Book Review: Reading People by Anne Bogel
“Good books, hot tea, and Netflix can go a long way toward getting an introvert through the holiday season in one piece.”
I won Reading People: How Seeing the World Through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything by Anne Bogel (of Modern Mrs. Darcy fame) through Goodreads last fall. I have been a fan of Modern Mrs. Darcy and Anne’s podcast, What Should I Read Next?, for a while now and have been looking forward to reading her book. I am not a huge personality junkie, like I know some are, but I was excited in discovering the basics of some major personality concepts. Anne looks at several major different personality frameworks and breaks the basics down, so all the basic information is all in one place. Huzzah!
As of probably a year ago, I had only ever heard of the Myers-Briggs Types, the Five Love Languages, and StrengthsFinder. I had never heard the terms Highly-Sensitive Person (HSP) or Enneagram. But in the last year or so, it seems like a large part of the internet (or at least my chosen part of it) has been raving about the Enneagram and I see more and more people are identifying as HSPs. This book was extremely helpful in understanding these terms and different frameworks.
One of the first chapters is determining whether or not you are an extrovert or an introvert. Most likely anyone reading a book about personality would already know which one you are. I am definitely an introvert. I prefer smaller groups of people when socializing and need alone time often to "reboot". Most of my family and friends are extroverts though, so it is always an interesting time when we all get together.
Before my husband and I got married, we took The Five Love Languages test. I express love through quality time and physical touch, while my husband values acts of service and quality time. Learning how the two of us express love has been so helpful; I have to frequently remind myself that the best way for me to show him love is do something nice and helpful to him, like running an errand on my way home, as opposed to just holding his hand. Not only is important to know what personality type you are/have, it is imperative to know how to apply this knowledge to your life.
Sometime last year, I took the Myers-Briggs test online and determined I was an ISFJ, the Defender. Other than reading the description of the ISFJ, I did not do a lot of research on the other types. There are 16 Myers-Briggs types and are determined by Introversion/Extraversion, Intuition/Sensing, Thinking/Feeling, and finally Judging/Perceiving. Anne presents the high-level takeaways of each MBTI type and makes it easy to see the differences among all of the types. Knowing what MBTI type can help you understand how to relate to others. I also loved how Anne included examples of each from literature and real life. Though I wish I was Minerva McGonagall (an ESTJ), I am perfectly happy to settle for Mother Theresa (an ISFJ).
The chapter I was most excited to read was the one on Enneagram. I had very limited understanding of the concept going into this chapter; there are 9 different Enneagram types. Enneagram is different from other personality frameworks, especially MBTI, because it focuses heavily on weaknesses. The more I read about the Enneagram, the more it seems like I am an Enneagram One, the Reformer. Ones have a strong sense of right and wrong and have extremely high standards for themselves, which sounds pretty much like me. But I am still doing some research on it and will definitely be reading some of the resource books that Anne recommended in her book.
I really enjoyed Reading People. It is nice to have all these different personality frameworks in one place. Anne is not an expert in these things, but she is a self-described personality junkie, and I think it helped the book stay less dry because she is genuinely interested in the subject matter. If you have any interest whatsoever in learning about any of these personality frameworks, definitely pick up Reading People. I give it 4 stars!
Let me know what Enneagram resources you recommend.