The Wisdom of the Enneagram - The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types

How much do I want to read more? 10/10

I didn't expect this book to be that great. From the Preface we already get the sense of depth and impact it can have for our soul and self-transformation.
It's far from being superficial, actually it's the opposite, what we daily do is superficial, and this quest of the soul should be our only preoccupation.

It feels like one of the rare book I wish I wrote. Or, onw book I could have come to write, with the exact words I would have used, matching perfectly my way of thinking and feeling about it.

I had a bias about enneagram telling me it's worthless, restrictive and idiot. So much so I almost didn't want to open this book. I wouldn't if I weren't on this "read as many intro as you can" quest.
It turns out this book is one I cherish the most, the dearest to me. I need to read and study it. It feels like a must.

“- The Wisdom of the Enneagram is a very important book. By combining the horizontal types of the Enneagram with a system of vertical levels of awareness, Riso and Hudson have produced one of the first truly integrated models of the human psyche. In addition to the importance of this pioneering work itself, it goes to point up the utter inadequacy of anything less than a full-spectrum model of human growth and development. Highly recommended.”

—- Ken Wilber, author of The Marriage of Sense and Soul

“I highly recommend this book, not only to anyone on the path of personal transformation, but to anyone who wants to understand the complex inner world of others, whether a spouse, family member, co-worker, or friend. The questionnaires were fun and illuminating. I received some very helpful information about myself, felt challenged to grow, and experienced a deepening of compassion. Perhaps the most profound contribution of The Wisdom of the Enneagram is reflected in the word ‘wisdom.’ The authors clearly communicate the complexity of human nature, the spiritual yearning resonant in all of us, and the ascending levels of our possibility. But they do not leave us there. They offer a clear path for personal and spiritual evolution.”

-- Harville Hendrix, Ph.D., author of Getting the Love You Want


WE ARE ALL DRIVEN by a deep inner restlessness. as a sense that something is missing in us.
We have all sorts of notions about what we think we need or want.
experience teaches us that the new car makes us feel better for only a short time. The new relationship may be wonderful, but it never quite fulfills us in the way we thought it would. So what are we really looking for?

If we reflect for a moment, we may realize that what our hearts yearn for is to know who we are and why we are here.
Sooner or later, we realize that external things, while valuable in themselves, cannot address the deep restlessness of our soul.

“There’s a part of every living thing that wants to become itself, the tadpole into the frog, the chrysalis into the butterfly, a damaged human being into a whole one. That is spirituality.”


Many of the currently available books on personal transformation speak movingly about the kind of person that we would all like to be. They recognize the vital importance of compassion, community, communication, and creativity. But as beautiful and attractive as these (and other) qualities are, we find it extremely difficult to maintain them or to put them into practice in our daily lives. Our hearts yearn to soar, yet we almost always come crashing down painfully on the rocks of fear, self-defeating habits, and ignorance. All too often our good intentions and noble hopes simply become new sources of disappointment. We give up on ourselves, return to familiar distractions, and try to forget about the whole matter.

“It seems to me that before we set out on a journey to find reality, to find God, before we can act, before we can have any relationship with another… it is essential that we begin to understand ourselves first.”


The great spiritual and moral teachers throughout history have always insisted that we have the potential to achieve greatness—that we are, in fact, divine creatures in some real sense. So why do we find this state so hard to recognize and live up to?

We believe that most self-help books are not necessarily wrong, but merely incomplete.
Without identifying the specific core issues that are causing the problem, no solution is likely, no matter how great the effort.

The self-help author’s prescriptions are usually based on methods that have worked for him or her personally and reflect his or her own psychological makeup and personal process. If a reader happens to have a similar psychological makeup, the author’s method may be effective. But if there is little “match,” the reader may be misled rather than helped.

Any effective approach to growth must therefore take into account the fact that there are different kinds of people.
Historically many systems: astrology, numerology, the four classic temperaments (phlegmatic, choleric, melancholic, and sanguine), Jung’s psychological types (extrovert and introvert orientations times sensation, intuition, feeling, and thinking functions), …

“Whatever your age, your upbringing, or your education, what you are made of is mostly unused potential.”


This diversity explains why what is good advice for one person can be disastrous for another.

Telling some types that they need to focus more on their feelings is like throwing water on a drowning man.
Telling other types that they need to assert themselves more is as foolish as putting an anorexic person on a diet.
In understanding ourselves, our relationships, our spiritual growth, and many other important issues, we will see that type—not gender, not culture, and not generational differences—is the crucial factor.

We believe that awareness of personality types is needed in many areas—in education, the sciences, business, the humanities, and therapy—and, above all, in spirituality and transformational work.

While our restless yearnings may be universal, how they are expressed is much more particular and is, in fact, a function of the “filter” with which we approach all of life. The main filter that we use to understand ourselves and the world around us, to express ourselves, to defend ourselves, to deal with our past and anticipate our future, to learn with, to rejoice with, and to fall in love with, is our personality type.

“Spiritually speaking, everything that one wants, aspires to, and needs is ever-present, accessible here and now—for those with eyes to see.”


What if there were a system that could enable us to have more insight into ourselves and others?
What if this system also directed us toward the depths of our soul? Such a system exists, and it is called the Enneagram.


“Spirit is an invisible force made visible in all life.”


One of the most important incidents of my life happened.
He made enough noise so that no one else could rest, either.
shortly after Alan came crashing through the door, something amazing happened to me: I saw my negative reactions to him rising in my body like a train pulling into a station, and I did not get on the train. In a moment of simple clarity, I saw Alan with his anger and frustration—I saw his behavior for what it was without further elaboration—and I saw my anger “loading up” to let him have it—and I did not react to any of it.

as if a veil was suddenly pulled from my eyes, and I opened up. Something that normally blocked my perception dissolved in an instant, and the world became completely alive. Alan was suddenly lovable, and the other guys were perfect in their reactions, whatever they were. Just as astonishingly, as I turned my head and looked out the window, I saw that everything around me was glowing from within. The sunlight on the trees, the swaying of the leaves in the wind, the slight rattle of the panes of glass in the old window frame, were too beautiful for words. I was enthralled at how miraculous everything was. Absolutely everything was beautiful.

I saw clearly that everyone is made of light—that we are like forms of light—but that a crust has formed over it. The crust is black and rubbery like tar and has obscured the inner light that is everyone’s real, inner self.

If we observe ourselves truthfully and nonjudgmentally, seeing the mechanisms of our personality in action, we can wake up, and our lives can be a miraculous unfolding of beauty and joy.


The Enneagram can help us only if we are honest with ourselves.
as a guide to self-observation and self-inquiry.

As a first exercise in your Inner Work Journal, we suggest you write a biography of yourself—not an autobiography. Write about yourself in third person—that is, as “he” or “she” rather than “I.” Tell your life story, beginning from your earliest years (or earlier, from what you know of your family history) up to the present time as if you were describing someone else.
The important thing is to see your life as a whole, as if told by someone else.

What have been the defining moments of your life—your traumas and triumphs—those times when you knew that, for better or worse, your life would never be the same?
Who have been the most significant people in your life—those who have acted as “witnesses” to your struggles and growth, those who have hurt you, and those who have been your understanding mentors and friends? Be as detailed as possible.

Come back to your biography whenever you wish to add something and as you move through this book and gain more insight into yourself. Your story will become richer and more meaningful as you understand yourself more deeply.


CHAPTER 1: Identifying Your Personality Type