The Road Back To You: An Enneagram Journey To Self-Discovery- Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile (October 4)
The names Suzanne Stabile and Ian Morgan Cron may or may not mean something to you. When I heard they were writing a book about the Enneagram-my favorite personality type system, I paid attention. Stabile is a well-known Enneagram teacher. I've never been able to attend one of her workshops but I've followed her online for a while. Cron is probably better known as an author and Episcopal priest, although he's done some speaking on the Enneagram in recent years. The combination of Stabile and Cron- her extensive knowledge plus his gift for the narrative- results in an easy to read and understand resource that will surely help many people identify and better understand their type.
The Road Back To You provides an introduction to the Enneagram and why it's beneficial to figure out your type. They then devote a chapter to each type. As I read, it struck me how truly readable the book was. I'll forever sing the praises of Rohr's The Enneagram and Riso and Hudson's The Wisdom of the Enneagram but they have a more academic, almost clinical tone.
Cron includes many examples from his and Suzanne's lives, including their friends and family, and this roots the type descriptions better than other Enneagram resources. His writing style is engaging, though his attempts at humor didn't always work for me, including one specific line in the Type 5 chapter was ill-advised. This is written from a Christian perspective but for people who care, there are one or two light swear words in it. (This doesn't bother me but I can think of several people in my life for whom it matters.) But overall, Cron is able to depict the types in a way that is personable, gracious, and incising. People should see themselves reflected on the pages.
Before I get to why I recommend this book, let me address two minor complaints. First, Cron references his children's Enneagram types and the examples provided are generally when they are not adults. I'm in the camp that believes our personalities continue to form into our 20s so I'm very wary of typing children and teenagers. They may have the tendencies of a certain type but I don't want to put anyone in a box. (The Enneagram of Parenting does a great job of laying out the fine lines, while also providing guidance.) I think Cron is probably in this camp, too, but I don't want people to read about his children and then start typing their own children.
Second, each type chapter includes celebrity examples when we have no idea what their type is. It's unfair to caution people against typing/labeling others, than proceeding to do the same thing. In most instances, the celebrities are listed in a bubble at the start of the chapter but there are some actual examples, such as Bill Clinton being a Nine. That would not have been my guess, which brings me back to my original point. We can have a guess for what a person's type might be but they're the only one who knows their internal motivations- the very thing the Enneagram is built upon.
I've lost count of how many descriptions I've read of my type (Four) so I was not expecting to be so completely and fully pegged when I read these lines: "As you might guess, Fours are prone to melancholy. Like the Old Testament figure Job they can steep in lament. After all, it's hard to be chipper when the now-dated U2 song "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" or the Radiohead song "Creep" play like the soundtrack in the movie of your life." (p. 156) How did Cron know what songs I turn to on sad days?! I could not stop laughing.
I also really liked this part: "Fours are the most complex of all the types on the Enneagram: what you see is never what you get. There are always more layers of things going on underneath the surface." (p. 158)
Finally, I liked the emphasis on how learning about our type is both a benefit for ourselves and for our relationships, as well as our worldview. Throughout the book, the call is to become more aware of how we go through life and what mistakes we continue to make so that we can "get out of your own way and become more of the person God created you to be.'" (p. 17) Figuring out my type has allowed me to have so much more compassion and understanding for myself and others. That's why I continue to encourage people to learn more about the Enneagram. I can't help but imagine a world where we all had this level of compassion and understanding.
Want to learn more about the Enneagram and how to figure out your type? Here's my overview post.
Disclosure: I was provided an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Affiliate links contained in this post. Any purchase you make helps support this site.