Yet Another Book about Personality Types

Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything by Anne Bogel, available in several formats, published Sept. 2017. Link is to the Amazon page; I mistakenly said in an earlier post that I could not include direct Amazon links in my reviews. Anne also has a very popular website, Modern Mrs. Darcy, which deals with, well, how to be a modern Elizabeth Bennet.

So last week’s book pick was the new Gretchen Rubin opus on her Four Tendencies framework; I hope you’ve read it by now. It is really, really good. I promise. And this week’s book was brought to my attention by Gretchen’s interview with its author, Anne Bogel. I am very sorry that I didn’t get in on the pre-order bonus that would have allowed me to get the audiobook and the paperback versions together for the price of one. Since I had an Audible.com credit available I used that, but I wish I’d just bought the paperback or Kindle version. Anne does her own narration and is an enjoyable reader, but her book has a lot of lists and bulleted paragraphs. I got very confused, especially about the enneagram and the Meyers-Briggs types. (There are nine possible enneagram types and sixteen possible MB’s. That’s a lot to process.) Much as I’ve grown to love audiobooks, I’m finding that they’re hopeless for any type of material where you want to be able to go back and re-read or look up passages. Memoirs and fiction are great for audiobooks, as those types of literature have a narrative spine and you’re probably not going to want to take notes on them, but for anything else you’re better off with something you can mark and re-read, either on paper or on a screen. (Audible does have the capability of making audio clips, but that’s not the same thing at all. And I think you can do some kind of bookmarking, but, again, that’s not too helpful. If you don’t stop and mark the passage while you’re listening you’ll be lost, and since the big thing about audiobooks is that you can do something else while you’re listening, you don’t necessarily want to stop and fiddle with your phone.)

I’m looking forward to going back and re-reading Anne’s chapters in which she details the two frameworks mentioned above plus some others, notably the five love languages by Gary Chapman. Honestly, I’ve never been able to figure out which one of those I prefer. (In case you’ve never heard of Chapman’s categories, they are: 1) acts of service, 2) quality time, 3) physical touch, 4) words of affirmation, and 5) gift giving. I think I’m “words of affirmation,” but I’m not sure.) Anyway, what with all this personality quizzing, I guess there’ll come a time when there’s no mystery left, about me or anyone else! I’m especially intrigued with the Meyes-Briggs test. If you’ve applied for a job recently or even gone to a guidance counselor’s office at school you may be familiar with this one. Apparently, though, according to Anne, it’s often administered incorrectly. I was pretty sure that I was an INTJ type, one that makes up only about 3% of the population, so, in the interests of getting it right for this post I just went online and took the little test on this personality-type website, and that’s what they said I was. Interestingly, Hillary Clinton is also an INTJ. Make of that what you will! (She and I both tend to rub people the wrong way.) I won’t go into the details here but would suggest that you take the same online test (always keeping in mind that it’s just sort of a practice run and is not on the official M-B website). If you don’t think your results are accurate or you want a fuller profile, you can always take the official Meyers-Briggs test for $49.95.

Anne is a Christian, something that she refers to but doesn’t push. (I got a little tickled when Gretchen and Liz were talking about the Chapman book on a podcast and Gretchen said something about, “Chapman does talk a lot about his religion in this book.” Yes, he does—since it’s an overtly Christian book!) Anne first got interested in the whole personality type thing back when she was a teenager and her mom mentioned that she was reading a book about temperament with a church group; those of us who are a certain age (more Anne’s mother than Anne) will recognize the reference to Tim LaHaye’s book Spirit-Controlled Temperament that first came out in 1976. His ideas were considered to be a little woo-woo back then, and now everyone’s talking about personality types! Funny how the world turns.

Self-knowledge is all very well and good, but then you have to do something about and with it. Sort of like reading diet books or buying a new bathroom scale: they won’t do a thing about your weight. I do find all this personality stuff to be fascinating, but navel-gazing won’t take me very far. Anne’s and Gretchen’s books are both fairly short, though, and brimming with (don’tya love that expression?) practical ideas. So start with those and see where they take you.

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