The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery

The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery

Ignorance is bliss except in self-awareness...What you don't know about yourself can hurt you and your relationships―and even keep you in the shallows with God. Do you want help figuring out who you are and why you're stuck in the same ruts? The Enneagram is an ancient personality typing system with an uncanny accuracy in describing how human beings are wired, both positiv...

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Title:The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery
Author:Ian Morgan Cron
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Edition Language:English

The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery Reviews

  • Leigh Kramer

    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, 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

    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, 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, my favorite personality type system, 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 I must add one specific line in the Type 5 chapter that is 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.

    I have 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. So there's that. 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. For the record, 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. Moving on...

    I've lost count of how many descriptions I've read of my type (4) 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.

    Disclosure: I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  • Ali M.

    Knowing my Myers-Briggs type never did much for me. Knowing my Enneagram number has deepened my self-awareness, given me practical and specific tools for growth, and helped me better understand people who are wired entirely differently than me.

    Part of what makes this ancient personality typing system so compelling is the fact that your number is not a static description of yourself; it's a spectrum you're constantly engaging with as you learn to recognize the behavioral patterns, coping mechanis

    Knowing my Myers-Briggs type never did much for me. Knowing my Enneagram number has deepened my self-awareness, given me practical and specific tools for growth, and helped me better understand people who are wired entirely differently than me.

    Part of what makes this ancient personality typing system so compelling is the fact that your number is not a static description of yourself; it's a spectrum you're constantly engaging with as you learn to recognize the behavioral patterns, coping mechanisms, and ways of seeing the world (both healthy and unhealthy) that are rooted in your number... and how they evolve as you do. The idea that your greatest strength is simply a conquered/integrated version of your greatest weakness—i.e., your struggles and victories emerge from two sides of the same coin—fascinates me, and echoes wisdom found across many spiritual traditions. Meanwhile, reading up on the other numbers tends to inspire a needed dose of compassion for people that might otherwise frustrate and/or mystify you. Since becoming familiar with the nine Enneagram types, I've largely stopped asking the question "How could anyone think that way?"

    Cron and Stabile don't bother getting into niche Enneagram topics here, like the instincts, subtypes, or levels of development. For that kind of depth, check out any of the more detailed tomes written on the topic by Riso/Hudson or Richard Rohr. Instead, this is an accessible, well-organized primer on the basics—one I know I'll be referencing in abundance, and no doubt handing off to friends and family left and right. (Bonus: It's also laugh-out-loud funny in places.)

  • Bob

    John Calvin, and many others have observed that knowledge of God and knowledge of self often go hand in hand. Often, what we do not know or knowledge that has been colored by the wounds of our upbringing deflect us from knowing God and ourselves truly. One of the tools that has been found increasingly helpful by many spiritual d

    John Calvin, and many others have observed that knowledge of God and knowledge of self often go hand in hand. Often, what we do not know or knowledge that has been colored by the wounds of our upbringing deflect us from knowing God and ourselves truly. One of the tools that has been found increasingly helpful by many spiritual directors and others who work with spiritual formation is the Enneagram. It's roots go back to a fourth century Christian mystic, Evagrius, who developed a system based on the seven deadly sins, plus an overarching sin of self-love. G.I. Gurdjieff first developed the Enneagram figure and two personality psychologists, Oscar Ichazo and Claudio Naranjo developed the modern theory that underlies the Enneagram. It was introduced into spiritual formation circles by Catholic retreat leader Richard Rohr and several other Jesuit priests.

    Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile provide a readable and witty introduction to the Enneagram with chapters on each of the nine types. They begin by giving some of the background of the Enneagram and list each of the nine types and the corresponding deadly sin each type is most susceptible to. They are

    The Perfectionist (Anger)

    The Helper (Pride)

    The Performer (Deceit)

    The Romantic (Envy)

    The Investigator (Avarice)

    The Loyalist (Fear)

    The Enthusiast (Gluttony)

    The Challenger (Lust)

    The Peacemaker (Sloth)

    They explain that these come in three triads of three: Anger or Gut: 8, 9, 1 ; Feeling or Heart 2, 3, 4; and Fear or Head: 5, 6, 7. Also each type is modified by one or both of their wings (the types adjacent to them) and have a type the gravitate to under stress and when they are secure. Sound a little confusing? Cron and Stabile walk us through all this both in introduction and the survey of each type.

    Starting with the Anger or Gut triad and Type 8, they devote a chapter to each type, beginning with a list of 20 points of what it is like to be that type, describing the type in its healthy, average, and unhealthy expressions, and talk about its deadly sin. Then they give a more detailed description, talk about the type as a child, in their relationships and at work. Then they explore how the "wings" and the types they tend toward when feeling stressed or secure shape the expression of their type. They conclude with what spiritual transformation looks like for the type and ten steps for each type to take in transformation.

    Throughout, they give examples of the type from people they know (including themselves and their families) as well as famous individuals (I discovered that Oliver Sacks, Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer were/are likely the same type as I am--except they are all far more intelligent!). I found myself laughing as they describe the different types, until I got to my own, where I found myself alternately saying "yes" and "ouch!"

    Like other writers like Richard Rohr, they don't offer a test to find your type. Rather, here is what they recommend:

    That gives you a pretty fair picture of what you are in for, both in terms of writing and your experience as you read this book. The one thing worse than knowing this stuff about ourselves is for it to be present in our lives and to not know it. Knowing helps us pursue paths of growth along the lines of who we are rather than who we aren't. And it helps us to be gentler with all those other types, whose unique predicament parallels our own. Most of all, it begins to help us understand the depths of the grace of God that meets each of us uniquely and in the depths of our own deadly sins. If you are ready for and hungry for that kind of knowledge, then this book is a good place to begin.

  • Barnabas Piper

    Super helpful and enjoyable introduction to the enneagram. I'd read nothing on it previously other than a couple inline summaries, and this was an accessible and relatable entry into what seems to be a rich and complex thing. It moves quickly, it is concise, it is funny in parts, and it is strikingly insightful.

  • Charlsa

    I discovered this book by listening to Anne Bogel's #whatshouldireadnext podcast, episode #141. She and Ian Morgan Cron were talking about the Enneagram #s of various authors and characters in books. I had already taken to test to determine my Enneagram type, but I still wasn't sure. I listened to the audiobook first, narrated by the author, then purchased the book. I needed to go through it in detail. This book really helped me to narrow down my type. I like that he shared the h isotry of the E

    I discovered this book by listening to Anne Bogel's #whatshouldireadnext podcast, episode #141. She and Ian Morgan Cron were talking about the Enneagram #s of various authors and characters in books. I had already taken to test to determine my Enneagram type, but I still wasn't sure. I listened to the audiobook first, narrated by the author, then purchased the book. I needed to go through it in detail. This book really helped me to narrow down my type. I like that he shared the h isotry of the Ennegram. He explains it and gives examples that shows the reader that it isn't just your actions by the motive behind your actions that determines your type. I'll be referring to this book often.

  • Iman  Malone-Dirige

    My love and I have optimistically embraced personal growth and deeper self-awareness since our beginning almost nine years ago - to better ourselves as both a faith-based married couple, mothers to our two adorable children, assertive individuals, mirrored souls with a beautiful life journey together, and philanthropists with a profound love for humanity.

    Together, we’ve gracefully developed in an all-encompassing matter alongside the in-depth knowledge we've gained on cognitive functions, Myers-

    My love and I have optimistically embraced personal growth and deeper self-awareness since our beginning almost nine years ago - to better ourselves as both a faith-based married couple, mothers to our two adorable children, assertive individuals, mirrored souls with a beautiful life journey together, and philanthropists with a profound love for humanity.

    Together, we’ve gracefully developed in an all-encompassing matter alongside the in-depth knowledge we've gained on cognitive functions, Myers-Briggs, and Big Five personality traits - only in recent months have we delved into the ancient enneagram system.

    We’ve taken both the official Enneagram Institute type indicator, the Tritype enneastyle theory questionnaire, as well as numerous unofficial enneagram personality tests online.

    All have been conclusive with the same results...

    This enneagram type seven with four and nine (Tritype 749 - 7w6 4w5 9w1) is happily married to an enneagram type eight with five and three (Tritype 853 - 8w9 5w6 3w2).

    Not surprising results for us considering that my cognitive functions are NeFiTeSi and my equal half's are TeNiSeFi - both fine-tuned.

    We’ve confirmed our enneagrams along with this highly insightful book - an assistance of self-discovery, encouragement, transformation, and understanding from a Christian perspective.

    Coupled with lighthearted humor and compassion - this book is a must read!🌿

  • Taylor Cole

    Maybe it's because I came to this book already equipped with a basic working knowledge of the enneagram, but I found The Road Back to You to be a bit more helpful in my understanding of the enneagram than Richard Rohr's book (The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective), which was my introduction to the enneagram and a major source of guidance for many others (and which, frankly, left me a little confused). Ian and Suzanne's writing made the characteristics of each number much more clear to me, and I

    Maybe it's because I came to this book already equipped with a basic working knowledge of the enneagram, but I found The Road Back to You to be a bit more helpful in my understanding of the enneagram than Richard Rohr's book (The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective), which was my introduction to the enneagram and a major source of guidance for many others (and which, frankly, left me a little confused). Ian and Suzanne's writing made the characteristics of each number much more clear to me, and I appreciated the fact that they tried to avoid stereotyping the numbers. I also enjoyed the introductory stories in each chapter—cute, funny, and insightful. Will definitely be recommending this book to friends who are curious about the enneagram—and to those upon whom I force my own enneagram curiosity. :)

  • Britany

    I kept hearing about the Enneagram, took a quiz and got multiple answers, that's when I decided to go digging...

    Many of my very favorite podcasts mention the Enneagram and I got curious. This book was a wonderful introduction. There are 9 categories that you can fall into with wings and shades of others. What does this all mean? Cron spends time explaining what a healthy number looks like vs someone struggling with their related deadly sin. I kept trying to think of this as it relates to my clos

    I kept hearing about the Enneagram, took a quiz and got multiple answers, that's when I decided to go digging...

    Many of my very favorite podcasts mention the Enneagram and I got curious. This book was a wonderful introduction. There are 9 categories that you can fall into with wings and shades of others. What does this all mean? Cron spends time explaining what a healthy number looks like vs someone struggling with their related deadly sin. I kept trying to think of this as it relates to my closest friends and family members. Changing and adapting my thought process when dealing with conflict and added some new life mantras to help me move forward and own my truest self.

    I would highly recommend checking this one out if you have any interest in personality and bettering yourself. Slight tinges on religious undertones, but not heavy handed.

    PS I'm a 3 (Achiever) with the energy/sin of a 9; Which one are you?

  • Maxwell

    If you are new to and curious about the Enneagram, I think this book is a fantastic way to start digging into it. Cron wonderfully explains each type, giving context to them in many ways (work, childhood, relationships) as well as details the various elements of the Enneagram (wings, stress, security). It was insightful, accessible and entertaining, and has truly opened my eyes to how I see the world in a particular way as well as how other people very unlike me see the world—and that gives me t

    If you are new to and curious about the Enneagram, I think this book is a fantastic way to start digging into it. Cron wonderfully explains each type, giving context to them in many ways (work, childhood, relationships) as well as details the various elements of the Enneagram (wings, stress, security). It was insightful, accessible and entertaining, and has truly opened my eyes to how I see the world in a particular way as well as how other people very unlike me see the world—and that gives me the ability to reframe my relationships with other people so I am slower to judge, quicker to listen and overall more gracious.

    On the other hand, if you have absolutely no idea what the Enneagram is, you can take

    (granted you can also just read about the 9 types and figure out which one you are, but I think the test is a helpful starting place). I'd encourage you to do some research and read up on your type because it's truly changed my life and interactions in such a positive way! #enneagramforlife

  • Christina DeVane

    My favorite quotes from this book:

    • The Enneagram should only be used to build others up and help them advance on their journey toward wholeness and God. ❤

    • When we stop trying to change people and simply love them that they actually have a shot at transformation. The Enneagram is a tool that awakens our compassion for people just as they are, not the people we wish they would become so our lives would become easier.

    • Each type is at its core a signpost pointing us to travel toward and embrace

    My favorite quotes from this book:

    • The Enneagram should only be used to build others up and help them advance on their journey toward wholeness and God. ❤️

    • When we stop trying to change people and simply love them that they actually have a shot at transformation. The Enneagram is a tool that awakens our compassion for people just as they are, not the people we wish they would become so our lives would become easier.

    • Each type is at its core a signpost pointing us to travel toward and embrace an aspect of God’s character that we need. ❤️

    I did enjoy the explanation of the Enneagram for a novice like me. This book makes a deep subject easy to read although I have many questions coming out of this book.

    The Enneagram does a great job at revealing our faults “deadly sins” showing us why we make certain choices or react a certain way.

    Each number by itself seems extreme so categorizing people can be difficult because they only fit a few of the descriptions.

    I truly sense an awareness of seeing people through their own eyes and my heart giving compassion and love to them instead of getting frustrated at why they they struggle and have problems with things that seem so basic and trivial to me.

    Typing yourself takes time and study, but I believe this can be very helpful when not obsessing but kept in balance of why I do this in the first place. (First quote)

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