Where to Start with the Enneagram
I've long been a fan of personality types. I remember back in elementary school, one of my teachers gave us a version that gave four colors as the results-- blue, green, orange, and gold. I scored squarely in the "gold" category-- the high-achieving, perfectionist, rule-follower type. Later, it was the Myers-Briggs test that fascinated me. I'm very hardcore INFJ (what they say is the most rare type, but many of my blogger friends are the same) and have found it so helpful in understanding myself better.
Side note: none of these tests are necessarily scientifically proven, but that doesn't mean they aren't helpful. They are not absolute truth, they are not 100% accurate, they are not perfect. What they are is useful tools for increasing our self-awareness and understanding of both ourselves and others.
Now, I've been falling down the wonderful rabbit hole that is the Enneagram for a few months now. I have had more than a few friends and family members ask me about it, and I thought it would be helpful to share some resources I've loved as I've learned more about this whole thing!
In case you didn't want to go read all of that, here's the scoop:
There are 9 types (at different points around the circle). Each type has two lines stemming from it that point to other types. One of those is the type you act more like when in stress, and the other is the type you act more like when secure. The types on either side of your type around the circle are known as your wings-- you might have a strong wing (such as a type 5 with a greater 4 influence that slightly shifts your personality) or no real wings at all if you're solidly just your type.
A few people have asked me where they can take the test to find out where they are. Personally, I didn't take a test to start, and heard from several experts that the best way to find your type is to just read about the types and figure out which one you identify with most, BUT there's one HERE if you want to start there and get a better understanding. I've taken it since then (and had other friends take it) and the results weren't really definitive, but it does give you a sense of the types that you are highest in, and you can then research more and figure it out that way!
Also, if you want to shell out $12, you can take this full length test (they say it takes 40 minutes but I promise it doesn't, especially since you should answer quickly with gut responses!) and it's a LOT more accurate!
As for me... I'm a 1w2. SUCH A ONE. Everything I read about Ones early one was just like "YEP." and then quickly followed by "Holy crap, yikes, that's not pretty." (They say that's when you know what your type really is!)
The Enneagram has given me SUCH a great language tool for understanding myself, explaining myself, understanding others, and being able to find freedom and health as I grow personally, spiritually, etc. It's wonderful.
ps-- I updated this post since its original publish date, to add more resources to be more helpful!
Once you're ready to explore the Enneagram world more....
Here are some great resources I've personally loved:
Books for the beginner:
- The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile (buy the book here)// This book is really easy to read, really fresh, brand-new so it's super culturally relevant, and just a fantastic resource. I've already bought this one for friends and they've loved it too-- it's a great place to start that won't feel intimidating or too overwhelming.
- The Essential Enneagram: The Definitive Personality Test and Self-Discovery Guide by David N. Daniels (buy here) // This was one of the very first things I read about the Enneagram when I was just starting to explore it all, and I loved the basis it gave me! This little book (I had it on my Kindle app on my iPad!) was SO helpful in really dialing in my type and diving deeper into what it means. (I'm a Type 1, wing 2!) So, so, so much more to learn here, but this is a great start and a resource I highly recommend if you're just starting to dig into the Enneagram. Good stuff here!
- The Sacred Enneagram: Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth by Christopher Heuertz (buy here) // There's a lot of helpful foundational Enneagram info in this one (which, if you know a lot about it already, might not be new to you) and also a LOT of new info I hadn't heard before and loved. The faith focus of this one is beautiful, and I'm so grateful for the ways Chris layered different aspects of the Enneagram to really add complexity and understanding to my knowledge of my type and all others. I learned a LOT and wrote many "!!!" and "how did he know?!" in the margins... This one was just GOOD.
Books for the more advanced Enneagram-er:
- The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective by Richard Rohr (buy here) // This is one of the major books out there on the Enneagram, but it's dense. It's not the fun, easy read that the above book is, but it's still chock-full of incredible wisdom, a lot more history on the background of the Enneagram (fascinating), and really great insights. This is much more of a commitment, so don't think you can breeze through this one, but it's worth it if you're ready to do a deep dive.
- Using the Enneagram in Prayer: A Contemplative Guide by Suzanne Zuercher (buy here) // This is for the more advanced Enneagram learner-- it doesn't provide an overview of the types or give you a basis for understanding, but takes it a step further and much deeper into prayer, contemplation, and spiritual/personal growth. This book focuses on the triads and not the individual types, which is deeply meaningful, especially when relating to others.
- Enneagram Transformations by Don Richard Riso (buy here) // This book is small but MIGHTY. It’s best read once you have a solid understanding of the Enneagram, as it’s mostly affirmations and releases for each type. I can’t tell you how moving the list was for my type (#enneagram1) and how convicted i was by the releases for my type. I want to write all of these down and read them again and again as i love toward a more healthy, integrated way of living! So, so good.
- "The Enneagram" podcast episode from The Liturgists // This is an AMAZING listen. It's not short (2 hours total) but it's RICH. I love The Liturgists (Science Mike and Michael Gungor) anyway, but their brilliance and realness combined with the wisdom of Ian and Suzanne (who wrote the book below) is just amazing. This is a must-listen!
- The Road Back to You: Looking at Life through the Lens of the Enneagram // The podcast is just as wonderful as the book-- they talk to guests of all different types, and it's great to hear from others either like you or of other types to really hear how their type plays out in their lives. I've learned so much from this one, and have loved the guests they've had on the show!
- Typology by Ian Morgan Cron // Yep, the same Ian Cron from The Road Back to You! These conversations continue what RBTY started, and they're fantastic. I love his interview/conversation style and learn SO much from these episodes every time.
- The Enneagram Journey by Suzanne Stabile // Again, same Suzanne! She's warm, friendly, wise, and gentle, and these conversations are lovely.
- The Enneagram Institute website // There is SO much to explore here -- it's a great, easy way to browse around, learn more about the types and their characteristics and interactions with other types, and just get a feel for everything.
- Blog posts by Heidi Priebe (one example here) // Heidi is a writer for Thought Catalog who specializes in personality type content -- she writes lots of really fun things about MBTI types and Enneagram types, and I always glean little insights from her posts.
- The Road Back to You // Yes, again. Everything these two do is great.
Do you know YOUR Enneagram type?! Tell me in the comments -- I love nerding out about this stuff!
Here is my Goodreads shelf where all books about personality types are shelved, check it out for more recommended reading!