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The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery Hardcover – October 4, 2016
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From the Publisher
Discover your number
- 1. Perfectionist.
- 2. Helper.
- 3. Performer.
- 4. Romantic.
- 5. Investigator.
- 6. Loyalist.
- 7. Enthusiast.
- 8. Challenger.
- 9. Peacemaker.
Find your unique strengths and weaknesses
Get on the road that will lead you to your truest self.
What is the Enneagram?
The Enneagram is an ancient personality type system with an uncanny accuracy in describing how human beings are wired, both positively and negatively.
'The Road Back to You' allows you to peek inside each of the nine Enneagram types.
Not only will you learn more about yourself, but you will also start to see the world through other people’s eyes, understanding how and why people think, feel, and act the way they do.
Ian Morgan Cron
Ian is a bestselling author, nationally recognized speaker, Enneagram teacher, psychotherapist, eminent songwriter, and Episcopal priest. With transparency, humor, and insight, he has presented at conferences, churches, seminaries, retreats, and universities around the world. At his core, Ian is a storyteller—he weaves his knowledge into narratives that illustrate, rather than merely instruct, engaging the imagination and speaking to the skeptic and believer that live within all of us. Ian is also a student and teacher of the Enneagram. In daylong workshops, Ian provides an overview of Enneagram system, describes the nine personality types, and speaks to the myriad ways in which the Enneagram can enrich our spiritual lives.
As an internationally recognized Enneagram master, Suzanne has conducted over five hundred Enneagram workshops over the past twenty-five years. She has spoken to college audiences that include Baylor and Drury Universities, Hendrix College, Perkins School of Theology (SMU), and Brite Divinity School (TCU), and at hundreds of churches across America including First Baptist in Austin, Texas, First Presbyterian, and Broadway Baptist in Fort Worth. She also teaches regularly in the Baylor Health Care System in Dallas, in both the cancer and transplant hospitals, and at Richard Rohr’s Center for Action and Contemplation.
"Armed with delightful but incisive wit, Cron and Stabile help us explore our inner life by making the mystery of the Enneagram accessible. If you want to better understand yourself and those in the world around you, this insightful and brilliant book is a perfect place to begin."--Wm. Paul Young, author of The Shack
"Ian Morgan Cron, partnering with Suzanne Stabile, has gifted us with another timely and brilliantly written book. We've long needed a fresh, spiritually grounded approach to helping people grow in self-knowledge and compassion. This is a winsome and thoughtful primer!"--Mark Batterson, lead pastor, National Community Church, New York Times bestselling author of The Circle Maker
"The Enneagram has been a powerful tool for spiritual transformation in my life, so much so that I became a certified trainer. I've read many of the books available on the subject. This is a wonderfully thorough examination of the Enneagram and the best news is that it will speak to both newcomers and Enneagram veterans."--Anita Lustrea, Faith Conversations Podcast, author, speaker, media coach
"I'm so thrilled that this book exists. The Enneagram has absolutely changed my understanding of how to love the people in my life, deepened the quality of my marriage, and given me a vision for the person God designed me to be. This book makes the Enneagram easy to understand, with helpful stories, humor, warmth, and clear language. I'll need a case, at least."--Shauna Niequist, author of Present Over Perfect
"Cron and Stabile walk through the Enneagram's nine different personality types and their distinct ways of seeing the world, showing how each one has a potentially infinite number of expressions, strengths, and weaknesses. Cron describes his own Enneagram experience as a feeling of waking up after having been asleep for a long time. He explains that in catching a glimpse of the person he was created to be, he began to see himself with the same delight, pride, and expectation with which God sees him, and to sense the immediacy of God's grace. 'In the spiritual life that's no small thing, ' he writes."--Foreword Reviews, Fall 2016
"Cron brings his witty, energetic voice to this collaboration with Stabile, a retreat director and expert on the Enneagram a system of personality typology with roots in Christian and Islamic mysticism. The beauty of the Enneagram is its charity: the system clearly names the flaws as well as the virtues of each personality type. The Enneagram also counsels humility and acknowledges its own limits ('[The Enneagram] is not infallible or inerrant, ' writes Cron and Stabile) a welcome modesty in religious understanding today."--Publishers Weekly STARRED REVIEW, August 8, 2016"
About the Author
Ian Morgan Cron is a bestselling author, nationally recognized speaker, Enneagram teacher, counselor, Dove Award-winning songwriter, and Episcopal priest. His books include the novel Chasing Francis and spiritual memoir Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me. Ian draws on an array of disciplines―from psychology to the arts, Christian spirituality and theology―to help people enter more deeply into conversation with God and the mystery of their own lives. He and his wife, Anne, live in Nashville, Tennessee.Author photo by Ben Pearson.
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Cron and Stabile are winsome and persuasive in their presentation of the Enneagram. The framework and much of the content are taken from Stabile's years of experience in teaching the Enneagram, and much of what I encountered in this book I had already heard in her "Know Your Number" workshop. In each chapter, Stabile and Cron outline basic characteristics of each type, allowing the reader to discern their own number based on self-knowledge and experience. Then, they explain how this number may experience their world and how their unique personality can lead them to discover a deep sense of God-given meaning as part of the human family. They give examples of what each type looks like when healthy, middling, or unhealthy, and name for each type common or besetting sins (a shadow side) as well as "missed messages" not received in the early years of life that may explain certain behaviors or longings. Each type has range and nuance; Cron and Stabile show how each number has "wings," or correspondences with neighboring number types, as well as how each type can function like another in strength, or retreat to a different type when unhealthy or hurting. With the Enneagram, there can be a lot of movement, which is fitting, because human personality is complex.
I am a certified spiritual director and someone who has contemplated the self, both in my own process of self discovery and also in my work observing others as a pastor. The Enneagram can be a useful tool, and does reflect dynamics that I have seen in my own spiritual journey. But I have always retained a reservation with regards to the Enneagram, for I know the degree to which we as human beings long for scripts to live by. While some individuals may fit the grid of the Enneagram, I know others who, correctly or not, may self-identify and then study and conform to the personality patterns they most desire. I suspect that personality is not discovered (as this account of the Enneagram claims), but in some cases is made. The individual may not be "already in the box" and in the process of discovering its dimensions. Rather, the individual may construct the box, tailoring it according to their unique longings and desires. A proponent of the Enneagram may claim that this will lead to a manifestation of a false self. My response is simple: "How do you know? And, if people self-identify, who are you to say?"
My secondary critique of this book pertains to its substance as a work of evangelical reflection or theology, and while certain claims are made by Cron and Stabile concerning both God and human nature, very little appeal is made to the contents of Scripture. Direct references are scant. This particular account of the Enneagram has very little to say about our creation in the divine image, or the implications of sin, and how those two dynamics inform our present human condition or situation. Nods are given, but exegesis is absent. Further, little attention is given to how God in Christ has redeemed us, and how a theory of human personality might help us move toward God's desired end for us, with God's help. Cron and Stabile may be suggesting that the Enneagram is a God-given tool, and thus a guide or "road" for us to rediscover our true selves, but no biblical grounds are given for this claim. Further, no account is given, once self-understanding is obtained, for how that knowledge serves us as we are being remade in the image of Christ. You might say, "Ben, this is a trade book! This wasn't their task!" Nevertheless, as an IVP resource, I expect more engagement with Scripture, and a greater degree of biblical justification for claims found within.
There has been a great deal of enthusiasm concerning the Enneagram, particularly among a certain strain of evangelical Christians. While I do see ways this tool can be helpful, I maintain my reservations. I believe human beings are irreducibly complex. I have found that the Enneagram does make sense of certain things about me, but I do not take the Enneagram as an exhaustive account of how I can unlock my true self. The Enneagram may be interesting, novel, and compelling at this historical moment. But I believe this is because we live in a world of confused and disparate identities, with individuals searching for something to grasp for, to hold on to, to put one's faith in. The Enneagram, for some, is a salvation. It is the missing key.
While tools like the Enneagram can help us along the way, I believe they can only take us so far. Cron and Stabile have given us a beginning. Even to the degree the Enneagram can help with self-discovery, our selves are not our true end. It is in Christ that we discover our true selves, not through a better understanding of the Enneagram, but through communion with him.
This book is entertaining, clearly written, and more engaging than any other resource on the Enneagram that I have encountered. The study guide is a helpful addition, written for both for individuals and for groups. But I would encourage any reader to maintain a level of healthy skepticism, and to remember that the Enneagram does not have comprehensive and exhaustive explanatory power. It is also not the key to the spiritual life.
The Enneagram can help in the spiritual life. But of greater help is knowledge of God. Seek God first, study the Enneagram with discernment, open the Scriptures always, and trust the Lord to lead you.
There's a lot of more technical books written on the enneagram but this is probably the most accessible and engaging book on the topic. The writing is excellent and the content is organized in a way that makes the tool easy to understand. The authors write from a Christian perspective but its not heavy handed. I can't imagine someone coming from a different faith or no faith at all feeling "run over" by their perspective.
The things we refuse to face in ourselves often have great power over us. Read this book and allow these gracious authors to gently invite you to a greater level of self-awareness that can lead to greater freedom and greater compassion both for yourself and others.