the
Recommendations for Personal Growth, for example) and
can be used without reference to it.
THE PURPOSE OF THE ENNEAGRAM
The Enneagram reveals the patterns by which we
organize and give meaning to all of our experiences.
Its basic premise is that if we could see the core
pattern around which we organize and interpret all of
our experiences, the framework on which we hang the
events of our lives, we could make much quicker
progress in our spiritual and psychological growth.
This core patterning is, of course, our personality
type.
When we recognize our type and see it at work
in ourselves, aspects of our personality that have
been hidden from us are revealed, and paradoxically,
start loosening up. We suddenly have considerably
more psychological space in which to maneuver because
we can see ourselves with more perspective.
It would not be far-fetched to say that one
of the main points of the Enneagram is to show us
where our personality "trips us up" the most. It
highlights both what is possible for us, as well as
how self-defeating and unnecessary many of our
reactions and behaviors are. Our type has both
positive and negative qualities, but we do ourselves
no favor either by exalting it or by condemning it -
not to mention using it to judge other people or
their types.
No matter what our type is, and no matter
what particular form our ego has taken, we all face
one central problem - estrangement from our deepest
nature. We may have had intimations that what lies
beneath the structure of our personality is something
miraculous, the very thing that we have wanted more
than anything else, even though we have looked
everywhere else to find it. Despite our intimations,
it is difficult to let go of our personality and to
trust that there is actually something
more "essential" in us. It is difficult to believe
that there is actually a spark of Divinity in me.
But there is good news as well because the
structures of our personality tell us what the main
blockages to our true nature are. This is why the
Enneagram, properly understood, is an extraordinary
tool for psychological and spiritual growth: it
illuminates the unconscious parts of ourselves that
stand in the way of our being more fully alive. It
demonstrates that what stands in the way between
ourselves and bliss is our attachment to our
personality.
Perhaps one of the most challenging notions
for us to accept at the beginning of transformational
work is that the personality - the ego and its
structures - is an artificial construct. But it only
seems real because up until now it has been our
entire reality. Identifying with our personality has
been how we have lived and gotten by in life. Insofar
as it has enabled us to do so, the personality has
been a useful, even highly valuable, friend.
As our insights deepen, however, we come to
accept the hard truth that our personality is largely
a collection of internal defenses and reactions,
deeply ingrained beliefs and habits about the self
and the world that have come from the past,
particularly from our childhood. To put this more
simply, our personality is a mechanism from the past,
perhaps one that has helped us survive until now, but
one whose limitations can now be seen. We all suffer
from a case of mistaken identity: we have forgotten
our True Nature and have come to believe that we are
the personality. The reason we must explore the
defenses of the personality and the vulnerabilities
it is protecting is so that we can reexperience our
Essential nature - our spiritual core - and know
directly who we really are.
Each of us came into the world as pure
Essence, although that Essence was still undeveloped.
Each of us has also had a mother and a father (or
other caretakers) who already had their personalities
very much in place. Because they had to protect
themselves from experiencing their own developmental
gaps and losses, it was not possible for them to
fully support the unfolding of all of the aspects of
our spirit, no matter how much they loved us. In
short, to the degree that they could not be with the
fullness of their own Essence, they could not
recognize or help develop the fullness of our
Essence. From this perspective, we can also see that
these blockages may go back many generations.
Our parents unintentionally sent "messages"
to us as children to hide ourselves. We gradually
came to believe that one or more parts of us were not
safe to have or to display to the world. No matter
how well intentioned our parents were, to some
degree, we all succumbed to the process of hiding and
covering over our Essential nature. Out of the need
to make unconscious adjustments to our caregivers
came the need to form a personality. We began to feel
that "What I am is not acceptable, so I need to be
different. Maybe I need to be happier, or quieter, or
less energetic." The costs of these necessary
survival adjustments are great, although perhaps the
greatest cost is that we gradually become terrified
to be seen as we are. We have spent most of our lives
not allowing ourselves to be seen, not seeing other
people, and most destructively, not wanting to see
ourselves.
Further, the painful events of early
childhood create a particular way of interpreting our
experiences so that later life events reinforce our
beliefs about our self and the world. For instance, a
child who has been physically abused will tend to
view the world as threatening and will have problems
getting close to people. Such a person will expect,
and tend to find, abusive situations. As a result of
this reinforcement of our earliest sense of self, our
personality gets "thicker" and we begin to
think, "This is me - it's just the way I am." We
identify with our reactions and our habitual self-
image and beliefs. We do not want to see what is
beneath the personality because to go into the areas
that have been blocked and covered over means that we
will reexperience our deepest hurts. Furthermore,
doing so reveals the insubstantiality of our
personality - and that is extremely threatening both
to our sense of identity and to our ideas about how
to survive in the world.
This is not to say that personality is
necessarily bad, but when the mechanisms of the
personality are running the show, the most dire
things can happen. All of us can think of dozens of
times when we came within a hairsbreadth of disaster
but for the fact that we had enough presence of mind
to stop the momentum of events and avert a
catastrophe. We can all look back to times when, if a
few of the wrong words had been spoken, or if we had
allowed rage, sarcasm, or pride to take over, the
rest of our lives would have taken a different turn.
We can all remember pivotal moments when we could
have allowed ourselves to go along with the rush of
our personality, but did not. Something intervened.
That something was awareness. Suddenly we
were able to wake up to the danger, the foolishness,
and the self-destructiveness of what we had been
doing, and to stop it before things got worse. In
retrospect, we may get cold shivers when we think
about how close we came to losing a job, our best
friend, our marriage, or to alienating our children.
If something in us had not been awake to see what we
were unconsciously doing, the rest of our lives would
be very different. That we were present in those
crucial moments changed the course of our own history
and made all the difference.
Awareness is part of our Essential nature: it
is the aspect of our Being that registers our
experience. Awareness is such a fundamental capacity,
that it is almost impossible to imagine what it would
be like to be without it. In more mundane terms, we
can also recognize awareness as our capacity to pay
attention. Unfortunately, our attention is usually
drawn into deep identifications with the
preoccupations of our personality - into fantasies,
anxieties, reactions, or subjective memories. When
our awareness becomes identified with these aspects
of our personality, we lose contact with the
immediacy of our lived experience. Our attention
shrinks away from a broader perspective and from what
is actually occurring around us. It contracts into
narrow concerns or reactions and we "fall asleep."
When we begin to pay attention to what is
actually here, however, to become more aware of the
sensations and impressions of the present moment,
something very interesting happens. The simple act of
returning our attention to the present causes our
awareness to expand. We become aware of much more
than the narrow concerns of our personality, and we
reconnect with aspects of our nature we did not
suspect existed.
What would it be like if we were present so
often that we no longer waited until the last minute
to react to impending disaster? What if we were so
awake that we could see the reality of our
circumstances, even as they shift and change? We
would be able to notice impulses arising in us as if
they were trains pulling into a railroad station. We
could see destructive impulses coming while they were
still at a safe distance, and decide consciously
whether or not to board them, as it were. What would
our lives be like if we did not automatically get on
the train to be whisked away to some undesirable
destination before we knew what had happened? What if
we were so present that we no longer lived in a
semifog of habits and diminished consciousness, going
through much of our lives as if we were barely there
at all? What if we were so present that we no longer
felt that life was some kind of death sentence,
something we must endure until we finally got through
it? Rather than experience most moments as tedious
and dull - and feeling the need to protect and
distract ourselves from their pain and boredom - what
if we experienced every moment as a gift, something
indescribably precious, unique, and irreplaceable?
The good news is that we can have a new life
if we are willing to learn and practice a few simple
lessons.
The first is that there is more to us than
our personality. Our true Self and our personality
are not the same thing, and it is the quality of
presence that restores the proper balance between
them and allows us to embody the expansive qualities
of our true nature. The personality is highly
automatic: it tends to create the same problems for
us again and again. But the personality is only
automatic when we are not aware of it. When our
awareness arises and we directly experience the
mechanisms of our personality, they cannot function
as automatically as before.
Furthermore, the habits and reactions of our
personality take up far more of our energy than we
can imagine. Many of us believe that letting go of
the patterns of our personality will render us
ineffective and dull-minded. Actually, the opposite
is true. Learning to let go, to relax, to become more
present and awake, liberates enormous energy in us
and enables us to accomplish far more than we would
have thought possible.
The second important lesson is that presence
never becomes habitual. We will never find a formula
or technique that will automatically allow us to be
present all the time. Such an automatic method of
being present would be a contradiction - a way of
being awake while we were actually "asleep." We do
not have to push ourselves, change our basic life
circumstances, or use willpower for transformation to
occur. A real, lasting solution lies in another
direction - by coming back to ourselves with ever-
deepening awareness, we see and experience the
structures of our personality from a larger
perspective, and our old habits begin to loosen and
drop away. The miracle is that to the degree that
they are fully experienced, our old, self-defeating
structures will begin to dissolve.
By speaking to the truth of who we really
are, the Enneagram reminds us of our own innate
nobility and spiritual potentials. It helps us
discern the more superficial, automatic self of
personality from the profound riches of our Essence -
our True Self.
This is the core of spirituality; real
spirituality involves becoming more real. And as we
become more real, we begin to become more aware of
the Divine since the "really real" is the Divine. In
order to come in contact with what is "really real,"
we must understand and disidentify with the limiting
and destructive aspects of our personality. As we
gradually learn to disengage from our various habits
and fears, agendas and behaviors, we begin to
understand the magnificence we are called to.
There is the widespread sense that humanity
is at an important milestone. While the last century
has seen enormous strides in science, medicine, and
technology, real understanding and healing of the
human psyche has not kept pace. Given our enormous
technological power, and with it, our increased
potential for self-destruction, we have come to a
point in history where genuine self-knowledge is no
longer a luxury. Whether or not human beings will
learn to live together peacefully remains in doubt;
whether or not we will be able to stop ourselves from
stripping the earth of its resources remains in
doubt; whether or not we will be able to stop fearing
those who are unlike us and whose customs and
religion are different from our own remains in doubt;
whether or not hatred will turn out to be a stronger
force than love remains in doubt.
One thing is for sure, however. Unless we
humans are able to get over our identification with
our egoselves - and with it, our willingness to
destroy what does not support our ego and its
demands - we will not survive. Unless we are able to
see beyond our impoverished and desperate ego to the
magnificence of the universal Self manifesting in
each of us, we will be unsatisfied. Unless we truly
learn to love ourselves, we will destroy ourselves.
At this momentous time in human history,
something powerful and decisive has been revealed to
the world: the Enneagram. Its insights puncture our
defenses and lay bare the inner workings of our
psyches with their mysterious mix of spiritual
yearnings and destructive impulses. The Enneagram
helps us rediscover our own humanity and also the
humanity of all human beings. With its help, we can
rediscover the ancient spiritual truth, taught by
many different traditions, that we must love one
another or perish.
What greater gift could be given to the world
as we embark on a new millennium? And what deeper
truth could we learn day in and day out, every moment
of our lives?
The Basics of the Enneagram
This section is included so that readers can grasp
the basics of the system or refresh their memories
about the Enneagram. (For more details, consult PT,
27-55.) *
One of the most important things that
distinguishes the Enneagram from other personality
typologies is that it is a dynamic system. This means
that the nine types are not static categories - they
are interrelated in specific ways, as indicated by
the inner lines of the symbol. The Enneagram is
valuable because it sheds light on our major
challenges to growth as well as on our hidden
strengths. It describes nine distinct personality
types - nine ways that human nature expresses itself,
nine different perspectives on life, nine modes of
being in the world. It has important implications not
only for self-help but for intimate relationships and
all other forms of interactions as well, such as
therapy, education, and business, to name

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Customer Reviews

And how to overcome them to live truly out of my soul.
Sekmet
I own probably 10 books about the enneagram personality type theory by a number of different authors, and I find Riso and Hudson to be the best experts in the field.
J. Charles Hansen
This book is required reading for anyone seriously working on their personality types.
Oreo104

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 66 people found the following review helpful By J. Charles Hansen on December 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
The enneagram system has made a huge impact on me and been very insightful - both about myself as well as my interactions in relationships with others. I own probably 10 books about the enneagram personality type theory by a number of different authors, and I find Riso and Hudson to be the best experts in the field. Of their numerous books I find this their finest to date. It's a revised edition of the 1990 "Understanding the Enneagram" which was itself excellent.
This would make a fine introduction yet also has a lot of advanced material. The book contains a good questionnaire for finding your type, thorough descriptions of each type, insight into the levels of development (which is unique to these authors), practical recommendations, and the spiritual dimensions of the types.
Unlike other authors I've read on the subject, I find Riso and Hudson direct and easy to understand. All in all a very complete and accessible guide to the enneagram. I've also seen these authors in person and would recommend the experience.
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61 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Peter Messerschmidt on December 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
I have been a student of the enneagram for over a decade, and own both the original and "revised" editions of this book. I am generally a fan of Riso & Hudson's work, and this book certainly does a respectable job of introducing readers to the basic "nuts and bolts" of the enneagram. As such, I feel comfortable recommending it as a good introductory text. Some readers (myself included), however, might find themselves a bit distressed by the frequent cross-references to Don Riso's prior and exhaustive volume on the Enneagram, "Personality Types." Since I also own that book, a concept briefly introduced and then concluded with the reference "(PT, 31-32)" is not a problem for me, but would probably be confusing or annoying to a reader who has picked up "Understanding the Enneagram" as their first book on the subject.

That said, here's what this book offers: Section One covers an introduction to the enneagram as a personality typing and growth tool, followed by thumbnail descriptions of the nine enneagram types, and concludes by explaining Riso's concept of the "levels of development" that exist within each type.

Section Two helps readers identify their type through the use of questionnaires. Particularly useful is the fairly thorough coverage of "misidentifications," or common ways in which people tend to choose a type that isn't really a true representation of their personality. The section concludes with an "assessment guide," which is basically a "fill in the blanks" area where readers can pencil in their responses to a number of questions.
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful By "lefty_liberal" on January 5, 2002
Format: Paperback
The only part of this book I really found interesting was the authors' development of corresponding personality disorders with each of the types...Which I don't feel was adequately developed to be worth the buy. Basically you can see that they've managed to correspond types with personality disorders, but I think "The Wisdom of the Enneagram" is more informative in terms of using Enneagram information to stop negative patterns of behavior.
Personality Types, The Wisdom of the Enneagram and Discovery Your Personality Type (the personality test) will compose a solid library for any Enneagram/Hudson Riso ethusiast.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
What I like best about this book is that it helps you to differentiate between types that are often confused, like Two and Nine. It explains how these types, in some ways similar, are in other ways very different. Another thing I like about the book is that the many charts show how the author approached his nine levels for each type. It's a very intricate system with a set of laws devised by the author.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. Charles Hansen on December 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
The enneagram system has made a huge impact on me and been very insightful - both about myself as well as my interactions in relationships with others. I own probably 10 books about the enneagram personality type theory by a number of different authors, and I find Riso and Hudson to be the best experts in the field. Of their numerous books I find this their finest to date. It's a revised edition of the 1990 "Understanding the Enneagram" which was itself excellent.
This would make a fine introduction yet also has a lot of advanced material. The book contains a good questionnaire for finding your type, thorough descriptions of each type, insight into the levels of development (which is unique to these authors), practical recommendations, and the spiritual dimensions of the types.
Unlike other authors I've read on the subject, I find Riso and Hudson direct and easy to understand. All in all a very complete and accessible guide to the enneagram. I've also seen these authors in person and would recommend the experience.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Dan Vavrina on November 19, 2004
Format: Paperback
I have read significant parts of about 5 or 6 Enneagram books, and this is, by far, the best one I have read. It not only helps the reader understand the workings of the Enneagram and people of the different Enneagram types, it also gives good, very kindly written (but firm and honest) non-obvious advice to people of the different types that can be implemented in their day-to-day lives. It is extremely well-written--The great intelligence of the authors is quite evident. Full of very important insights and revelations, I think it is definitely one of the most important books of modern times.

I know I am failing to convey how immense an achievement this book is, and how much positive potential its insights have to truly bring about a positive spiritual revolution.

I think this book is so amazing that I suggested that the two local library sytems where I live buy it. --I'm happy to say that they did.

There is no way I can really convey to you adequately what this book is like. You will have to check it out for yourself.
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