April Reads 2021

April has been a busy month. We took a week off work to go camping with my sister, and the rest of my weekends are quickly getting full with social plans, so April hasn’t been a great month for reading. I’m in the middle of like, five books at the moment, and have a few I need to finish for book groups. I did manage to finish a few this month though.

The Enneagram Made Easy by Renee Baron

The first easy—and fun—guide to the Enneagram, the fascinating and revealing method of understanding personality types, for the beginner, the expert, and everyone in between. This witty and informative guide demystifies the ancient Enneagram system with cartoons, exercises, and personality tests that reveal our motivations and desires and show how to put that knowledge to use in our everyday lives.

I’m on a HUGE Enneagram kick right now. When I first discovered the Enneagram a few years ago, I typed as a 5w6 through tests, but as I’ve learned more about it, I’ve been wondering if I’m really a 1, so I’m doing a deep dive. The Enneagram Made Easy is a great visual intro to the Enneagram, and a good refresher for me as I start looking back into this. It kind of feels like a picture book for adults with all the illustration and cartoons, which is kind of fun. However, this really is a very simplified intro and doesn’t get into subtypes, stances, triads, or any of those things that can help you confirm your type. It’s a fun read though, even if the illustrations are a little dated.

The Essential Enneagram by David N. Daniels

A centuries-old psychological system with roots in sacred tradition, the Enneagram can be an invaluable guide in your journey toward self-understanding and self-development. In this book, Stanford University Medical School clinical professor of psychiatry David Daniels and counseling psychologist Virginia Price offer the only scientifically developed Enneagram test based upon extensive research combined with a self-discovery and personal-development guide.

This book is much more thorough than The Enneagram Made Easy. I have this as an ebook from the library and would recommend against that for sure; this is definitely one that works better in hard copy so you can flip back and reference different sections. It’s not really meant to be read straight through, but I do want to learn more about each type and given the ebook format it’s easier anyway. It seems pretty comprehensive, and gets more nuanced than online resources will. The authors walk you through trying to type yourself, and it seems like a pretty good process although I am still kind of stuck. There are no quotes or observations from people of each type, though, which I feel like could have been helpful and I wish there was some of that.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: she struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding unnecessary human contact, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen, the three rescue one another from the lives of isolation that they had been living. Ultimately, it is Raymond’s big heart that will help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one. If she does, she’ll learn that she, too, is capable of finding friendship—and even love—after all.

This was a quick, sweet, charming read. I really liked Eleanor’s earnestness and demeanor, even though she was super weird. The pace was a little slow at times; since this was a book about Eleanor getting outside of her head, a lot of it takes place inside her head and within her strict routines. But the slowish pace wasn’t prohibitive. A lot of the blurbs called this book hilarious, but I didn’t find this that funny. I think I was expecting Sophie-Kinsella-style funny, and also maybe focused too much on the reason for Eleanor’ awkwardness which took the humor out of it. But that didn’t limit my enjoyment of the book.

The only other thing that bothered me was that I hated how Eleanor felt she had to change her appearance, and she noticed and named that people seemed to like her better when she had cut her hair and changed her clothes and started wearing makeup. It’s a fact of life, but it was the tiniest bit crushing to be reminded of that. It was a decision Eleanor made for herself, though, and it was part of showing how she integrated herself back into the world, even with all its flaws. Overall this was a sweet story and I liked it.

Images and descriptions from Goodreads.

3 comments

  1. The second book looks like just what I need right now. :) I don’t know my enneagram — any suggestions on where to go or what to read to get a good analysis? :)

    • I would just suggest staying away from tests! I regret taking tests and feel like it made it more confusing to figure out. (Insta accounts can be helpful but also rely on basic stereotypes of the main types so I feel like those are better to stay away from at least in the beginning too. Another mistake I made lol.) So far, the only other e-gram book I’ve read fully is the Road Back to You, which has a strong Christian flavor but was also a good intro to the 9 types and looked at them all in different contexts like work, relationships, etc which the Essential Enneagram doesn’t do. I haven’t read these next ones, but The Complete Enneagram is one that is recommended a lot. Riso, Hudson, and Chestnut are the other big authors I’ve heard of that have comprehensive e-gram books (I’m hoping to find some of those at my library next). The Welcome to the Enneagang podcast seems like a good resource although I’ve only listened to one episode (and I think the hosts are just enthusiasts rather than like, e-gram counselors or something but I could be wrong).

      From what I’ve read, figuring out your core motivation and core fears are most helpful in figuring out your type. The more I learn about it the more I love though; it seems to have some similarities to yoga philosophy and focuses much more on personal development than tests like the DISC or MBTI, which seem more focused on descriptions and labels. It’s been a lot of fun to look into!

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